Ever since my makeup brush collection exploded and multiplied, I’ve felt a responsibility to actually use them all. I may or may not be guilty of getting makeup brushes because I feel like I’m “supposed” to have them… only to realize that I have no effing clue how to use them. (I’m looking at you, “stippling face brush” and all duo-fiber brushes.)
After a while, I’m left with a pile of dirty brushes and — hold on, derailment: Maybe it’s just me, but how do people get over using dirty brushes? I put my makeup on every day using these brushes, and sometimes there are some really dark colors going on. How am I supposed to get rid of that? I’m not a makeup artist (far from it) and the idea of using a dirty brush on a new color doesn’t squidge me out because of germs or anything, I’m just worried about the previous color muddying up the new color. Should I get one of these $18 Sephora brillo pads? There has to be a better (um, cheaper) way. I’m clearly missing something so makeup artists, please take my hand and guide me through these common sense questions because I. Am. Flailing.
Anyway, back to that pile of dirty brushes. Here, look at them:
What’s up, Real Techniques makeup brush problem! None of those RT brushes were sent to me BTW, I actively hunted them all down myself because they’re fantastic and affordable.
…But also very dirty. For the last several months, I have been using fractionated coconut oil to clean my brushes, but after the third time cleaning oil out of my sink, I started reading and found brush cleaning suggestions that spanned from “buy this $100 brush cleaning system” to “just use whatever hand soap you have hanging around!”
Considering that not all brushes are made from synthetic or plastic but are instead actual hair, I couldn’t help thinking about what would happen if I used “whatever hand soap I have” on my hair. Yikes. Most of my brushes are synthetic anyway, but I want to treat them right! Thinking back on brushes I cleaned improperly, my uninformed soap choice could be the reason they all ended up looking like Angelica Pickle’s Cynthia doll.
So on my last beauty store trip, I picked up EcoTools Makeup Brush Shampoo after realizing that all of the other makeup brush cleaners were over $10. Yeeeeaaahno.
EcoTools Makeup Brush Shampoo, $7.99
This stuff was really easy to use, though I’m not entirely sure what makes it different from your run of the mill baby shampoo (very popular for makeup brush cleaning) or soap. The EcoTools stuff definitely smells amazing. A beautiful citrus-clean scent, and it doesn’t really linger on the brushes – it’s just for the person washing the brushes, so enjoy it!
How I Wash my Brushes with EcoTools Makeup Brush Shampoo
This process isn’t going to blow you away unless you’ve been really struggling with cleaning your brushes and haven’t had any success at all. What I’m saying is that this is pretty damn easy, and gets brushes really clean, to boot!
Grab one of your dirty ass brushes! This duel ended concealer brush is part of the limited edition Jasmine set from London SOHO New York x Disney and despite its Disney affiliation, it’s kind of amazing. I use it exclusively for concealer and sometimes foundation. It’s full of both of those products right now, and definitely qualifies as “dirty.”
I only added the tiniest bit of shampoo directly onto the brush. For larger brushes, I found that this was the best method, but with smaller brushes like smudgers and detail brushes, I put a dot of shampoo on the palm of my hand and then swirled the brush around on it.
In the hardest photo ever to take by yourself – seen above – you can see the gross old makeup basically streaming out of the brush. I don’t have any fancy brush glove (those I think they’re super cool) or a special cloth, I just make sure my hands are not covered in biological weapons and swirl the brush in my palm with some soap, then rinse. That’s… pretty much it.
Important note about rinsing: I try really, really hard never to submerge the ferrule – that’s the part that connects the bristles to the handles. The more water that gets access to the glue up in there, the sooner that glue will start to break down and Shed-mageddon begins. So! My strategy is to keep swirling the brush in my palm with the shampoo and then just move my entire hand under the faucet to rinse it off without needing to dip anything anywhere.
After they’re rinsed thoroughly, I gently try to get the excess water out by tapping them against the back of my hand which kind of floofs them into the right-ish shape, but if they need some help remembering what they used to look like, just use your hand to create the right shape. Some people hang their brushes upside-down to dry which obviously has its gravitational benefits, but I just lay mine on a clean washcloth. Works for me!
Overall, the EcoTools Makeup Brush Shampoo was… just fine! It didn’t blow me away with its cleansing power, but it also didn’t mess up my makeup brushes so I’m happy. Also, you get a ton of product for not very much, so if you’re ready to take the next step after baby shampoo for makeup brush cleaning, definitely give EcoTools a try. They’re accessible, affordable, and this stuff definitely works!
Where to Find EcoTools Makeup Brush Shampoo
- Ulta, $7.99 (+ $5.95 shipping)
- Drugstore.com, $7.99 (+ $5.99 shipping)
- iHerb, $7.99 (+ $6 shipping)
- Kohl’s, $8 (+ $8.95 shipping)
- Amazon, $7.99 *can only be purchased with a $25 order *eye roll*
I’m currently investigating duo fiber brushes (of which I have several already, seen above with the white tips!), if you have a favorite way to use them, drop me a note on Twitter, Snapchat, or email!