Cosmetic Cleaning

By Rebecca Reynolds / September 7, 2011

Cosmetic Cleaning:

Dear Ms. Green Clean, Recently small bumps have appeared on my face, and I think it may be from my makeup brushes. What is the best chemical-free way to clean them and to make sure they last?

—Bumpy in San Fran

Dear Bumpy,

Dirty makeup brushes may be the culprit to your skin issues. If so, the most thorough and safest way to clean them is super simple, fast, and effective.

A Solution for Synthetic Brushes

You can literally pop these in your dishwasher once you’ve taken these steps:

• Wipe lipstick brushes with a damp washcloth to remove the oils that are normally found in lipstick

• Soak partially dirty brushes in the juice of one lemon. Soaking for 15 minutes usually does the trick

• Place brushes in the utensil area of your dishwasher with a rubber band wrapped around them to prevent them from slipping through the container holes

• Try this mixture: Place 2 tablespoons baking soda, 5 tablespoons white distilled vinegar, and 1 tablespoon natural shampoo in the bottom of your dishwasher and run as normal, omitting the final drying cycle

• Air dry your brushes on a cloth, preferably in direct sunlight. While still wet, mold your brush bristles back into shape by hand. This will allow for a smoother finish to your make up when used again.

Try this for Natural Bristle Brushes

All it takes are these three simple steps to keep your natural makeup brushes good and clean. It might interest you to know that natural bristle brushes are made from anything from boar’s fur to squirrel fur. If you are concerned about animal rights, you can find many high-quality Vegan choices available in a quick Google search.

• Wipe off excess makeup with a dry cloth

• In a mixing bowl, place 2 cups of baking soda, and 1 cup of corn meal. Mix well. Place all brushes in this mixture and work the mixture through the bristles. The baking soda absorbs oils and the corn meal acts as an abrasive to remove grease and dirt. Shake dry mixture off before taking the next cleaning step.

• Place 5 cups of warm water, 2 tablespoons of natural shampoo, and 1 teaspoon of vinegar into a clean mixing bowl and mix well with a whisk. Place 1 brush at a time in this mixture and work the cleaner in with your hand until you feel that all oils have been removed from the brush. Rinse well in purified water and allow to air dry before using. Remember to mold your makeup brush bristles back into shape before setting them into the sun to dry.

• Clean your makeup brushes weekly. Think about it, you would not use the same wash cloth for more than a week, let alone more than a day. Your makeup brushes come in contact with the dirt and oils on your face, along with the makeup oils and ingredients. This not only poses a risk for infection if they’re not properly cleaned, but it can contaminate your makeup supply, as well. Cleaning your brushes will also make them last longer, which is always a good money and environment saving choice.

Keep in mind that the bumps on your skin might also be due to chlorine in your water. Consider a high-quality shower filter that will greatly reduce the chlorine absorption, which is far higher (up to 80 percent) when your body is hot or warm and your pores can more easily absorb this irritating, drying, and toxic substance.

Wishing you less bumpy roads,

Ms. Green Clean

Rebecca Reynolds

Rebecca Reynolds

Rebecca Reynolds is a holistic practitioner who helps people become truly well by working with them as a whole person: body, mind, and spirit. Rebecca is the founder of green clean (, a certified health coach, Thai massage practitioner, and raw food educator.
Rebecca Reynolds

Latest posts by Rebecca Reynolds (see all)