Cleaning Makeup Brushes with Olive Oil

cleaning makeup brushes with olive oil

I am a firm believer in investing in quality items that are made to last vs. single use or cheap products that require frequent, wasteful replacements. If you’re like me, then you’ll agree that it’s important to take good care of our investment pieces! This includes quality makeup brushes. 

Luckily, cleaning makeup brushes with olive oil and dish soap is both effective and inexpensive. As a bonus, making your own makeup brush cleaner with these ingredients is less wasteful than buying pre-packaged makeup brush cleaners. Clean your makeup brushes without excessive product packaging!

(See how I avoid excess packaging when grocery shopping here).

If you’re curious about how to clean makeup brushes with olive oil, keep reading for a quick tutorial.

How to Clean Makeup Brushes with Olive Oil

How to clean makeup brushes with olive oil and dish soap - DIY natural makeup brush cleaner


  • Olive Oil
  • Dish Soap
  • Dish or Bowl


  1. Create a cleaning mixture by combining 1 part olive oil and 2 parts dish soap on a dish or bowl from your kitchen. You don’t have to be perfectly precise here, just eyeball the amounts.
  2. Run your brush under running water with the brush bristles facing down. You do not want water to deteriorate the glue that holds the bristles inside of the brush handle.
  3. Swirl your brush gently in the soap and olive oil mixture. Rub your brush back and forth in the palm of your hand to loosen the makeup. 
  4. Rinse again under running water (bristles down). 
  5. Repeat as necessary until the water runs clear through your brush.

If you want to see this technique in action, check out the video tutorial below:

Why is Olive Oil Good for Cleaning Makeup Brushes?

how to clean makeup brushes with olive oil and soap

Olive oil is a great ingredient to use when cleaning makeup brushes because it effectively breaks down makeup. Many natural beauty experts recommend using olive oil as a natural makeup remover on your skin for the same reason!

The combination of olive oil and dish soap is a powerful brush cleaner. The olive oil loosens the makeup and the dish soap actually cleans the brush. Dish soap on its own is also very drying, so the olive oil helps to keep brush bristles soft and conditioned after cleaning. 

How to Dry Makeup Brushes

Remember how you carefully rinsed your makeup brushes with the bristles facing downward? Well, you will want to dry your brushes facing downward for the same reason. There are a few techniques for doing this that are worth trying.

Rolled Dish Towel

how to clean and dry makeup brushes using DIY makeup brush cleaner

This is my favorite makeup brush drying technique because it is the simplest. Grab a large dish or hand towel and roll it up half-way. Set the rolled side down and prop the brush handles up on that rolled side. The brush bristles will sit at a downward angle on the unrolled portion of your towel.

Rubber Bands and a Board

how to dry makeup brushes facing downwards

If you want a truly upside-down drying solution for your brushes, this technique is an option for you. Grab two very large rubber bands and either a cutting board or clipboard or something similar. Prop your board against a wall and wrap your rubber bands around it horizontally. 

Hang your brushes face down in a sort of lattice pattern between the two rubber bands. One brush goes under the top rubber band and over the bottom rubber band. The next brush will go over the top and under the bottom, and so on.

Chip Clips or Clothespins and a Hanger

makeup brush drying techniques

Behold, the most creative makeup brush drying technique. Say you don’t have rubber bands but you have a ton of chip clips or clothespins. Hang your brushes by clipping the handles over the pants hanger bar on a clothes hanger. 

Now that you have clean makeup brushes, it’s worth taking a peak at your makeup. Be sure to toss makeup that is past its prime and clean out your makeup organizer!

How Often Should You Clean Makeup Brushes?

Phew! Your makeup brushes are finally cleaned and dried and ready to be used once again. Now how often do you have to repeat this cleaning process to keep your brushes in tip top shape?

Makeup brushes used for skin makeup like foundation, concealer, bronzer, and blush should be cleaned weekly. Brushes used less frequently or for things like eyeshadow should be cleaned once or twice a month. 

Washing your brushes regularly will not only keep them in good condition, it will keep your skin in good condition as well! Avoid unwanted breakouts by using clean makeup tools on your skin.

how to clean makeup brushes with olive oil

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