Easy, Breezy Makeup Brush Cleaning

by Sonja on May 11, 2009

shu uemura Brush Cleaner

I love my collection of makeup brushes. But I hate cleaning them, so I usually don’t end up cleaning them nearly often enough. Some say you should clean your brushes once a week, or every day if you use a brush with liquid or cream makeup (like foundation or concealer). I so don’t do that and it’s been showing up in the way of breakouts. But all that’s changing now that I’ve found a very easy way to effectively clean my brushes.

I discovered shu uemura Brush Cleaner ($13) last week when I was at the San Francisco shu uemura boutique (one of just three in the U.S.) to shoot a makeup lesson with some of their stunning new makeup (you can see that post here). I’m so excited to have found this product! It works so well so quickly and is ridiculously easy to use.

Life Before

Before, cleaning my brushes was a major chore, particularly because I have so many. I hated hauling them to the bathroom sink, lathering up each one, rinsing over and over again to make sure all the soap was out, then waiting forever for them to dry. I’ve been looking for an easier way to clean my brushes ever since an aesthetician suggested I clean my brushes more frequently (I had been getting little pimples on my cheeks, where I apply blush). Once I started cleaning my brushes more often, I had fewer breakouts. But, at best, I was still only cleaning most of my brushes every couple weeks, because it was such a pain.

Life Now

shu uemura Brush CleanerNow I will actually clean my brushes as often as needed for the first time in my life. shu uemura Brush Cleaner is super fast and very effective. With a little dipping and dabbing, my brushes are perfectly clean in no time flat. There’s no residue left behind and the brushes dry faster than with a foaming cleanser.

How it works: dip the tip of the brush in the liquid, press it gently onto a tissue or wash cloth, reshape as you normally do after washing, and then set it aside to dry. If you’re pressed for time, they recommend pouring the cleaner directly onto a paper towel and sweeping the brush across it until it’s clean.

I know there are other no-rinse brush cleansers on the market. But most of these are just meant as a quick fix – for a quick, it’ll-do-for-now cleaning. It’s recommended that brushes still be cleaned with something else, like a foaming cleanser, for a proper, thorough cleaning. I’m so excited to have found a no-rinse cleanser that’s all I need in one lovely bottle.

shu uemura Brush Cleaner is available at shuuemura.com, at shu uemura boutiques and counters (click here to see what’s near you) and Sephora for $13 – a lot less expensive than what it costs to buy skin care to deal with breakouts caused by dirty brushes. Definitely check out the San Francisco boutique if you’re in the area. It’s at 1971 Fillmore Street at the corner of Pine Street. Lots of fun stuff to play with.

Do Tell

What do you use to clean your brushes? Do you clean them as often as recommended? Have you tried this brush cleaner? Do tell.

P.S. Check out our regularly updated Beauty Resources page for some amazing beauty deals at amazon.com, beauty.com, Sephora, and more.

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shu uemura is in the Pink | THE COVETED
May 13, 2009 at 1:15 am

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

1 najeema May 11, 2009 at 5:15 am

I definitely need to pick this up! I usually use baby shampoo and do the whole lather, rinse, repeat ritual. It takes so much time that I do maybe once a season. I know, that’s really bad!


2 Casey May 11, 2009 at 7:41 am

I just went through and cleaned my brushes yesterday… and what a pain it was! I tend to use baby shampoo, and it ends up being a huge pain (especially with the larger brushes). I’m really awful about cleaning them weekly (or even bi-weekly… *sigh*), so I definitely think this might be worth the $13, just so I don’t have to spend as much time procrastinating! lol.


3 Betsey J May 11, 2009 at 8:17 am

for my weekly cleaning I use shampoo.
it works the greatest.
on a daily basis MAC makes a good one as well.


4 Sonja May 11, 2009 at 10:20 am

❤ najeema, I hear ya. I was too embarrassed to say how infrequently I had been washing my brushes. I’m so glad I can skip the lather-rinse-repeat schtick now.
❤ Casey, it’s definitely worth the money. It’s a lot less expensive than the time and money spent on skin care to counter the damage done by dirty brushes.
❤ Betsey, thanks so much for sharing!


5 Betsey Terry May 11, 2009 at 11:28 am

I used Bare escentuals products.
I use their Quick Change every day..as I tend to not wear the same makeup combos daily. Once a week I use their Well Cared For Brush Shampoo. It is a foaming cleanser and does require rinsing..but have not had an issue..and it’s pretty fast and easy. I seem to have a good routine of when i clean brushes (before application with quick change) and on Saturdays when cleaning the bathroom for the major shampoo.


6 lisa May 11, 2009 at 12:08 pm

I try to clean them every 2-4 weeks and I use Burt’s Bees shampoo-which reminds me, I should probably wash them tonight before I settle down to watch The Hills.


7 Sonja May 11, 2009 at 12:25 pm

❤ Yeah, I was doing something similar to that and looked into the Bare Escentuals cleansers but didn’t want to have to use two. I clean anywhere from 10-15 brushes at a time (yes, I’m a brush junkie!). I’m so impressed that you’re so disciplined with your brushes!
❤ lisa, that’s a good, gentle shampoo to use – much better than a regular, sulfate-laden shampoo.


8 London Darling May 11, 2009 at 1:02 pm

Excellent, will pick this up, I’m so lazy when it comes to cleaning my makeup tools so now I’ll have no excuse!


9 Sonja May 11, 2009 at 2:37 pm

❤ London Darling, I know exactly what you mean! At last I am getting my act together! :)


10 G& W May 11, 2009 at 5:44 pm

i am buying this asap! i have the same problem. also, tyra banks discussed make up brushes on her talk show. i guess they took the brushes to a lab and looked under a microscope at the number of bacteria that collected! so gross-


11 Sonja May 11, 2009 at 6:14 pm

❤ G&W, I was wondering about that. There’s so much dust in my home. I figure a decent amount of that must settle on my brushes. Blech!


12 Evelien D. May 12, 2009 at 11:00 am

After I’ve applied my makeup (mostly by finger= more natural look and probably more hygienic if you wash them first!)I always clean out my powder brush when I’m washing my hands.I clean my brush everytime I’ve used it and I don’t see how this could be a lot of trouble? I mean: most people wash themselves everyday so why not their brushes?


13 Sonja May 12, 2009 at 1:25 pm

❤ Evelien, that’s very disciplined of you! Very good idea. If I was only using one brush, I would give that a try. Makes a lot of sense! But I regularly use 10-15 brushes so I definitely wouldn’t be washing every day with a foaming cleanser. I’d be at the sink forever! :)


14 Jasmine - Fashiongrail May 12, 2009 at 1:45 pm

Definitely need to get this! I hate the whole brush cleaning process and I never clean them enough.


15 Sonja May 12, 2009 at 1:59 pm

❤ Jasmine - Fashiongrail, it’s really great stuff! I think you’ll really like it and will end up cleaning more frequently.


16 Daphne May 16, 2009 at 8:30 pm

I use the shu uemura brush cleaner for last minute cleaning needs. it dries fast. but for regular maintenance i find baby shampoo and occassional conditioner more effective. the shu cleaner doesn’t get inside the thicker brushes.


17 Sonja May 17, 2009 at 10:16 am

❤ Daphne, good to know. Thank you!


18 Amelia May 20, 2009 at 7:28 pm

i wash my brushes about once a week. i fill a little cup with dr. bronners magic soap and water and i slosh it around in there then rinse it really well. you can tell when all the soap is out because the smell goes away.

i normally just do it when i get ready and i have a little extra time. i only have 4 brushes so it doesn’t take too long.

you know you could was each brush one day and cycle through washing them, that way you’d never have to wash 15 at a time.


19 Sonja May 21, 2009 at 12:34 pm

❤ Amelia, that’s cool that you use Dr. Bronner’s. I never thought of using that. I could never wash when I’m getting ready though. My big brushes have to be washed the night before, because the hair is really dense. But I’m really happy with the shu uemura, because everything dries a lot faster. Thanks for the tips! I think the one a day is a nice idea though. :)


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