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The best makeup brush cleaners

The best makeup brush cleaners

It’s a well known fact (sorry people) that bacteria breeds on the surface of the skin. For the most part, this isn’t a problem; a scrub with a good face wash at the end of the day and it’s all good, but when you’re using the same makeup brushes everyday, they too can become the ideal place where bacteria from your skin, residue makeup and dirt can fester. If you don’t clean your makeup brushes on a regular basis, you’re essentially wiping the grubbiness that collects within the bristles back into your skin. Try one of our picks of the best makeup brush cleaners, and you will be horrified and satisfied in equal measure as to how much dirt you extract! 

If you regularly wear foundation or blusher, you may notice that your cheeks, which often receive the most layers of makeup, regularly break out in blemishes and this, more often than not, could be down to the fact that you’re not cleaning your makeup brushes properly. 

If this sounds familiar, it’s time you invested in a decent makeup brush cleaner. Many brush cleaners, as well as ensuring that your bristles remain clean, condition the fibres so they’re kept in optimum condition for efficient makeup application. Our top product, the Clinique Makeup Brush Cleanser, is a great all-rounder that gives your eyeshadow, foundation and blusher brushes a thorough clean while conditioning them so they remain soft. 

While some cleaners may require you to leave your brushes in for a longer soak, others are fast working, great if you don’t have copious amounts of time on your hands. Some of our top picks are completely out of the box, like Johnson’s Baby Shampoo (yes you read that correctly) which is actually a pretty decent budget approach according to cosmetic pros, if you can handle not going down the 'official' route. 

From Clinique to Dior, we’ve scoured loads of brands to provide you with a list that details the best makeup brush cleaners. Whether it’s quality over quantity, budget, or money is simply no object, we’re pretty sure you’ll find the perfect product below.  

The best makeup brush cleaner

1. Clinique Makeup Brush Cleanser

A great mid-range all-rounder from a trusted beauty brand

Best for: Cleansing and softening | Type: Cleanser | Size of bottle: 200ml

 Removes residue makeup 
 Easy to use 
 No scent 

A makeup brush cleanser from a trustworthy beauty brand, we’re pretty sure this product will do the job well. It’s easy to use – just a couple of pumps, wipe, and leave to dry for a couple of seconds. While not the cheapest makeup brush cleanser, it does, according to users, do a good job of cutting through the dirt, and Clinique promise that it will strengthen and soften the bristles too, ensuring your brushes are kept in prime condition for flawless makeup application.  

MAC Cosmetics Brush Cleanser

2. MAC Cosmetics Brush Cleanser

A good cleanser to use if you’re planning to clean on the go

Best for: Cleaning on the go | Type: Cleanser | Size of bottle: 235ml

 Quick to dry 
 There’s no flow stopper 

A great product for both those who want to clean on occasion and those want to clean on the go, this MAC Cosmetics Brush Cleaner can be used in a couple of different ways depending on your needs. If you’re looking to spot clean after you apply your makeup, simply cover your brush with it and wipe clean. Or, you can pop some of the solution in a container and swirl your brushes around for a deeper clean. With disinfectant and conditioning properties, you can’t go wrong with this offering from MAC.  

W7 Shade and Swap Make Up Colour Swapper

3. W7 Shade and Swap Make Up Colour Swapper

You no longer have to buy several of the same brushes with this colour swapping marvel

Best for: Switching colours | Type: Sponge cleaner | Size of bottle: N/A

 Easy to use 
 Will save you money 
 Not for deep cleaning 

If you like working with colour palettes, you run the risk of getting the wrong colour in the wrong place if you don’t remove the previous powder from the brush. While previously you may have gone out and bought a brush for each colour, now you don’t have to. Thanks to this colour swapper marvel, simply swipe your brush on the damp sponge until the previous colour has wiped off, then you can move on to the next colour knowing you’re not going to end up with patchy makeup.  

Bobbi Brown Conditioning Brush Cleanser

4. Bobbi Brown Conditioning Brush Cleanser

The smallest amount of this cleanser should clean your brushes thoroughly

Best for: Stubborn makeup | Type: Cleanser | Size of bottle: N/A

 Won’t damage your brushes 
 Smallest amount will remove makeup effectively 
 Will take longer to dry 

Those looking to clean their brushes regularly, but perhaps not on an everyday basis should take note of this offering from Bobbi Brown. All you need to do is rub some of the product into the brush, lightly massage and rinse with lukewarm water. Because you’re rinsing the brush thoroughly with water, you’ll need to wait a while for them to dry, but with the promise of removing residue safely without damaging brushes, this is a good one if you’re worried about messing them up.  

Dior Backstage Brush Cleanser

5. Dior Backstage Brush Cleanser

Quick drying for ultimate convenience

Best for: Quick drying | Type: Cleaner | Size of bottle: 150ml

 Convenient to use 
 Doesn’t clean as deeply as others 

Whether you’re a makeup artist constantly on the go, or you’re someone who simply wants to quickly clean their brushes after use, this convenient antibacterial cleanser from designer giants Dior should go down well. All you need to do is apply the cleaner to a tissue and wipe to remove any residue makeup. With antibacterial properties, it should help to keep your skin spot-free, and with quick drying properties, there’s no need to wait for hours until they’re dry.  

Johnson’s Baby Shampoo

6. Johnson’s Baby Shampoo

Shampoo on a makeup brush cleanser list? Must be a trick of the trade

Best for: Cheap and cheerful | Type: Baby shampoo | Size of bottle: 300ml

 Great budget buy 
 Will last months 
 Not as effective as proper cleansers 

If you’re someone who finds it hard to justify buying products like makeup brush cleansers, perhaps you can compromise with a bottle of Johnson's Baby Shampoo. Apparently, it’s a trick of the trade, as it will gently clean your brushes without leaving any residue or drying out the bristles. While extremely cost-effective, we can’t guarantee that it’ll work as well as an official cleaner, and the application process does involve rinsing with water, so you’ll have to wait a while for your brushes to dry 

Real Techniques Brush Cleansing Palette

7. Real Techniques Brush Cleansing Palette

An awesome tool for quick and efficient cleaning

Best for: Convenient cleaning | Type: Scrub palette | Size of bottle: N/A

 Makes cleaning brushes more convenient 
 3 different surfaces 
 No cleanser included 

If you’re put off by the thought of using a tissue to clean your brushes, this pad could be an effective solution. With three sides to help you thoroughly clean different sizes brushes, making sure your face brushes, eye brushes and detail brushes are super clean on each application should be made easy as possible. While cleanser isn’t included in the price of the product, there’s no reason why the palette can’t provide years of reliable service, making it a great, cost-effective buy.  

StylPro Makeup Brush Cleaner and Dryer

8. StylPro Makeup Brush Cleaner and Dryer

An quick and easy, but somewhat expensive way to get your makeup brushes clean

Best for: Electric makeup brush cleaner | Type: Electric cleaner | Size of bottle: N/A

 Cleans and dries quickly 
 Easy to use 
 Most effective on small/medium brushes 

Many makeup cleaners often require you to leave your brushes to dry for quite some time before you use them again, however this electric makeup brush cleaner has been invented with speed and effectiveness in mind. Using centrifugal force and either anti-bacterial soap and water for water-based makeup of cleanser for oil-based makeup, the electric makeup brush cleaner will make sure that your brushes are left in prime condition to be used again as quickly as possible. 

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Clean 'em with our top-choice cleansers, then store 'em in one of our best makeup brush holders.