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15 Best Makeup Brush Cleaners to Upgrade Your At-Home Beauty Routine

15 Best Makeup Brush Cleaners to Upgrade Your At-Home Beauty Routine

15 Best Makeup Brush Cleaners to Upgrade Your At-Home Beauty Routine

Say goodbye to brushes filled with gunk and built-up makeup!

Headshot of Cameron JenkinsBY CAMERON JENKINS
makeup brush in clean water with a splash
DRASA

Raise your hand if you currently have several dirty makeup brushes sitting on your vanity right now. Most of us would agree that cleaning your makeup brushes is an essential part of your beauty routine. If you're struggling to keep your brushes clean, whether that's because you don't know where to start or you just don't have the time, then we've got the solution with our list of the best makeup brush cleaners for every kind of brush and budget.

Our top picks:

To find the best brush cleaners, we consulted Erica Whelan, a background makeup artist who has worked on Succession, And Just Like That and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, considered recommendations from GH editors and product reviewers and asked Sabina Wizemann, a senior chemist in the Good Housekeeping Institute Beauty, Health & Sustainability Lab for her insights. "Ideally, the brushes should be cleaned every time you use them," Wizemann says. Even sponges — including your beloved BeautyBlender! — "should be washed after every use; they can harbor bacteria much easier than brushes," she notes.

Our top picks work on foundation brushes as well as your favorite makeup sponges (which we know can be stubborn with stains). We have included high-end cleaners, drugstore options and tons of selections that work well for natural and synthetic bristles. Plus, you can count on solid cleansers and liquid soaps to make cleaning your makeup sponges a breeze. Even those of us who may have a lazy day can count on cleaners that dry quickly or do most of the work for you (see: electric makeup brush cleaner and cleaner and dryer machine).

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Sigmagic Foam Makeup Brush Shampoo
1
BEST OVERALL MAKEUP BRUSH CLEANER

Sigma Beauty Sigmagic Foam Makeup Brush Shampoo

PROS
  • Conditions brush bristles
  • Removes staining
  • Great for acne-prone skin
CONS
  • Should not be used on sponges
  • Not quick-drying

Touted for removing tough stains and pigment, this makeup brush cleaner goes beyond the surface. One reviewer hailed this product for keeping the softness and shape of the brush bristles intact. Whelan notes it's a "good option for people who have sensitive or acne-prone skin." Though, she added that anyone who has a nut allergy will want to be aware that coconut oil is a main ingredient in this cleansing foam.

TailaiMei Removal Cleaner Sponge
2
BEST VALUE MAKEUP BRUSH CLEANER

TailaiMei Removal Cleaner Sponge

Now 50% Off
PROS
  • Easily removes powders
  • Reusable
CONS
  • Not great for heavy cream or liquid products

You have those days when you want to experiment with color and pigment and this color removal sponge is great for just that! Dust off your brushes in between colors to keep your eyeshadows from looking muddy upon application. Even better, both sides of the black sponge can be used for makeup removal; just flip over to the clean side for added use.

Lazy Electric Makeup Brush Cleaner
3
BEST MAKEUP BRUSH CLEANER FOR HANDS-FREE CLEANING

Vntub Clearance Lazy Electric Makeup Brush Cleaner

PROS
  • Cleans multiple brushes
  • Doesn't require batteries
  • Saves time
CONS
  • Does not include cleaner

This as-seen-on-TikTok option is great for all of the lazy girls out there. If cleaning your brushes typically gives you pause for simply not wanting to dedicate more than a few minutes to the process, this is the cleaner for you. It lets you clean multiple brushes at once (similar to this more expensive option) and doesn't require swapping out batteries. Though this machine may save time, Whelan warns that "the quick swirling motion of [machines like this] can break down and ruin your brushes over time."

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Goat Milk Natural Solid Brush Shampoo
4
BEST MAKEUP BRUSH CLEANER FOR SENSITIVE SKIN

Goat Milk Natural Solid Brush Shampoo

PROS
  • Travels well
  • Great for natural hair brushes
CONS
  • More expensive than other brands

This cleaner is a solid option for anyone who has sensitive skin. The goat milk makes it soothing and calming for skin, but it also works hard to remove all types of makeup, according to Wehlan.

Makeup Brush Shampoo
5
BEST SHAMPOO MAKEUP BRUSH CLEANER

e.l.f. Makeup Brush Shampoo

PROS
  • Removes most makeup
CONS
  • Must wait for brushes to dry after use

Over 5K Amazon reviewers would agree that this shampoo will make your brushes "look like new." One reviewer said that it helped to remove heavier products such as cream foundation. "Used this to clean my makeup brushes, some that have had cream foundation on them for months," they said. "And it worked like a dream! I forgot the bristles were once white! Will totally buy again!"

Makeup Brush Cleaner
6
BEST QUICK-DRY MAKEUP BRUSH CLEANER

Cinema Secrets Makeup Brush Cleaner

PROS
  • Removes waterproof and long-wear makeup
  • Comes in vanilla and lemon scents
CONS
  • Too harsh for makeup sponges

When you're in a rush, you'll want your brushes to be squeaky clean and ready to use in minutes. That's where this cleaner comes in. Not only is it a 99.99% antimicrobial disinfectant, but it also dries quickly. Whelan recommends using the spray bottle version of this cleaner and applying it to a paper towel, then swirling your brush into the solution. "Using this method I find that I can remove all the makeup with the least amount of brush cleaner and preserve the quality of my natural hair makeup brushes," she says.

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Makeup Brush Cleaner and Dryer Machine
7
BEST BATTERY-OPERATED MAKEUP BRUSH CLEANER

Makeup Brush Cleaner and Dryer Machine

Now 47% Off
PROS
  • Quickly dries
  • Cleans thoroughly
CONS
  • Requires batteries
  • Hand held

A Good Housekeeping Staff Writer was gifted this machine a few Christmases ago and says "it has been my go-to ever since." She adds that she loves "that it works for several brush sizes and it is also great at drying so I can clean and use my brushes in the same day." You should take into account, however, that cleaning the water between brushes is a must. "I don’t think it is very clean to dip brushes into dirty soapy water," Whelan says. Note that the machine requires two AAA batteries.

Brush Cleaning Mat
8
BEST MAKEUP BRUSH CLEANER CLEANING MAT

Brush Cleaning Mat

Now 25% Off
PROS
  • Affordable
  • Tough on buildup
CONS
  • Must use a separate cleaning solution

So, your brushes are in need of a little extra love. Wehlan notes that in order to help remove makeup from brushes, she often uses "a silicone mat when using the solid cleanser." It is easy to clean up and helps you avoid rubbing the soapy bristles with your hand or onto a cloth that may stain. Note: The cleaning solution is sold separately.

Brush Cleansing Wipes
9
BEST MAKEUP BRUSH CLEANER FOR TRAVEL

Brush Cleansing Wipes

PROS
  • Can fit in your purse
  • Cleanses quickly
CONS
  • Not a deep clean

Even when you're traveling, you deserve to have clean brushes. These wipes are perfect for when you don't have immediate access to a sink or water and want to quickly sanitize your brushes before use.

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Daily Brush Cleaner
10
BEST SPRAY MAKEUP BRUSH CLEANER

e.l.f. Daily Brush Cleaner

Now 17% Off
PROS
  • Disinfects brushes
CONS
  • Does not instantly dry brushes

A Good Housekeeping Staff Writer recommends this cleaner as a staple in your beauty routine. The e.l.f Daily Brush Cleaner "is great for refreshing brushes and leaves them with a fresh, clean scent," she says. "It does take a while to dry so I would not recommend using your brushes immediately after applying this spray."

Luxury Vegan Makeup Brush Soap
11
BEST SOLID MAKEUP BRUSH CLEANER

Jenny Patinkin Luxury Vegan Makeup Brush Soap

PROS
  • Quickly breaks down makeup
CONS
  • Does not come with scrubbing mat

Solid brush soap can be just as effective as the sprays and shampoos. This recommendation from Wizemann is "gentle on bristles and dissolves makeup quickly."

Makeup Brush and Sponge Shampoo
12
POPULAR ON AMAZON MAKEUP BRUSH CLEANER

EcoTools Makeup Brush and Sponge Shampoo

Now 13% Off
PROS
  • Product last for a while
  • Provides a deep clean
CONS
  • Brushes need to be dried

With more than 40K five-star Amazon reviews, we couldn't let you miss out on the hype. Not only does it work on brushes, but it also does wonders for your makeup sponges. Reviewers also say that when it comes to this unscented formula a little goes a long way.

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Brush Cleanser
13
BEST PROFESSIONAL FORMULA MAKEUP BRUSH CLEANER

M.A.C. Brush Cleanser

PROS
  • Quick drying
  • Great for natural and synthetic bristles
CONS
  • Expensive

The gentle formula makes this cleanser a winner for both synthetic and natural brushes. One reviewer raved that it "works fast" and "will get out absolutely any leftover makeup on any brush."

Solid Charcoal Scented Sponge and Brush Cleanser
14
BEST MAKEUP BRUSH CLEANER FOR BEAUTYBLENDERS

BeautyBlender Solid Charcoal Scented Sponge and Brush Cleanser

PROS
  • Travel-friendly
  • Removes all types of makeup
  • Conditions natural hair brushes
CONS
  • Silicone mat can cause sponges to tear

Your BeautyBlender has probably seen better days, but this solid cleanser is here to help. Simply run your wet sponge or brush over this soap, which is infused with charcoal. According to Whelan, silicone mats are best used for brushes, but when it comes to your BeautyBlender sponge you'll want to use caution. A BeautyBlender spokesperson told GH that it is best to avoid grinding the sponge into the mat and to use enough cleanser to ensure that it can glide without causing tearing.

Bar Soap
15
BEST SOAP MAKEUP BRUSH CLEANER

Ivory Bar Soap

PROS
  • Super affordable
  • Available in most stores
CONS
  • Nontraditional makeup cleaner

Not quite your typical brush cleaner, but it gets the job done all the same. Wizemann says that she has personally used the soap for a while and can confirm that "it works great to remove even the most stubborn makeup."

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How we chose the best makeup brush cleaners

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Taking into account market research, recommendations from professional makeup artists, GH Beauty Lab pros and GH staffers who have tried these products for themselves, our editors were able to curate this selection of makeup brush cleaners. While the Beauty Lab hasn't formally tested each product listed above, we relied on industry standards and consumer reviews when selecting top picks.

Why trust Good Housekeeping?

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Sabina Wizemann, GH Beauty Lab Senior Chemist, has overseen skincare, haircare and makeup testing since 2012. She provided expert insight on topics including the best foundation brushes and how to clean makeup brushes for this article. She also evaluates products for the GH Beauty Awards, as well as the GH Seal and Sustainability Awards programs.

Cameron Jenkins, GH Staff Writer, collaborated with GH Beauty Lab pros and professional makeup artist Erica Whelan in order to share vetted recommendations. She also scoured the internet to see what makeup cleaners are the most talked about and reviewed, while including some of her personal favorite picks. She has also contributed to several beauty stories, providing her unfiltered opinions on makeup products, including blushes and highlighters

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