Sunday, March 4, 2012

How to Deep Clean Dense Makeup Brushes

I am in love with my Sigmax Face Brushes since they apply makeup so flawlessly onto the skin. They are synthetic, soft and dense. The only problem I have with it is cleaning them after using them for liquid or cream makeup. And since I deep clean once a week, the liquid and cream makeup, by gravity, will seep into the roots of the dense bristles. 

I have tried a lot of techniques in cleaning my Sigmax brushes: olive oil, soap and warm water technique and all the other How To Clean Makeup Brushes found in blogs and in Youtube but I have never found a technique that can thoroughly clean these brushes in one go in a short time. I don't know if you have experienced this, but many times I have found myself repeating the same process of cleaning one brush since I can definitely see that the makeup has not been fully removed. I have finally found a technique that makes it so much easier to clean dirty brushes with stubborn makeup.

Small bowl or cup
Baking Soda
Olive Oil or Baby Oil
Shampoo/Liquid Soap
Warm water
Dirty brushes
Paper Towel/Sigma Dry n Shape

Baking soda is a very effective cleaning agent and has many other uses. This especially removes stains, used as a softener and removes odor. Olive oil or baby oil helps break down the makeup as well as conditions the brushes, leaving it soft after cleaning. 

Cleaning the brushes:
1. In a small bowl or cup, place 1 tablespoon of baking soda, one teaspoon of olive oil or baby oil,  shampoo or liquid soap and warm water. Make sure that the water will not go past the ferrules of the brushes. You don't need exact measurements of the ingredients. I usually just eyeball it but this gives you an idea of how much to put.

No water has been added yet in the photo

2. Stir the mixture together until the baking soda is fully dissolved - if this is not dissolved fully and you stick in your brushes, chances are, there will be baking soda granules stuck inside the brushes and when your brush dries and you fan out the bristles they will be falling out. If this does happen, make sure to fan out your dried brushes before using them to remove it.

3. Swirl and soak the brushes in the bowl to break down the makeup that has seeped into the brushes. 

4.  You can soak a couple of brushes at the same time.
Now, before you say that it is just gross to soak a couple of brushes in dirty water... the mixture is used mainly to break down the makeup that has stuck to the brushes for awhile. Our goal is to fully clean the brushes and we are only halfway there.

After stirring and thoroughly soaking the bristles of your brushes up to their roots, it is now time to thoroughly clean each brush. 

5. Turn on the faucet and adjust the temperature to warm-cool (if that makes sense - we don't want hot water since it will melt the glue on brushes) and wet the brush.

6. Pump soap or shampoo on your palm and swirl the brush on your palm. This will remove whatever makeup is left on the brush. I am using Bath and Body Works Antibacterial Deep Cleaning Hand Soap since this makes my brushes smell amazing. I only use a little than half a pump of the soap since I noticed that BBW hand soap pumps deliver so much product.

7. Thoroughly rinse the brush with water to remove soap, oil and baking soda.

8. Wring out the water and shape your brush.

9. Lay it on top of a towel, with the handle angled slightly down so the water won't run up through the ferrules. Since I have the Sigma Dry n Shape, I'll be using that to dry my brushes instead of letting it air dry.

Bristles of the clean brushes look orange due to lighting but I assure you it's pretty clean and back to how it originally looks!

Hello nice smelling clean brushes!

The brushes above are Mrs. Bunny F30, Sigmax F80, F82 and F84.

Now just compare the clean Sigmax brushes with the two, dirty Mr. Bunny brushes in the black canister and compare the clean Mrs. Bunny F30 to the other dirty Mrs. Bunny brushes. 

A reminder: Baking soda oxidizes the protective layer of aluminum objects. So if you're not sure what material your brush ferrules are made of, keep the height of the water in the bowl low so that it won't reach it.  

And this is how I deep clean my dense brushes with stubborn makeup. I don't do this to my smaller brushes since they are usually easier to clean than the big ones. You can also use this technique to clean stained brushes however it also depends since there are just stains that can't be removed by baking soda and oil.

I hope you find this post helpful. Let me know how this works for you if you tried this out. Any questions, leave it on the comment box down below and I'll get back to you soon! :)


  1. Never tried cleaning my brushes with baking soda. Maybe I'll try next week :)

  2. Thanks for this post, I'm in need of buying new brushes and hear alot about these sigma brushes. So when I buy them I will come back here to use your remedy to clean them!

  3. Thanks for your tips! I'm going to try it:)

  4. wow!they look so clean, i have to try this the next time i wash my brushes, i've heard of baking soda has antibacterial properties also and can eliminate bad odor. this is a clever way to use it!! ^w^

  5. Haha oh my gosh!! Funny how I just did a similar post (yours is better of course, I'm a lazy prick)... never thought of baking soda before though! I'll probably try it soon :D

  6. I have the same brushes! they really work, and the are not so expensiva as MAC brushes!!
    thanks for the tip!

  7. Interesant post! Thanks for share this information!!

    xoxo from BCN
    La Vie Quotidienne

  8. Great introduction, i think i have to do this too :-D
    I never cleand them till now.

  9. i'm awful at washing my brushes, i put it down to laziness haha. so they're in a good need of a clean and this post is great, will have to try it out for myself. thanks for sharing :)

  10. wow this is very helpful, I will be doing this next time I clean my brushes!
    I followed your blog a while ago and I've just realised how good it is
    <3 :D

    1. Thank you so much. Reading comments like yours really makes my day. :)

  11. That;s great Post. it's fun to cleaning brushes especially they are soft.. have a good day

  12. Great post! I'm so bad with washing my brushes! I'll have to try this out. I usually only use soap.. bad right! Thank you for the tip!


  13. Ohh baking soda is a great idea! I've been having trouble getting my foundation out of my Bunny brushes too I ended up using dish soap olive oil mix on a plate and after much swirling they finally came off I'll have to try it this way next time!
    Beauty Flawed

  14. Wow, I love how thorough & well-explained this is! I have several dense brushes which I always find a pain to clean. I'll definitely be trying this out :)

    <3 Shawna

  15. I am definitely going to try out this technique!! :)

    P.S. What kind of camera do you use?

  16. I'm will definitely try this, thanks for sharing.

  17. Very interesting....the baking soda add.

  18. This looks like a really good technique! Your brushes look so lovely and clean! I will be having a go at this :-) Thanks!!1


  19. these are great tips! thanks for sharing. :) have a great day!

  20. Perfect! I really need to do this for my brushes!

  21. Thanks for sharing these helpful tips! I'll definitely give this a try! Sweet blog btw! I'm also one of your new followers! :) Yay!
    Have a wonderful day!


  22. I tried ur method and it worked!! Results were amazing! The only downside was although it deep-cleaned and removed the stain on my Sigma Duo Fibre F50 brush, the black part of the bristles stained into the white part but it did remove the blush stains. Other than that, it worked great on ALL my Sigma, MAC and Sephora brush collections. Thanks!! :)

  23. Im so glad I found this! A lot of my dense brushes are a nightmare to clean.


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