How to Soften Makeup Brushes

Do your makeup brushes feel scratchy? Are they challenging to blend makeup with? If so, it might be time to soften them up. Maintaining your makeup brushes is essential for keeping your look clean and polished. However, the bristles on your brushes can become stiff and difficult to work with over time.

How to Soften Makeup Brushes

We’ll show you how to soften makeup brushes using natural ingredients in this post. By following these simple steps, you can restore the flexibility of your brush bristles and keep them looking new!

10 Ways on How to Soften Makeup Brushes

1. Use Baby Shampoo:

Pour a drop of baby shampoo into the palm of your hand and mix with a few drops of water. Dip the tip of the brush into it and massage it on your palm to create a lather. Rinse under warm running water and repeat if necessary to remove all traces of makeup off the bristles. Avoid using hot water as this can damage the glue that holds the bristles together. Dry it out by laying flat on a dry towel.

2. Use Dishwashing Liquid:

Dip your makeup brush into warm water and swirl it around to get rid of excess dirt and makeup particles. Next, pour a few drops of dishwashing liquid in your palm, lather, and massage the brush on your palm. Rinse under warm water and repeat if necessary to remove all traces of makeup off the bristles.

3. Use Olive Oil:

Dip the tip of the brush into olive oil and wipe off excess. Gently massage your makeup brushes on your palm to work up a lather; this will help grab all the excess dirt, debris, and foundation. Rinse thoroughly under warm water until they are squeaky-clean. Repeat if necessary. When you’re done, wipe off excess oil on a paper towel.

 Use Baby Shampoo

4. Use White Toothpaste:

Get a drop of white toothpaste on your palm and massage the brush bristles on it. Rinse under warm water and repeat if necessary to remove all traces of makeup off the bristles. You can add soap or shampoo for more cleaning power.

5. Use Coconut Oil:

Put a small amount of coconut oil on the palm of your hand and dip your makeup brush in it. Massage it on your palm to work up a lather, and this will help remove all the dirt and debris from the bristles. Rinse under warm water until squeaky-clean and repeat if necessary. When you’re done, wipe off excess oil on a paper towel.

6. Use Liquid Dishwashing Detergent:

Dip your makeup brush into warm water and swirl it around to get rid of excess dirt and makeup particles. Next, pour a few drops of dishwashing liquid in your palm, lather, and massage the brush on your palm.

7. Use Rubbing Alcohol:

Pour a few drops of rubbing alcohol in your palm, swirl the brush on it and rinse with water. If you have a stubborn makeup stain on your brush, soak a cotton swab in rubbing alcohol and gently wipe the brush until it’s clean. Wipe off excess alcohol with a paper towel.

8. Use Warm Water and Dish Soap:

Fill your palm with warm water, add a drop of dish soap and stir to create lather. Swirl the brush in the suds to remove all makeup residue, then rinse under running water. If necessary, repeat to be sure all makeup is gone.

 Use Olive Oil

9. Use a Makeup Brush Cleaner:

Brush cleaners are specially formulated to clean your brushes and condition the bristles. They come in different formulations for different types of makeup and purposes, such as foundation, concealers/correctors, lipsticks, eyeshadows, etc. You can find them at any beauty store or department store.

10. Use Conditioner:

This is the main ingredient in most brush cleaners formulated for makeup brushes. However, they can also be used independently to clean your makeup brushes. This gentle formula conditions the bristles, making them soft and pliable while removing excess dirt without harming the integrity of the shape or color of the bristles.

If you wish to use a conditioner to clean your makeup brushes, pour a few puddles of the product in your palm and gently work up a lather on the brush and rinse under warm water until it’s squeaky-clean.

Some Tips and Suggestions

Here are some tips and suggestions on how to soften makeup brushes.

1. The thinner the brush’s bristles, the shorter it will take to soften them.

2. The more often you clean your brushes, the easier it to soften them.

3. A hairdryer can be used if a tea bag or paper towel does not work fast enough; never use an actual fire source for this.

Use a Conditioner to Clean Your Brushes

4. Do not expose your brushes to water as it can ruin or warp them.

5. Using a pencil case, a pencil grip, a cotton ball, hair ties/clips, and other tools for holding your brush during this process.

6. It is helpful to have another person hold the brush while pulling it through the tea bag, paper towel, or hairdryer.

7. You will need a semi-damp tea bag, a semi-damp paper towel, a hairdryer, and your brushes for this process.

Makeup Brush Mistakes You’re Probably Making

Mistake 1: Not Using Quality Brushes

Reaching for the same old makeup brush repeatedly every day can result in a buildup of bacteria. If you’re using brushes that shed, cause allergies, or leave lint on your face, it’s time to upgrade your arsenal. Good quality brushes not only look and feel better (because they are better), but they will last much longer than cheap versions.

Mistake 2: Using the Wrong Brush

Inexpensive natural-bristle brushes are great for powder products. However, you want synthetic-fiber bristles for cream or liquid foundations; they pick up more pigment and won’t absorb the product as natural bristles will. In addition, the right brush should be dense and firm, so it can hold and move the product across your face without wasting it.

Mistake 3: Not Cleaning Your Brushes Often Enough

Old makeup, bacteria, and dead skin cells can clog pores and cause breakouts. Use a mild shampoo or brush cleanser to remove buildup from bristles (and dry wipes to remove makeup from handles), then lay brushes flat on a towel to air-dry overnight.

Mistake 4: Using Too Much Pressure

Always apply makeup using a light hand. Excess pressure causes bristles to splay, which results in applying too much product and wasting your money. You can see whether you’re pressing too hard by how the bristles look on the brush head: If they are spread apart, you’re good; if they’re bunching together, ease up.

Use a Brush Cleanser

Mistake 5: Failing to Store Brushes Correctly

Makeup brushes are like sponges; they’re porous and hold onto debris, bacteria, and fungus if not properly stored between uses. Always rinse your brush off with water after every use (a quick scrub with liquid soap is fine), then blot it dry on a towel and store it in a breathable, upright position.

Why Do Makeup Brushes Get Hard?

As you use your makeup brushes, the bristles will start to lose their ability to hold the product. As that happens, they’ll become stiff and hard, unable to help you apply your foundation or eye shadow as smoothly as before.

This can be frustrating if it’s happening with a brush you’re just now purchasing and testing out for the first time. It can also be frustrating if you’re applying makeup with that brush, and it’s working well for the moment, then suddenly becomes hard on you. If you want to know how to soften makeup brushes, check out this full blog post.

Do Brush Cleaning Silicone Mats Work?

For those who are not familiar with silicone mats, they are the ones that come in a rectangular shape, have bumps on one side, and are washable. They are used to clean makeup brushes by placing the mat underwater, adding brush cleanser or shampoo, then dipping your brush into it several times until clean.

It also helps remove excess water while your brush dries. Some people even use the mats to dry their brushes, but we do not recommend doing so because it can cause water stains on the ferrule (metal part of the brush near the handle).

Can I Blow Dry Makeup Brushes?

Yes, you can blow dry makeup brushes to soften them. Brushes are usually made of natural or synthetic bristles, which are nylon fibers that resemble animal hair. The bristles that you use should be at least partially natural or real animal hairs to help the water absorb into the brush better to dry faster.

You can choose to either blow-dry the makeup brush using a hairdryer or air dry it. It is recommended that you use a hairdryer to reach higher temperatures for a faster drying time. Special brushes are made specifically for air drying, so you should buy one if you don’t have a hairdryer with a cool setting.

You Can Check It Out to: Clean Makeup Brushes Between Clients


Taking care of your brushes will help them last longer and perform better. Your skin deserves only the softest bristles, so follow these guidelines before applying any new products. Remember-a clean tool means an even application.

We have provided some simple tips on how to soften makeup brushes, but if you have any questions or concerns about this process, feel free to contact us for more information. We’re always happy to answer any questions that might come up when caring for your beauty tools!

Jane Hubbard

Jane Hubbard

Jane has always been passionate about hair and beauty. After many years of working as a hairdresser specialist, she decided to start her own consultancy business. She is an experienced haircare and beauty consultant, and she loves helping others find the perfect look for them. She has been writing articles for DIY quickly for over 3 years. In her free time she enjoys keeping up with the latest news in the industry, practicing yoga, and spending time with her friends and family.

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