How to Clean Your Makeup Brushes 


We turned to Katrine Lieberkind a Danish-born, L.A.-based makeup artist to learn how to properly clean our makeup brushes! You might remember her as Billy B.’s on-set assistant from our June profile. A makeup artist with a busy schedule like Kat has to stay on her toes, cleaning brushes quickly and effectively between clients. When we heard how passionate she was about Parian Spirit’s brush cleaner, we knew we had to start carrying it in our boutique, because Lieberkind knows her stuff! 

Kat took some time out of her action-packed day to tell us why she loves the brush cleaner and to teach us her favorite brush cleaning techniques.

Makeup brush cleaning jar

Why Parian Spirit?

I like Parian Spirit Brush cleaner because it cleans my brushes better—it even gets latex and eyelash glue out of the brush! It also contains natural citrus oils that condition the brushes. I get so many compliments on the way my brushes smell, and to me the citrus-y scent also signals that they are disinfected and ready to go.

Some brush cleaners are more watery, and that means it takes longer for the brushes to dry. When I have several looks to do, or when I am assisting, it is important for me that my brushes dry quickly.

How to Clean Your Brushes

Because this cleaner removes glue, I don’t recommend soaking brushes. The bristles are glued inside the brush, so soaking could dissolve the adhesive.

Large Brushes

Cleaning powder makeup brushes is best with spray

Separate out the big fluffy powder brushes and blush brushes from the rest. I use the Parian Spirit 2 oz. spray bottle on these, spraying the bristles and wipe them on a paper towel until the brush head is completely clean.

Spray the bristles of your brush

Wipe the brush on a paper towel

Brush head

For a deeper clean, pour a little brush cleaner into the lid of the Parian Spirit jar and dip the tip of the powder brush into the liquid, gently twirling the brush in the cleaner. The capillary action of the bristles will pull the cleaner into the brush without having to immerse the whole brush into the liquid. Gently wipe dry with a paper towel.

Pour a little brush cleaner into the lid

Dip the tip of the powder brush

Gently wipe dry

Your brush head should look clean

Smaller Brushes

Clean the smaller brushes

I clean the smaller brushes with the Parian Spirit Jar, using the little net inside of it. Fill the jar a little above the net and dip the dirty brushes into the liquid, gently brushing against the net.

Fill the jar a little above the net

Dip your dirty brushes into the liquid

The cool thing about this is that because of the netting, pigment comes out easily. So, when I go to clean the next brush, the pigment has settled to the bottom of the jar. I wipe off the liquid on the inside of the jar (like with nail polish) and wipe them gently on paper towel.

Wipe your brushes gently on paper towel
I usually reshape small, fluffy brushes (like eyeshadow brushes) into their proper form while they are still moist, so when they dry, they are like new. After you are done, you can put the lid on the jar and use the same liquid later. It evaporates a little, so just add a small amount of extra brush cleaner liquid when using next time.

A clean makeup brush

Beyond Sanitizing

I use Parian Spirit Brush cleaner between each model, of course, but every so often I also shampoo my brushes and use a little bit of hair conditioner in the big soft powder brushes. Shampooing your brushes will not disinfect them, so I ALWAYS use Parian first.

Even if you only use your brushes on yourself, I still recommend that you disinfect your brushes. Creamy makeup left in brushes can grow germs that can cause your skin to break out. Also, powder brushes will pick up sebum from your skin. In addition, I find that brushes stay more “new” when you take good care of them, which makes for an easier application and a better result.

Post-Cleaning Cleanup

When it is time to discard the brush cleaner in the jar, use paper towels to soak up the liquid and wipe out the pigment.

Use paper towels to soak up the liquid

The towel will absorb your brush cleaner

How do you like to clean your makeup brushes? If you have a favorite brush cleaning tip or brush cleaner you like to use most be sure to let us know in the comments. Happy brush cleaning!