Do you spot clean your makeup brushes? I don’t. I don’t know how it’s done and I don’t know how it works. The only brush cleaning method I know and do is deep cleaning, which is probably bad for my makeup brushes but I don’t care enough to bother googling for spot cleaners.

Anyway, I used to use Joy dish washing liquid for deep cleaning but it leaves a scent on my dense face brushes. I don’t want to be reminded of washing the dishes, my 2nd most hated household chore, whenever I do my makeup.

Dr. Woods Castile Liquid Soap

So, I bought liquid castile soap. I heard that Dr. Bronners is good but I’m not going to spend more on my brushes than my face. I opted for Dr. Woods which is at least half as cheap.

I first tried the Unscented: Baby Mild variant. But it didn’t seem to remove cream products well. When I finished the bottle, I bought the one with Tea Tree Oil. The latter is more runny but same as the Unscented one, it’s also not that good in removing cream products from brushes. I ended up using Dr. Wood’s Tea Tree Castile Soap on my face.

I also noticed that Dr Woods make my eye brushes either too ‘fluffed out’ or too clumpy, in a very bad way, like oily hair strands stuck together.

Dr Woods Castile Liquid Soap

Tony Moly Clear Water Lip and Eye Remover

When I was still using Dr Woods, I double cleanse cream products with Tony Moly. The latter stings my eye, so I re-purposed it as a brush cleaner for lip brushes and dense face brushes. I won’t repurchase it just for that purpose, though.

Johnson & Johnsons Baby Shampoo

This is good stuff. Better than both Joy and Dr Woods. It cleans better and it helps the brushes retain their shape. If it were not for the existence of dust, I wouldn’t have any use for brush guards anymore, except for this.

Johnsons Baby Shampoo

However, I still needed to double cleanse eyeliner and lip brushes, and Shiseido Perfect Foundation Brush. But I’m not complaining. I wasn’t really expecting this shampoo to work on those. I was able to finish 2 bottles of the variant for babies. Recently, I bought their toddler shampoo — cheaper, same performance, but the scent is different. I like scent of the baby variant more.

Ordinary Bar Soap

This is the best of everything and is my current favorite makeup brush cleaner. I had the brightest idea of buying Dr Woods Castile bar soap but I just settled with trying out whatever was in the bathroom. When I first tried this out, I used Human Heart Nature’s Lavender Mint soap and I was mind blown. The makeup came right off. White eye brushes looked as good as new without the need for too much swishing.

It also gives a satisfying squeaky cleanliness.

And yes, it works even for lip brushes and densest of face brushes used on cream products. With eye liner brushes, I still need to pre-cleanse with an emulsifying cleansing oil. Again, not complaining.

It seems to be working for all types of bar soap I’ve been using. But real soap, those made with saponified oil (lye + oil), works best, I think.

The best part: the brushes dry super clean and their shapes retained. Initially, I thought the brush hairs wouldn’t be as soft anymore but so far this isn’t the case.

Safeguard Guava Bar Soap

For the very few natural-hair brushes I have, I still use Johnson & Johnsons. Maybe I’ll try it one of these days. For synthetic hair, I vouch for bar soap.

P.S. I don’t go through brush cleansers fast. I just kept those empty bottles for far too long.

P.P.S. When should I use “cleaner” instead of “cleanser”?


Hi, I’m Rae and I am a scatterbrain. I am in my 30s and I write in this blog from the Philippines. I spend a tiny portion of my time de-stressing with makeup and skin care. Email: | Instagram: @scatterbraintures


  1. I use J&J Baby Shampoo too! Dilemma ko yun nung una, which one to get – the yellow one or the orange one. Didn’t like the smell of the orange one! Bat ganun smell nun? Haha the yellow one reminded me so much of my childhood though so I went for that! And since I gave birth, gamit na ni baby yun kaya nawalan na ko ng brush cleaner =)) bili nalang ulit ng separate haha

  2. Been using an anti-bacterial dishwashing liquid from Saizen and it works. Plus, it’s big (it contains 1 liter of product) and affordable at P88.00. I have yet to try bar soaps though. Will try that with the Human Nature one. :D

  3. I haven’t tried much but so far I’m loving JnJ. :) Nice review, tho! Really informative.

  4. Isn’t a cleaner the doer of the action i.e. a person or a tool? And a cleanser the material a cleaner uses?

    Nice roundup: I used to be bothered with soaps and shampoos, now I figure if it is good enough for my hair, it’s good enough for my brushes. So really, whatever is in the shower goes :)

  5. good idea on using bar soaps, i might try that next time. although super comfy na ako with the JnJ shampoo, it lasts a long long time pa on me. i think the last bottle that i had umabot for around a year — that just says a lot on how rare i clean my brushes hahaha. nabuking ^^

    • Haha, I don’t have a lot of brushes kasi, I have to wash every week talaga otherwise, I won’t wear makeup.

  6. Supposedly you should spot clean after every use of your brush, esp. for eyeshadow ones–spot clean between color changes. Nakakatamad haha. For deep cleaning, I used a combination of Joy and J&J baby shampoo. Now I have a tub of CLEAN brush cleaner so that’s what I’ll use.

  7. There’s a brush spray in Beauty Bar which I think you’re supposed to use for spot cleaning your brushes kaso it’s almost as expensive as Dr. Bronners! I’ve been thinking about getting it but I just got a bottle of Dr. Bronners. When it runs out, I’ll try soap naman. I’m curious about this brush sponge thing that I saw in one of Wayne Goss’ videos. It’s a sponge that it’s in a tin and then you just swirl your brush on top tapos malinis na.

    • Baka mahal din. Siguro sa face brushes, di ko talaga kaya mag-spot clean.

  8. I’ve experimented na rin – from Joy dishwashing to JnJ shampoo to my antibacterial facial washes. I think the best, like Tellie said as well, type is bar soaps! I bought Dr Bronners Castile bar soap and it took me half the time to do all my brushes than regular. Never going back to liquid!

    • I’ll try that, Dr. Woods has castile bar soap din. Baka cheaper. I’ll try that next, I want something yummy smelling :D

  9. Ohh. Thanks. Greay to hear that Johnson’s baby shampoo is good. I often use soap, but sometimes I want my brushes super soft.

  10. I repurpose cleansers that are too harsh for my face into brush cleansers :D Haven’t had to buy actual brush cleanser in months! Will switch to bar soaps after I finish the Beauty Blender Solid (so freaking expensive)

  11. I’ve heard that bar soap is best but I have this irrational side of still wanting to explore. I think the problem with liquid soap (even when diluted) is that it’s a pain to wash off, and even then it doesn’t perfectly remove stains… don’t know why. Tapos bar soap naman, I haven’t experienced the magic yet ’cause I first used Koren Zander soap and it was a huge dud.

    • Try it with your cheapest brush(es) and any bar soap you have at home. :P

  12. Dove is good for bar soap. The hairs don’t dry so hard. I’ve also tried and loved Johnson’s Baby Shampoo for brushes. I have yet to use it to fast-cleanse my face at night (a makeup artist recommended baby shampoo as the ultimate mild and cheapo 1-step cleanser). Aaaand I also have no idea what spot cleaning is.

    • I might try that for my face, thanks for sharing. If it can remove makeup from brushes, it can remove makeup from my face, right?

      • Exactly. Though I’m not sure if it requires the double cleanse. For a lazygirl makeup removal hack, I think panalo. :))

  13. I also use an ordinary bar of soap! I love that it seems to thoroughly clean the makeup brushes haha

  14. Awesome, that’s pretty informative! I’m definitely too tamad for frequent deep cleaning (bad!) so I spot clean instead. I use Ellana’s cucumber brush cleaner (cleanser?) maybe once a week, and rotate my brushes.

    • I should try that. The other local one I know of has a lot of alcohol.

      • I don’t like the scent of Ellana. Too strong na nakakaubo? I should try safeguard next time. The white one siguro. Hehe. Thanks for the tip! :)

          • Ohh thanks! Cge, I’ll take note of those. Also, ang isa pang hack ng soap, sa blood stains. It works better than detergent. Hehe. :-)

  15. wow! THANKS! I’m going to try that HN soap… ang bilis ko kasi makaubos ng JnJ shampoo.

    • The only problem I see with Human Nature is that their soaps are the type that melts quickly and it’s more expensive than the JnJ shampoo :P

      Now, I use soap with hardeners :D

What do you think?

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