"I've never cleaned my makeup brushes, ever. Now I'm addicted thanks to this $40 gadget."

“I’ve never cleaned my makeup brushes before. They’re, like, six years old.”

My boss and resident beauty guru practically gagged when I confessed to never having cleaned a single makeup brush in my entire life.

I know, it’s really quite disgusting. But washing my makeup brushes has always felt like something I would stuff up.

Won’t my brushes feel all yucky afterwards? Will they feel the same once getting wet? What if soap gets stuck in there? Do I even use soap?

So many questions I couldn’t be bothered answering.

After clearly fearing for my health and well being, said boss instructed me to clean my crusty makeup brushes ASAP. This task led me to the Illuminate Me Makeup Brush Cleaner.

Images: Supplied/Mamamia Shopping.

The $39.99 electric brush cleaner promises to hygienically clean and dry any of your makeup brushes in seconds using battery powered centrifugal spin technology. No more messy sinks and extended waiting times, the product description says. Just dunk and spin and let the makeup art begin.

Their words, not mine.

Yes, this little machine looks very techy and modern, but does it really clean your makeup brushes as thoroughly as doing the job by hand?

I put my virgin makeup brushes on the line to find out.

Why you should clean your makeup brushes.

Let's begin by explaining why lazy people like me really, really need to start cleaning their makeup brushes.

Brushes quickly build up oil, dust, dead skin and bacteria, which can easily irritate sensitive skin, cause breakouts and, in frighteningly severe cases, even life-threatening infections.


Basically, not cleaning your makeup brushes is the equivalent of not washing your towels or wiping the kitchen bench with a year-old chux.

Washing them properly (a.k.a with an anti-bacterial soap or shampoo) and regularly (perfect world, once a week, real world, once a month) will improve their makeup application and make them last longer.

Now, to the how.

How to use the Illuminate Me Makeup Brush Cleaner.

First thing to note is this product comes with a lot of parts. It's a mini machine.

In the box you'll find the bowl and neck guard, eight collar attachments and the motorised handle/stick, which a co-worker pointed out looks a lot like a small vibrator.


Moving on.

It comes with all the things. Image: Supplied.
ALL OF THEM. Image: Supplied.
This is the handle/vibe. Image: Supplied.

Although the instructions are a tad tricky to decipher, the Illuminate Me Makeup Brush Cleaner works much like a stick food processor.

Add a few drops of your preferred anti-bacterial soap or shampoo (I used Dr Bronner's Pure Castille Soap, $26.99 but GAIA Natural Baby Shampoo, 2pk for $17.96 is a great option too) to the bowl then fill with half a cup of water (don't overfill the bowl, see video below).

Then select the collar attachment that best fits your brush handle - they're stretchy so if in doubt size down so your brush doesn't come flying off. This brush attachment slots into the motorised handle, you'll hear a 'click' when it's correctly attached.


To clean your brush, the instructions say to dab your brush into the soapy liquid for five to ten seconds before switching the motor on for 10 seconds. You'll see the brush's bristles flatten right out so as to get to its grimy centre.

Tip - don't hold the handle too close to the attachment or you'll burn your skin. Also another reason not to use as a vibrator.

Ready to roll. Images: Supplied.

Finish off by lifting the bush above the water (but still in the bowl) and spinning dry for another five to ten seconds. Detach your brush from the collar and sit on some paper towel or clean cloth to fully dry out.

For a full play-by-play of how to clean your makeup brushes using the Illuminate Me Makeup Brush Cleaner, check out the video below.

Video by MWN

Does the Illuminate Me Makeup Brush Cleaner work?

For someone who has never washed a single makeup brush I've ever owned and used, I was truly mesmerised by the results.

Looking at all the gunk in the bottom of the bowl afterwards was proof enough for me that the Illuminate Me Makeup Brush Cleaner works. At the very least, my brushes are now cleaner than they've ever been so that's got to be a win, yeah?

BEFORE. Image: Supplied.
AFTER. Image: Supplied.
SO CLEAN. Image: Supplied.
This water is so rank. Image: Supplied.
YUM. Image: Supplied.

The process also busted the biggest concern I had that stopped me from washing my brushes all these years. I was worried the brush bristles wouldn't feel soft and fluffy after getting wet, but the gadget's spin drying feature wicked out any excess moisture - the bristles snapped right back into place like they'd never been washed.

The only downside? Not every brush will fit in the collar attachments. The biggest collar can stretch around small to medium kabuki brushes, but any flat bristled or sponge-like brushes and large kabuki brushes will have to be cleaned by hand.

Then there's the novelty factor. If washing your makeup brushes feels like a weekly or fortnightly (OK, twice-yearly) chore, using a fangdangled whizzy machine like this will make the job feel fun. Which in turn will make you more likely to clean your brushes as often as you really ought to.

Oh, and it's extremely Instagramable.

You can buy the the Illuminate Me Makeup Brush Cleaner, $39.99 on Mamamia Shopping.

Have you tried the Illuminate Me Makeup Brush Cleaner? Did you feel like it worked? How often do you clean your makeup brushes?

P.S. Meghan Markle has a single grey hair, as news outlets pointed out last week. Mamamia Out Loud discuss all things the royal wedding and if Meghan should keep said grey hair because, female empowerment below.