Health & Beauty

Health & Beauty, Home and Garden, Life & Style, Natural Cleaning

How To Naturally Clean Makeup Brushes

homemade makeup brush cleaner

Does your makeup brush need a good clean? Let me show you how to naturally clean makeup brushes with this homemade eco-friendly cleaning solution. Made in seconds with simple sustainable ingredients, your brushes and skin will love it!

I’ll admit I didn’t even own a makeup brush until last year.  I used to just apply makeup with my fingers because I felt I never wore enough makeup to justify buying fancy tools.  My makeup bag literally consists of four items.  And also, who doesn’t like finger painting?!  

Then I bought a makeup brush last year. Notice, singular – I’ve not gotten carried away with myself! After that, I wondered what on earth I’d been doing all these years.  It’s so much easier applying makeup with a makeup brush.

Then I found out you actually need to clean your makeup brushes…

Do You Need to Clean Makeup Brushes?

how to clean makeup brushes the natural way with liquid castile soap

The thing about makeup brushes is that whilst they do make applying makeup so much easier, they do need regular cleaning.  This is to help keep your skin clean and healthy.  Without cleaning your brush, you’re just brushing dirt and bacteria around your face.  Which, let’s face it, isn’t so appealing.

I wanted to know how to clean makeup brushes. As such, I’ve been trying out a few different methods to make a DIY makeup brush cleaner and have decided that this natural makeup brush cleaner solution is a) by far the simplest and b) by far the best.  When it comes to cleaning makeup brushes, no one wants to be messing about with lots of different ingredients.  Therefore, I think it’s best to keep it simple.

How to Naturally Clean Makeup Brushes

The main ingredient I use to clean my makeup brushes is Dr. Bronner’s liquid castile soap*.  I use this in lots and lots of different ways around my home, and always have a bottle in my bathroom cupboard.  It’s a little on the pricier side of things, but you only ever use it diluted.  Therefore it does work out at incredibly great value.  

The thing about Dr. Bronner’s is that it’s certified organic and made with only pure plant oils, so there are no nasties in it whatsoever.  It’s also incredibly gentle on your best makeup brushes.

Here are the steps you need to clean your makeup brushes:


You will need:

Cleaning Instructions

Add the liquid castile soap to the lukewarm water and stir to combine. It’s important to use lukewarm water as too hot water may melt the glue that holds the bristles of your makeup brush in place.

Next, place the bristles in the soapy solution and swirl a few times to loosen the old makeup.

Keep going until the brush looks clean, and then rinse in some clean lukewarm water.

If you want to ensure all the soap has been removed, then next dip your brush bristles in a small jar of white vinegar. White vinegar is amazing at cutting through soap, leaving your brush super clean. Once your brush is dry it won’t smell of vinegar, as the vinegar dries without an odour.  Trust me!

Whether you rinse your brush in water or vinegar, next you need to mould the brush back into shape, and then leave it to dry on a flannel.

Viola, naturally clean makeup brushes with very little effort!

homemade makeup brush cleaner

One last top tip, don’t leave your brush sitting in water.  You only want your brush to be in soapy water for as long as it takes to clean your brush.  It doesn’t need to steep for any length of time, otherwise, it may damage the metal and/or wooden components of your makeup brush, shortening its lifespan.

natural makeup brush cleaner recipe

ps: check out my guide to zero-waste and plastic-free makeup if you are looking to upgrade your makeup supplies.

Health & Beauty, Life & Style

Top 5 Ethical Sunscreen Products That Work

Today Georgina Rawes from Ethical Consumer reveals her top five ethical sunscreen products.  From organic ingredients to wash-on formulas, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the range available.  Over to Georgina:

The sun’s out –  well sometimes.  And it’s certainly time to dust off the shorts, slap on the sunscreen, and head outside.

However, before you reach for your usual sun cream or lotion, why not try one of the ethical brands that are rising in popularity.  There’s no need to scrimp on quality or performance.  They’re great for you and good for the environment.  What’s more, they’re easy on your pocket too.

ethical sunscreen guide

Sunscreen – but not as we know it…

We all know the benefits of using good quality sunscreen.  Recent advances in sunblock technology have brought about a whole range of highly effective chemical and mineral sun filters, absorbers, and reflectors to the market.  There is a dazzling array of brands offering every kind of application, use, and formulation.  From helping to protect against burning, premature ageing, skin cancer, and more.

Whilst the products themselves are highly effective, a lot of the companies behind the biggest brands don’t focus hard enough on the things that matter to us all.  These include issues such as animal rights and the environment.

Our Ethical Standards

Here at Ethical Consumer, we’re champions of ethical practice.  We’ve produced reports on over 40,000 companies, brands, and products on all aspects of ethical behaviour.  This year, we’ve turned our attention to sunscreens to bring you our top 5 ethical sunscreen products.

Every company featured below has high ethical standards including:

  • Fairtrade products
  • Organic and natural ingredients
  • Cruelty-free formulations produced without testing on animals
  • The vegetarian and vegan products
  • Clear sustainability standards
  • Limited environmental impact
  • Fair workers’ rights, and clear and just supply chain management

How am I protected?

Sunscreens contain substances that protect against both UVA and UVB radiation.  

Sun Protection Factor (SPF) is the measure of the protection against UVB radiation.  The UVB radiation causes burning and is a factor in some skin cancers.  

The ‘star’ system that you see on the bottle is a measure of protection against UVA radiation.  This is linked to skin ageing and skin cancer.  

A broad-spectrum sunscreen protects against both UVA and UVB rays.  This is the safest option.  The British Association of Dermatologists recommends the use of a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 combined with a high UVA rating.

How do they work?

There are two main types of active ingredients in sunscreen.  The first is chemical sunscreens that absorb UV light.  The second is mineral sunscreens which reflect the rays.  Many products contain both mineral and chemical sunscreens.  However, some companies choose to use one over the other.

Mineral sunscreens are the traditional and natural alternative.  The use of nano-particle versions minimises the white appearance of the lotion. There have been some concerns raised about nano-particles.  However, so far there is no conclusive evidence that they cause a risk to health or the environment.

Chemical sunscreens have been used more recently.  These deliver an easy application in a variety of sprays and liquids. Again, they have been declared safe for use on skin.  They have also not been found to have any adverse effect on the environment.

Our top 5 feel-good ethical sunscreen products

And so, to our favourites:

1.  Odylique Natural Sunscreen

This exceptionally pure, 100% natural, ethical sunscreen is great for very sensitive skin.  This includes babies and children.  The mineral zinc oxide is the active ingredient, delivered in non-nano format.  As such, it offers broad-spectrum UVA and SPF30 UVB protection.

Odylique’s formulation protects the skin whilst actively caring for it.  This is through its mixture of nine organic botanicals.  These include Fairtrade raw shea butter and Karanja seed to replenish and soothe.  The formulation also contains a mixture of chamomile, rosemary, and sea buckthorn to calm sun-sensitive skin.  

The light, non-greasy formula makes for easy application and for immediate protection.  In fact, this was the first sun lotion to be accredited as both Fairtrade and organic.  We definitely take our sun hat off to this ethical pioneer.  

Find it here* at Big Green Smile.  Prices start from £15 for a 50ml tube.

2.  Neal’s Yard Wild Rose Moisturising SPF 

This nourishing 100% mineral sunscreen offers protection from UVA and UVB rays.  As well as offering SPF30 protection with up to 12 hours moisturisation, it can also be worn instead of face cream.

The non-nano active sunscreen zinc oxide is combined with nourishing oils.  These include a rich blend of antioxidant-rich wild rosehip oil.  You’ll also find nourishing shea butter and moisturising baobab oil.  What’s more, with 50% organic ingredients, this cream is Vegetarian Society approved.  It’s also accredited as Cruelty-Free.

Find it at Neal’s Yard, where the product retails at £25 for 50ml.

3.  Badger Sunscreen Collection

Badger offers a whole range of ethical sunscreen for every use.  You’ll find an active sports range to scent-free versions, as well as baby and children ranges.  You can even find a DEET-free bug repellent version.

Non-nano Zinc oxide is the active ingredient in all Badger sunscreens.  This offers broad-spectrum UVA and UVB protection.  In terms of SPF, this ranges from 25-30, depending on the product.

The all-natural formulations include USDA certified organic ingredients and nourishing oils.  These include oils such as sunflower, extra virgin olive, and jojoba.  The formulations don’t clog pores.  They also contain antioxidants such as vitamin E and sea buckthorn extract.  This helps protect the skin from free-radicals.  

If you’re looking for a wide selection of choices then this is the brand for you.  From water-resistant to tinted versions, there is an option for everyone.  UK stockists are limited though.  The best selection is found on Amazon*

4.  Green People Sun Lotion

Vegan accredited and organic certified, Green People offers a range of ethically-minded sun lotions.  These offer broad-spectrum coverage in SPF 15-30.  

Based on nanoparticle zinc oxide mineral sunscreen, this rich lotion doesn’t clog pores.  What’s more, it retains moisture to give a long-lasting smoothing effect.

The standard 30SPF fragrance-free version contains 78% organic ingredients.  These include sunflower oil, olive fruit oil, and Fairtrade palm oil.  Aloe vera, avocado, chamomile, and green tea also form part of the active plant ingredients.

Green People offer baby and child versions, and a specific facial sunscreen.  They also offer a tan accelerator range.  Here, carob fruit extract naturally enhances the production of melanin.  This speeds tanning by 25% and enhances the body’s natural defenses.

Visit the Green People website* to buy.  Prices start from £5 for 30ml.

5.  Lush Solid Sunscreen Wash

Lush is well known for its innovative approaches to packaging and application with solid shampoo bars and bath bombs, and plastic-free make-up.  As such, the sunscreen is no exception.

The solid block is made from a mixture of organic sesame oil and organic and Fairtrade cocoa butter.  Here it’s combined with chemical sunscreens.  It’s then scented with a fragrant mix of rose absolute, chamomile blue, and eucalyptus blue oils.  Meanwhile, Calamine powder completes the formulation.  This provides a calming effect for delicate skin.   

To apply, simply glide the product over your skin in the shower. 

Each 100g bar contains enough for three full-body applications.  Visit the Lush website to buy online for £8.95.  

Discover more ethical sunscreens

Check out the full Ethical Consumer product guide to ethical sunscreen online.  See a large range of brands and how they compare on a whole range of ethical criteria.  From the environment and animal welfare. To supply chains, and politics, sustainable practices, and more.

And now you’re sorted for sunscreen, be cool at the pool with this handy guide to ethical swimwear.