Six Brush Soaps You Need to Try

Keeping your professional brushes clean and sanitary is important for not only your clients’ health, but for your reputation as an artist.  One of the tools we use to achieve that cleanliness is brush shampoo and the market is flooded with options.  Today, let’s talk about some great brush soap contenders you should check out if you’re in the market for something new to shampoo your brushes!

Let’s be real here, there are a bajillion brush cleansers and solid brush soaps on the market right now.  I suspect that is because soap is relatively easy to produce and inexpensive to package (all you really need is plastic wrap and a label).   We’ve seen all types of packaging, fragrances, and gimmicks when it comes to brush shampoo, so here are six well-known contenders to try out, if you haven’t already.  

London Brush Company

The very first solid brush cleanser I remember seeing specifically for makeup was London Brush Company’s Solid Brush Shampoo.  This doesn’t necessarily mean there weren’t others, but this was the first one I encountered.  I remember thinking it was pricey, but then again London Brush Company’s brushes were higher end, so it made sense.  This brush soap comes in two varieties:  goat’s milk and vegan.  They’ve expanded to offering six fragrances and boasts that this soap is “so pure, it’s food-grade.”  Ingredients include ethically-harvested palm oil for both varieties, as well as tea tree extract for some anti-bacterial goodness.  This soap retails for $18.00.

Clean Apothecary

Clean Apothecary started out making just brush soaps and then expanded into other body products and now focuses on skin care.  They continue to offer brush shampoo, but only in refill-form, which I think is preferable as it cuts down on environmental waste and saves you cash! Offering a variety of fragrances in two bases:  goat’s milk and olive oil, Clean Apothecary is an economical alternative to higher-end soaps that come with fancy shmancy packaging.  Clean’s refills retail for $10.00.

Sonia Roselli Tiger’s Eye Soap

Sonia Roselli offers products that, when you look at them, hold them, and use them, make it very clear how much thought, planning, and care was put into crafting them.  Originally named, Japanese Brush Cleanser, this solid brush soap’s formula is more gentle than your typical solid soap.  Ingredients include honey, jojoba oil, and Squalene to help keep your brushes soft and protected, especially your natural-hair brushes.  Tea tree extract also makes an appearance in this soap for some added anti-bacterial properties. Tiger’s Eye Brush Soap retails for $22.

General Pencil Company The Masters Brush Cleaner & Preserver

So, you know how sometimes, you pay a lot more for something just because it’s a beauty product?  That’s kind of how I feel about brush soap.  The last three soaps in this series aren’t from cosmetic companies and you can typically find them at the grocery store.  This soap can be found at your local art or hobby store.  Although it doesn’t have anti-bacterial properties, spot cleaning them before hand with a cleanser like Parian Spirit (which you should be doing, anyway), will solve that issue.  Masters comes in a variety of sizes — 1oz to 24oz for a super reasonable price.  This stuff breaks down everything from acrylics to oil paints and preserves your brushes in the process, so foundation or lipstick are no match for this soap.  I’ve had great results with Masters and would recommend this soap to anyone who is looking for a solid soap that has it’s own packaging, a light scent, and isn’t interested in a pretty product. 


Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Bar Soaps

Another favorite amongst us thrifty artists is Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Bar Soaps.  They come in a million fragrances, break down everything from foundation to lipstick, and are easy on your hands.  While this soap isn’t the most moisturizing, I find it’s great for busting through a set of dirty brushes quickly.  It’s also super inexpensive at under $5 for 1 bar that’ll last you about 500 washes.  


Guys.  This is my favorite soap, ever, for washing brushes and beauty blenders.  This simple, chemical-free soap will break down anything that’s in your brush quickly and without a ton of scrubbing.  It’s technically a laundry soap for delicates, but it doubles as a fantastic brush shampoo.  Now — if you’re vegan, this is a no go as it’s an old-school soap formula with beef tallow.  It also contains citronella oil, so make sure you’re rinsing your brushes well to prevent any irritation.  This soap can be hard to find in some areas, but I’ve heard that Walmart carries is, consistently.  It’s about $2 for a double pack and Amazon has a 4-pack for about $10, which would last you a lifetime.  

DIY Brush Soap

In the homemade soaping world, there are two ways by which to get soap:  cold-process (involves lye and science) and melt & pour (pre-made soap that you heat, add fragrance, and pour into molds).   My theory has always been that a lot of the brush soap on the market is melt and pour since they always seem to come in two varieties:  olive oil and goat’s milk, which are the varieties commonly offered when you buy bulk melt & pour soap cubes.  So, why not try to make your own?  Pick up some melt & pour bricks (Hobby Lobby always has them) and get some tea tree extract, which is essential for helping to zap the cooties out of your brushes, and your favorite fragrance oil (lavender is also great for antiseptic properties) and try one out.  You don’t even have to buy a mold, you can use an old muffin tin!


What’s your favorite brush soap?  Let us know if the comments!

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