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DIY Brush Spot Cleanser

Since today is World Savings Day, I am going to let you in on a little secret that will hopefully blow your mind just as much as it blew mine a few weeks ago. As my make-up collection started to grow quicker than my motivation to deep clean my brushes, and as I got more and more annoyed about how all of my colors were contaminated by product rests stuck on the bristles, I started looking for a reasonably priced alternative to cult products like MAC’s Brush Cleanser. Turns out spot cleaning your brushes is easier and cheaper than I thought!

All you need for your own DIY spot cleanser is rubbing alcohol/Isopropyl Alcohol, (baby) shampoo, a spray bottle and a few drops of essentials oils if you want your product to smell nice. Fill your bottle with 4/5 of rubbing alcohol, add 1/5 of baby shampoo and one or two drops of essentials oils. Be sure not to overdose and to keep an eye on your skin for the next few days: People with very sensitive skin or allergies might find essential oils irritating. Close the bottle, give your mixture a little shake and voilà: There you have your very own spot cleanser that costs less than 5 € and takes less than 5 minutes to make.

Most of the other spot cleansers I have come across work in exactly the same way, i.e. by combining alcohol with a cleansing agent. MAC’s super hyped Brush Cleanser also contains alcohol (alcohol denat. and Isopropyl Alcohol) and, interestingly enough, water as its first ingredient. I still haven’t finished my first bottle of home-made cleanser, but I am going to prepare my next one adding a little water and see what difference it makes. Other than that, the MAC product contains cleansing agents (Sodium Trideceth Sulfate, Disodium Lauroamphodiacetate), a solvent (Hexylene Glycol), hydrolyzed wheat protein, colouring agents, a topical antiseptic (Cetrimonium Chloride) and Triclosan, a pretty controversial antibacterial and antifungal agent. It seems obvious and understandable to me that as a pro brand, MAC is paying more attention to the disinfecting properties of their cleanser: After all, their product is designed to clean brushes that are used on more than one person’s face a day. However, I don’t know if make-up brushes in private use need any other disinfecting agent than the alcohol that our home-made product already contains. Apart from the whey protein, I don’t see why this expensive cleanser should be any better for your brushes than a DIY version either.

I used this brush to blend my dark Lorac Pro shadows. N.B.: The bristles of this brush are naturally darker in the middle.

I used this brush to blend my dark Lorac Pro shadows. N.B.: The bristles of this brush are naturally dark/grey in the middle.


As far as cleansing properties go, I could not be happier with this home-made version. Spray a bit of the solution directly onto the brush or a (structured) piece of tissue and gently swirl your brushes until the pigments start to come off. After a second round, your brushes will definitely be clean enough to apply other products with. No more worrying about unwanted glitter or make-up rests changing the appearance of your favourite blusher, eye shadow or foundation!

This is after the first round of using the cleanser: You can see how much has come off already.

This picture was taken after the first round of using the cleanser: You can see how much has come off already.

After only a few seconds, my brushes were safe to use with other products.

After a second round, my brush was safe to use with other products again.

I hope that you found this DIY helpful and that you enjoy your clean brushes and all the lovely goodies you can now buy with the money you saved. Not sure however whether this last suggestion is an appropriate thing to say on World Savings Day… 🙂




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