I’ve used plenty of things to clean my makeup brushes through the years and I wouldn’t recommend most of them- antibacterial hand soap, baby shampoo, white vinegar, olive oil mixed with Dawn. You name a cheap, at-home or DIY solution and I’ve probably tried it. I just can’t talk myself into paying anything over five dollars for something that’s going to clean my brushes when I have plenty of useful things to try at home.
Of all my experiments, baby shampoo has probably been my favorite. It removes makeup without drying out the brushes or giving off a horribly potent smell. It’s gentle enough to keep the bristles soft and cleans without stripping; it’s cheap, easy and effective.
When I spotted e.l.f. Cosmetics Daily Brush Cleaner ($3) at Target, I decided to try it out. At $3 a bottle, I didn’t have much to lose by tossing it into my cart next to a bag of Ritz Toasted Chips and a box of Scooby Snacks for my pup. Either it would work out great for next to nothing or I’d chalk it up as a loss and still have baby shampoo to fall back on.
e.l.f. is truly the best drugstore makeup brand out there. Their products are always affordable, most items under five bucks, and they work like a charm. If I had to pick my favorite low-end brand, it would have to be a three-way tie between NYX, e.l.f. and Wet n Wild.
This spray is supposed to be used in between makeup applications. It’s not exactly for brush cleaning, it’s more of a preventative method so you don’t have to clean them quite as often. It disinfects the bristles to give you a cleaner application without having to go through all the effort of washing them thoroughly (which you’ll still have to do at least once a week in my experience).
So again, just to be clear, this isn’t meant to be used on really dirty brushes.
Using this brush cleaner is simple. Once you’re finished using the brush, spray it a few times with the antibacterial formula and then wipe the makeup off on a clean cloth. Make sure you let the brush completely air dry before your next use. I like to use it at night so it has hours to dry off.
Here’s the question you’ve all been waiting for: does it work?
Well, sort of. It definitely cleans off some of the makeup gunk and I’m sure it disinfects the brushes to keep them clean for each use, but you won’t want to use this on brushes that are particularly dirty. For example, don’t use this on a brush you’ve used to apply lipstick- it’ll never come fully clean and you’ll waste too much of your small bottle trying.
This daily brush cleaner really does reduce the need for thorough cleaning and for three bucks, I think it’s definitely something to have handy- especially when you travel.