Makeup Brush Cleaner for Spot Cleaning - Lori's Way

Lori's Brush Cleaner

You all know I use makeup  It may just be mascara but it's something.

I have also invested some of my hard earned cash in makeup brushes.  My first being MAC brushes in 1996, all of which you will see in my posts.  They really have lasted that long. I can't always say that I have been kind to them, but they (and most brushes I have purchased since - booo to the MAC 187 but I digress) have held up over the years of use every day.

In the past 5 years, I have really been experimenting and trying out different makeup brands, looks, and brushes from all kinds of suppliers.

Sonia Kashuk
Eco Tools

All with mixed results (still not dwelling on my 187!!).  One thing I have learned from watching YouTube tutorials and reading other bloggers is the importance of a clean brush.

So... I have rambled enough, let's talk about spot cleaners for makeup brushes.  I was a faithful MAC brush cleaner user (piss poor english there), but at $15.50, it's a bit dear.  Even the Quo one was $12+ dollars.  I tried one called Bella which wouldn't clean anything - crappy.  So I went to YouTube and found a load of videos on how to make your own.  So I did....

Here's my method - I like it!!!

Ingredients and Tools


1 cup Water (I actually boil bottled water)
2 Tbsp - 1/4 cup Isopropanol Alcohol (mine was 99%, but I have used 50% and up); be careful as alcohol is strong
1 Tbsp of a conditioning Shampoo* (any brand for oily/normal hair types)
couple of drops-1/8 tsp of Argan oil product**

* some folks also use dish liquid, I do not
**some use leave in hair conditioner

I actually take boiling water and rinse out the bowl before I put the ingredients in. 

And take a spoon (I use a disposable plastic one) and mix.

Then pour into bottle using a funnel or very steady hand.

Let talk about some of the ingredients.

Water (obvious)
Alcohol (kills bacteria)
Shampoo (removes dirt and product)
Argan Oil (adds a conditioning agent to the cleaner to keep the bristles somewhat supple)

Warning!! Scent is strong - You could reduce the percentage in the alcohol I suppose
Mixing bowl

Shameful, dirty Brushes

Messy MAC 242 Shader Brush
 On to the testing.  I have 5 dirty brushes.  All for eyes but different bristle types and brands.

Clean from the PaintPot residue

Eyeshadow and BlackTrack coated MAC 239
Not to shabby

MAC 266 with BlackTrack on it

Pretty Darned clean
Say it with me?  YUCK!
And for the pure Yuck factor.  This is what I would have been slapping on my eyes the next day if I didn't spot clean.


Makes ohhhh, about 300ml of product.  With the ingredients being things I already had, it cost me $0.  Instead of $15!

Be sure to shake before use.  Just to ensure it is all combined.


  1. Thank you so much for this recipe, at first I did try using Dish soap instead of shampoo, it did work but I didn't like the idea of any dish soap residue in my face and the smell was strong. A few weeks ago I purchased John Frieda's Root Awakening Shampoo for Oily Scalp, which has been terrible for my hair and I had to no idea what to do with it so I gave it a try and it has been fantastic, my brushes are so much more easily cleaned with this Shampoo than the dish soap, is fantastic, I'm glad I found a use for it. Instead of Argan Oil, I use Extra-Virgin Olive Oil, it works great, my brushes feel very soft.

    Thanks again.

    1. I'm with you Susette. Dish soap wasn't my ideal choice either. Kudos for repurposing unsuccessful shampoo! I think any type of oil that can be used cosmetically is perfect. Great choice! Thanks for getting in touch.


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Thanks ever so much!


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