This or That: 4 Brush Cleaners To Try

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Hey you! How's your week going? Mine is flying by--I had to take a blog day off to get caught up on emails (still behind), meet a few deadlines (can't wait to share these posts with y'all), film a video (coming Friday), and clean and sanitize my brushes.

The latter is my least favorite thing about beauty: cleaning makeup brushes. It's a necessity, but the struggle is real, y'all, especially when you have a ton of brushes (click here to see my collection). And when I'm not in the mood to deep clean them, but want quick and sanitized brushes, I rely on alcohol-based brush cleaners. For this week's This or That, I'm comparing 4 popular brush cleaners that will make cleaning a little faster.

1--Ben Nye Brush Cleaner--A well-known brand in the makeup industry, Ben Nye products became a household name thanks to the infamous Banana Powder, used by Kim Kardashian. Cleans 75 brushes per ounce. Effective cleaning solution quickly dissolves all oil-based makeup.
Price: $6 for 2 oz up to $44 for 32 oz
Sizes: 5
Scent: slight fragrance
Elle's Review: Nice, gentle cleaner that doesn't stain brushes

2--Parian Spirit--Parian Spirit is made from citrus spirits and food grade solvents, giving it powerful cleaning properties that cut through oil-based makeup and adhesives but remains gentle to natural and synthetic hair bristles. Also good for cleaning makeup off clothes, wigs, false eyelashes and false facial hair. Cleans latex and acrylic as well.
Price: $6.50 for 2 oz up to $30 for 32 oz
Sizes: 6 (including wipes)
Scent: Very strong citrus
Elle's Review: Great, strong cleaner, but the scent can be strong if too much is used. Be sure to use any of these in a well-ventilated area.

3--Cinema Secrets--This is a product from another makeup industry brand. Top professionals rely on the quick-drying formula to clean, sanitize, and leave tools with a pleasant smell. Safe for use with natural and synthetic hairs, the cleaner immediately dissolves all traces of wax, liquid, and powder residue from brushes, spatulas, and palettes. It's the only makeup brush cleaner to remove 99.9% of all bacteria--and it conditions bristles to extend brush life. Environmentally safe and non-carcinogenic.
Price: $8 for 2 oz up to $36 for 32 oz
Sizes: 4
Scent: Vanilla
Elle's Review: This one has the best scent, but is the only one that stained brushes the first time I used it. This was easily solved with another cleaning and being extra careful with the amount used. The packaging logo has changed from the one pictured.

4--Face Secrets--The other cleaners are found the easiest online, but I wanted to share one that can be picked up at Sally Beauty.
Price: $5.99 for 4 oz.
Sizes: 1 (I remember them also having wipes, but not sure if those are still available)
Scent: Smells like rubbing alcohol or polish remover
Elle's Review: This is basically just blue rubbing alcohol, and works in a pinch (I order the others online), but is not my favorite.

This or That: I love the first 3 for different reasons. My favorite is Cinema Secrets but it is the priciest, followed by Parian Spirit, which seems to be the best at really getting oil-based makeup (from brushes and more) and glue from false lashes, followed by Ben Nye, which I can easily find online ( one site I use is frendsbeauty.com).

How to Use Brush Cleaner:

  • Powder on brushes is the easiest to remove, so I'll spritz some cleaner onto the brushes using spray bottle. Then I'll wipe the brush on a paper towel until the brush is clean. This is a quick technique to sanitize brushes as well.
  • Another way to clean is to pour a little into a lid, swirl the brush in, and then repeat with the paper towel process.
  • For brushes that have oil-based products, like foundation or concealer, I'll pour a little cleaner into a small jar (I have one from Parian Spirit) and allow the product to absorb into the bristles. Then I'll use the same paper towel method. 
    • I never soak or completely saturate my brushes with alcohol-based cleaners. I don't want to damage them or dissolve the glue that holds the bristles together. I still deep clean my brushes using solid brush cleaners or soaps.
More posts to visit:

Thanks, y'all! 

Please stop leaving me comments telling me how you clean your brushes. I am aware of all methods, but am trying to offer you a quicker, easier, and disinfecting method. Don't knock it til you try it. Thank you. 


  1. Great post and products!


  2. Such a great post! I struggle to figure out how to clean my brushes. I hate doing it, but it must be done! I didn't even know they made brush cleaner. I'm such a beauty noob!


  3. After 30 minutes of deep cleaning my brushes I will definitely be checking these out as a quick fix! Thanks for another great review!

  4. interesting! ive never heard of brush concealers before! xo jillian - cornflake dreams

  5. i just use my shampoo to clean my brushes and then lay them on the side of my sink (on a towel) angled down (so water drips away from the handle).

  6. i have to look into these... i did the olive oil and dish soap trick, and i guess i didn't soap them up enough because they still feel oily and now i feel like ive ruined two of my favorite brushes!!

  7. Great reviews!! I've been looking for a new brush cleaner. I feel like mine just isn't getting the job done any more. Maybe I've had it too long!

    <3, Pamela

  8. I am so bad with washing my brushes... and when I do I use shampoo lol. Might check one of these out!

  9. Thanks for posting this. It reminded me that it's time to clean my brushes!

  10. I'm so bad about actually buying a specific brush cleaner so thanks for these great reviews!! I need to pick on up to make it easier on myself!!

  11. I've used everything above except for Face Secrets. I do love the Cinema Secrets one:) I like the MAC cleaner now, but lately, I've just been using baby shampoo to deep clean everything.

  12. Thanks for sharing, I wasn't familiar with these!

  13. thanks for sharing these, I need to clean my brushes!

  14. Love this! I've actually been looking for a great cleaner!

    <3 Shannon

  15. I never even think of cleaning my brushes... that's so bad

  16. I'm awful at cleaning my brushes and when I do it's usually just with soap and water... I should really look into some brush cleaner. Great reviews!

    xo Julie
    Cap and Gown Style

  17. Oh I haven´t tried any of these- thanks for sharing! Sissi www.beauty4free2u.com

  18. I just use a normal baby shampoo or dove shampoo to clean my brushes.. this was very informative to know :)

  19. Thanks for the suggestions! I still need to get better about cleaning my brushes.

  20. I haven't actually tried a brush cleanser before. I always just use baby shampoo or dish soap lol. Maybe I should give these a go

  21. haven't heard of these brands before. Thanks for sharing them. I use the Sephora brand brush cleaner.

    1. Sephora's Citrus brush cleaner is Parian Spirit

  22. I haven't tried any of these - they're all going on my list! I use and love Dr Bronners at the moment.
    Emma | Fluff and Fripperies

  23. It is so necessary but so tedious. I have always just made my own though.

  24. I haven't tried any of these but they sound good, thanks for sharing!

  25. I don't remember the last time I cleaned my makeup brushes. Gross and fail. Thank you for the reminder!

  26. I use good ol' Dawn dish liquid to clean mine!

  27. I just ran out of brush cleaner so I should check one of these out!

  28. I know zero things about brush cleansers so this is super helpful!

  29. i never knew there were so many products for cleaning brushes! i've just been using soap and water, but i'd love to try one of these in the future.


  30. I put a few drops of tea tree oil in a small spray bottle with distiller water and used that to spot clean my brushes. It works so well and is super affordable.


  31. I don't think I have heard of these brush cleansers before but they seem like they would be good to try out.

  32. I totally need this motivation to clean my brushes!
    xo Annie
    New England Romance

  33. Amazing Post ,great Work!


  34. You will probably hate hearing this buttttttttt I never clean my makeup brushes.... I only have one for blush and yeaaaaa... this is why I follow your blog to see how I can do better with makeup!

  35. Cinema Secrets sounds like a must try! T. http://tickledpinkwoman.blogspot.com

  36. I have one from Sephora that I really like but when it is gone I will be sure to check out one of these!

  37. I've been meaning to pick up the cinema secrets. I'm using the MAC one right now but it's not my favorite - I also use the Beauty Blender solid and Dr. Bronners. :-)

  38. thanks for this post - for brushes are mystery!

  39. I haven't used any of these, so this is great information. Thanks!

  40. I am too lazy to clean my makeup brush. Going to do now. Lol
    Nice suggestions dear.

  41. I love all of your This or That posts, particularly since you always discuss products at all price points and accessibility.

    One thing I thought about when I read your comment at the bottom...I think perhaps most people were sharing their brush cleaning methods with you to participate in the conversation, not criticize the knowledge you are sharing. I know I and most people on this blog consider you an expert, so I wouldn't share an alternate method to compete with you!

  42. I have never used any of these for my brushes!! I am so glad you shared some suggestions.


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