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Monday, December 22, 2014

Dollar Store Dupes for Silicone Makeup Brush Cleaners

Up until a few years ago, I didn't even know that silicone brush cleaners were a thing. For a long time now, I've been washing my makeup brushes by mixing some warm water and my favorite brush cleaner (Dr. Bronner's Liquid Soap) in the palm of my hand, and swirling my brush until the water runs clean. But after a few years of reading about the various silicone brush cleaners on the market, and seeing some affordable dupes on Pinterest, etc., I thought I'd give one a shot. (I'd also like to thank many of you for suggesting that I try one of these dollar store alternatives--your push was exactly what I needed to finally make it happen!)

First of all, if you're unfamiliar with the silicone brush cleaners currently on the market, two of the most popular ones are the Sigma Spa Brush Cleaning Glove (retail: $35) and the Brush Egg (retail: around $7). I wasn't willing to spend that much on a product that I wasn't even sure I truly needed, so a trip to the dollar store was in order...

Keep reading if you'd like to know how these dollar store dupes worked for me!

So I found the two silicone kitchen grips above at my local Daiso (Japanese dollar store chain where everything is $1.50). BUT, you can easily find these types of silicone kitchen grips at other dollar stores, discount stores, Walmart, Target, you name it. They're everywhere.

The reason I went to Daiso was because I had heard that Daiso carries an exact dupe of the Original Brush Egg for, of course, $1.50. I had heard that Daiso's version is located in the laundry section (not the cosmetics or kitchen sections) so I went straight to the laundry aisle and guess what? They were sold out. So I went to the kitchen section and picked two silicone grips (they have tons of options) that looked like they might be able to do the job. By the way, Daiso did have a silicone kitchen glove type of product similar to the Sigma glove, but the one I was able to find at Daiso didn't really have any nubs (it was smooth) so I didn't think it would work.

Here's kitchen grip #1:

As you can see, this one's made of very thin silicone (you can see my background print showing through above). The ridges are soft and subtle--they're definitely not jagged.

In action:

After lots of experimenting, I've found that what works best for me is to get my brush wet, and then put some water on the silicone grip, along with a drop or two of brush cleaner (I used Dr. Bronner's Peppermint Liquid Soap above). Then I just rub the brush against the raised parts of the grip, into the water and soap mixture, until things start to foam up. In the pic above, I'm washing an EcoTools eyeshadow brush that I use for blending concealer and applying setting powder under my eyes.

Once there is a lot of dirty water on the grip, I like to rinse the grip clean under warm running water then, using just the clean water that's left on the grip, I rub the brush on the grip again. I keep repeating this process until the brush water runs clean. This should only take a pass or two if you're washing an eyeshadow brush like the one above, but do expect to repeat this process a few more times if you're washing something like a dense blush or foundation brush. Also, I find that holding the silicone grip in my hand really works best (versus putting it on the bathroom counter, which I did in these pics just because it was easier to photograph).

Here's kitchen grip #2:

This kitchen grip is thicker and not nearly as pliable as grip #1. It's quite solid, and it has holes (which I actually like, because the holes help to drain the dirty water while you're cleaning your brush). 

Also, this grip has two different types of nubs. On one side are the smaller nubs:

And then on the other side there are longer, more dense nubs: 

In action:

For this one, I used the same EcoTools brush which was, once again, loaded with concealer and powder. I used the exact method that I described above for the other grip.

And here's what the brush looks like at the end of the process, when I know it's time to stop:


I think that each style of grip has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. 

Grip #1: I think this type of grip works best for any delicate and/or expensive brushes you may have, because the soft, gentle ridges will probably never shred or damage your bristles. But on the other hand, I do find that it takes me longer to get my blush, powder and foundations brushes clean using this type of gentle silicone grip. 

Grip #2: this grip is great for heavily soiled and/or less expensive brushes, because the little nubs really enable you to loosen up all the makeup, grime and oils from your brushes in a way that is more difficult to achieve using just a swirling motion in the palm of your hand. It really feels like my brushes get clean almost instantly with grip #2, after just a few back and forth motions. But on the other hand, I can see that these types of nubs might shred/damage the bristles on some of my brushes over time. I have not had this happen yet, but I can see how it could be possible. But if you use inexpensive brushes like I do, then easy and FAST deep-cleaning may be a trade-off you're willing to live with. Only you can answer that!

My daily makeup brushes after cleaning with dollar store silicone grips

BOTTOM LINE: I'm kind of obsessed with these silicone grips and now I finally understand the hype. My brushes look and feel so squeaky clean after I use these grips--I can't image ever going back to just using the palm of my hand again. Maybe I'd be singing a different tune if I owned a lot of very expensive and/or delicate brushes, but since 99.9% of the brushes I use on a daily basis are from EcoTools, e.l.f. and Real Techniques, I don't really have to handle them with kid gloves to begin with. I'm hard on my brushes and I'm OK with being hard on them when I'm cleaning them--they're little troopers and they've been holding up just fine to these silicone grips so far! I swear I can clean my brushes in about half the time now, and that's so worth it to me (I hate deep-cleaning my brushes with a vengeance, so anything that actually motivates me to do it? I'M THERE!).

One more thing: I'm so pleased with these two silicone grips that I really don't have the urge to get the Brush Egg dupe I mentioned at the top of this post. Why? Well I love that the grips I have can be folded in half (like a taco) and that I can clean the handles that way. If you're like me, then you know that your handles can get pretty gunked up with powder and foundation. These grips do a great job of cleaning that gunk, simply by wrapping the grip around the handle and rubbing up and down. I'm not sure you could really do that with the Brush Egg (if I'm wrong about that, please do let me know!). 

Again, if you don't live near a Daiso, you can find silicone kitchen grips like this at other dollar stores, discount stores, Target, Walmart, etc. I think the key here is to look for gentle ridges if you're worried about damaging any delicate/expensive brushes, but look for more "rugged" nubs if you're like me and just want to get the job done as quickly and efficiently as possible! 

Do you own any silicone brush cleaners (or dupes of silicone brush cleaners)? If so, I would absolutely love to hear from you! Do you use the method I described above, or do you have another technique that works for you?

The products featured in this post were purchased with personal funds. For more information, click here.


  1. Omg I need to find some of these tools! I don't have a Daiso near me, but I'll check out the dollar stores. And I want to quit using the palm of my hand too. LOL

    1. I would love to know what you think if you try them! Please keep me posted? :)

  2. Hi, G!
    A few years ago when Sigma released their glove, I decided to make my own brush cleaning device. I used a clipboard and hot glue. It only cost about a dollar to make. It's kind of hard to explain, but I will leave a link to a video explaining it. Anyway, my homemade thing is AWESOME! It really cleans the brushes so much better than I ever could with just my hands. Maybe you could give this a try? It's not difficult to do at all (trust me, crafting is my enemy LOL).
    Thanks for running such an awesome vlog! :)

    Video link:

    1. Aaah, that is such a cute idea. Thank you for sharing--I don't usually allow links in comments but I think that one could help those who can't find these silicone grips or perhaps want to try an alternate route. So thanks again!

  3. I've never had any problems just rubbing it in my palm.. I use Aussie moist shampoo which is what I use on my hair (mixed with Shea Moisture on my hair). Put some shampoo in my palm, put the brush directly in and give it a couple of swirls, add a bit of water, swirl a few more times, rinse until clear. Be sure to spread the bristles apart with your fingers and rinse the middle. Takes about 20 seconds to get a big brush clean, even less for my little brushes since I stack them in my hand (grab several by the handles at once and put them at the same level at the end of the bristles) and do 5 or 6 at a time. The only time I've had a problem is when I accidentally used my foundation brush to apply powder and didn't take the time to wash it immediately.. that I had to gently work out with my fingernails. I would love to find a dupe for those neat brush trees though. I've seen the clipboard/rubber band trick but would prefer something freestanding. I wouldn't suggest getting your brush handles wet.. I'd use a makeup wipe or a dampened washcloth on them.

    1. I never had a problem with using my palm either (that's all I ever used!) but I did have a serious problem with certain cream blushes and oil-based foundations (like the Spotless foundation from PF) staining my brushes...badly. I find that using the silicone nubs really loosens those oils free from the bristles in a way that my palm simply cannot do. And these grips give my brushes such a deep cleaning so quickly. With my palm, it takes me several passes (way more than the 20 seconds it takes you!) to get my foundation brushes clean all the way down between the bristles. And sometimes when I use my palm, I can still see glitter deep down between the bristles even after multiple rinsing. I don't get that with these silicone grips.

      As for getting the handles wet, that actually doesn't happen when I run the silicone grip down the side of the handle. I guess I didn't really explain that too well, but the nubs don't retain water, so you're really only applying about as much moisture as you would with a semi-damp paper towel or makeup towelette. Does that make sense? Hope that clears it up! :)

  4. Wow, I've never heard of this before, but now I'm dropping by the Dollar Tree on my way home tomorrow. Thanks, G!

    1. Aaah, I hope you have an easy time finding them tomorrow, and please do keep me posted? I'd love to know how this works for you! :)

    2. I couldn't find this (or anything similar in silicone) at Dollar Tree, I'm afraid, but I did get the purple Milani shadow eyez pencil. My store had only the core line blue and the purple, but whether they only ever had those colors, or if the more neutral colors sold out and this is just what's left, I couldn't say.

  5. I love love love your blog!! If you want to go the eBay route and are willing to wait, I got a silicone doggie washing brush that has a handle that works great too. Link to product:

  6. Definitely going to be on the lookout for these. I just washed a ton of brushes yesterday and I'm dying to try one of these to save some time. And keep me from getting prune hands lol

  7. Huh, who knew? I certainly didn't! Have to try this soon:) you come up with the greatest tips G, thank you!!!

  8. It costs more than $1.50, but I remember Nichole from Pretty Girl Science had a post about a $7 dog cleaning glove from Target that worked amazingly well for washing her brushes. Of course I have never once remembered to actually look for the thing, but I really want to try it. I think having a nubby glove would make it really easy.

  9. When i first saw the expensive idea cleaning glove, I realized my silicon oven mitt was the exact same thing and started using it for my fountain brushes and such.
    It looks kinda like this , Also it rocks in the kitchen as a mitt, even when I make pizza at 550 degrees

  10. This is great idea G. I am tired of doing it in my hand. I use a liner brush and I need to do it every day. What a pain. Also I feel since I'm always in a hurry I never get them clean enough. Going to find these soon!!!

  11. Thanks so much for sharing! If I grab one of these babies, maybe it will help me get off my duff and make me want to wash my brushes more often. Merry Christmas!!

  12. Omg I have never even heard of these at all! I'm going to get some right now! I don't wash my brushes that often because, well, it's a pain. These look fantastic! :D Yay!

  13. I use a silicone trivet from walmart. I lay it in the sink use my beauty blender cleaner. Works like a charm

  14. I actually use the silicone face cleaner that comes with the Loreal 360's small for big brushes but on the eyeshadow ones it works great!

  15. The second one looks like a great dupe! I have been using the solid Sephora brush cleanser, that comes with a little scrubby. It's a bit small, but I really like it otherwise.

  16. I need one of these! Not just for cleaning my brushes, but for opening up cans and bottles I can't get open lol.


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