Aussie Opposites Attract Shampoo Does Double Duty as a Fast, Cheap Brush Cleaner

Published in: Makeup Tips/How To, Makeup Tools

Happy Friday! Guess what? Last night I found my new favorite way to clean my makeup brushes.

Normally, I use MAC Brush Cleanser ($11) because it works fast, thoroughly removing all the gunk from the brush head and rinsing out quickly. But last night my bottle ran out when I was halfway through cleaning my brushes. I really wanted to finish before 30 Rock came on the telly (lovin’ ya, Tina Fey!), so I reached into the tub and randomly grabbed a bottle of Aussie Opposites Attract Protect + Soften Shampoo ($3) to complete the job.


Oh, Tina Fey, I’m totally not worthy.

I wasn’t sure what to expect. Although I love this stuff for my hair, I’ve used shampoos like Johnson’s Baby Shampoo to clean brushes in the past but never liked the results. Even after a thorough brush cleaning, they would leave bits of foundation or concealer. Plus, the suds took forever to rinse out.


But Aussie Opposites Attract Shampoo worked great! Caked on concealer, dried gel liner, crusty cream shadow (eww) — it removed even the most stubborn makeup, breaking up the product within seconds. And the suds rinsed out quickly, too.

To clean brushes with Aussie Opposites Attract Shampoo, I squeeze a pea sized amount in a cupped palm, add some warm water and swirl the brush head around in the shampoo-and-water mix. If the brush head has a lot of caked makeup on it then I’ll gently work the shampoo directly into the fibers with my fingers. I then rinse out the brush head in running water to remove the makeup and suds. Tada! Less than a minute later, I’ve got a clean brush.

The best part? It costs a WHOPPING THREE BUCKS for a big 13.5-oz bottle, woo hoo! It’s my new favorite fast and cheap way to give brushes a heavy duty cleaning. 🙂

How do you clean your makeup brushes? Do you have a favorite product or a special technique?

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



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So far, 28 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Holly says:

    Hi Karen,

    I have always used Johnsons baby shampoo to clean my brushes and was always pretty pleased with it until recently I was looking for something to make an online MAC order up to £50 so that I would get free shipping and thought I would give their brush cleaner a try and I LOVE it! It cleans so much better than baby shampoo and does it in half the time im totally sold on it now!

    At work we use our Chanel mouse Douceur to clean the brushes and it works amazingly however I certainly wouldnt pay £21.50 for a brush cleaner regardless of how well it cleans them! I do have one customer who does this though!!

  2. pepper says:

    I just got a sonia kashuk blush which I love to death – powder brush is next based on your earlier recs. Have you tried Ecotools brushes? They got good reviews on MUA.

    I use baby shampoo to clean my brushes. So boring, I know……

  3. I use my Kevin Murphy Balancing shampoo & rinse (conditioner) on my make-up brushes. It makes them clean and fluffy and keeps them from shedding/breaking.

    Jennifer of Dog.Yarn.Knit.´s last blog post..friday candy

  4. Beth says:

    I use baby shampoo and it works okay – the only brush that it seems to take forever to rinse out of is my Smashbox #30 Shadow Liner Brush. I used it to do my halloween makeup last week and it took forever to get the red eyeshadow out of it!

    Maybe one day I’ll splurge and try a proper brush cleaner, but if its a case of £15 for proper brush cleaner or £1.50 for baby shampoo, I think the latter will always win out for me!

    Hope your weekend has started well!


    Beth´s last blog post..Happy Halloween

  5. Joanne says:

    I use the MAC brush cleaner. It’s pretty effective, but a couple months ago, I was really broke and couldn’t afford their brush cleanser. So, I looked around for a substitute. I so had many facial cleansers and some I didn’t like, so I tried using my Boots Botanics skin brightening deep clean gel. It says it’s suppose to remove the most stubborn makeup and I got it on sale when I first bought it at Target. It works really well to get all the gunk out of my makeup brushes and especially fluidline. It’s about 8 bucks. And I think it lasts longer than the MAC cleanser, although I use that too for quicker cleaning.

  6. Joanne says:

    Just wondering, how did you like the Comodynes facial wipes?? I read awhile ago about your discovery at bed bath and beyond and now I want to check my nearest store too!

  7. Dao says:

    I use…my hand washing liquid to wash my brush. It actually is a non-moisturizing body wash and was demoted to a hand wash. Then if I feel fancy, I moisturize it with a bit of conditioner to soften the bristles (natural bristle brushes only).

    I saw that you have some MAC brushes from this year’s holiday collection. Although I want the eye set, the cut is just horrible and some brushes are so scratchy. How do your brushes perform? Are they soft and smooth or does my MAC counter happen to have a bad display?

  8. Tekoa says:

    I use baby shampoo (when I’m broke) or MAC brush cleaner (when I feel like splurging)

  9. Marisol says:

    I use MAC’s Brush Cleaner or baby shampoo. I am using this sponge that I saw on this blog – Works awesome especially my foundation brush.

  10. Martha says:

    hmm, you’re giving me some ideas for using regular shampoo to clean the beauty blender. am too cheap to get their liquid cleanser, and been using my face foam to clean it but takes forever, gonna try shampoo now…

  11. Hi Karen, Just posted videos of my brush collection and how I clean my brushes:) Come on over and check ’em out!

    HomeSpaGoddess´s last blog post..Total Beauty Web Tour

  12. duvessa says:

    I have never tried cleaning my brushes with shampoo before I always used a brush cleaner but I will definitely try the aussie shampoo because i love it for my hair.

  13. cloudburst says:

    I use MAC brush cleaner for quick colour changes, but ultimately I prefer to wash mine with a good quality shampoo like Goldwell.

  14. Karen says:

    Hi Holly,

    Yeah, it works great, doesn’t it? It breaks up everything and it does it so quickly!

    Plus, you can use the bottles towards a Back to MAC lipstick!

  15. Karen says:

    Hi Pepper,

    OOoOOO! Did you get the powder brush with the black, curvy handle? I *love* that brush. It’s so affordable and really soft!

    I haven’t tried Ecotools. Saw them at Bed Bath and Beyond last week, so maybe if I can fish out one of their 20% off coupons I’ll snag an eyeshadow brush or two!

  16. Karen says:

    Hi Jennifer,

    Thanks for sharing! I’ve never heard of that brand so I’ll check it out when my Aussie runs out.

  17. Karen says:

    Hi Beth,

    Hmm, is the brush synthetic? I’ve found my brushes with synthetic heads tend to take forever to clean and rinse out.

  18. Karen says:

    Hi Joanne,

    I like ’em so far… the wipes are HUGE, which is a big plus. They remove everything well, but on me I’ve noticed that they leave a film, which I have to rinse off. My last pack of wipes I used was by L’Oreal, which were really super soft. The Comodynes ones are a little scratchier, like MAC wipes.

    Oh — and so far I haven’t broken out, though, which is always a good thing!

  19. Karen says:

    Hi Dao,

    In the past I haven’t been too crazy about the holiday brush sets, but I always hold on to the hope that they’ll get better. Unfortunately these aren’t a vast improvement over last year’s brushes. I’d save my money and opt for buying the regular ones instead.

  20. Karen says:

    Hi Tekoa,

    Girl, I hear that. Do you save your empty brush cleanser bottles for back to MAC?

  21. Karen says:

    Hi Marisol,

    I really enjoy Vanessa’s blog, too. She always has useful tutorials!

  22. Karen says:

    Hi Martha,

    Let me know if it works. I hope it does!

  23. Karen says:

    Hi HomeSpaGoddess,

    Cool! I’ll pop on over. 🙂

  24. Karen says:

    Hi Duvessa,

    Oh yah! It’s great because it really gets all the makeup out and it works really fast.

  25. Karen says:

    Hi Cloudburst,

    I was a huge Goldwell fan a few years ago when my hair was totally FRIED! They had this conditioner that was like a miracle in a bottle. What things do you like from their line?

  26. Shannon says:

    I actually just cleaned one of my super-gross makeup brushes with some travel-size aussie shampoo that a friend left in the shower. I was definitely pleased with the results. Thumbs up for Aussie.

  27. Karen says:

    Hi Shannon,

    Yay! It’s so cheap and it totally works!

  28. Totally getting my friend to bring this over to Japan for me! Thanks for the heads up! =)

    tokyostargirl´s last blog post..

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