How to Clean a Dirty Pan of Cream Blush

Published in: Just For Fun, Makeup Tips/How To

My pan of MAC Cream Colour Base in Pearl is straight up NASTY!

What I mean is it’s filled with random bits of dust, glitter, powder and lint.



I’m usually pretty good about taking care of my makeup, but cream products attract dirt like Mariah attracts crazy (still lovin’ ya, Mimi!).

Reader Julia recently e-mailed to ask if there was anything she could do to restore her dirrrrty cream blushes to their original luster.

I have a couple of cream blushes (and by “a couple” I mean five) and own a MAC brush for application, which I try to clean regularly, but the surfaces of my blushes sometimes seem a little grimy. How do I clean the surfaces of my cream blushes? Kleenex? Makeup brush wipes?

Thanks for your help.

What’s up, Julia!

Dirty can be good, but not when it comes to cream blushes. ๐Ÿ™‚


They’re like little gunk magnets, picking up bits and pieces of other products from brushes and other pans.

Fortunately, cleaning them doesn’t take a lot of effort, time or money. Here’s a trick I learned from a MAC artist to get grimy cream products back to almost new.

Clean that cream!

  1. Start with a clean makeup wedge sponge (sold in bags at many drugstores, Sephora or Ulta for about $2/bag).
  2. With light, soft strokes, gently run one edge of the sponge across the pan to pick up any bits of dirt, glitter or gunk. Try to keep your strokes going in the same direction, either left to right, right to left, etc. That seems to reduce the amount of junk that just gets redistributed back into the pan. Also, try to use a light touch. Pressing too hard will dig into the pan, picking up a lot of the cream product itself.
  3. If any product migrates over the edges of the pan, use a different edge (a clean one) of the same sponge to wipe up the mess. That’s it. Presto, change-o! One cream blush, almost as good as new. ๐Ÿ™‚

I use this technique on different kinds of cream products, like MAC Cream Colour Bases, MAC Paint Pots and NARS the Multiple Duos — even pots of cream concealer and cream-to-powder foundation, too.

Homegirls, do you ever clean your cream products? Do you have any other tips or tricks?

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



Like this post? Tell your friends!

So far, 29 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Paris B says:

    Nice tip! I don’t use cream blush and I prefer concealers in a tube ๐Ÿ™‚ My only cream products are cream shadows but they don’t get too gunky.. yet. I’ll bear this in mind when they do.
    .-= Paris B’s last blog post… Are your purchases influenced by sales or discounts? =-.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Paris B.,

      I’ve found that shadows get less grimy than the blush pans do. I’m guessing it has something to do with the greater surface area — more places for the dust to stick to, ya know?

  2. ines says:

    there is a product that you spray to disinfect & clean cream products and lipstick… i think it’s called makeupsoclean or something weird like that, i don’t remember exactly, but they did a big launch of that at the bay (canada’s equivalent of a mid/uppperlevel department store, i guess the same calibre as nordy’s)… you spray it and you wipe it off like you do with a sponge or tissue.

    i’ve never tried it so i personally can’t say how it is, but could be worth a shot!
    .-= ines’s last blog post… A Very Belated Lippie Tuesday – Peachy Goodness =-.

  3. Stephie says:

    Hmm. This is very useful. I myself haven’t really had a problem w/ getting a lot of gunk on my cream blushes but this is good to know. I never really thought of ever cleaning the surface of my makeup…

    guess I am more unhygenic than I thought. Haha.

  4. Marisol says:

    Thanks for the tips. I just recently threw away a MAC blushcreme because it looked dirrty to me. But thankfully I had a back up of it. But now I know how to fix it for next time.

    Hellooooooo Dr. Stabler!
    .-= Marisol’s last blog post… Kindle me this… =-.

  5. Marisol says:


    It’s Blossoming. I forget which collection it came out with but it was the first blushcreme I really liked.

  6. Tiffany says:

    Great tip! I will definitely try this if my cream products get gunky in the future!

  7. Stef says:

    What a great post Karen. I usually just close my eyes and apply when I’m using my dirty cream blushes. If you don’t look at them, they’re clean! I’m doing this tonight…

    btw, Paula Dorf makes the best cream blushes on the planet.
    .-= Stef’s last blog post… YouTube week – Spectacular Screwups =-.

  8. Tiffany says:

    Hey Karen! There is NOTHING going on, lol. I don’t have work today, so I just ran errands – very unexciting. I was gonna hit the pool but it’s raining! boo! Do you have anything fun going on today or tonight? Maybe I can live vicariously through you, lol.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Tiffany,

      I’m going running later… that’s the extent of it, LOL!

      Oh, I am going to try some new eyeshadows from Smashbox. That’s pretty exciting, I guess!

  9. Stef says:

    Hey Karen,

    I sure do have Cha Cha! My favorite is Playmate, scary pink in the pot but gorgeous, perfect pink on the cheeks.
    .-= Stef’s last blog post… Interview with Foot Petals creator, Tina Aldatz =-.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Stef,

      OH! I love the look of Playmate. I remember trying it once and loving it. I’ll try to pick one up this week. ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s been a while since I’ve used one of her cream blushes, so I hope that they changed the cap. The one I had was a screw-on type, but I prefer the flip tops!

  10. Redhead says:

    Unfortunately, my gorgeous Sonia Kashuk Cheek Sheer (in Beach Bum, a cool bubblegum pink) is a stick, and I’ve already smooshed it into the cap, which means cleaning it would be dismantling it. I’ve already gunked it up by..
    ..using it as a lipstick for the hundredth time,
    ..mistaking my shadow brush for my lippie brush, and therefore getting MAC Nocturnelle all over it the blush,
    ..dropping it on the bathroom floor while it was open, further mushing it up.

    I am bad ๐Ÿ˜€

    • Karen says:

      Hi Redhead,

      EEK! I’ve done the same thing with lipsticks so many times. If you’re motivated I guess you could scoop it out and put it in a pan or something.

  11. cloudburst says:

    I usually just put a tissue on top on the whole pan & then rotate the tissueso I’m wiping the whole surface evenly at once.

    Ummm, I love Chris Meloni! But are you sure this pic isn’t from when the actor was on Oz? LOL.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Cloudburst,

      Yah, it’s from Oz. But when is he ever half naked and hot on SVU? Like, never, right? There were a few eps from a few seasons ago where they showed him shirtless but the shots were filmed from above the stomach up. Hmm, I just realized that I kind of sound like a perv…

  12. Tania says:

    What a useful post and a delicious picture of Christopher Meloni!! As for couch hunting I will have what’s called a chair and half. It’s chocolate brown microfiber which feels scrumptuous to sit in. My bro is buying it for me cuz he wants my red one. Isn’t he awesome?

  13. Citrine says:

    I make sure that, once in a while, I use a blotting paper to press on the pan (then press the paper on my cheeks, why waste any?) it gets rid of the nasty stuff and gives a more even application at the same time.

    I am only using Stila convertible color/sally hansen cream blush though, I don’t know if the texture of Mac is different.
    .-= Citrine’s last blog post… Neutrogena Visibly Even Daily Moisturizer =-.

  14. Tiffany says:

    Girl, trying new makeup is always exciting!

  15. gio says:

    Great tip! My cream products never got too gunky… yet. But once in a while I just swipe the surface with a tissue.
    .-= gio’s last blog post… Why are preservatives used in cosmetics? =-.

  16. Julia says:

    Karen, Thanks so much for answering my question! I feel a little embarrassed because it seems like not a lot of other people seem to be having this problem! I am a big fan of cream blushes; I have two Nars, two Stila, and one Mac. I feel like I can really change my look depending on which one I use, and I tend to use a different one everyday.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Julia,

      You’re welcome! I’m happy to help. It seems like this issue plagues a lot of women so I’m glad you asked the question.

      I was chatting with Stef and Ines earlier here in the comments about Paula Dorf’s cream blushes — they’re awesome. If you love creams you’ve got to try them someday. ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. Katie says:

    Hey Karen,
    Iรขโ‚ฌโ„ขm, the type of obsessed makeup girl who always has to clean her brushes and makeup. And I found that this not only works but also to avoid further contaminating your makeup, is to get a disinfecting wipe and clean the exterior of the makeup container and the rims. It really goes a long way if you take that step in not only limiting the things you get into your makeup but also sanitizing your makeup. Cause you never know what all is on your hands when your touching your makeup!!!

  18. Kara Mizera says:

    How bout this… Lightly spray a disinfecting makeup brush/sponge cleaner onto the sponge and lightly wipe like the above article?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge