Unofficially, there are certain questions one should never ask a person. How old are you? How much did you spend on (insert splurge item here)? What is your weight? These are just no-no topics most people learn to stay away from. For me, there’s one more I’d argue belongs among these impolite inquiries, and that is, When did you last wash your makeup brushes?
Don’t laugh. The answer simply reveals too much about someone (aka, me). Like, just how lazy I can be … or why my skin is breaking out so often … or why I just spent another $50 on new brushes. As bad as this is, cleaning my beauty tools is a nuisance that I avoid for as long as possible. Scrubbing each one takes forever — especially if you have a brush for every step of your routine, like I do — and sometimes my soap doesn’t even get all the product out! Frustration at its finest.
To save my skin, my brushes and my sanity, I was in need of a cleaner that could get the job done more quickly and efficiently than my current process — cue Cinema Secrets.
It must be in the name, but I honestly don’t know how this genius product alluded me for so long. On a recent friends trip, one of my besties — and self-proclaimed beauty guru — clued me in to this makeup brush cleaning hack, claiming that “it’s what the professionals use.” I don’t know any makeup artists to prove it, but I know friends don’t steer friends wrong. So, I ordered a starter kit for myself to try.
The kit comes with two products: an 8-ounce bottle of cleaner and a compact cleansing tin. And to my relief, the instructions include just three easy steps: “Pour it, dip it and wipe it.” But with all seriousness, I’m glad I glanced at the directions first before generously dunking my brushes. The brand recommends adding only enough of the cleaner to the tin “to dip a quarter of the way up the brush bristles.” After slightly soaking the tips, you should remove immediately since the bristles will draw up more of the liquid than you think.
Then comes the fun part: Start wiping! I used a cloth, but the brand says a paper towel would work just as well, and brushed my tools back and forth. The makeup practically fell off my brushes. I couldn’t believe how quickly the formula broke down all the product buildup. It worked on all makeup types too — from liquid concealers to powder eyeshadows. (Whatever you do, make sure you’re not using a cloth or bath towel you don’t want marked up or stained.)
The best part about this product is that you don’t have to rinse the cleaner off. No water, meaning less mess. Once all of the makeup is off — and it all comes off — just re-shape your brushes and let them air dry. When I used to wash my brushes before Cinema Secrets, I’d have to wait a full 24 hours for them to dry before using them again. Not with this miracle cleaner. I only wait five, maybe 10 minutes, and they’re ready for applying glam again.
I also noticed that you really don’t need to use much product per brush — a little goes a long way. If I had known this before, I would have just purchased the travel kit, which is half the price.
Trigger warning for those who are sensitive to fragrance: There is a strong scent that comes with this cleaning product. The original bottle has notes of vanilla; it teeters on chemical-like in the beginning, but once the product dries, it’s much less intense. The cleaner is also available in lemon, but if it’s anything like the one I currently have, I’d prepare for a strong tropical aroma.
Overall, this cleaning kit does the job and lessens many of the pain points that come with washing makeup brushes. It will even keep your bristles soft and conditioned, so you don’t have to worry about damaging your tools. If Cinema Secret wanted to stay secret, sorry (but not sorry) — I’m happy to let this beauty hack out of the bag.