How-To: Clean Up Brush

I have received a few questions on how I paint my nails so neatly so I thought it would be appropriate to do a post on what brushes I use for clean-up.

For those who have not heard of clean-ups before, it is a very simple way to remove excess polish that got onto the cuticles or the sides of the nail. All you have to do is to dip a brush in your nail polish remover and run it along the sides of the nail a few times to get a clean line!

Now, I should probably put a HUGE disclaimer upfront by saying this: 
I know there had been some controversy on this topic because there are a few people who hold strong views on clean-up. For myself, I am neutral on this because I think it is just a matter of personal preference and that's all I am going to say on that matter. So let's not venture into muddy waters, shall we? Instead, this post will focus purely on the brushes that I've tried so far and the views I have on them. 


So these are the two brushes I've tried for clean up.

The battered-looking one on the left is an angled eyeliner brush that I've got from a random beauty store in the mall. It has been with me for almost a year now and suffered the ill-fate of being dropped into a bottle of nail-polish remover. Naturally I panicked and by the time I fished it out, the black paint on the brush handle is almost gone. Nevertheless, it has served me well for longer than I've expected.

Recently, I got another brush from Born Pretty Store because my eyeliner brush is a little worn out. This time I chose a round-tip brush that is probably meant for nail art but I've decided to use it for clean-up purposes anyway.

Here's a quick comparison between the brushes:



They are very different and I like them both for different reasons. I love the angled tip of the eyeliner brush because the tip rests nicely on the sides of my nail. However, I prefer the flatter end of the nail art brush because it gives a more precise clean-up and does not leave a huge gap between the polish and my cuticles.

What type of brush do you prefer?

Just in case you are wondering, you can find the nail art brush (Item ID: 219) at the Born Pretty Store here. They have a wide range of nail products and provide free worldwide shipping! Feel free to quote "HDL91" for a 10% discount when you checkout:


**Products marked with an asterisk are provided for honest review. Please see our disclosure policy for more information**


  1. I'm very compulsive about clean edges on my polish, so I do clean-up with a brush as well. When mine gets too tattered, I just pick up a new one at Target for $4. I've found some of them have bristles that are a little too bendy and you need to trim them a bit to be able to use them effectively, but it's so worth it. I don't do blogger-quality manis, but I'm getting there!

  2. I use Debra Lynn's Professional Nail brush for french manicures for clean ups. I've been using the same brush for over a year and it still looks great, not tattered. It really stands up to pure acetone. I get mine from for about $4.

  3. Stacy Plowman-PennockFebruary 6, 2013 at 9:49 AM

    Controversy? About polish clean up?? Wha?
    Seriously, what's controversial about polish clean-up? LOL!

    1. I would love to know as well! I have no idea how someone can cause controversy about something like that lol!

  4. i can clean up..but now i need to have your perfectly shaped gorgeous nails! i love them

  5. For my clean up, I use the ELF concealer brush from target, it's $1, and once the bristles wear down from the remover it's inexpensive enough to throw out the old one and use the new one. :)

  6. My clean up brush is actually a dirt cheap paint brush I bought from a stationery store :p It's got flat tips, which I think is a liiiitle harder to control than the angled brush but there's not much to complain. And it's surprisingly lasted long!

  7. I must admit I prefer clean edges for my nails too that's why I almost never do without clean up :P I never thought of trimming the bristles - I will have to try it on some of my other brushes too! Thank you!

  8. Aww thank you Maria dear! <33 I love your nails too!

  9. I am all for getting affordable brushes for clean up too! :P

  10. Oooohh I've actually went to the stationery store before to look for brushes but they turned out to be more expensive that the eyeliner brush o_0

  11. lol! To be honest, I think the matter blew out of proportion but that's just how I see it :)

  12. ohhh I will have to try that!! Thank you Jenni <3

  13. lol! To be honest, I think the matter got blown out of proportion but that's just my own view :)

  14. It's the other way around here! A good eyeliner brush is surprisingly expensive. There are cheaper ones, but the brush is usually awful and will fall off after several manis :( On the other hand, the cheap paint brushes that I found surprisingly hold up well against polish remover! Weird, huh?

  15. I guess I will have to start exploring paint brushes next! ;)