Airbrush Makeup Products We Love: Two Great Airbrush Cleaners

There are many ways to keep your airbrush makeup system clean and many different products you can use. Most of the time I find that (preferably distilled) water and back-bubbling is the easiest and best way. Any build up of makeup can also be forced out of the needle with a few bursts of air/water at the highest PSI. Vinegar or a natural citrus cleaner are also great cleaners for airbrush guns.

Note: Do not use silicone-based cleaners for water based makeup! This is one of the golden rules of airbrush makeup: don’t mix water-based products with silicone-based products. Using a silicone-based airbrush makeup cleaner with a water-based makeup separates and breaks down the ingredients of the makeup, changing the viscosity. The makeup will not spray out of the airbrush gun correctly and no manufacturer will honor the warranty.

The more often you take apart the airbrush gun and clean the individual components, the less likely you are to run into any trouble. A well maintained airbrush will last for years, if not, decades. Remember to clean between changing makeup shades and to do a full rinse through of the airbrush gun until you can only see the cleaning product spraying through. Clean out the cup with a q-tip and make sure the nozzle is clean and free of makeup. Be very careful not to damage the needle when you are cleaning and watch out for bits of cotton that may come off the q-tip when you are cleaning. Do a full maintenance clean every month or two.

Soaking your airgun in a cup of water or docking-jar is also an easy way to keep it clean and clog-free.

Japonesque Pro Brush Cleaner

If you are using water-based airbrush makeup then I recommend adding a little citrus-based cleaner to the water such as Pro Brush Cleaner from Japonesque. You might have used this already for cleaning your makeup brushes–well, it works great for airbrush guns too. Being citrus-based it is both environmentally friendly and easily able to dissolve most makeup. You don’t need to use it undiluted–just add some to water. Please use distilled water only – most tap water contains chemicals and metals that can build up in your airbrush and will change the viscosity of your makeup.

Temptu Silicone Based Airbrush Makeup Cleaner

If using silicone-based makeup then you may need something a little more powerful such as Temptu’s Silicone Based Airbrush Cleaner which is designed specifically for use with… surprise, surprise… silicone-based makeup! The most important thing is that it works and is a great cleaner. It will also work with water-based makeup of course, but it’s not recommended to ever mix SB based products with WB and vice versa.

A lot of airbrush makeup kits will come with their own cleaners which are designed to work perfectly with the makeup of that particular brand. These are always good cleaners but are sometimes a little pricey.

2 Comments + Add Comment

  • Hi Michelle,

    I’m confused about a portion of your article here. You mention to never use silicone based cleaners for water based make up and then at the end of the article, you mention that temptu’s silicone based cleaner works with water based make up? Can you explain this please?

    Thank you.


    • Hello Agnes – thank you for pointing that out! I’m not sure why I wrote that. I think I meant that you can use the SB based to clean WB products but it is not something you should ever do. I’ve fixed the article now.
      It’s best to use the citrus-based cleaners or, if you are unsure, use the ones that are produced by the manufacturers of the makeup you are using. Always clean between new product too.