Nail Essentials: Cuticle Clean Up Brush

Cuticle Clean Up BrushMy hunt for the perfect cuticle clean up brush has been long and dramatic. It’s taken me to the arts and crafts store to the beauty department at Belk to Sephora and back. Finally one night when I was super frustrated because yet again the bristles were falling out of my too-expensive-for-what-it-is cuticle clean up brush I ordered 6 or so elf Essentials Concealer Brush.

Here and there I’d heard people talk about this brush and the rare times I was at Target I’d always look in the elf section and could never find this brush. I more or less wrote it off and continued using different brushes. This is the part where I admit I had ordered this brush MUCH sooner.

This particular brush is part of the Essential line so it retails for $1. It’s too small, in my opinion, to use as a concealer brush. But it is the perfect width for a cuticle clean up brush. It’s also not particularly dense and the bristles are synthetic. This keeps the brush from soaking up too much polish remover.

This is, by far, the best brush I have used for cuticle clean up. That being said, it’s not going to last forever. The acetone eats away at the glue so eventually bristles will begin to fall out. I used my first concealer brush for about 6 months before reaching for a new one. Considering the low price tag, and the fact that I’ve used brushes from all price ranges and they all eventual have this problem, I’m completely ok with replacing this brush every 6 months or so.

While I’ve never had any luck at finding this particular brush in Target stores, it is available on the Target website as well as

Below the jump are a few detailed photos of the brush as well as a before and after of my nails when I used this brush (the polish is Pure Ice No Means No….FYI).

I’d love to know what your favorite cuticle clean up brush is (because let’s be honest….I can’t help but try different things!) or if you just use a plain old cotton swab. Or perhaps those Q-Tips that are pointed…I’ve been wanting to try those!



elf Cuticle Clean Up Brush elf Concealer Brush Cuticle Clean Up


  1. I use this same brush for clean up, it’s the best (cheapest) one I’ve found. I use pure acetone so mine only last about a month or two before I have to get a new one, but I definitely haven’t been able to find anything that beats them since they’re only $1 each!

  2. I’ve tried the pointed cotton swabs as well as a bit of cotton wrapped around an orange stick but they always seemed to leave little wisps of cotton stuck to the nail and they’re too big and inflexible to get close enough to the nail bed. This e.l.f. brush is the best one I’ve found, too!

  3. I tried a cheap makeup brush, but the bristles started coming out far too quickly for me. Now I actually use similarly-sized angled paint brushes from Hobby Lobby. They seem fancy but there’s almost always some kind of sale (you can get a discount on an item just by using their app) and they last longer than 6 months before the bristles start to dry out.

  4. I’m 100% a pointed Q-tip girl. It works well for me and I never have issues with cotton sticking to the polish. The only annoying thing about them is that when the polish remover soaks into the cotton and you apply pressure the tip starts to dull so if you want to work with a very precise point you have to keep changing cotton buds.

  5. I love your blog so much, yes I have my own blog but I also love learning and trying new products and reading your reviews, I had been debating on a good clean up brush, now I know what to get. also trying to find a great 5 free nail polish base coat my nails are hard and splitn peel and are dry. would you recommend the barielle? or something else dear. hope you reply thanks so much your blog is awesome

What do you think?