Methylated Spirit and its Makeup Uses

May 19, 2009

Methylated spirit, sometimes also known as denatured alcohol, is one of those items you just have to have around. I don’t often think about it but as I was using it to remove a price tag from a makeup item meant as a gift, I thought about how indispensable it is in my makeup stash. Here are some makeup uses of this beauty tool.

Be gone, sticky stuff

If you are wont to keep product packaging and want them looking pristine, this will help you remove price tags and unsightly sticker marks.

It is also good for removing labels on makeup receptacles and skincare/bath and body bottles, if you tire of peeling paper and the glue some labels leave behind.

Additionally, this volatile liquid helps remove waterproof lash glue on falsies, as well as theatrical adhesives such as spirit gum, which is used on stage prosthetics such as wigs, false beards and latex masks.

Bind me, rescue me

While rubbing alcohol is popular for pressing pigments*, methylated spirit is also often used for this purpose. Some methylated spirits contain castor oil, which acts as a binding agent.

A number of drops mixed with the pigment for the right consistency + some pressure exerted on the surface + time for the pan to dry out = a new makeup item! ;)

It can also be used to salvage cracked/broken eyeshadows and blushes. A few drops of it, together with firm pressure applied on a piece of three-ply tissue (or a clean piece of fabric) over the affected area, help to mend the cracks and resuscitate a damaged powder product.

Banish the germs, blot out the stains

Methylated spirit is sometimes used for disinfecting makeup and makeup brushes because of its alcohol content.**

A firm cotton pad soaked with methylated spirit can clean the surfaces/exterior of beauty tools and makeup receptacles too. Steel plates and glass tiles for mixing/laying down product, powder cases, eyeshadow containers, makeup brush handles, brush holders and the like – the liquid removes product smears, smudgy fingerprints and most makeup stains in a flash. The speed with which it cleans is particularly welcome after a long makeup assignment.***

I also love methylated spirit for cleaning mirrors (it leaves no residue or marks) and high-quality plastic/acrylic makeup storage units that do not melt or corrode upon contact with it.

I’m certain that this list isn’t exhaustive. Do share your use of methylated spirit for beauty-related purposes; I look forward to knowing more!

* Transforming loose pigment powders into pressed beauty products by compacting them in pans.

** To keep makeup clean, I always use disposable applicators and remove top layers of makeup by sharpening my makeup pencils and swiping off surfaces with tissue or kitchen roll sheets.

As for makeup brushes, I prefer to use specific brush cleansers for a simple clean-up and diluted baby shampoo or Daiso Liquid Cleanser for Sponges for a thorough wash.

*** Alcohol wipes work just as well. Depending on the extent of the stains, baby wipes may do the trick but such wipes do not contain alcohol and are usually gentler.

Posted in: beauty tools | cleaning makeup tools | pigments

28 Responses to Methylated Spirit and its Makeup Uses

  1. nia
    August 11, 2009 at 4:49 pm

    hi there,

    thank you for posting this up. may i know whats the alcohol percentage of Guardian brand methylated spirit?

    i googled and find that methylated spirit is not to be replaced with rubbing alcohol. that said, is it safe to use it to mend make up?

    im just curious, thanks!


  2. makeupmag
    August 24, 2009 at 1:25 am

    Hi Nia,

    I believe it's 96%. It's recommended for disinfecting skin surfaces, so I reckon it ought to be safe for mending makeup.

  3. Rosemarie van Wyk
    October 3, 2009 at 9:35 pm

    I have heard to use Metholated Spirits to strenghen nails. You dip your nails for 4 Minutes into warm Metholated Spirit and then 4 Minutes into warm Olive Oel.
    Would the Metholated spirit in any way harm your body? I would appriciate your Reply
    Friendly Regards

    • makeupmag
      November 10, 2009 at 11:15 pm

      Hi Rosemarie,

      That’s an interesting tip. I don’t think methylated spirit will harm your body when used topically (on the skin). :)

  4. Liesl
    April 8, 2010 at 10:27 am

    hi Mag,
    the above article is so informative! i’m going to try it out myself asap!
    Btw, i have also seen guardian selling Glycerin BP. Do you know what are the uses of this product as well?

    • makeupmag
      April 20, 2010 at 12:49 am

      Hi Liesl,

      You can use glycerin to intensify your powder shadows. ;)

  5. Solo
    June 6, 2010 at 6:49 am

    I use it to dry out pimples. It’s also great for cold sores, mouth ulcers and healing wounds. It can hurt but it’s one of the best disenfectants around. I was pre-surgery once and I got a nasty cat scratch – any risk of infection can mean your surgery is cancelled. The surgeon asked me what I did and I said that I’d put metho on it – he said it was the best think I could have done because its 95% alcohol (depending on what you buy).

    • makeupmag
      June 8, 2010 at 12:28 am

      Hi Solo,

      That is a good tip! Thank you for sharing. :)

  6. BUNMI
    August 26, 2010 at 10:22 pm


    • makeupmag
      January 19, 2015 at 1:30 pm

      Hi Bunmi,

      Do read Jess’s comment below. :)

  7. tina
    September 28, 2012 at 12:20 am

    i also use it as a toner as i am acne prone and it works. i use it once a day before bed time after cleansing.if u apply it after poping a pimple it also reduces scaring.

    • makeupmag
      September 29, 2012 at 3:02 am

      Hi Tina,

      I wonder if it’s too harsh, though. Glad it works for you!

  8. dee
    June 11, 2013 at 5:29 am

    Someone told me she mixed it with glycerine and bio oil for beautiful skin, does it works and is it safe?

    • makeupmag
      June 27, 2013 at 12:49 pm

      Hi Dee,

      I have no idea – glycerin and Bio Oil are safe for the face (though the latter contains mineral oil which may not be good for some) but methylated spirit is very strong.

  9. Claire
    August 18, 2013 at 10:16 pm

    I recently purchased methylated spirits. I’m just wondering if I can use it to spot clean my make up brushes and then use the brush straight after to apply make up on the skin?

    • makeupmag
      January 19, 2015 at 1:27 pm

      Hi Claire,

      As a commenter below suggests, rubbing alcohol seems to be the safer choice.

  10. naza
    November 16, 2013 at 8:37 pm

    hi! tanx for these tips. pls i want to know if i can use methylated spirit to clean my makeup brushes.

    • makeupmag
      January 19, 2015 at 1:28 pm

      Hi Naza,

      As a commenter below suggests, rubbing alcohol seems to be the safer choice.

  11. Thoko Mahlangu
    March 3, 2014 at 9:17 pm

    Can i use methylated spirit in my my face for pimples

    • makeupmag
      January 19, 2015 at 1:28 pm

      Hi Thoko,

      Please read Jess’s comment below.

  12. Alma
    April 10, 2014 at 10:55 pm

    Is it safe to us methylated spirits for broken teeth?

    • makeupmag
      January 19, 2015 at 1:31 pm

      I’ve no idea, Alma but rubbing alcohol seems to be the safer choice.

  13. Jess
    June 19, 2014 at 6:41 pm

    You should really avoid using methylated spirits. I see where you are coming from with the uses though.

    Methylated spirits uses ethanol with the addition of other toxic chemicals and especially methanol. These are added so that the ethanol can be sold at a cheaper price and used for its benefits and not be classified as alcohol (government alcohol taxes). These chemicals, especially the methanol, are toxic the body and should not be near the eyes. The nature of the chemicals makes them vaporous after time (like how hand sanitiser dries quickly) and to put on fake eyelashes and pigment pots is to expose your skin and eyes to these chemicals. They can cause blindness too!

    Rubbing alcohol! This baby is your best makeup friend! It can be used for all the uses above plus more. Rubbing alcohol is made of isopropyl alcohol which is much safer and milder on the skin. However it can still makes the eyes water a bit!

    Great article nonetheless!

    • makeupmag
      January 19, 2015 at 1:07 pm

      Hi Jess,

      Thanks for the advice! I’ll be sure to chose rubbing alcohol in the future. :)

  14. Zodwa
    November 16, 2014 at 12:50 am

    I heard someone saying they are usin methylated spirits for perfect colour complexion,so i also want to try it…will it be safe if i mix with ponds and use on my face?

    • makeupmag
      January 19, 2015 at 1:25 pm


      Please read Jess’s comment.

  15. Augur
    January 5, 2015 at 2:23 pm

    Yes M-spirit it’s gud for skin tone even clear pimples and spots

    • makeupmag
      January 19, 2015 at 1:25 pm

      Hi Augur,

      Do read Jess’s comment above.

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