Brushes are an obsession of mine and something I can’t live without is a good brush cleaner. I use a few different things to clean my brushes but this months rummage through my vault of posts brings to light a solid cleaner that I fell in love with back in 2013 – Warning: this is a bit of long one…
Brush cleaning takes up a lot of my time. I currently have in excess of ummm… (whispers) 200 make-up brushes and although I don’t use all of them at once (obviously) they do need cleaning between make-ups. I love my brushes, however with all that cleaning I’m always looking for new and better ways to clean them – If nothing else it makes it a little more exciting for me!
Today the vast majority of brush cleaners are chemical or alcohol based products that come in bottles or sprays. Not only are they potentially hazardous to the environment and your own health if using them on a daily basis, they do nothing for the health of your brushes! These harsh chemicals can erode the glue that binds the bristles, causes them to drop out – plus it can make lacquer on the handle lift, revealing the wood beneath.
When I am on set with quick turn arounds between artists I clean my brushes in 99.9% Isopropyl Alcohol (IPA) as this dries pretty much instantly, but at the end of the day I clean them properly with shampoo and conditioner and allow them to dry thoroughly overnight. My latest find puts pay to the endless combinations of shampoos, washing up liquids and hair conditioners that I have created in order to clean my brushes over the years. One product, less waste, less expensive and by george, a damn sight quicker!
Super easy to use, simply wet the bristles and run them over the surface of the shampoo. Rinse until free from bubbles and soap residue, squeeze out and leave them to dry. Simple.
Wanting to push it to its limits I tried removing all manner of products from my brushes, including a silicone based foundation (a product that rarely sees the light these days). Usually the combination of water and a silicone base is not a happy one but I was pleasantly surprised by the results; clean silicone-free brushes. The combination of Tea Tree essential oil and organic cleansers sterilize and sanitise the bristles and leave them beautifully conditioned without any sticky residue.
The shampoo is available in lemon, lavender and unfrgranced – I have the lavender and love its subtle notes. The scent isn’t overwhelming and does not linger for long on the bristles.
Being a solid shampoo there is no environmental damage and the risk of spills or leaking containers in you kit is avoided. There is a little waste in the form of the tub and it would be great if in the future a refill stem was implemented but for now I’m just happy having a chemical free brush cleaner – and with organic ingredients!
Prices start at around £16.00 and so it is only marginally more expensive than many cleaners available from pro make-up stores, however since opening the pot I have cleaned by my estimation, about 300 brushes (I jest not) and I have barely dented the surface. This baby is definitely going to last me!
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The Lavender Goats milk formulation (you can see I love goats) is still my brush shampoo of choice; I’ve tried all the others however I don’t find them as satisfying to use. For those of you not inclined towards a goat milk based product LBC now also has a vegan alternative which has a coconut milk base.
I admit it isn’t the cheapest option for cleaning your brushes but in my mind it definitely is the best and if you are someone who only owns a few brushes and cleans them monthly *shudders*, then this little pot will last you forever!
Images: Graham Sessions Photography (me and our goats in 178); London Brush Company; Organic MUA