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 error the glue that binds the bristles and causes them to drop out, plus it can make any 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!
London Brush Company – Brush Shampoo
When I visited the UMA Expo in April my first stop was the London Brush Company stand. I had read amazing things about this brush cleaner and was desperate to lay my hands on some.
Immediately you see there is something different about this brush cleaner. It’s solid – think Lush Shampoo Bar, but in a tub. It’s also made from goat milk.
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!
Priced at £22.00 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.
Available online or instore from Guru Make-up Emporium.
London Brush Company is the creation of British Make-up Artist Sian Richards. Inspired by the brushes used by her father, the late Make-up Artist Hu Richards, Sian set up the company in 2008 and today has a following of devotees around the world.
Goat Milk, Essential Oil, Tea Tree, Pure Organic Cleanser
Main Image courtesy of Graham Sessions Photography (me and our goats in 1978)
Body image courtesy of: London Brush Company and Organic MUA