Cleaning my makeup brushes has always been a major pain point for me, and as such I don’t do it as often as I should. My recent attempt at getting a gadget – the StylPro brush cleaner – to do it for me backfired big time, but it also help me realise one thing. I can’t skimp on the cleaning process if I want my brushes to be clean and not damaged at the same time, but I sure can make the drying process less painful. Which is where the Benjabelle Brush Tree comes in.
With brushes, there are so many constraints and things to look out for. Your brush shampoo must be clarifying enough to remove oils and heavy duty makeup like liquid foundations and concealer, but gentle enough to not damage the hair. At the same time, it can’t leave any conditioning residue that might end up on your skin and cause breakouts. And that’s just the washing!
For me, the drying process is such a urghhhhh!@#$!! part always, because while the bristles have to get totally wet, the ferrel can’t. If you get water in – like if you leave your freshly washed brush standing upright – the moisture could break down the glue holding all the brush hairs together and bam, there goes your $100+ brush. Direct sunlight is also bad for brushes. Which means to dry it, you have to incline the brush at an angle that ensures no backflow, and still leave the brush head in good shape.
How is this process enticing to anyone?!
So I got the Benjabelle Brush Tree (USD35 on the official site, SGD34 on Qoo10) a while back because I’ve come to the conclusion that yes, I can handle manual washing of every single brush. But there’s no way I am going to balance 9 – 12 brushes on a toilet paper roll at the same time, trying to get the right angle while simultaneously picking up brushes that roll off. I also got the Ecotools Makeup Brush Shampoo from a recent iHerb order (SGD11) to try out.
My Benjabelle Brush Tree is the original, which can hold up to 14 large brushes or 42 eye/lip brushes. What’s amazing is that the whole thing is collapsible so you can just fold it up (and it takes up practically zero space) once your brushes are done.
My cleaning method is so fuss-free and affordable. I tried to get the Sigma Brush Cleaning Mat sometime ago, but it was out of stock everywhere. While I was looking for alternatives, this ultra cheap option came up: a silicon pot holder from Daiso. Yes, this only costs $2!!!! And it’s been amazing so far. All you need is small, smooth ridges on the mat to get the rubbing action which gets gunk out of your brushes. Plus, the pot holder also acts like a stopper so you can control the exact amount of water for different lengths of brushes!
You only need a bit of brush shampoo with this method, and it really gets everything out. The brush pictured above is a massive, dome Sephora powder brush which is densely packed with hair. I haven’t used it in a while (because I haven’t washed it) and now that I am, you can see how much loose powder was left in it. This was a second wash, and by the third it was rinsing clear.
I really like the Ecotools brush shampoo; it gets the most hardcore shit out with minimal effort. I was trying out a shortcut method a few days ago which is to basically use makeup wipes on the brushes if you need to use them again immediately. For the life of me, I couldn’t get the last of the residue off my concealer brush and I gave up, resigning myself to a life of Gross Stained Concealer Brush. But with the shampoo, all of the product came out and my brush looked as good as new again ^^
These two brushes are the most heavily stained ones as I use them for blushes. You can see how they looked before I washed them in the first picture. No stains, no product left, nada. Just clean and healthy brushes.
Other than this Sephora buffing brush. It never recovered from its time spent with the Stylpro, and even when wet, I can’t get it to go back to the original shape. Poor guy 🙁
It’s been about 12 hours since I cleaned my brushes, and most of them are fully dry.
How do you clean your brushes? Would you use the Benjabelle Brush Tree? Let me know if you have a better (and easier) way!