My usual go-to for brush cleanser is usually Neutrogena Rainbath Shower and Bath Gel in the Original version or occasionally MAC Brush Cleaner. Although baby shampoo is often a popular recommendation from many, I tend to avoid it as I find it sometimes leaves a slight residue on the brushes. At my latest Chanel event, I asked the artist what she thought was the best brush cleanser for foundation and concealer brushes. Although I find soapy warm water can clean these, I usually have to wash in at least 3-4 rounds to get them fully cleaned. She said hands down Bobbi Brown's Brush Cleanser ($16.50 for 3.4 oz) and Brush Cleaning Spray ($22 for 3 oz). I decided to try the cleanser and give it a thorough test (the reviews online seemed very favorable).
Bobbi Brown's Brush Cleanser is a clear liquid that comes in a black squeeze tube. It's not quite as fluid as toners, but not thick like a gel. The cap flips open.
I tested the Bobbi Brown Brush Cleanser with about a dozen brushes this weekend. I'll show the before and after results below with three different sets of brushes. Although I'm sure most know how to wash their own brushes, I'll do a quick tutorial of the steps I used to test the Bobbi Brown. The instructions on the box were fairly simple and easy to follow. Basically wet the brushes, squeeze a small amount into the palm of your hand (I found a dime size worked for 3 brushes at a time), massage the cleaner into brushes, rinse completely, squeeze water out, reshape and lay flat to dry.
I found the brush cleanser to work extremely well with all of my brushes. There was a slight minty scent to the product, but it disappears after washing the brushes. You only need a small amount and it foams up just slightly as you work it into your brushes. I was really impressed at how well the brush cleaner cleaned my foundation brushes. My used foundation brushes usually needed 3-5 rounds of cleaning with strong dish soap before the creams budge. With the Bobbi Brown Brush Cleanser, I only needed 2 rounds to get them completely clean. Huge thumbs up! The only brush that didn't come completely clean was the MAC Duo Fibre 130 (probably because I had remnants of a darker Armani Fluid Sheer sitting on it for a few days).
Three sets of testing with before and after photos. Below, the dirty brushes, scroll to the bottom to see the after look:
Brushes after cleaning and drying (I let them dry through the afternoon):
Overall extremely impressed. I found Bobbi Brown's Brush Cleanser to be extremely effective but not too harsh. The brushes dried nicely without any residue left on them. I'm ecstatic my foundation brushes were cleaned very quickly and effectively. The cleanser seemed to be versatile for all different types of bristles and hairs. Most of the white brushes returned to their original white cream color. The only one that did not was the MAC Duo Fibre (which probably needs a few more rounds of cleaning). The price of $16.50 is reasonable since a little goes a long way. Still, given the frequency which I wash my brushes, I would probably want to reserve this for the brushes that need an extra effective cleanser. Neutrogena is a cheaper option (Costco size bottles that is) and just as effective for most of the brushes (except the ones I use for cream products). Bottom line: huge thumbs up. I think I need to try the brush spray next.
I bought my Bobbi Brown Brush Cleaner at Nordstrom. It's also available at all Bobbi Brown counters and retailers.