For the last 6 months, I've generally been really lazy about cleaning my brushes. Thankfully, many brands make brush cleansers that are great for light cleanings in between times that you finally get around to deep cleaning your brushes (which unfortunately for me has been a few months now...don't get grossed out though, I have a LOT of brushes so I've been on a rotation...) The three I've tried so far are Smashbox's, MAC's and Japonesque's Parian Spirit cleaners.
I'll start this post off with Japonesque's Parian Spirit Cleanser. This cleanser comes in 3 sizes, a 2 oz. bottle with a sprayer, an 8 oz size, and a huge 16 oz size. I was lucky enough to get a decent sized sample of this stuff from a friend of mine who picked this up from IMATS while she was there. (Thank you!) This cleanser is probably the quickest and easiest to use; you simply pour a little bit out into a small container, dip your brush in, and swirl it in there slightly and pigments literally just fall out of your brush. It's pretty interesting to watch. It has a lemony scent to it (Lemon Pledge anyone?) After that, just squish it a bit with a paper towel and it's good for use again. Out of the 3 cleansers I'll be talking about today, this is also the only brush cleanser I've tried that REALLY pulls all that gross gunk out of your lip brushes...and does so rather quickly at that (I think it took me less than a minute to clean 3 lip brushes) I like this one very much for that. However, overall, this cleanser is my least favorite out of the 3 because it seems to contain oil, which I don't think is something I like. This does make it so that scratchy brushes like the maxine mop are much much softer, but I think I'll skip on this for using regularly on anything except my lip brushes.
Next up is Smashbox. Smashbox is the first brush cleanser I ever bought, back in the day, when Smashbox was pretty much the only cosmetic line I used. (I was a die hard Smashbox fan back in high school and my early college years) Smashbox's Brush Cleaner comes in a 4 oz spay bottle and retails for $15. To use this product, you spray the brush cleanser on a paper towel and then sweep your brush over the moistened towel to remove pigment. It's a nice cleanser for removing pigment from your brushes as well as sanitizing your brushes, but I feel that MAC's brush cleanser does the same exact thing for way less money.
MAC's brush cleanser comes in a 7.9 oz bottle with one of those push top dispensers (like BBW lotion bottles) and retails for $11. One bottle lasts me a very, very long time (i think the last one lasted me about 10 months or so) I use this one in the same way that I use the Smashbox one, I spray/pour a bit of this stuff on a paper towel, run my brush over the dampened area, and then squeeze my brush slightly with a dry paper towel. My brishes are ready for use again within a few minutes. I'm generally quite happy with this cleanser, and out of the three I'm posting about today, this one is my favorite. It makes my life much easier since I can go just a little bit longer without having to deep clean my brushes. I think it's generally better to use on smaller brushes like eye brushes, but it can pull color out of cheek brushes as well, generally, I prefer to subject my face brushes to deep cleaning instead of using brush cleanser.
For deep cleaning my brushes, I like to run the tips of my brushes under warm water, then work in a mixture of antibacterial soap, baby shampoo/conditioner, and warm water, or just a mix of warm water and antibacterial soap. I then rinse out my brushes, squeeae out excess water, with a paper towl, and lay them flat to dry.