If there’s one thing I really don’t like doing, it has to be cleaning my makeup brushes! Over the last 4-5 years I’ve tried to make sure they were given a good wash on a weekly basis. But as I tended to use the back of my hand to swirl them around to clean off the debris it was a bit of a nightmare and would result in me having really sore hands. Ouch!
I’d heard about the Sigma Spa Brush Cleaning Mat a while ago, and I’d talked myself out of buying it on numerous occasions as it’s quite pricey and I wasn’t sure how much use I’d get out of it. But one Sunday evening after cleaning my brushes I decided my hand had had enough and I ordered one to try before I could change my mind again. And I have to say, it’s completely changed the way I feel about caring for my brushes …
My first thought when I opened the Sigma Spa Brush Cleaning Mat and laid it out on a flat surface was that it’s sort of, um, bottom shaped! This made me chuckle (because I am that immature for someone in her 30’s) but to be fair it’s the perfect shape for sitting nice and snugly in the sink.
As you can see from my pictures, the mat is a lovely bright fuchsia colour. It’s made from a silicone material which is really flexible and easy to clean! I should also point out that on my pictures the mat looks quite flimsy and like it might tear after a couple of uses, but it actually seems really robust and I don’t feel like it would damage easily.
The mat is designed to fit most bathroom sinks, and it has suction cups on the bottom to make sure it’s nice and secure when you put it in. The top side of the mat has 7 patented textures, each designed to help clean your makeup brushes in a different way.
The mat is also split in to two halves – with the right hand side designed to clean face brushes and the left hand side designed to clean eye ones. Each of the sides then have different sections with different textures on which are used for the various stages of cleaning. I’ll talk more about this in a second!
My friends always ask me if I use any special brush cleansing fluids when I clean my makeup brushes. And although there are loads of different ones out there on the market, I actually don’t! I just use a cheap antibacterial handwash from Aldi. I think it costs about 69p and it does a brilliant job.
When I first tried out the Sigma Spa Brush Cleaning Mat I had a full pot of dirty brushes to clean. This would usually take me well over an hour to deal with, so I was interested to find out whether or not it would cut that time down or not.
Now, there are 2 versions of this mat available : the original version, which is the one I have. And the express version, which is designed for smaller sinks. I chose the original one as I thought our bathroom sink was fairly big, but the mat is actually a little bit too big for it. This means that instead of sitting around the plug hole like it does in all of Sigma’s images, it sits over it.
I thought that this might create a bit of a problem when using the mat, but I’ve found that as long as I don’t push down too much on the suction cups at the top end the water can escape without any problems. Phew!!
So, once the mat is securely fitted to the sink it’s time to start cleaning those makeup brushes! I always start by rinsing the brush under the tap. I always recommend pointing the bristles of the brush downwards so the water doesn’t run into the ferrule (metal part) and do any damage. I realise I’m not doing this in my photo but that’s just because I’m rubbish at taking pictures and tilted the brush as I was taking it – not good!
Next, you squirt a little soap on to the appropriate section of the mat, and swirl the brush head over the nodules to begin the cleaning process. At first I was extremely gentle, and nothing much seemed to happen. But I soon got into the groove (see what I did there) and realised that I could add a little pressure as the silicone is nice and gentle and highly unlikely to do any damage to the bristles of the brush.
I generally just use the ‘wash face’ part of the mat for my foundation and blush brushes and ‘wash eyes’ for my shadow brushes, but if you think your brushes could do with a deeper clean then there are sections labelled ‘refine’ and ‘refine plus’ which are perfect for doing just this. It sounds really complicated but once you’ve cleaned a couple of brushes it becomes really simple to do and you’ll be navigating the mat like a pro!
Once you’re happy that you’ve cleaned your brush enough, it’s time to rinse off all the suds. I tend to give the brush a quick rinse under the tap first, and then leave the water running as I sweep the brush back and forth over the ‘rinse’ portions of the mat. What I like most about this part is that thanks to the way the mat sits along the curve of the sink, all of the dirty water that comes out of the bristles goes straight down the plug hole and doesn’t muck up the basin. Whoop, whoop!
And last but certainly not least I like to give the bristles of my brushes a little squeeze to remove any excess water, and then fluff them up a little bit before laying them out flat on a towel to dry. I find this helps them return to their regular shape once the process is over.
I found the whole process to be quick and easy to do, and it took me around 25 minutes to clean a full pot of brushes. And of course I didn’t have a sore hand afterwards! But the beauty of the mat is not just the time you can save while cleaning your brushes. It’s the way the different textures it has help give each brush a much more thorough clean than you can get washing them any other way. They get right in between each bristle and no doubt remove a lot of dirt I would have been missing before.
I did find flat foundation brushes were a lot more difficult to clean than any of the other types of brushes I have. But I think this is due to their bristles having a more solid shape which doesn’t move as freely. I don’t use these very often though so it’s not really an issue for me, but I thought I would mention it incase any of you guys reading use those types of brushes for applying your foundation.
Overall I really love the Sigma Spa Brush Cleaning Mat, and I think it would be a fantastic investment for makeup artists and people who have an expensive or large collection of brushes and want to keep them in good condition. Using it really is like taking your brushes to a spa!
I mentioned before that it is a little on the pricey side (£32), but I use mine once a week and I couldn’t imagine going back to cleaning my brushes on the back of my hand now. I definitely have no regrets about spending that amount of money on it. I highly recommend trying it!
Sigma Spa Brush Cleaning Mat – £32.00 ||link||
How do you guys clean your makeup brushes?
Let me know in the comments below!
*Product purchased with my own money