As discussed recently in my article “The Importance of Cleanliness On the Job, and at Home”, whether you’re a pro or every day makeup user, one of the most important aspects of makeup is sanitation. And while keeping your products uncontaminated is important, the one task that often falls to the wayside is the cleaning of makeup brushes. People often go weeks or months without cleaning them, I have heard people state that they have *never* cleaned theirs. I’ve already gone into depth about the dangers that can arise from using dirty brushes, so I will spare you and won’t get into it again here. You can read my previous post for more information. So now that we have established that you should be cleaning them regularly, I want to talk about a great product to use when doing said cleaning.
You may or may not have read my review of the brush cleaner from Clean, which for quite some time was my favorite cleanser. And I still think that the product is great, but the company is too unreliable and myself and others often found that we could not get it when we needed it. When I was at CRC, this was one of the most common inquiries that we received. I constantly had customers messaging me personally on Facebook asking when it would be back in stock, or what else I could recommend since it was on back order. It was often out of stock for months at a time, and most people I have talked to have just given up and moved on to other brands. We all tried to be understanding, after all the company is run by a single mom who makes the soaps in her kitchen, you have to cut her some slack! But what it really comes down to is that if you have a staple product for an industry like this, and yours in is high demand, you need to be able to deliver.
An artist simply can’t work a job with dirty brushes, and if they can’t get the cleanser they want, when they need it, then they will have to find something more reliable. Clean was the staple in many artist’s kits, and unfortunately they seem to have dropped the ball. There are many companies that make similar solid brush soaps now, filling the void left by Clean. The most popular seem to be those offered by London Brush Co. and BeautyBlender, and most recently BLVD, but I just wasn’t impressed by them. They clean the brushes well enough, but I never felt like the bristles were soft afterwards which is important. Overall I am just a fan of solid cleansers over liquid, it’s a personal preference of mine, so I was disappointed that the one I had found and loved wasn’t working out for the simple reason of inaccessibility.
Luckily, there is another company that has entered the picture and is starting to get a bit of recognition. They recently debuted at CRC and, since I trust their judgement and received good feedback, I went ahead and snagged a couple. The company is called Crazy Merman (I love the name!), they are all natural, vegan, and cruelty free which is always a huge selling point for me. Right now their cleanser comes in 4 scents: Guava Fig, Cool Cucumber, Lavender Basil, and Calla Lily. They also have an unscented version, giving customers 5 total options. I got the Guava Fig and Cool Cucumber, and I am seriously loving the scents! They are refreshing, and not too strong which is ideal when it comes to brushes. Yes, I want them to smell good when being used on myself or clients, but I don’t want anybody to be overwhelmed. I’m one of those individuals who gets gnarly headaches from strong smells, especially if they are too “perfumey”, and I had no issue with these while cleaning or after the brushes were dry. I can’t wait to get my hands on the other scents as well, I love the unique options that they provide!
And in addition to scents that make you feel like you’re sitting outside on a warm spring or summer day without a care in the world, they are also made with a combination of olive and coconut oils. Both oils are amazing for breaking up stubborn cream products like lipsticks and concealers, while also conditioning natural and synthetic bristles. Coconut oil also has antibacterial properties, which helps to ensure that no nasty bacteria are hiding in your bristles. They can be used on reusable sponges as well, so all of your tools are covered!
I also just love the packaging, each jar comes in a cute drawstring bag with little pendants of a seahorse and seashell, keeping in line with the ocean theme. I can tell that great love and care are put into this product, from the ingredients to the presentation, which is a surefire way to make me enjoy it even more!
Another thing that I noticed is that the labels are water resistant, which you wouldn’t think makes a huge difference but it does. As you’re cleaning your brushes, soap and water are going to get all over the jar. Some companies use paper labels that absorbs the water, and after a few uses they are faded, dirty, and peeling off. The labeling on these jars stays clean and keeps the product looking great. I am really into the packaging of products, in addition to the product itself, so these things tend to stand out to me.
I tried it first on a handful of my personal brushes, and even though I generally clean my brushes regularly I went out of my way to let more product build for the purpose of this review. I don’t wear a ton of makeup myself, but what I use most frequently are my powder brushes. I have a large brush for setting powder, a small one for setting the undereyes, and another larger one for blush and bronzer. I use a BeautyBlender or Kabuki brush for apply foundation and concealer, and occasionally cream blush. There is a contouring brush that I use for highlighter, and I have a few smaller brushes for shadow, liner, brows, etc. So all of these had product from quite a few uses packed in there, I even went so far as to clean some sponges that I have not used/cleaned in months.
Just look at how much product comes out on the first go!
But by the next pass of soap, there was already far less product still in the brush.
Even my big powder brushes were a breeze to clean, the soap lathered very easily!
And just look at the difference between the before and after shots of this one, it barely looks like the same brush!
I can see an immediate difference in my sponges as well, my BeautyBlender was clean in seconds!
As I set them all out to dry, I can see how much better they look.
I also saved a few brushes from my most recent project to see how this cleanser handles the pro products. I made sure to keep ones that were used for concealer, foundation, and even black eyeshadow, to give the cleaning power a more thorough trial run. So let’s see how it handled the tougher products!
As you can see, the white bristles that were previously caked with foundation are sparkling like new and the pesky black eyeshadow has been stripped out.
I even had an older brush that I had accidentally let gel eyeliner dry in, which I feared was done for. But I decided to give it a try, and within seconds this little guy was like new.
I always sanitize my brushes after they have been deep cleaned by giving each one a dousing of Cinema Secrets’ brush cleaner, which is a quick drying, sanitizing formula that I use on set for quick cleaning. I dip the brush into a small container of the liquid, or spray it on. I then lightly stroke the brush back and forth across a paper towel, helping to dry the cleanser but also testing to see if all of the product was cleaned from the brush. If there is still product in there, this cleanser will strip it out and I will see it on the paper towel. That brush usually goes back for an additional deep cleaning, until no makeup is seen during the “paper towel test”. After using the Crazy Merman soaps, I honestly had no trouble with product sticking in the bristles. Using warm water, I worked it into a lather and massaged it into the bristles to break up anything that might be deeply embedded. I repeated this until it rinsed clean, but most brushes did not require many repeats. Most had the bulk of the product out the first time, and little to none came out upon a second lather. Once they were dry I gave them the test, and the end result was a handful of impressively clean, soft, and deliciously scented brushes!
I am glad that I got two of the 4oz sizes, I recently added a ton of new brushes to my kit so I know that I will be cleaning more brushes these days. But I have a feeling that these will last for a long time. The last time I washed my brushes using a 2oz jar of Clean, I had gone through the entire thing in one sitting. I washed maybe 40 brushes, and by the end had hit the bottom of the jar. They do make a 4oz as well, but I have not tried it and cannot attest to the longevity. Logic would lead me to believe that washing the same amount of brushes would use half of the jar, since it is twice the size. So in theory, it would last me through like 2 uses. I only washed about 10 brushes in each of these sittings, and it did not appear to make a dent in the jar which is a good sign. I know that they will soon be introducing a 2oz size, but I think that the 4oz is my jam. If you have only a handful of brushes I think the 2oz will serve you well, but if you are one who has an enormous assortment of brushes then I think you will definitely be wanting the 4oz.
I would like to add as a side note that it is not my intention to merely compare Crazy Merman to Clean, and I hope I didn’t come across that way because they honestly are a different product. They use different ingredients, and the only similarity is that they are solid soaps. But since Clean is a well-known product, and is what I was using before and had written a review about, I thought it offered a decent reference point. That product was great, but I have now found a new product that I enjoy more for the purpose of cleaning my tools. I definitely recommend grabbing a few now while they are offering the 4oz at the introductory price, once they bring in the 2oz I believe the price for the 4oz is going to raise a little. Plus, this brand is starting to get bigger as more big name artists are trying it and telling their friends, colleagues, and followers. I have a feeling it is going to blow up suddenly, so you’ll want to get your hands on them now! And if you do, I would love to hear what you think!