I did 48 Hours again this year, a few weeks ago. If you’re not familiar, it involves working with a team to make a short film over the course of 48 hours. It’s exhausting but also super fun, and extra fun this year is the fact that the makeup I did is nominated for Best Makeup in the Wellington region! I don’t know if I’m allowed to post photos before the finals, but I’ll post them as soon as I’m certain I can.
Anyway, putting makeup on other people means one shitty thing: I have to clean my makeup brushes beforehand. I have a shitload of makeup brushes, so I usually have a good selection clean already, but I have some favourites that are always dirty. Also, with 48 Hours you never know how what you’ll be doing or how many people will be in your cast until you’re kind of… in the middle of it, so it’s better to be prepared.
Handily, I’d been sent the Brush Bar and Brush Board* not long before, so at least I had the novelty of new products to try while cleaning my brushes. The Brush Board is designed to make cleaning brushes faster and more thorough, and the Brush Bar helps them dry quickly and in a good shape, without risk of damaging the ferrules.
Brush Board*, $28USD
The Brush Board is pitched as “the first ever makeup brush exfoliator”, but having used the Brush Egg, Bossy Brush Cleaning Pad* and Sigma Express Brush Cleaning Glove* before, I’m skeptical of this claim.
The big difference between this and the aforementioned is that it’s made of rigid plastic. Several of the six different textured panels have quite long plastic teeth, which are more effective for getting deep into dense brushes like kabuki brushes, but otherwise the function is identical. (Another advantage of the rigid plastic is that it doesn’t collect dust in the same way that silicone tends to do.)
One minor gripe is that the size of the Brush Board means it doesn’t fit in every sink. Mine fits in the kitchen and laundry sinks, but not the bathroom. Handily, I’d rather clean my brushes at my laundry sink anyway, but not everyone has the luxury of large sinks to choose from.
So after having endured the unpleasant task of washing your makeup brushes (boredom, sore back, shrivelly hands, frustration at trying to get the tap to run at a temperature between scalding hot and icy cold), they need drying. If you’re in a rush, you can use your hair dryer—that is, if you don’t care for their longevity, as there’s a huge risk the heat can affect the glue in the brush ferrules and cause all the hairs to fall out. I used my hair dryer on my brushes before almost every assessment at makeup school and my brushes are fine, but YMMV.
If I have time, I usually leave my brushes angled slightly downwards on a towel with one side rolled up. This works, but leads to a bit of misshapenness, which you can see in the photo above, especially that poor Bobbi Brown brush on the end.
This is where the Brush Bar comes in.
Brush Bar*, $38USD
This is a slim case which you can flip open to reveal ten sets of grippy arms. Situate it on the edge of a flat surface and you can wedge your makeup brushes between the prongs to suspend them upside down for quick and even drying.
The major downside here is that I have a fuckload of makeup brushes and if I’m bothering to wash them, I’m going to smash them all out in one go. This usually takes me about an hour (I save long Youtube videos to watch while washing so I don’t lose my mind completely). The fuckload is a nonspecific measurement, but it far exceeds ten, and the price point of the Brush Bar makes it slightly prohibitive to buy multiples (they sell a pro pack of five for $155 but… I would fuck with hair-ties and coat hangers before spending that much on getting my brushes dried nicely.)
Instead I guess I just have to prioritise which brushes I want to be dried upside down, which unlike in the photo should probably be my most expensive ones, and the natural hair brushes, which tend to distort more easily.
The Brush Bar and Brush Board are also available together, along with a bottle of their brush shampoo, for $68, which is the best value if you are planning on checking these out for yourself!
Do you hate washing brushes as much as I do, or do you enjoy it? Would you find tools like the Brush Bar and Brush Board helpful?