First of all, if you're unfamiliar with the silicone brush cleaners currently on the market, two of the most popular ones are the Sigma Spa Brush Cleaning Glove (retail: $35) and the Brush Egg (retail: around $7). I wasn't willing to spend that much on a product that I wasn't even sure I truly needed, so a trip to the dollar store was in order...
Keep reading if you'd like to know how these dollar store dupes worked for me!
So I found the two silicone kitchen grips above at my local Daiso (Japanese dollar store chain where everything is $1.50). BUT, you can easily find these types of silicone kitchen grips at other dollar stores, discount stores, Walmart, Target, you name it. They're everywhere.
The reason I went to Daiso was because I had heard that Daiso carries an exact dupe of the Original Brush Egg for, of course, $1.50. I had heard that Daiso's version is located in the laundry section (not the cosmetics or kitchen sections) so I went straight to the laundry aisle and guess what? They were sold out. So I went to the kitchen section and picked two silicone grips (they have tons of options) that looked like they might be able to do the job. By the way, Daiso did have a silicone kitchen glove type of product similar to the Sigma glove, but the one I was able to find at Daiso didn't really have any nubs (it was smooth) so I didn't think it would work.
Here's kitchen grip #1:
As you can see, this one's made of very thin silicone (you can see my background print showing through above). The ridges are soft and subtle--they're definitely not jagged.
After lots of experimenting, I've found that what works best for me is to get my brush wet, and then put some water on the silicone grip, along with a drop or two of brush cleaner (I used Dr. Bronner's Peppermint Liquid Soap above). Then I just rub the brush against the raised parts of the grip, into the water and soap mixture, until things start to foam up. In the pic above, I'm washing an EcoTools eyeshadow brush that I use for blending concealer and applying setting powder under my eyes.
Once there is a lot of dirty water on the grip, I like to rinse the grip clean under warm running water then, using just the clean water that's left on the grip, I rub the brush on the grip again. I keep repeating this process until the brush water runs clean. This should only take a pass or two if you're washing an eyeshadow brush like the one above, but do expect to repeat this process a few more times if you're washing something like a dense blush or foundation brush. Also, I find that holding the silicone grip in my hand really works best (versus putting it on the bathroom counter, which I did in these pics just because it was easier to photograph).
Here's kitchen grip #2:
This kitchen grip is thicker and not nearly as pliable as grip #1. It's quite solid, and it has holes (which I actually like, because the holes help to drain the dirty water while you're cleaning your brush).
Also, this grip has two different types of nubs. On one side are the smaller nubs:
And then on the other side there are longer, more dense nubs:
And here's what the brush looks like at the end of the process, when I know it's time to stop:
I think that each style of grip has its own set of advantages and disadvantages.
Grip #1: I think this type of grip works best for any delicate and/or expensive brushes you may have, because the soft, gentle ridges will probably never shred or damage your bristles. But on the other hand, I do find that it takes me longer to get my blush, powder and foundations brushes clean using this type of gentle silicone grip.
Grip #2: this grip is great for heavily soiled and/or less expensive brushes, because the little nubs really enable you to loosen up all the makeup, grime and oils from your brushes in a way that is more difficult to achieve using just a swirling motion in the palm of your hand. It really feels like my brushes get clean almost instantly with grip #2, after just a few back and forth motions. But on the other hand, I can see that these types of nubs might shred/damage the bristles on some of my brushes over time. I have not had this happen yet, but I can see how it could be possible. But if you use inexpensive brushes like I do, then easy and FAST deep-cleaning may be a trade-off you're willing to live with. Only you can answer that!
My daily makeup brushes after cleaning with dollar store silicone grips
BOTTOM LINE: I'm kind of obsessed with these silicone grips and now I finally understand the hype. My brushes look and feel so squeaky clean after I use these grips--I can't image ever going back to just using the palm of my hand again. Maybe I'd be singing a different tune if I owned a lot of very expensive and/or delicate brushes, but since 99.9% of the brushes I use on a daily basis are from EcoTools, e.l.f. and Real Techniques, I don't really have to handle them with kid gloves to begin with. I'm hard on my brushes and I'm OK with being hard on them when I'm cleaning them--they're little troopers and they've been holding up just fine to these silicone grips so far! I swear I can clean my brushes in about half the time now, and that's so worth it to me (I hate deep-cleaning my brushes with a vengeance, so anything that actually motivates me to do it? I'M THERE!).
One more thing: I'm so pleased with these two silicone grips that I really don't have the urge to get the Brush Egg dupe I mentioned at the top of this post. Why? Well I love that the grips I have can be folded in half (like a taco) and that I can clean the handles that way. If you're like me, then you know that your handles can get pretty gunked up with powder and foundation. These grips do a great job of cleaning that gunk, simply by wrapping the grip around the handle and rubbing up and down. I'm not sure you could really do that with the Brush Egg (if I'm wrong about that, please do let me know!).
Again, if you don't live near a Daiso, you can find silicone kitchen grips like this at other dollar stores, discount stores, Target, Walmart, etc. I think the key here is to look for gentle ridges if you're worried about damaging any delicate/expensive brushes, but look for more "rugged" nubs if you're like me and just want to get the job done as quickly and efficiently as possible!
Do you own any silicone brush cleaners (or dupes of silicone brush cleaners)? If so, I would absolutely love to hear from you! Do you use the method I described above, or do you have another technique that works for you?
The products featured in this post were purchased with personal funds. For more information, click here.