Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Becca Professional Brush Soap


Becca Professional Brush Soap ($15 40g/1.41 oz.) was designed to clean, condition and sanitize. That's pretty much what soap does, right? But apparently, if I use Becca's soap, instead of the stuff I already use, my brushes will live longer than I do and can be passed down through centuries of mini me's.

I do like how the soap is neatly packaged in a vintage-style tin, like the kind my dad used for shaving, though a part of me is reminded of those little tins of saddle soap that I used to clean my winter boots and other rugged leather. This tin is wide enough that I can swirl my fluffiest blush brush inside, and the soap works equally well on both natural and synthetic fibers.


Apparently, shampoo can leave brush fibers limp and brittle (though I have had great results using Aveda Shampure and Jane Iredale's shampoo), and Becca's soap contains plant oils that are gentle on brush fibers while cleansing away product build-up, but in all honesty, I do not find that this soap outperforms those shampoos or the soap I use on my body (Kiss My Face Olive Oil Soap), and now I have one more item added to my bathroom clutter. I do find, however, that whatever brush cleanser I use needs to be conditioning or the bristles can seem a bit ratty, not soft and smooth, and the Becca soap is definitely conditioning.

To use, I simply dip the brush tips in lukewarm water, swirl around the soap cake to pick up some lather, and then stroke the brush against my palm. Rinse, and repeat if necessary, until the water runs clean. I also make sure that I tip the tin at the end to empty out any collected water, because we all know what happens to soap left in standing water.

I realize this is supposed to be a review on the soap itself, but there isn't much I can say about it that I haven't already said. It's convenient, and it cleans. The end. So permit me to digress into brush-washing philosophy for a moment--especially after reading some of the marketing hype for this and other brush-cleaning products that would have me believe I need to wash my brushes after every use or someone's gonna take away my birthday ... which wouldn't be such a bad thing, now that I think about it.

We makeup lovers are continually confronted by the edict that we must wash our brushes frequently (e.g., at least weekly) or we'll have faces that resemble the insides of a pomegranate. Some of these scare tactics practically posit that unwashed brushes are a veritable petri dish of disease. I say your mileage may vary. If you have chronic acne or very oily skin, or if you regularly make dramatic changes in your eyeshadow or blush colors, you'll want to wash your brushes more often and know that you will have to replace them more often. I wash most of my brushes every 1-3 months, and I read somewhere that even Bobbi Brown washes her personal brushes no more often than once a month. So I was extremely gratified that my recent Hahuhodo brush order came with instructions that suggested washing only when the brush head became overloaded with product and to, instead, wipe it with a tissue after each use. I don't use tissue, which can transfer lint, so I use a small microfiber towel or a cosmetic wedge, both of which absorb extra powder and prevent it from flying around the room. I should also say that I am wary of the no-rinse sprays and liquids. As convenient as they are, they contain alcohol (in order that the bristles dry quickly), which seem like they'd do more damage to the brush head than overwashing.

I enjoy the meditative process of washing my brushes, and I love how they look after, but I actually prefer them to be a bit dirty--much the same way my hair is nicest the day or so after I wash it. The hairs perform better when they are not overly loose and fluffy and squeaky clean. I do wash brushes used to apply cream or gel products after each use, but overall, it comes down to practicality. The more often I wash my brushes, the more quickly they will wear out. As for a breeding ground of bacteria, I have been using the Jane Iredale Handi brush nearly every day since 2000 (a total of 30-40 washes, not the 520+ times the pundits advise). It looks as good as it did the day I purchased it, and it has not caused a single skin eruption, though if I were to hold it under an electron microscope I'd probably see something resembling Whoville.

Bottom line: Works as advertised and cleans perfectly well but probably not a staple for me--only because I don't need yet another item in my medicine cabinet.

Ingredients: Sodium Palmate, Sodium Palm Kernelate, Aqua (Water), Sucrose Cocoate, Glycerin, Sodium Chloride, Parfum (Fragrance).

All photos mine

33 comments:

  1. I agree that over washing isn't necessary. I wouldn't expect a brush used with powder products to be in the least bit bacteria friendly but bacteia 'fear' seems to a popular scare tactic. I haven't come across any hype for this soap but I do like it very much personally. I am unable to wash my brushes with liquid soap without overloading them with detergent so that rinsing takes an age. I find this soap faster and more convenient than my previous routine.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I would not mind trying this but I thought I'd give the Sebamed soap a go with my brushes and it seems to work well too.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Jane, you brought up an excellent point about liquid soaps, which can take a long time to rinse out of the brush heads. Perhaps my use of the word hype was too strong, but I was bemused by the writeup on the Becca web site and other sites that sell this soap, which would lead me to believe this soap was different from other soaps. I clarified my sentence so it didn't sound like I was coming down too hard on Becca, whose products I adore. Just not this one. :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Meeta, I am not familiar with Sebamed soap, but it sounds like one that might be prescribed by a physician. And it makes sense to use such a soap to keep your brushes as clean from bacteria as possible.

    ReplyDelete
  5. By the way, one trick I learned when using the liquid soaps/shampoos (to prevent brush overload) is to squeeze a bit onto a clean sponge, work up a lather, and then run the brush head against that. The soap and friction from the sponge's texture do an excellent job. I clean all my brushes using the one sponge (moving the brush head to a clean spot each time), using both sides and the edges of the sponge, and then I either throw the sponge away (if I have cleaned a lot of gel and cream off my brushes) or run it through the wash in hot water (if I was cleaning off primarily powder).

    I've been alternating between the Aveda and Jane Iredale shampoos for more than 10 years, and I have some brushes at least that old. Plus, I can also use those shampoos on my hair or to wash my undercrackers and hand-wash sweaters in the sink!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I use a spray every day if possible and deep clean only once in a while. I've always found that my hand soap works really well for cleaning the bristles and keeping them soft. Sounds cheap, but works for me =)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Dovey, sounds good to me! The only soap I probably would not use on my brushes is a superfatted moisturizing soap, like Dove. Otherwise, I am pretty much of the opinion that soap is soap is soap. :)

    ReplyDelete
  8. Oh, using a sponge to work up a lather first is a brilliant idea! It's hard work to get the amount right using it with the brushes neat. Thanks for sharing your trick!

    I get what you mean about hype. I shall have to read the right ups on the websites. I think for professionals sanitization is essential but for personal use, it is completely different. I enjoy the soap for the convenience and reduction in my sink time. Lazy, moi?! ;)

    ReplyDelete
  9. Oh, absolutely right for sanitation! Despite what I said about Bobbi Brown's personal brush-washing habits above, her SAs wash all brushes used at the counter every single night. I was first at the counter one morning and saw them all lined up, still drying off.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Wow. Once every three months? And you're not disease-bacteria ridden, acne-licious and near death? Maybe there *is* a brush cleaning conspiracy...

    But in all seriousness, I have been experiencing some break-outs lately and wonder if it's not because I've been lazy about washing my liquid foundation brush, which I only would do once every few days (really meaning once a week, haha). I'll try washing it after every use and see if that helps. Thanks for yet another thought-provoking post!

    ReplyDelete
  11. See, Elizabeth, maybe I am lazy! I use my hands to apply liquid foundation (on the rare occasions when I wear it) and my fingertips to apply and blend cream eyeshadows and blushes. I've always been a powder-product girl, but as my skin gets older and less oily, I might have to rethink that. I dread the day I have to give up my Jane Iredale PurePressed powder. Maybe it won't come.

    If I get breakouts, I think about my habits more than my brushes. Am I holding the phone against my face instead of using speakerphone or earbuds? Am I resting my face in my hands at work? I find that if I keep my hands off my face, all is calm in Whoville. Sugar is also the devil. High carb eating will make me bumpy.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I've been rinsing mine in a mixture of half water & half MAC or Clinique brush cleaner solution, but will probably be trying something new when these run out! Thanks for the review :)

    ReplyDelete
  13. ...i fully agree with you all about the whole over-washing thing - i don`t wash my powder/blush brushes very often either!

    but... washing my foundation brush is sth totally different - i do wash my flat top every second day as i have sensitive skin and am a bit paranoid about the bacteria/breakouts ;-) but yeah, i do think it is a bit different when using liquid products as opposed to powder ones...

    ReplyDelete
  14. you wouldn't like me then as I wash all my brushes (barring some of my eyeshadow brushes) after one use ;)
    I think I'll likely buy the Becca at some point as I think it will make the cleaning process quicker.
    Thanks for your thoughts :)

    ReplyDelete
  15. Makeup Magpie, I hope my review didn't turn you off the Becca. It's a good soap, very convenient--I just loathe bathroom clutter and figure I can do the job with what I already have. It is a nice, gentle soap that rinses clean very quickly.

    ReplyDelete
  16. radiance, yes! Washing a foundation brush often (I'd even venture to say every time) is necessary, though I admit to being lazy and doing it every other time, which is why I switched to my natural-born tools: my fingers!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Replica, even your powder brushes? And blush?? You are a model of brush-washing chastity, and I salute you!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Carbs! That could totally be it. A certain man I know can't get enough of his potatoes and white bread and I've been helping myself too of late.

    I might start using my fingers to apply foundation as you are the second person to mention this possibility to me in the past few days. But if I do that, then what am I supposed to do with the wildly expensive foundation brush sitting in my jar? And the money sucking conspiracy continues!!

    ReplyDelete
  19. I wash my brushes every fortnight (2 weeks) but when I am experimenting I wash them more. If I am lazy I swirl them in alcohol.

    Can overwashing damage brushes? Any brush will wear out over time. Over washing? I hope if someone is a makeup artist, they wash their brushes after every work day is done, if not ewwww! Alcohol is it drying? Yes, and if you are just the everyday user not necessary to use but if someone just hypes it to the point it will kill your brushes. That is BS. Many pros and especially SFX artist use alcohol to wash because that is the only thing that will remove the stuff efficiently. Besides the brush cleaners available are mostly scented alcohol and other stuff anyway.

    As for the soap, it is convenient and nice but like you I don't want additional clutter. Good review. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  20. Elizabeth, you said it, sistahwoman. A mere five years ago, I used around 3-4 brushes every day!! I had another 5 or 6 stashed away, but that's a far cry from the ridulosity (I just made that up) of what I have now. Thank god I never spend $300+ on a Suqqu brush, as nice as I am sure it is.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Olivia, Every two weeks is totally reasonable, more than reasonable. I never gave it much thought since I don't wash them that often, but it seems logical that all that wetting and drying and reshaping could cause hairs to splay and fall out over time--maybe a bit faster than just general brush use. The cream/gel brushes I wash often do look a bit ragged.

    I agree makeup artists should wash their brushes after each use, but you know the MAC makeup artists, for example, probably are not. They pull those brushes out of their toolbelt and go to work. Maybe they use the alcohol stuff in between. It wouldn't be practical for them to use soap and water in between clients or the brushes would always be wet.

    So you don't think alcohol damages the fibers? I used the MAC spray for over a year before I thought it might be doing a badness, and my 239s are a lot scruffier now, and they look like they have split ends! They don't feel as soft on my eyelids as they used to, but they sure are white. (I use dishwashing liquid to keep them white.)

    For the hand-tied beauties I buy from Japan, I think I will avoid the alcohol. Let's just say I would never put SD 40 alcohol on my head, so I'll probably skip it on my brushes. :)

    ReplyDelete
  22. I love your posts! I was intrigued by a review of this Becca brush soap on another blog, but since there's no place to buy Becca here (that I know of!), decided to experiment with a non-drying bar of hand soap I already had. It lathered up the brushes better than the liquids, and some, which I had thought were clean, actually released additional dye! So do those other brush-specific cleansers work as well as they should? Hmmm....I wonder if using a non-drying soap will dry out the bristles over time, but since I clean my brushes every two-three weeks on average, I've decided not to worry about it.

    I use my fingers a lot too, but I've developed a fondness for kabuki brushes lately. They're faster (really fast) than my fingers for near flawless application and blending of liquid and cream foundations.

    Thanks for the sponge tip. I've going to use up my remaining liquid cleansers that way.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Sounds nice! Unique product, I haven't seen many brands come out with something like this. :)

    ReplyDelete
  24. Sorry this didn't wow you. The fact it rinsed completely clean so quickly and I didn't have to keep adding more liquid soap to my palm made this a huge winner for me. HUGE! I totally agree with the over washing hype. I try to get mine washed every 2-3 weeks and that's plenty.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Ava, I bought my Becca soap from dermstore.com, the same place I buy my Jane Iredale (now that I know what colors to buy). Free shipping all the time!!

    I'd be a bit grossed out if my previously-cleaned brush released dye, but that might indicate that your original cleanser was really gentle and the one that released the dye was much stronger.

    To be honest, if I am going to buff in a liquid or cream foundation, I will use a barely-damp Beautblender sponge. Hands down perfection ever time. It allowed me to start wearing liquids again; product doesn't settle in my pores at all.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Vintage, now that you mention it, I don't think I have seen any other brands come out with a soap cake for brushes, either.

    ReplyDelete
  27. PP. it did work, and I do like it! I just don't think it outperforms whatever soap is in the shower, that's all. And since I wash my brushes infrequently, I'm not going to worry about a drier soap drying out the fibers, just like Ava. :)

    ReplyDelete
  28. I recently bought the Becca but haven't used it yet. I'll alternate it with my MAC brush cleaner. I'm always worried about drying out my brushes. When I worked at Ulta we used Brush Off and the brushes looked horrid even a week after we opened the store. But we also had to use the Brush Off after every application to keep it sanitary for customers. When I worked at MAC I never had the same problem with their brush cleaner.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Hello again,
    yep, powder,blush, foundation brushes after one use it a must for me as I have noticed a difference in terms of acne when I don't wash them after one use x

    ReplyDelete
  30. Hi Zuzu

    I've had mine for about a month and really like it(the scent is lovely, it rinses easily and I think it helped my brushes to dry quicker than normal). Do I think it's worth the extra $$- I dunno. I used to just use Purity or Trader Joes Tea Tree face wash and thought those worked well but liquid soaps take forever to rinse out!

    I normally wipe my brushes on a baby wipe after I use them and try to wash them once a week. I also like Clinique brush cleaning spray. It works quite well on e/s brushes and skunk types. My big powder brushes don't get washed as often as I would like =(
    The major reason being I hate to deal with the drying process- even when I'm not lazy and use my brush guards (cool little wraps that help brushes keep their shape).

    Hope you are doing well xx

    ReplyDelete
  31. I... I just won't click on that Whoville link. lol

    I don't like the idea of using a solid soap. Facial cleansers work fine for me as a brush shampoo. But I like the look of the tin, too. It's crazy but I want everything I see from Becca.

    ReplyDelete
  32. OK all of you who are saying the Becca brush soap makes your brushes dry faster ... I just did not notice that. I will have to wash my brushes this weekend and see if it's true. When I use my shower soap, they dry pretty quickly, all by the end of the day except for the denser face brushes, which take 24 hours, and dense synthetic face brushes take a couple days to dry.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Liz, click the link! Surely you have heard of Horton Hears a Who by Dr. Seuss! Don't kids read those books anymore? lol. Slinking away in wrinkled old-lady embarrassment.

    I know what you mean about wanting everything from Becca. Luckily, most of their products are too warm for me, so I am spared, but I really do love their products.

    ReplyDelete

I love reading your comments! If you have a specific question or request, please feel free to e-mail me directly. Comments that contain advertising links or shameless plugs will not be published.