Cleaning Your Brushes On a Budget; Alternatives to the Sigma Spa Brush Cleaning Mat

Being a beauty blogger can be harsh on the wallet sometimes  most of the time. It's hard to stick to a budget when all these brands release amazing products every month. The appeal of 'limited edition' has a firm hold on me. It's a bad habit.
In spite of my beauty addiction, I try to pinch pennies where I can.

I've been eyeing the Sigma Spa Brush Cleaning Mat for quite some time. I am notoriously lazy when it comes to cleaning my makeup brushes, which is an awful habit I know. It's easy to change your routine when you make it enjoyable, and oh boy does this mat look fun to use!
It has 7 unique sections which boast different textures to clean, rinse and refine. The benefit is that the mat does all the work for you, so you don't have to use your fingers or palms to scrub away that caked on concealer. Easy, fun and hygenic?!
Too bad it's $32.00 (US)... And that doesn't include shipping/duties/taxes/etc. Yikes!

I've been breaking out a bit more than usual, and I'm pointing the finger at my filthy brushes. It's time for a bath, and I ain't got time to wait for shipping.

I saw a trick on Instagram (I apologize, I don't remember the user that posted this!) where someone used a silicone coaster with ridges to clean their brushes. I happened to come across this set of 2 silicone pore scrubbers at Winners, for under $10.00. They both have a suction cup back, and 2 different textures. They're a little bit smaller than my palm.
They're obviously intended for the face,  but I figured it's worth a shot. My brushes were in need of a deep clean, and the little raised bumps looked like they'd be up to the task.

I'll note I primarily use Quo brushes, which are natural fibre. This also includes the brushes that came with my Anastasia Beverly Hills & Tarte eyeshadow palettes (I think? Unless someone can correct me on this). My only synthetic brushes are the bamboo stippling brush by Precision Beauty, plus some random no-name angled blush brush I've had for years.

The gang's all here! And in dire need of a bath...
I simply stuck the suction to the base of my sink, under the tap. I use baby shampoo to clean my brushes, nothing too fancy. It's gentle enough and it's cheap! I only needed a pea-sized amount for each brush.
I wet the brush under the tap, and swirled them on the silicone pad. Rinse until water runs clear, and swish across the base where the bumps are less raised and more spread apart.

The silicone pads did a really good job of cleaning any small brushes (eyeshadow/liner, concealer, lip, brow). The tiny bristles really hug each fibre and give a very thorough clean.

Do the twist!
Depending how dirty the brushes were, I'd give them an extra swish across the finer bristles, after rinsing once prior. The reason I run them across the bumpier section before setting them down to dry, is to re-shape the fibres. I tried to avoid physically touching the hairs, but with some of the denser brushes I own, I did have to wring out the excess water. You win some you lose some.

Cleanse, Rinse, Reshape. Who needs 7 different sections anyway?!
Before & After. This one was so dirty, I forgot the bristles were white to begin with. What a difference!
With my larger, very dense brushes (Powder, blush, foundation), I had a harder time. Mostly because the brushes were larger than the pad itself. I also found I had to hold the suction base to keep it from sliding around the sink. Even so, I found the brushes were mostly clean, but I had to fan them out in my fingers to make sure all the soap was rinsed out.

We're gonna need a bigger scrubber... 
Now, I'm not certain if this method was intended for sponges, but I gave it a try. My filthy knock-off Beauty Blender went for a twirl on the pad, but it didn't really do much in terms of deep cleaning.

The soap washed off some, but not all of the dirt. I can't be certain if the silicone bristles played a part in that. I'll likely stick with bar soap to cleanse this going forward.

All in all, I would recommend using a silicone pore cleaner to wash your brushes. It doesn't even have to be the same as what I've used, you could even try a silicone pot holder or coaster depending on what you can find, as long as it has texture throughout. In any case, most options tend to be under $10.00.
I've compiled a few options below to help you try this for yourselves!

Makeup Brush cleaning options

How do you like to clean your brushes? Have you tried the Sigma mat? What brushes do you use? (I'm in the market to buy some new ones soon!)
Leave me a comment! Thanks for reading!

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