Clean brushes is the number one requirement for most, if not everyone that I have worked with. Even in-between faces, it's best to sanitize brushes with brush cleanser (either homemade or store-bought, or just a spritzing of mild alcohol would do). After a long day's work, though, brushes are washed and dried to be ready and clean for use the next day.
For personal use, I wash my brushes once a week but in-between makeup on my face during the week, I rely on my favorite brush cleansers MAC and Ellana (their formula has improved by the way with the same fresh cucumber melony-tea tree oil scent). Sometimes, if I did quite heavy makeup, I can't help but do the washing too.
Washing for me is still the number one way to get the brushes at their cleanest. That and subjecting them to a UV chamber, if I had one. I like clean brushes on my face and I'm sure many agree. Brushes that are clean are safe, sweet-smelling, and super soft. For my three years in purchasing, collecting, caring, and loving brushes, I've listed down my favorite shampoos and washes that I use to clean my brushes. Yep, good ol' shampoos and soaps are the way to go to get their brushes at their cleanest, better-than-when-purchased state. I know it takes time to wash brushes, but later on, your skin would be thankful for it.
Baby shampoos are the best and mildest and highly recommended sudsers for washing the brushes. They're gentle on baby so they're gentle on your tools. Bobbi Brown artists use baby shampoo to clean their brushes and so does telenovela queen Thalia (Thalia swears by Johnson's Baby Shampoo to clean her brushes). They rinse easily without leaving any chemicals behind. Plus there are no strong fragrances to irritate the senses. I like using baby baths too to cleanse brushes if I want variety.
Whatever I use for my hair, I use for my brushes as well, and hey, they work! These shampoos leave the hair on my head so soft and so do the brush bristles. I use a variety of brands, depending on which I'm using on the shower. I have Pantene and Sunsilk on stock now and I get to use them a lot. I love how they make my brushes feel soft on the skin after, even without hair conditioner. For me, their scents last longer, so I get the bonus of having sweet-smelling brushes too. I've also used the organic shampoo kinds and they work quite well. The thinking is, since the brushes are made of hair, we need shampoo to clean them, and I thought I'd make those for my use do double duty too.
My influx of Victoria's Secret and Bath and Body Works shower creams and gels extended my use for them in the brush-cleaning department. VS Love Spell smells like gummy bears, and it gets pretty much a lot of good reviews too. The Dove fresh moisture has a fresh scent that lingers in my foundation brushes and kabuki brushes, and it knows how to get the gunk out. I like my brushes smelling good. Therapeutic, really.
This I use solely for brushes that I use for concealers, lipsticks, and foundation brushes. It was quite unusual when I first heard from makeup artist friends of mine that they use Joy dishwashing liquid to clean their brushes at first. This works best for synthetic brushes used to apply cream and liquid products, since they're more oily than powder ones. Lipsticks are waxy and oily too, so we need a powerful agent that cuts through grease, hence Joy became my choice for pre-washing my lip brushes and flat foundation and concealer brushes. If the ads claim it could leave the greasiest pots and pans squeaky clean, it definitely did for brushes. Since it's drying, I recommend putting lotion on the hands after cleaning the brushes. :)
Eye Makeup Remover.
I know it's a bit expensive, but since Clinique Eye Makeup Remover got my eye makeup, mascara included out quite quickly, I had to test it on my brush to see if it performs just as well without destroying them. I use just a tad if I want to remove makeup off my angled brush, a small amount on a cotton pad or tissue, especially if it's would-not-budge waterproof gel liner or Fluidline. Since this is oil-based, I need an extra washing of Joy (to remove the oil) then shampoo for this, but it definitely does the job if I want my liner brush to be clean and gunk-free.