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Real Techniques Brush Cleaning Palette vs. Sigma Spa Brush Cleaning Mat

A lot of our makeup collection happens by natural progression right? Yuh buy a lot of products...then yuh gotta find effective storage. Yuh buy a lot of brushes...then yuh looking for the easiest way to clean them. I guess the beauty companies caught on to people bellyaching about how much of a chore it is to clean a mobbaton of brushes. How yuh hands does look like prunes after and how much water is wasted. And they sought to bring solutions to the market. This post compares two of them.

Sigma Spa Brush Cleaning Mat - $32USD

From the site: "The PATENTED Sigma Spa® Brush Cleaning Mat is an innovative device featuring 7 patented textures to wash both eye and face brushes. The mat includes suction cups on the backside for secure placement on flat surfaces. Uniquely designed to fit most sinks at 32% larger than the Sigma Spa® Express Brush Cleaning Mat. US Patent No. D746010; US Patent No. 9,345,316.


Latex-free, BPA-free, Lead-free.
Contains a non-toxic material.
As seen on Vogue India

Dimensions: 15.15 in x 9.8 in 38.5 cm x 25 cm

Brush Cleaning How-To: 
  1. Place mat to fit in the up-right position in sink Secure suction cups onto sink Wet brush(es). 
  2. WASH (Face or Eyes Side) – Add a small amount of cleaning solution and water to mat and swirl brush on ‘Wash’ texture to begin deep cleaning the brush(es). 
  3. RINSE (Face or Eyes Side) – Place brush under running water and sweep brush back and forth on the ‘Rinse’ texture of the mat to remove makeup residue & soap. 
  4. REFINE – Swirl brush on the ‘Refine’ texture of the mat for an added deep cleaning. 
  5. RINSE (Face or Eyes Side) – Place brush under running water & sweep brush back and forth on the ‘Rinse’ texture for a final rinse. 
  6. REFINE PLUS (Face or Eyes Side) – Repeat cleaning process for a deeper clean. 
  7. RINSE (Face or Eyes Side) – Repeat rinsing process to remove excess makeup residue and soap. Gently squeeze brush head with your hand to remove excess water."
Sigma Spa Brush Cleaning Mat -

Real Techniques Brush Cleansing Palette - $15USD

From the site: "Cleans brushes 55% better.*

Great makeup application starts with a clean brush. The brush cleansing palette helps sweep away makeup, oil, and impurities from bristles to give you truer, more consistent color application.
Performance-grade silicone: lightweight and ergonomically designed to fit comfortably over your hand.
Exclusive multi-textured surfaces: designed to gently work between the bristles for enhanced deep cleansing

Step 1: Slip hand into the palette and squeeze a drop of our brush cleansing gel onto the tool. Add warm water to the palette.

Step 2: Swirl brush into the gel and water across the various surfaces until the brush is clean. Rinse bristles thoroughly, being careful to not fully immerse the base of the bristles. Squeeze out the excess water.

Step 3: Rest your brushes across the surface of the tool to dry or use the panoramic case from our sets (sold separately) to dry brushes upside down.

* Tested using Real Techniques Brush Cleansing Palette and Brush Cleansing gel versus hand-cleaning with water.

Real Techniques Brush Cleansing Palette -

I wanted a tool like this because I found that dense foundation brushes never seemed to get completely clean. I don't know if it's that the foundation seeps down to the base of the bristles or if the residue I would see - after the brush dried - was just from the water I didn't manage to squeeze out. Either way, it always made me feel weird. Sigma released their Sigma Spa line before a lot of other companies but I was hesitant to purchase for years. Years. I feel like when Sigma blew up their prices skyrocketed. Still, I fully intended to get one earlier this year at The Makeup Show but the vendors either only had the glove version or the discounted price didn't seem like much of a deal. Luckily Sigma had a 30% discount a few months ago and as soon as Sharalee put me on I copped it.
Ironically, by this time I'd recently acquired the Real Techniques version. Sigma still got my coins cause I know we love comparison posts round hurr.

Major differences 
  • Surface area is the most obvious difference. This original version of the Sigma Spa Mat is fairly wide
  • Shape; the Sigma Mat lays flat while the Real Techniques Palette has curved edges
  • User engagement - for lack of a better term. The Sigma Mat has suction cups on its under side which secure it to the sink while the Real Techniques Palette is supposedly "ergonomically designed to fit comfortably over your hand"
  • Price. You could get two of the Real Techniques for one Sigma Mat (at regular price). Ulta often has Real Techniques 'Buy One Get One Half Off'. #saveyourcoint
Major similarities
  • Both products are made in China
  • Both products are made out of silicone
  • Both have different textures to stimulate agitation while washing (obviously the Sigma one has more)
  • Both wash eye brushes effectively
  • Both will have foundation residue stuck to them (Sigma technicians recommend that you clean it with an oil based makeup remover and a toothbrush)
  • Both will not clean your foundation brushes completely.
That's right folks. I noticed the same issue that made me buy these in the first place.

Marc Jacobs The Face II Brush -
bdellium tools 957 brush -

There is less product visible in the bdellium tools brush because that is less densely packed. Both brushes have synthetic bristles. I clean my synthetic brushes with Dawn dish soap.

So, I can't say I'd recommend one over the other. It depends on what you're willing to spend on something like this. Especially when I've already shown you a cheap cleansing tool alternative. And how you prefer to use something like this - attached to your hand vs. stuck to your sink. I put the Real Techniques one in the sick too; it just isn't as secure.

 Agitation + detergent works to clean things (think of your washing machine) but I still have to "lather" my foundation brushes twice; and the densely packed ones still take a bit of time to get 'clean'. Mind you, I wouldn't wash that Marc Jacobs brush again before I use it cause ain't nobody got time for that. It's just me using these things on me; but it does annoy me to see product stains. If you're a makeup artist, you'd have to tell me how big of an issue that is.

Real Techniques Palette vs. Sigma Mat -

Real Techniques Brush Cleansing Palette -
Sigma Spa Brush Cleaning Mat -

Let me know if you've tried either of these brush cleaning tools.

#ShamelessPlug We've got two more of the Real Techniques Brush Cleansing Palette available in The Marketplace.

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