Since I trained as a make-up artist I have used Isopropyl Alcohol (IPA) to clean my brushes. It's fast, dries quickly and I know that my brushes are really clean and safe for use on the next client. For my personal brushes I use MAC brush cleanser which is the only shop-bought one I've tried that actually does anything. I've never had success with the olive oil/fairy liquid combination and I'm too lazy to try any of the solid cleaners. With this pregnancy however, I wanted to find an alternative to IPA which is actually quite toxic smelling. Nothing is going to dry as quickly as IPA (which makes this so good for pro make-up artists) but I felt sure something would get my brushes as clean and frankly, MAC brush cleanser is quite hard work even if you don't have to wet the brush beforehand and I felt sure I could find something that got brushes cleaner.
I've found it, Japonesque Solid Brush Cleaner is good for your brushes, gets them really clean and smells amazing. It's so good I bought some for my sister and my mother - both of whom are particularly naughty about cleaning their brushes. If you use make-up brushes, you must clean them, they will last longer, your make-up will go on better and most importantly it is really not good for your skin to use dirty brushes. I know it seems like a total ball-ache but this brush cleaner is actually not too time consuming - I use it while I wait for the bath to run. They take a while to dry, again that's why I do it at bath time then lay them flat near a radiator.
So why is it so good? Its reasonably quick, yes it took me a while to clean my mum's poor sad foundation brush that hadn't been cleaned since I was last home with my trusty IPA but used regularly this really takes less than a minute per brush. It's also so easy to take with you when you travel - lid screws on and it's reasonably small and flat. My brushes are clean, smell fantastic and feel like they are in great condition.
To use just wet your brushes, swirl in the soap, rinse thoroughly and then lay flat to dry. It's really important not to tip your brushes bristles up - this would dissolve the glue that holds them in and your brushes will be ruined.
I've used mine every week for the past couple of months and it still looks pretty unused making the £16 very reasonable in my view.
What You Need to Know - Japonesque Solid Brush Cleaner