I had also seen other bloggers suggesting various dupes for the Sigma Brush Cleaning Glove - all the way from simple silicone textured place mats, pot holders, laundry scrubbers, and even silicone pet care gloves for pet hair! Of course, this prompted me to make a trip to my nearest Daiso, where I came across this
A cheap alternative to the Sigma Spa Brush Cleaning Glove: US$35 vs SGD$2, worth a shot!
I'm sure you're wondering, how does it perform? Does it really work? So I gave it a go, and I think it does work!
But first, for those who don't know what the Sigma Brush Glove is (although I'm sure you would have at least heard of it by now), here's the Sigma version:
The original Sigma Spa Brush Cleaning Glove (Source)
There are little bumps, ridges, lines and other textures on the surface which are supposed to help as your wash your brush. Basically your rub your brush bristles along those bumps and ridges to help your brushes get clean.
At Daiso, I was totally spoiled for choice - there were so many different types of silicone mats and pot holders, with virtually every kind of bump, ridge, or line patterns available - I'm pretty sure there is a dupe in a place mat for every single type of Sigma Brush Cleaning Glove surface. But, in the end, I settled on the Daiso mat that I picked, because it seemed to imitate the most useful surface of the Sigma Brush Glove, which is the "refine" surface, which had little dots on it:
The "Refine" bumps on the Spa Cleaning Glove (Source)
I thought those little dots were probably the most useful surface (although to be honest, I highly doubt there is that much of a difference between surfaces), because little dots are pretty hard to recreate with just your fingers when washing brushes. Also, since the Spa Brush Cleaning Glove is really nothing much more than a soft silicone washboard for your brushes, I thought, well, the more the bumps and ridges, the better to clean the brushes, right? So I picked the Daiso silicone mat, and off I went. It has a texture that looked like this:
Close up of the bumps on my Daiso silicone mat
The first thing I noticed when I took out this Daiso mat was that it had a somewhat plastic-y smell about it. The smell eventually dissipates slowly over time, but it made me wish that I had picked, out of the many silicon mats one could choose, something that didn't have that smell. I think on my next Daiso visit, I'll pick a different mat with no smell.
Anyway, I set about washing my brushes. Being cautious, I picked a synthetic hair brush to test first. I picked my The Body Shop Blusher Brush (previously seen in this brushes comparison post). I don't know about you, but I feel like it's so much easier to ruin natural hair brushes through improper washing than synthetic brushes. I think it's because natural hair bristles seem to be a bit more porous, so an overly harsh soap, or an overly harsh rubbing of the brush bristles can really make the natural hair bristles all roughed and brittle. So, since I was testing out this new brush-washing aid, I thought I'd start with a synthetic bristle, which isn't porous at all and thus less susceptible to rough treatment.
Daiso silicone mat in action: All the gunk coming out!
So, above you see my The Body Shop Blusher Brush getting all clean. This is just hand soap (yes, I totally use a mild hand soap for my synthetic bristle brushes - I did say they were hardy! My natural hair bristles get a proper brush cleaner, haha), water, and my brush being swirled around on top of the bumps of the Daiso silicone mat. Look at all that gunk coming out! In the photo I have placed the silicone mat on the counter top, but you can hold it in your hand too, if it's more convenient. I just placed the silicone mat on the counter top for the photo so I could have one hand free to take the photograph!
And below, you can see the final results. Yay, clean brush! I have to say, this really works. While you can certainly get your brushes clean by massaging using your own fingers, this just makes it easier to massage the bristles, because those little bumps are doing it for you! I think the advantage is that the little bumps help you to get the job done faster.
The Daiso Sigma Spa Brush Cleaning Glove alternative: It does help to clean my brush faster
Boldened by my successful experiment on my synthetic hair brushes, I graduated to one with real natural bristles - my Stila #24 Double-Sided Illuminating Powder Brush, using pretty much the same technique, except that instead of hand soap I used a proper brush cleaner. And yay again, clean brushes! The natural bristles didn't break or anything despite the swirling against the silicone bumps - I guess silicone is a soft enough material to not damage the brush bristles! Fortunately, the plastic smell of the silicone mat didn't transfer to my brushes either, thankfully!
My Daiso alternative for the Sigma Spa Brush Cleaning Glove: Works on both natural and synthetic brushes without damaging the bristles
So, what's my final verdict? While I don't have the Sigma Spa Brush Cleaning Glove to compare this to, I daresay my $2 Daiso equivalent probably functions in very much the same way, because, at the end of the day, fundamentally both the Glove and the Daiso mat are just textured silicone surfaces to rub your brush bristles against so they get clean faster and easier. If I could, I would probably pick a silicone mat with minimal smell, just to make it more pleasant for my own use. I might just head back to Daiso and get a couple more mats to clean my brushes!