How I Finally Managed To Deep Clean the Sigma F80 Flat Top Kabuki Brush

Published in: Guest Post, Makeup Tools


Written by Juli

What happens when a brush with destiny meets an unstoppable force? I’m not sure, but we’re about to find out thanks to today’s guest post from Juli.

Deep Clean the Sigma F80 Flat Top Kabuki Brush

Good things should be shared amongst friends, but great things must be shared with the world!


Dirty makeup brushes and tools are some of the many things that can cause breakouts and otherwise irritate the skin. I know that mine reacts violently whenever I subject it to a foundation brush that hasn’t been cleaned for more than two weeks, so I always try to keep the things in my kit as clean as possible.

But sometimes that’s easier said than done.

For instance, when I couldn’t get the muck off of my Sigma F80 Flat Top Synthetic Kabuki Brush, I became a very frustrated girl.

The regular shampoo method wasn’t doing the job at all…and olive oil didn’t work much better.

Deep Clean the Sigma F80 Flat Top Kabuki Brush

As a matter of fact, olive oil probably did my Sigma F80 more harm than good. I spent more than 45 minutes one day trying to remove all of the oil from the bristles. It had mixed with the remaining liquid foundation in the brush, and no matter how hard I scrubbed with shampoo and detergent, the olive oil and dried foundation flakes wouldn’t budge.

It looked pretty disgusting too…

Deep Clean the Sigma F80 Flat Top Kabuki Brush

I’d subjected the brush to extremely vehement abuse, scrubbing the bristles like I would an elephant’s hide, and letting water flow from the tip into the ferrule in an attempt to dislodge the stubborn oil. I even threw it on the floor once hoping it would miraculously learn its lesson and self-clean (sorry).

I hated cleaning the Sigma F80 brush so much that I started to dread the weekends, because that’s when I deep clean my brushes every week.

After considering its rave reviews, I tried MAC Brush Cleanser, hoping that a high-end brand would perform a miracle, but repeatedly dunking the F80 into a cup of MAC’s cleanser only removed a teeny bit of gunk, and the dense bristles soaked up a lot of product…

Hey, hey! Expensive product there, don’t drink it up so quickly, yo! I even tried to dilute the MAC brush cleanser with water, but that also didn’t help much.

Then, one day I was just reading blogs and chanced upon a product that would change my life — okie, more like cut my brush-washing time tremendously.

Jang! Jang! Presenting the Daiso Detergent for Puff and Sponge!

Deep Clean the Sigma F80 Flat Top Kabuki Brush

Before taking these pics, I made sure to get the bristles really brown and dirty to give you that “OMGIGOTTAHAVETHIS!!” effect when you see the brush returned to its pristine white condition. Hoho.

So, here’s my dirty Sigma F80 Brush. For the purposes of showing how the cleanser works, you can replace it with any brush you like.

Deep Clean the Sigma F80 Flat Top Kabuki Brush

Bowing at the feet of Your Awesomeness, here’s my Daiso Detergent for Puff and Sponge, also referred to as Daiso Brush Cleanser.

Deep Clean the Sigma F80 Flat Top Kabuki Brush

Ready to get cleaned?

Deep Clean the Sigma F80 Flat Top Kabuki Brush

First, dunk the dirty brush into a healthy mixture of water and Daiso Detergent for Puff and Sponge (here’s more about using the Daiso makeup brush cleanser effectively).

Deep Clean the Sigma F80 Flat Top Kabuki Brush

The grime and makeup residue are being broken down by the lethal Daiso Brush Cleanser!

Deep Clean the Sigma F80 Flat Top Kabuki Brush

The solution takes just 10 seconds to go from clear to muddy.

Deep Clean the Sigma F80 Flat Top Kabuki Brush

And there you have it!

With any other method I’ve tried, getting to this stage would have taken about 45 tormenting minutes, and the results still might not have come close.

Deep Clean the Sigma F80 Flat Top Kabuki Brush

Deep Clean the Sigma F80 Flat Top Kabuki Brush

After washing the Daiso Brush Cleanser off of the brush with shampoo and a little bit of conditioner, just for kicks, the brush looks as good as new.


Deep Clean the Sigma F80 Flat Top Kabuki Brush

I put every brush that I clean through one final step, and it’s a defining moment. I gently squeeze the bristles together and look for any that are still unclean.



Deep Clean the Sigma F80 Flat Top Kabuki Brush

Give it up for the Daiso Detergent for Puff and Sponge! Whee-weeet!

So tell me, what’s the best makeup brush cleanser you’ve tried, and what’s the worst? Erm… or do you not wash your brushes at all?

P.S. As ironic as life can be, I don’t think this works as well for puffs and sponges. It can also be a hard product to find in some parts of the world (here it is on

Yes, there is a beauty bushidō code


Written by Juli

Hello! My name is Juli and Bun Bun is my alter-ego. I’m a pint-sized girl from sunny summer-all-year-round Singapore, and I blog to share my love for makeup, how to apply it, and what works or what doesn’t work, all from an Asian perspective. My first makeup product was a shimmery light blue lipstick which I proudly wore all over my eyelids and lips. It cost $2.50, felt like $250, and made me feel like a million bucks.


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So far, 59 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. I recommend this to everyone I know, and it is always sold out at the stores. Thus I had to resort to buy several for backups. The price is marked up over at amazon tho. It retails for S$2 over here!

  2. Lola says:

    This is great! I always have trouble getting ALL of the foundation out of my brush and this Daiso brush detergent is just what I need in my life.
    Lola recently posted … Stila Naturaleyes/In the Light Eyeshadow Palette

  3. Mary says:

    Honestly, plain old dawn dish soap works for me. It is made to cut grease, so it does the same for makeup and oils from the skin.

    • Tensy says:

      I absolutely agree. I first use a bit of olive oil then wipe the brush on a paper towel, then dip in DAWN dish washing liquid and swish it in water. Takes everything off and easy to buy at your local grocery. It’s great on pots and pans, too!

  4. Cathy says:

    I actually love using the Dr.Bronners Pure Castille Soap. They sell it at target in diff sizes and scents. Takes everything out especially wi the Sigma Kabiuk is for me. Glad you were able to get it out I know how precious that brush is awesome post!

  5. Crystal says:

    I use Dawn and it works well but I love to try new things and AMEX points work on Amazon so I’ll be checking this out thank you!
    Crystal recently posted … Questions From You!

  6. Julliah says:

    that is a serious miracle worker there. I will have to check it out : )

  7. mulberrytea says:

    I find that the most effective method on synthetic brushes is rub the wet brush on a plain bar of soap, rinse, and repeat. Never found a brush that this method didn’t clean easily.

    Washing your foundation brush every 3 days or so helps too… The best solution is prevention!

  8. Chris25 says:

    Another awesome post from Juli! Thanks so much!

  9. Carolyn says:

    I will definitely be trying this out on my permastained brushes. Thanks, Juli!

  10. Lauren says:

    thats great that you finally found something that works! i dread cleaning my brushes too, even though its something that should be done regularly AND i have acne prone skin. i need to stop by daiso and get this!

  11. Katie says:

    Im so glad you posted this! Ordering now!

  12. resa says:

    Oo. I’ll try this!! My brush is still hella gross ><
    resa recently posted … Tokidoki Robbery Palette Swatches + Review

  13. Kate & Zena says:

    I use an ancient (well, not so ancient), well guarded secret used among artists — half Dawn and half EVOO. Well, any dishwashing liquid like Dawn (Palmolive, regular store brand, etc) will work, but I am loyal to Dawn because of their wildlife efforts. I’ve gotten the two most bratty paints off my brushes (i.e. they stick to paintbrushes like krazy glue) with this method–oils and acrylics. Those only take me three minutes.

    Makeup takes me thirty seconds a brush and my brushes get MIGHTY dirty (for example, my Halloween look is Black Swan and you do NOT want to see my kabuki. Dirty is an understatement and I cleaned it yesterday.) Swish the brush in each, swirl the product in a little bit on the side of your plate (no, you don’t have to swirl it until the soap turns clear), rinse till clean and air dry. Poof! Super clean brushes! Fast and super cheap.

  14. Thanks for sharing this! I am definitely going to buy some of that cleaner online and try it out with my brushes when it arrives. I’m excited to see the results!

  15. Nika says:

    Oh my gosh, wow this is amazing. I need to try this out. I get super frustrated while cleaning my brushes as well. Thank you!

  16. Michelle C. says:

    Oooh, I’m going to have to try this! Not even olive oil and dishsoap will get the Colorstay out out the middle of my flat top brushes.

    • Kate & Zena says:

      What type of dish soap are you using (and what proportions?) Flat top brushes are little trickier because you need to get to the middle, but the mix actually works on everything, from powders to oils (which is why painters and artists like me use this mix over brush cleaner.) For flat top brushes, I use my hand to work in the mix as opposed to the plate. I place the brush and swirl counter clockwise (most people blend in products clockwise so going the opposite direction loosens everything.) I then rake my fingers through the bristles once or twice in each direction and rinse the brush at an angle while swirling it against my hand counter clockwise. Those are the hardest to clean, but that’s the fastest and most effective way. It takes about a minute or two minutes to do.

      You’ll learn to tell if they’re clean by the feeling of the bristles after awhile. If you look at the run off, you can be fooled. The feeling of your bristles is the best indicator of cleanliness. After they’re clean, gently press around the bristles to release excess water and reshape and place on a towel to dry. Make sure to rotate which side your brush lies on so your brush doesn’t get lopsided. Never let your brushes dry right side up.

      • Erin says:

        I tried olive oil and dawn dish soap on my sigma flat top kabuki, but I think the glue loosened out because the bristles started to fall out like crazy.. Made me sad 🙁

  17. Linda says:

    Hi Juli, this is a very useful post! thanks to Karen for it too…
    but i wonder where i can get the Daiso…is it available widely in SG? I live in Jakarta (Indonesia)…

  18. Naj says:

    Ahh yes, I am gonna visit Daiso real soon. I never know what to get when I’m in the store. Now I know what I should get. Thanks for sharing such a great(& cheap) item!

  19. norajeans says:

    WHAT? I could have bought it on Amazon? I just had my cousin send me a bottle from Taiwan. *sigh

  20. rina says:

    Woohoo glad that we own Daiso in Malaysia! OMGIGOTTAHAVETHIS moment indeed.

  21. VictoriaJane says:

    Oh no, currently unavailable from amazon!

  22. Nina says:

    i have this brush too, and it ISSS a pain to wash.

    i use dr. bonner’s peppermint soap for the sigmaxx brushes … it works!

  23. peach_ says:

    Can’t live without this cleanser! Every girl here in Japan swears by this. 😀
    peach_ recently posted … Halloween Spooky, Drippy, Bloody French Nails with Dior

  24. aradhana says:

    i will try this out if i can get my hands on it!

    i usually use olive oil soap, ever since a mac mua suggested it for one of their particularly fragile brushes. it works well at getting the brushes clean, and keeps them soft too!

  25. Carmela says:

    Awesome post! I’ve been looking for a good brush cleaner myself and have never found one that I’m completely happy with. This makes the chore look ridiculously easy. I must find some of this! Thanks for the head’s up, Juli and Karen! 😀
    Carmela recently posted … Color Club Revvvolution = Happy Holo-ween!

  26. Sarah S. says:

    OMG I need this so badly 🙁

  27. DalaLuz says:

    Wow… I’m thoroughly impressed and humbled with my ‘any cheap baby shampoo will do just fine brush cleansing set’ Must buy!

  28. Mandy says:

    I use a French Milled Shea butter soap that I house in a used body butter tub. All I do is rub my brushes on the soap gently. Yes, even the dreaded Sigma brushes! And run them in lukewarm water. The brushes come out super clean and very soft. I am sure a fine olive oil soap will also do. I tried all the other methods above and it was either a pain to do weekly or it did not clean the brushes well. I have not tried the commercial brush cleaners but my method has worked very well after lots of trial and error. At the end I simply wash all the gunk off the soap and it looks brand new. Let dry in open container and store until the next time. Try it!

  29. Simone says:

    I use 99% hospital grade alcohol. Pour a little into a container, dip the brush in it until the alcohol turns cloudy and muddy looking. Dry the brush on a towel. This works even to get Revlon colorstay out of brushes. It works especially well with synthetic bristles. It is a very cheap and effective way of cleaning brushes and as a bonus the brushes take very little time to dry in. It sounds really harsh and at first I was hesitant to try it but my brushes have not been damages by the alcohol. I still use olive oil and shampoo/dish-washing detergent for natural brush bristles (though I do not have many of those).

  30. Adore says:

    I use dawn. even a drip of bleach or alcohol to disinfect. If it’s not really dirty I’ll use baby shampoo. But dawn would have removed that olive oil and gunk

  31. Amanda says:

    OMG!!! I have to get this!!! I have the HARDEST time cleaning my Sonia Kashuk Flat Top brush…nothing throughly cleaning that brush except makeup remover…but obviously you sholdn’t use makeup remover to clean your brushes. I need to get this, but it says its not available on amazon right now 🙁
    Amanda recently posted … Escape From Wonderland…

  32. Rengirl says:

    Olive oil (to loosen oil-based makeup and condition bristles), tea tree oil (to disinfect) and Dr. Bronner’s Lavendar soap to deep clean all the way. This always works for me (even with the Sigma F80). But I think spot cleaning after every use and keeping the makeup from building up between deep cleanings helps the most.

  33. Rachael says:

    I have one of those flat foundation brushes, really dense, from Chanel. I got so frustrated about not being able to clean it i stopped using it. Perhaps this will finally get that baby clean.

  34. Michele DiCola says:

    I use ” Aussie: Opposites Attract shampoo which I buy at where I get a lot of good buys!
    Cleans brushes very well!

  35. this is a great tip! i already saw this product at Daiso the other day but cannot fathom if can be used for brushes, now you’ve confirmed so! will try this, hope it works on my FT kabuki brushes. great post! thanks for sharing!
    MereMakeupManiac recently posted … Review: Sleek Makeup Pomegranate Blush

  36. Linda says:

    To Rina : can you help suggest where to get this in Malaysia? got a friend coming from KL and I want to ask her to get me a bottle 🙂 thanks a lot 🙂

  37. Kate Williamson says:

    I just moved to Japan and recently discovered my local Daiso. I could spend all day in there! I am dying to try the brush cleanser. Do you have any other suggestions for my next Daiso shopping excursion?

    • Oh my! Me too! I can easily spend 3 hours in there when I intended to just ‘pop by, grab one thing and leave’. Haha!

      Well, I usually end up buying more things than I planned to. Everything just looks so fun and interesting right? Then I get a shock when I pay at the cashier. =O

      I’ll just say ‘pop by, grab the Daiso brush cleanser and leave’. But you can also grab some socks, hair accessories, flower pots, tooth picks, mousepad, scissors, false eyelashes………
      Bun Bun Makeup Tips recently posted … MAC Too Chic Beauty Powder Is Absolutely Gorgeous For Warm Skin Undertones

  38. Ana says:

    I washed mine for the first time a few days ago with Dr. Bronner’s liquid soap (oil-based soaps work amazingly well for cleaning brushes!) and didn’t have any trouble! It did take several “shampooings” with the soap and there was still some makeup stuck deep in the bristles. Using rubbing alcohol on those parts always works for me. Love these sigma kabuki brushes! Kinda wish I had ordered the tapered one. I got the kit of the kabuki, flat-top kabuki, and angled kabuki. I pretty much just reach for the flat-top though for liquid foundation. The angled one is a bit too dense for blush I think.

  39. Natalie says:

    Hi. Just wanted to say you are right! I ordered some of this on Ebay (I’m in Australia) after reading your post and have cleaned all my brushes including the F80. Nothing has ever worked this well. Truly amazing! So thank you 🙂

  40. Here’s my take on the other variant of this product. I have yet to try this one out.

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