I really wanted to like the Daily Shampoo from Fantastic Sam's, but the silicone totally did not agree with me because it always left my hair flat and over-conditioned. So while I was in the middle of "benching" this with the other shampoos, I remembered something I had read about washing one's makeup brushes with a 2-in-1 shampoo to keep them in good shape.
(Side note: I haven't gone through the Internet just yet to figure out where I read it, but I have a feeling that this was advice given by a beauty blogger who's not on my blogroll. Anyone care to step up and help me on this? Thanks.)
So that gave me the inspiration to wash all of my current makeup brushes with shampoo.
Now, the thing to remember here is that I already have the MAC Brush Cleaner at home, which I keep in a tiny spray bottle. I swear by this stuff to get my brushes clean on the quick, but because I spray it on (and wipe it on a tissue or paper towel afterwards) it has a tendency to not get most of my brushes as clean as I like. Since most of them were already grungy in the first place, I went ahead and used the shampoo on all of them - naturals and synthetics, from the cheapest of cheap deals to my prized stash from MAC and Sephora. Then I let them air dry, lying flat, and fluffed them out as soon as they were dry.
The results were astounding: Not only did it keep all of my brushes clean, every single brush came out in fabulous, near-new condition. My MAC #224 brush, for example, came out softer and less prone to shedding, and my Sephora travel blush brush (basically a shorter version of this) came out as soft as it was from the day I bought it, without any breakage. The Taklon brushes in my collection also came out more pliable and workable, as well.
The most astounding result, however, was the combination of the shampoo and a kabuki brush that I had bought from Wal-Mart for about $5, which I thought was already a lost cause: it had not only lost its shape, but it was shedding like crazy, and not even the MAC Brush Cleaner or even a once-over with regular soap could save it. One swish with the shampoo, however, and as soon as it dried out it was back to being its soft, bouncy, well-behaved self. Amazing! It just had to be the silicone, I'm sure.
Bottom line: Even if you already have a fine brush cleaner at hand, it doesn't hurt to use an actual shampoo - especially one with silicone-based conditioners in it - to de-gunk your brushes once in a while. Your brushes will not only come out cleaner, but better conditioned for use as well... and who knows, you might even be able to save more $$$$ in the long run, even if you do decide to switch to yet another shampoo.