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All Posts from August 2011

Maurice and the Makeup Brushes


Long ago, the Egyptians whittled a paintbrush using a stick with frayed ends to paint ancient tombs. Making use of what they knew, they improved on the stick making it into a tool that would be used for millennia to follow.

Much like the Egyptians, Maurice Stein also improved on a common tool and morphed it into a commodity envied by his peers, which has become a widely used necessity for anyone who applies makeup: the professional makeup brush.

In the 1930s and 1940s, makeup artists were still using their fingertips to apply makeup. During the early 1950's, makeup artists finally started using applicators, but brushes and sponges were just starting to catch on. By the late 1950's, makeup artists had started regularly using brushes, but hardware, art and paint stores were the only places to find them. While these brushes were fantastic for canvas, they didn't share the same effortless results on faces.

The Professional Makeup Industry was just coming to its own as film gained popular success and television was just beginning. After graduating from Comer and Doran Cosmetology in 1957, Maurice took his knowledge of makeup and hair to the studios where he joined other pioneers of his trade.

Maurice did what every other makeup artist was doing--he would go to the art store to buy paint brushes to use for applying makeup at work. However, on the set, while others were relaxing on breaks, Maurice would put his cosmetology knowledge to use by shaping the brushes with scissors and a razor then sanitizing them with water and soap to dry overnight since that was the only method he knew at the time.

When some of the most expensive faces in the world started noticing just how soft and nice his brushes were, other makeup artists asked him where and how they could get those brushes too. Before he knew it, he spent his down time on sets customizing not only his own brushes, but everyone else's too!

One day a light bulb hit him in the head (either literally or figuratively, he wouldn't say) and he called a producer of fine artist brushes and enlisted his help to order just 200 makeup brushes--since they were so expensive to produce Red Russian Kolinsky Sable brushes--half with a flat tip and the other with a curved tip--and he didn't know how many he would actually need. What Maurice didn't realize was that since he was only ordering one size of each brush, artists on set would request multiple of each brush so he found himself running out of the brushes before he even received them from New York, leaving none for him! Needless to say, he ordered another 50 of each brush...and that was the beginning of Maurice's contributions and improvements to the makeup brush.

He has since created many more sizes and styles of brushes using different types of high quality hair that can all be found at Cinema Secrets. While soap and water worked 50 years ago, each brush bought at Cinema Secrets today is sanitized by yet another one of his fantastic makeup innovations, the Cinema Secrets Makeup Brush Cleaner.

For more information on Cinema Secrets Makeup Brushes, visit:

For more information on Cinema Secrets Brush Cleaner, visit:

For more information on Maurice Stein, Founder of Cinema Secrets, visit:

The only good brush is a clean brush...


Don't cringe...but in high school, I had no idea about the importance of cleaning my makeup brushes...

Looking back, I realize learning a little about sterilization and cleansing can go a long way. After all, people wash their hands with hand sanitizer that kills 99.9% of germs, and they wash dishes with heavy-duty antibacterial soap after use,  so why wouldn't you give the same treatment to the tools you use on your skin? Dirty brushes may have even been a contributing factor in the acne problem that plagued my younger years. 

Cleaning and sanitizing tools is one of the most important, and often overlooked, areas of makeup application and care. It not only shows that the individual or artist is serious about professionalism, but also prevents cross-contamination.

Cross-contamination is the passing of bacteria, microorganisms, or other harmful substances indirectly from one person to another through improper use or unsterile equipment, procedures, or products. In makeup artistry, this most commonly occurs through double dipping, using fingers, or reusing sponges or un-sanitized tools. By using the spatula to pull makeup from containers and using the palette to mix and dip into, the original source of makeup (container) won't get contaminated. Maintaining a sterile work environment prevents skin breakouts and lengthens the life of cosmetics.

Sanitizing your brushes

The quickest and easiest way to instantly sanitize and clean your brushes is by using Cinema Secrets Professional Brush Cleaner. The formula guarantees instant sanitization. If you use 99% alcohol, you will need to soak your brushes or tools for a minimum of 10 minutes before they can be considered sanitized.

How to use Cinema Secrets Professional Brush Cleaner

Cleaning your brushes with Cinema Secrets Brush Cleaner is simple, and to show you, I took pictures of the process (using my eyeshadow and blush brushes) after I did my own makeup this morning....


1. Brush off any excess makeup or product onto a tissue or paper towel. 

Step2.jpg2. Pour brush cleaner into a small tin, jar, or tub, as I have done here. You don't need much and the liquid will turn out a clear blue. When you're done cleaning your brushes, you will have less of the cleaner in your jar but it should still be the same color as it is straight out of the bottle.


Thumbnail image for Step3-Blush2.jpg

3. Dip brush into cleaner. It is very important that you DO NOT swirl your brush in the cleaner. This cause all the makeup and bacteria you want to get off your brush to go right into your brush cleaner!

For fluffier brushes, you don't need to submerge the whole brush in cleaner. Instead, you just need to dip the tip in the brush cleaner and then invert the brush (as I have done in this image on the right) to let the brush cleaner soak to the bottom of the bristles without wasting a ton of product. 


4. Work brush against tissue or towel to remove the makeup or product. 

Step5.jpg5. Repeat as needed until brush wipes clean on tissue or towel

Step6.jpg6. Allow three to four minutes for pencil sized brushes to dry and around fifteen minutes for fluffier brushes to dry. Any chemical smell will become a soft vanilla scent when dry.

AND VOILA! You have clean, sanitary brushes!

Sanitizing palette, tweezers, and spatulas

500-TA008.jpgTwo options:

1. Soak them in a 99% alcohol for maximum sanitization  (this should be done with tweezers specifically). Between uses, simply spray a bit of 99% alcohol on the palette or spatula and they will be ready to reuse instantly. *NOTE* Be sure to use 99% alcohol and not basic rubbing alcohol, which is only 70% and will not completely sanitize.

2. Dip in Cinema Secrets Professional Brush Cleaner and wipe dry to instantly sanitize.

For reference, as well as some extra tips and tricks, see our tutorial on
"How to Clean and Sanitize Tools"in the Education section of our site.