February 22nd, 2016
Tom Pellereau, star of The Apprentice and creator of the curved nail file Stylfile, might not be the face that first springs to mind when we talk about the chore of cleaning your make-up brushes – but trust us when we say that he soon will be. Warpaint are thrilled to announce the launch of his latest invention, the StylPro Makeup Brush Cleaner and Drier. We had the chance to sit down with Tom and discuss how his latest invention came about.
WP: What first sparked your interest in make-up brushes and their cleanliness?
TP: It was actually a make-up artist! I’ve been running a programme called Tom’s Testers for a while now where I tell hand-picked beauty super-users about my latest inventions months before we launch. At the end of a session in Manchester, I asked them if there was anything I could invent that would make their lives easier. One immediately said, “Please, please can you create something that makes it fast and easy to hygienically clean make-up brushes?” I quickly discovered that washing make-up brushes is a messy and fiddly task that everyone loathes doing – and make-up professionals can have hundreds of brushes in their kit bags! Even worse is that some consumers don’t wash their brushes at all, meaning that they’re literally painting their faces with bacteria every single day. I’ve been on a mission to develop the fastest and most hygienic make-up brush cleaner ever since.
(FYI we have just started recruiting more Tom’s Testers please click here if you’re interested!)
WP: What research did you conduct about the cleaning habits of those with make-up brushes? What were your findings?
TP: First of all, we conducted a survey of 1,000 women to find out how often they clean their make-up brushes. What we discovered was pretty shocking: 44 per cent had never washed their brushes full stop and 60 per cent hadn’t washed them in four weeks.
After this we also carried out some focus group and one-to-one sessions with both professionals and consumers. The more people we spoke to the clearer it became that while cleaning the brushes is a problem, the biggest issue is drying them. A lot of people put off washing their brushes because they think they’ll still be wet when they want to use them again 24 hours later. I knew I had to invent something that not only cleaned brushes thoroughly, but dried them at lightning speed too.
We also couldn’t find any previous studies on bacteria on make-up brushes and this information was essential for product development. So I persuaded 35 make-up artists, consumers and beauty counters to lend me the brushes in their make-up kits so I could accurately measure the bacteria. We worked with a laboratory and of the brushes tested, 58 per cent were deemed unhygienic for use, 34 per cent had dangerously high levels of bacteria and two had more bacteria than there would be expected on a toilet brush. This was a serious wake-up call as to just how dirty make-up brushes can be. One supposedly clean brush had been sitting on a make-up counter harbouring over 40,000 bacteria. It could have been used on any customer who walked through the door.
But it was Lisa Eldridge who gave me the ultimate challenge: removing Double Wear foundation from a flat Kabuki brush. This was an incredibly difficult task and led to the development of a unique cleanser and conditioner, which we will also be launching with the device. The Cleanser contains wheat germ, Argan and other conditioning agents, and not only cleans but leaves brushes feeling as good as new. It also has a very subtle scent so it doesn’t overpower clients like Isopropyl Alcohol (IPA) commonly used by Make-up artists.
WP: Where did you get the idea of using centrifugal force to cleanse brushes?
TP: In the past I’ve developed medical devices where ultrasonic baths are commonly used to clean equipment. My first brush cleaner design was basically a miniature ultrasonic bath with integrated supports to hold the brush. This cleaned on a basic level but it could not remove the make-up hidden deep inside the bristles. I realised I needed a way to gently open the brush bristles up to get to the dirt inside. I then had a kind of Eureka moment that spinning the brush on its axis the bristles would open up beautifully and the cleaner to get right in to lift all the dirt out. The results are amazing. But even better, I discovered that as I lifted the brush above the water, the liquid held in the bristles immediately sprayed out. The effect looked stunning but most importantly it left the brush feeling almost touch-dry almost immediately. The group at the next Tom’s Testers session literally could not believe their eyes – as their brushes were transformed from dirty to almost brand new in a matter of seconds. They were especially excited about how quickly the brushes dried.
WP: How do you use the StylPro?
TP: The beauty of StylPro is that it’s really simple to use. You just attach any make-up brush using one of eight collars before dunking it for 10 seconds, spinning for another 10 seconds and then drying for five to 10 seconds. That’s your make-up brush completely clean and dry in less time than it takes to choose a shade of lipstick.
There are also some great videos along with full instructions on our website www.stylpro.com, along with hints and tips.
WP: Is the StylPro suitable for all brushes?
TP: Yes – the StylPro is suitable for both synthetic and natural bristles as well as all brush sizes. A friend of mine who works in research and development for ghd advised that natural bristles are more delicate when wet, so for best results please follow the instructions and avoid over-spinning. Lisa Eldridge also told me that it’s a good idea for brushes to hold just a slight amount of moisture so they dry into just the right shape.
WP: What did your research find about brushes cleaned by the StylPro compared to brushes cleaned with traditional soaps?
TP: To ensure the StylPro is not only faster but also more hygienic than traditional methods, we worked with an independent laboratory. Scientists deliberately applied 100,000 bacteria to a number of clean brushes. They then used an identical amount of make-up on each brush before cleaning some using antibacterial soap and water, some using a well known branded brush cleanser and some using the StylPro. The tests proved that the StylPro is as good, if not better, at removing bacteria versus soap and water and branded make-up brush cleaner sprays. Visually the StylPro left brushes looking much cleaner too. But best of all, unlike all other methods, the brushes were completely dry and ready to re-use immediately.
WP: Lord Sugar’s interest in the beauty industry is clearly stronger than ever. Are you planning any new inventions in this industry?
TP: Lord Sugar has long been fascinated by the beauty industry. He even mentions in his autobiography how one of this first ever business ventures was making and selling shampoo on a market stall. I think he was about 15 at the time!
Personally I love working in the industry and make-up brush hygiene has become a fascination. This is just the beginning – make-up artists have told me that they’d love a multi-brush version of StylPro and this is already in the pipeline and will be available as an extra attachment in a few months.
I’ve also just launched the Stylfile Gel Polish Removal range, which removes gel-polish without thinning the natural nail. Again testing and working with experts has been key to this project’s success and the response has been incredible. In fact, it’s been almost too good as we’ve completely sold out of three out of five products in the range!
We’re always looking for industry insiders to help with product development. So if you’d like to become one of Tom’s Testers please register your interest here.
StylPro is launching TODAY and is available from www.stylpro.com for £49.99, with trade pricing available. You can also find Tom and StylPro at stand H27 at the Professional Beauty Show in London this weekend. Keep your eyes peeled for the chance to WIN a StylPro to try for yourself with Warpaint Magazine!