The Importance of Failure Testing


Once I had my final, final prototype, I really needed to test it as much as possible to see if I really wanted to bring this sucker to market.

I decided to spend three straight months testing it out. In actuality, I wasn’t just testing My Brush Betty — I was also testing the makeup brushes.

Now I had been using my own handmade My Brush Betty device for nearly 10 years to clean my brushes, so I was pretty comfortable with the shake-cleaning process overall. But weird things happen when products get into other people’s hands and they use different soaps and water temperatures and brushes.

And so I started testing all of the variables I could put together. I bought an enormous pile of inexpensive and expensive makeup brushes. And I would start each day getting ready for work with a clean set of makeup brushes, washing the dirty brushes from the prior day and then assessing the results each night when I got home from work. My Brush Betty cleans so fast it wasn’t a huge deal, but I have to confess that I’m glad it’s over. At some point, my husband said, “Can we please stop? We already know it works already.”

carlreinerBut I was doing what some business people and engineers refer to as  failure testing. All that means is that, essentially, I was trying to find the breaking point for my product and the brushes.

I shake-cleaned brushes in hot water and cold water, with a wide range of soaps, and I tried to see what would happen.

I much preferred to discover a fatal flaw with this process before I brought My Brush Betty to market then afterward … During this time, my brain kept jumping to that 1979 Steve Martin movie, “The Jerk,” when the comedian invents a handle to take glasses on and off and makes everybody go cross-eyed. I didn’t want to be that inventor who invents something that has some weird side effect. I didn’t want everybody’s makeup brushes falling apart.

If I had any concerns about My Brush Betty damaging brushes or causing any other problems, I simply wouldn’t have brought it to market.

All that said, I was usually testing new makeup brushes. It’s impossible for me to know how some old makeup brushes that may have been cared for in improper ways might perform in My Brush Betty. But this much I know: If you follow the directions, you shouldn’t have any problems. Some of my brushes are more than 20 years old, and they’re holding up just fine, thank you.

Protecting Your Makeup Brushes

Here’s also what you need to know about protecting the integrity of your makeup brushes. Most of the glue in a makeup brush is actually used to connect the handle to the ferrule. The hair part of the brush – the actual “hair assembly” — is typically held in the ferrule with a combination of string, wire, crimping of the ferrule and/or glue. Seriously. Those hair assemblies are in there good.

That’s because the brush manufacturers really, really don’t want the hair falling out. They are all in a huge global competition to get business from companies like Estee Lauder and Shiseido and others, for whom they manufacture brushes. And if they don’t make great brushes, they don’t stand a chance at getting the work.

The best thing you can do to protect your brushes is keep them out of extreme heat and extreme cold. And I don’t just mean hot water and cold water. I also mean hot weather and cold weather. It’s just as damaging to leave your brushes locked in a hot car all day as in a freezing cold car.

That’s because the non-water soluble glue, or epoxy, used in a makeup brush assembly can liquify, or get gooey, when hot and contract, or shrink up, when cold, which draws the bond away from the thing it’s sticking to, like the inside wall of the ferrule. So extreme temperatures are one of the easiest ways to damage the integrity of your brushes.

The water itself, believe it or not, doesn’t have a whole lot to do with it, providing you don’t soak your brushes for long periods of time. But surely, nobody is dumb enough to do that, right? 😉

The other thing to be wary of — obviously — is a chemical like, say, acetone, that could break the bond of the glue. but again, nobody is that silly, right? 😉


By Sarah A. Webster
My Brush Betty

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