How to Clean Makeup Brushes and Sponges

You’d be shocked at how much damage using dirty makeup brushes and makeup sponges can do to your otherwise perfect skin. We use makeup brushes and sponges on a daily basis to help contour and paint our faces, but how often do any of us clean these tools we use so often?

Expert dermatologists and makeup artists recommend that we give our makeup brushes and sponges a good clean on a weekly basis at least. Fess up, who hasn’t even cleaned their makeup brushes in the last couple of months? No judgement here, time flies when your makeup looks this good!

The bad news is that if we don’t keep on top of cleaning our makeup brushes and sponges, bacteria can build really quickly. If you’re then applying this to your face every day, it’s no wonder if you find yourself suffering from unwanted breakouts.

Don’t worry, there’s still time to mend your ways and keep your makeup routine as squeaky clean as your skincare regime! We’ll help you with the how, what and why of cleaning your makeup brushes and sponges so you can keep your face feeling super clean and healthy.

How often should you clean your makeup brushes?

The minimum recommended by dermatologists and makeup artists is once a week at least to make sure that you avoid a buildup of product, and of bacteria. Makeup brushes are used on your face, so if there’s any bacteria on the brush you’re transferring it straight to your skin which is a big skincare no-no. 

Once a week isn’t always realistic with a busy schedule; makeup experts such as Bobbi Brown have claimed that you can leave most of your makeup brushes around a month before they need cleaning, but that any brushes you’re using around your eyes should be cleaned at least twice a month as the skin in this area is much more sensitive.

Not only will your skin thank you, but you’ll find other benefits such as extending the life of your makeup brushes. Clean bristles make for good makeup application – if they’re full of oils, old product and bacteria then you’ll find that your makeup is spotty and difficult to blend out, so make sure that you’re sticking to these guidelines:

  • Try to clean makeup brushes once a week
  • Clean them once a month at least if time is an issue
  • Brushes used around the eyes should be cleaned twice a month

How to clean makeup brushes

What should you use to clean your makeup brushes?

Aside from the health benefits, the best part about cleaning your makeup brushes is that it costs you hardly anything to do! All you need is warm water and gentle soap. There are specialist brush cleansers if you’re feeling fancy, but water and soap will absolutely do the trick – extending the life of your makeup brushes at no extra cost? What have you got to lose! 

You’ll notice that we said gentle soap – this isn’t just to be kind on any sensitive skin. Regular soap can actually dry out the bristles of your makeup brush, especially if the brush is made from natural hair, so a gentle soap will make sure that you don’t accidentally deal out any damage to your makeup brushes while trying to keep them clean.

How do you clean the makeup brushes?

It’s not as simple as dunking the brushes into soapy water. There’s a technique you should follow if you want to look after the condition of your brushes as well as keep them clean:

  1. Wet the bristles of the brush with lukewarm water – make sure that you don’t also wet the base of the bristles as these are glued to the brush base and could become loose and shed
  2. Put a drop of gentle soap or makeup brush cleanser in the palm of your hand
  3. Gently massage the tips of the brush bristles in your palm
  4. Rinse the bristles off – again, make sure to avoid the bristle base so they don’t become loose and shed
  5. Use a clean towel to squeeze out any excess moisture
  6. Reshape the makeup brush head
  7. Hang the bristles off the edge of a counter to dry – drying on a hard surface will cause the head to dry in a funny shape, while drying on a towel could cause the bristles to become mildewy, and drying vertically could mean water drips to the bristle base and loosen the glue

How often should you clean makeup brushes

How often should you clean your makeup sponge?

Much like makeup brushes, it’s recommended that you frequently wash your makeup sponge to keep it from spreading bacteria to your face. However, the key difference is that most popular makeup sponge brands recommend that you completely replace the sponge at least once every three months.

Sponges are much more absorbent than makeup brushes, so your makeup sponge will simply hold any excess product, bacteria, oil and dirt and even sprays that have been in the atmosphere such as hairspray, perfume and more. Even if you clean your makeup sponge each week, over time it’s going to be pretty difficult to salvage. 

What should you use to clean your makeup sponge?

Warm water and either gentle soap or a makeup cleanser are still the best tools for the job when it comes to cleaning makeup sponges. If you want to get a little fancier, however, try mixing a spot of gentle soap with a blob of baby shampoo and a dash of olive oil to give your makeup sponge a nourishing soak. 

How to clean makeup sponges

How do you clean makeup sponges?

The technique for cleaning makeup sponges is really simple! Whether you’ve made your own cleaning solution or have gone for the simple soap and water technique, the method is as follows:

  1. Fill a sink with water and your chosen cleanser
  2. Submerge the sponge
  3. Squeeze the sponge underwater twice
  4. Sink the sponge back into the bowl
  5. Leave to dry overnight on a clean surface
  6. Ring out the sponge the next morning

Whether you prefer using brushes or sponges to apply your makeup, make sure that you stick to a regular cleaning routine to make sure that you get the best out of your makeup tools without creating any problems for your skin! 

Time for a change? Browse our collections of makeup brushes and makeup sponges here at Beauty Base.

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