How To Clean Makeup Sponges & Brushes To Avoid Build-Up

Your skin is your largest organ, so it’s incredibly important that you take care of it. From using gentle products and your cleanser and moisturizer, clean skin can make a big difference. So, it’s important to keep your makeup brushes pristine too. 

If you use makeup sponges, brushes, and other tools on your face frequently, you should wash them regularly to avoid the build-up of bacteria, oil, and product. Using unclean tools can transfer the bacteria, product, and oils that are on your brushes to your skin, clogging pores and leading to acne

This can also cause irritated skin and discomfort. Luckily, though, leaning your makeup sponges and brushes is simple with the right techniques! 

If you’re wondering how to clean makeup sponges and brushes, what soaps and techniques to use, and how often you should disinfect them, this guide has everything you need to know.

What To Use to Clean Your Makeup Tools

The first step in learning to clean your makeup tools is to figure out which products to use. It’s important to avoid certain soaps that contain drying alcohols, harmful chemicals, or harsh ingredients. 

These can not only be damaging to your brush bristles or sponge but can irritate the skin as well. You also want to stay away from any exfoliating beads or oil-fighting ingredients. 

Instead, look for a gentle soap or even a baby shampoo. Try to find a soap-free of fragrances, perfumes, parabens, and any synthetic ingredients. Even a gentle facial cleanser or makeup brush cleanser is an excellent tool for washing your makeup brushes and sponges

What’s the Best Way To Clean Makeup Sponges?

Once you find a gentle cleanser to use on your sponges, here are two simple steps to follow. 

1. Lather and Rinse 

The process for lathering and rinsing your makeup sponge is pretty straightforward. Use your gentle soap or cleanser and lather it throughout your sponge

Be sure to squeeze the sponge a few times to make sure the soap penetrates the pores of the sponge. Next, rinse the soap off with lukewarm water.

If there’s a lot of product on your sponge, you may have to repeat this process. Continue lathering and rinsing until the sponge is closer to its original color. Squeeze the sponge while under running water to get the soap out of the pores.

2. Squeeze and Dry

Next, you can squeeze the sponge to remove any excess moisture and make sure all the soap and water are out of your sponge. You can leave your blender sitting on a towel to air dry.

What About Cleaning Your Makeup Brushes?

If you’re cleaning your makeup brushes, the process looks a little different. Here are three easy steps you should follow for how to wash your makeup brushes

1. Lather and Rinse 

Lather a small amount of soap onto the very tips of your makeup brushes. Be careful not to let the water or cleanser touch the area of the brush where your bristles meet the handle. This could cause the glue to disintegrate and your bristles to fall out. 

Once you’ve lathered your brush bristles with soap, use lukewarm water to rinse the soap off. Again, don’t let the water go near the brush handle. You can also use a bowl during this step, filling it until most of your brush bristles are covered and swirling your brush in the water. 

2. Squeeze Out Moisture 

Once you’ve lathered and rinsed your brushes, it’s time to squeeze any excess moisture out of your brush so they can dry correctly. You’ll need a dry paper towel or microfiber towel to gently squeeze your bristles with. Be careful not to pull or tug on the bristles out of the brush, but rather to gently squeeze out any excess moisture

3. Reshape and Let Dry 

Once your brushes are clean and squeezed out, it’s time to do some reshaping. When you rinse them, the water will weigh down the bristles, and your brush may lose its shape. This is easily reversible, so simply take your brush and gently ruffle the bristles back to their original shape.

If your brush was an angled brush, ease the bristles back into this position. If your brush was square or round, make sure it’s reshaped as well. Once they’re reshaped, you can let your brushes dry. 

Lay the handles on a counter with a towel underneath them and let the bristles hang off the counter or the edge of the sink. This lets them air dry without ruining their shape and helps prevent mildew.

How Often Should You Clean Your Tools? 

The general rule of thumb when washing your makeup sponges and brushes is to clean them every seven to 10 days. The more bacteria that builds up on your tools, the more bacteria that comes in contact with your skin, and this is a recipe for irritation and acne. So, the cleaner they are, the better.

Tips for Keeping Your Makeup Brushes Clean 

It’s important to wash your brushes and sponges regularly, but there are a few ways you can keep them as clean as possible until then. Here are a few tips to keep in mind.

Use Clean Products 

The cleaner your products are, the cleaner your brush will be. This doesn’t mean that your brush won’t accumulate bacteria from its surroundings, but it does help prevent a build-up of things like oil, preservatives, and chemicals. 

Aim to use skincare and makeup products that are free of preservatives, parabens, harsh chemicals, fragrances, and perfumes. You can also look for products that are non-comedogenic and won’t clog pores as easily. 

Store Them Correctly 

Another way you can keep your makeup sponges and brushes as clean as possible is to store them correctly. Since bacteria thrive in warm, moist places, you want to keep your makeup tools out of the bathroom or by a warm window. Instead, aim to keep your brushes in cool, dry places. 

Use Them on Clean Skin 

Lastly, to keep your brushes as clean as possible, use them on clean skin. We know you may not always have time for a twelve-step skincare routine before applying your makeup, but having fresh, moisturized skin can help keep your brushes and sponges as clean as possible for use. 

Simply use a gentle cleanser on your skin before applying makeup, and moisturize as well to keep the hydration locked in your skin. This will prevent excess bacteria and oil from your skin from transferring onto your brushes, keeping them cleaner for as long as possible. 

Cleaner Sponges, Cleaner Skin

No one has all day to spend on a skincare routine and washing brushes. That’s why we decided to make all of our products multipurpose, great for skin, and free of any harsh ingredients like parabens and fragrances. 

Our skincare infused cosmetic collection contains ingredients like Matcha, Hibiscus, White Lily, Carrot Seed, and Sweet Almond, so your skin is nourished, hydrated, and your skin concerns melt away. Plus, the cleaner your skincare, the cleaner your skin, and the cleaner your brushes will stay! 


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