How to Clean Makeup Tools Like a Pro

Perhaps the least glamorous part of a beauty routine is cleaning brushes and sponges. But it’s essential! Not only does the upkeep of your tools keep bacteria and germs at bay, but they perform better and last longer when clean. We’re happy to report that cleaning makeup brushes and sponges is easier than ever! Let’s discuss!

Benefits of Clean Makeup Brushes and Sponges

While cleaning your beauty tools may sound like a chore, it’s a must, and here’s why.

  • Over time, brushes and sponges accumulate bacteria, leading to acne and other skin conditions.
  • Brushes and sponges can accumulate dead skin cells and oils, clogging pores.
  • Makeup can appear streaky or patchy when applied with brushes and tools that are not regularly cleaned.
  • Regular cleaning means that any bristles that come into contact with your skin will be softer and less likely to cause irritation.
  • Keeping brushes and sponges clean ensures they have a longer lifespan, and you get more bang for your buck.

How to Clean Your Brushes and Sponges

Makeup brushes need a thorough cleaning every 1-2 weeks. If you switch up colors frequently, brushes should be cleaned several times a week. If sponges are part of your daily routine, they should be cleaned anywhere from twice weekly to daily.

To clean makeup brushes, start by wetting the bristles with warm water. Then, place a drop of cleanser in the palm of your clean hand and work the brush into a lather. Massage the tips of the bristles to remove any built-up product. Rinse the bristles thoroughly and squeeze out excess moisture with a clean paper towel. Reform your brush head before leaving your brushes to dry.

Our Pick: EcoTools Makeup Brush & Sponge Shampoo ($7.99, shop here)

Cleaning sponges is a similar process. Place dirty sponges in a bowl of lukewarm to warm water mixed with a few drops of liquid soap, then use your hands to vigorously work the soapy water into each sponge individually for at least 15 seconds. Squeeze out as much water as possible, then blot with a paper towel and let air dry.

More Ways to Clean

When you don’t have time for a hands-on brush cleansing, here are a few methods to make the process less time-consuming.

When to Toss Them

Brushes and sponges that are cared for can last a long time, but eventually, they will need to be replaced. Here are a few signs that it’s time to start fresh:

  • Bristles keep falling out
  • Foul odor
  • Frayed bristles
  • Bristles that can no longer be reformed
  • Lingering gunk that won’t go away even after a cleaning
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