The short answer: more often than you have been. Look, we get it, cleaning your sponges and brushes is time-consuming, and who’s ever really thinking about them when they aren’t being used? But I’m sorry to tell you, a few times a year really isn’t going to cut it.
In an ideal world, we’d be washing them after every use, but we know that’s not a realistic goal for most people. The problem is that these tools, even if they market themselves as “antimicrobial”, are a breeding ground for bacteria and fungi–and that’s not even including the skin cell and oil build-up!
We’re not trying to gross you out (well, maybe a little), but using dirty sponges and brushes can cause a lot of problems including clogged pores, breakouts, rashes, inflammation, and even eye infections.
How often should you clean them?
If you’re using them daily, clean your sponges and brushes at least once a week. More of a special occasion makeup wearer? You should still aim for at least once a month, especially if they sit out collecting dirt and debris.
We suggest you make cleaning your makeup tools a part of your weekend reset rituals. Instead of thinking of it as a chore, reframe it as a self-care practice that is helping you stay healthy!
And while a good set of brushes can last you a lifetime when cared for, you should be replacing your sponges every 3-6 months even if you stick to a regular cleaning schedule. The more often you clean, the longer it’ll last, but once they start losing their bounce or shape, it’s definitely time to go.
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What is the best way to do it?
There are a few ways to clean your makeup sponges depending on how much effort you want to put in and what tools and cleaners you have available to you, but honestly? You can’t go wrong with the good ol’ warm water and soap combo.
For sponges, make sure you soak them first–this will make them expand, and ensure the soap gets everywhere. Then just apply a gentle soap or mild shampoo and use small, circular motions to rub it (or your brush bristles) against the palm of your hand until you feel you’ve gotten all the product out, then rinse. Repeat the process until the water runs clear.
Wring out the sponge and squeeze the bristles with a lint-free cloth, then lay flat to dry (or use a drying rack if it’s available). We recommend storing them in a covered container once dry to avoid collecting dust between uses.
And if you’re cleaning anyway, don’t forget to give your metal tools like tweezers and eyelash curlers a good scrub too. Clean the pad with some alcohol to help disinfect it, and make sure it’s not time for a replacement. Have some extra time? Sanitize your makeup bag, and the makeup itself as well.
Are makeup sponges recyclable?
Depends. The original beauty blenders and most makeup sponges are made of polyurethane foam (a type of plastic), so check if your local recycling program accepts them. If not, Beautyblender® has a recycling program available as long as you have at least three sponges to send in, but it’s important to note that at this time, they only accept their own products.
There are also plenty of ways you can repurpose your old sponges after they stop serving their original purpose, so choose whatever option works best for you. And if this still feels wasteful, try a biodegradable option instead.