How to Clean Makeup Brushes & Sponges

Cleaning your makeup brushes and other makeup accessories can sometimes be daunting. There never quite seems to be the perfect time for it, but it is IMPORTANT. Unwashed brushes are a breeding place for bacteria and the buildup of makeup can wear down the brush bristles and sponges, staining and ruining them over time. Who wants ruined brushes or breakouts?


Let’s give you the real dish on how to take care of your makeup application tools without damaging them. The following steps are recommended for cleaning your brushes:

  1. Wet brush bristles in lukewarm water.
  2. Place a dime size drop of your face cleanser into your palm or on a brush cleaning mat; YES, you can use your face cleanser to clean your makeup brushes. As long as it is a gentle cleanser, it can be used to cleanse all makeup accessories. You can also use specialty brush cleaners, but we don’t think that is really necessary.
  3. Gently massage the brush bristles in your palm/ on brush cleaning mat. Ensure you are keeping the soap and water away from the brush head. This prevents the glue from disintegrating and causing your brushes to fall apart.
  4. Rinse bristles.
  5. Squeeze out any excess water with your fingers and blot with a clean towel.
  6. Reshape brush heads if necessary.
  7. Allow brushes to dry. You can hang them off the edge of a counter or use a brush drying apparatus. Don’t leave your brushes to dry on a towel, this can cause mildew to grow on the brushes which will wreak havoc on your skin. Whatever you do don’t allow them to stand vertically to dry - this will cause water to leak into the ferrule and cause bristle loss. 

To clean your makeup sponge, add a few drops of your cleanser into a small bowl with warm water, dip the sponge into the soapy solution and let it soak up the soapy water. Work your sponge into a nice lather by massaging it, focus on areas with stains. Repeat a few more times until all the makeup is loosened, and then rinse thoroughly. Squeeze out the excess water and wrap sponge in a towel for one final squeeze. Lay it out to dry overnight on a well ventilated surface.

How Often Should you Clean your Makeup Brushes?
Dermatologists recommend that you wash your makeup brushes and sponges every 7 to 10 days especially for the more frequently used ones such as your foundation and concealer brushes and sponges.

Cleaning your makeup brushes and sponges should not be as laborious as doing the laundry or doing dishes, but it is an essential task. These applicators touch your skin and if they are not clean, they will transmit dirt and associated bacteria onto your skin, causing breakouts, skin irritation, or triggering an allergic reaction. All these are preventable by keeping our brushes and sponges clean.

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