We apply foundation, contour, and highlight to our faces with makeup brushes and sponges every day, but we can’t always say the same thing about how often we’re cleaning our applicators.  Therefore, I have put a lot of effort into researching information about washing your brushes and sponges.

1.  Frequency

Most dermatologists recommend washing your makeup tools at least once a week.  Therefore, dermatologists say that the cleansing we usually give them every month or so is just not enough.  We should be washing up our tools far more often to prevent bacteria buildup, which can lead to breakouts.

2.  Cleaning Products

There are plenty of cleaning products available so I’ll share with you the products that I use and love!  The brush/sponge cleanser that I use is Aesthetica Makeup Brush Cleaner. It’s gentle on brushes, yet thoroughly cleanses them.  It’s great on synthetic and natural bristles alike.

Also, I use a Silicone Makeup Brush Cleaning Mat which helps get my brushes and sponges even cleaner.  The mat has suction cups that mount to the sink and allows you to clean your tools more thoroughly.

3.  Cleaning Process

Set of Makeup Brushes

These seven steps will have your brushes looking new in just a few minutes:

  1. Wet the bristles with lukewarm water.
  2. Place a drop of your cleanser of choice into the palm of your clean hand.
  3. Gently massage the tips of the bristles in your palm or the silicone mat as mentioned above.
  4. Rinse the bristles thoroughly.
  5. Squeeze out the excess moisture with a clean towel.
  6. Reshape the brush head back into its original shape.
  7. Let the brush dry with its bristles hanging off the edge of a counter, thereby allowing it to dry in the correct shape. Never let your brushes dry on a towel because the bristles can become mildewed.

Here’s some additional tips:

  • Mid-wash, be sure to keep the base of the brush head (where it connects to the handle) away from soap and water. The bristles are glued to the base, and water and detergent can cause the glue to disintegrate and the bristles to come loose and shed.
  • Avoid drying brushes vertically with the bristles up. This can cause water to leak into the piece that joins the bristles which will also loosen the glue and lead to bristle loss.

4.  Discarding Brushes & Sponges

Makeup Sponges

Regular makeup sponges (the inexpensive kind that come in bulk bag) aren’t meant to be reused.  It’s recommended that you toss those after a single use. Microbial-resistant sponges like the BeautyBlender, on the other hand, are meant to be reused and can be safely used for three to four months. As with makeup brushes, make sure to clean your BeautyBlender at least once a week, as the sponges can become filled with skin cells, and bacteria can overgrow in that area

Although frequent cleansing can help extend the life of your brushes, there are signs that you shouldn’t ignore when it comes to determining that they’re no longer capable of doing the best job possible.  Some signs that it’s time to toss your makeup brush is when the bristles start to fray, shed, or lose their shape.