How to Clean a Makeup Sponge
Makeup sponges create a flawless, airbrush effect but can wreak havoc on your skin if not cleaned properly. Here's how to keep yours clean for healthy skin.
Be honest: When was the last time you cleaned your makeup tools? If you can't remember, it's time. Makeup sponges, such as Beautyblenders, hold your foundation but they can also hold germs from your hands, mold from getting wet and all your dead skin cells. Yuck!
"Dirty makeup brushes breed bacteria and transfer it to your face, which causes breakouts," says professional makeup artist Claire Balest. "Clean brushes also work better without the buildup of product on them and feel amazing on your skin, so it's a win-win."
How a Pro Cleans
"One of my favorite tools, the Beautyblender, requires constant washing after use on my clients," says Balest. "I like using the Blendercleanser solid, which cleans both BeautyBlenders and brushes and is a relatively mess-free cleaning solution. You just rub the BeautyBlender (or a brush) on the solid, massaging the solution into the sponge and rinse until it runs clean."
Balest also recommends laying out makeup tools to dry completely before storing to prevent mold and other bacteria growth.
How to DIY Clean
If you don't want to splurge on the cleanser, you can clean your tools at home with products you probably have in your kitchen. While the Beautyblender cleansers really do work the best, there are hundreds of YouTube videos out there with DIY cleaning hacks, from baby oil to olive oil to baking soda. And most of those hacks are fails. Here's an easy homemade recipe that works best.
- Virgin Coconut Oil: Fatty acids found in coconut oil are antibacterial, and the oil itself helps break up foundation in the sponge.
- Antibacterial Soap: Not your fancy, smell-good stuff from the mall. This should be basic, antibacterial soap that kills germs.
Mix one part coconut oil with two parts antibacterial soap. Soak your makeup sponge in the soap mixture and coat thoroughly. Squeeze the sponge to make sure the soap gets everywhere. But don't go Hulk on it. You don't want to tear the sponge. Rinse thoroughly until no trace of makeup rinses out. Leave your makeup sponge out to dry completely before storing.
When to Toss
Even with regular cleaning, the lifespan of a makeup sponge is short. Beautyblender recommends tossing every three months. Shocking? You may have other items in your home that are past their expiration date. Check out our list of common household items and when to replace them, from your mascara to pillows to the kitchen sink sponge.