How to

How to Clean Makeup Brushes & Sponges

Revolution Beauty's rose gold makeup brushes and sponges

Ok, be honest. When was the last time you washed your makeup brushes or sponges? We know it’s one of the easiest jobs to put off, but it’s important to clean them more than just once a month. In fact, a UK-based study found that, on average, unwashed foundation brushes harbor nearly as much bacteria as a toilet seat. If that doesn’t have you running to clean your brushes, we don’t know what will.

We’ve got you covered with our expert’s top tips on how to clean your makeup brushes and sponges effectively.

Why Should You Clean Your Makeup Brushes?

Clean makeup brushes are a game-changer, and there’s so many reasons why, but here are just a few:

Prevent Breakouts

Collecting the daily dirt, residue and oil from the skin, dirty brushes are a breeding ground for bacteria. One study has found that some strains of ‘bad’ bacteria may promote breakouts.

Cleaning them regularly should help to eliminate some of the harmful bacteria from the surface and reduce the risk of clogging pores and potentially triggering blemishes.

Improve Application

No matter how good your makeup brushes are, if they are full of product build-up, they will not perform at their best.

Excess product may alter the shape of the brush and affect its ability to pick up, apply and blend the product – not ideal when you’re trying to create a flawless makeup look.

Come on, there’s no better feeling than smoothing foundation, setting powder or blending bronzer with freshly cleaned makeup brushes!

Increase Tools Longevity

Although it can be nice to treat yourself to a brand-new set of brushes, there’s something quite satisfying about cleaning your makeup brushes so that you can enjoy that new brush feeling without splashing the cash.

But, if they are contending with product build-up and a lack of TLC, brushes may start to feel brittle, lose their shape and may discolour over time. We’ve all got our favourite brush for each step of our makeup routine, so maintaining them can help them last as long as possible.

How to Clean Makeup Brushes?

So, if you’ve been neglecting your brushes for far too long (no shame, we’re all guilty of it from time to time!), follow this simple guide and learn how to clean makeup brushes the right way.

1. Rinse the brush bristles with warm water.

2. Reach for your makeup brush cleaner of choice (a gentle shampoo is a great option!).

3. Gently massage product through the bristles.

4. Rinse the bristles thoroughly until the water runs clean.

5. Gently squeeze out the excess water with a clean towel.

6. Re-form the bristles into their original shape before drying.

7. Let them air-dry with the brush heads hanging off the edge of a counter.

Expert Tip: Don’t leave your brushes to dry on a towel as the bristles may turn mildewy – gross!

How Often Should You Clean Your Makeup Brushes?

We recommend cleaning your makeup brushes every seven to ten days, to ensure your brushes are nice and clean before any harmful bacteria starts to develop or affect the quality of your brushes.

Best Way to Clean Makeup Brushes: What to Avoid

If you’re looking for the best way to clean makeup brushes, it’s important to be aware of some of the things to avoid in order to get the most effective results. Here are a few of our top tips:

Avoid Getting the Brush too Wet

When cleaning your makeup brushes, avoid immersing the handles in water, as this can start to dissolve the adhesive used to attach the bristles to the brush handle, resulting in the brush shedding.

We all know there’s nothing worse than having to pick rogue brush hairs off your face!

Don’t Use Boiling Water

When rinsing your makeup brushes, avoid using boiling water, as this can affect the bonding between the bristles and the handle, leading to shedding. It is advisable to use lukewarm water instead.

Make Sure You Dry Them Properly

The way you dry your makeup brushes is just as important as your cleaning technique. We recommend laying them flat over the edge of the counter.

Another great technique is to use an empty hanger and secure the brushes onto it using a hair tie. Ensure these are secured facing downwards, to help them to drain and dry out properly.

Note: Although it might speed things up, avoid using hot hair dryers to dry your makeup brushes, as you risk melting the adhesive, or damaging the bristles, causing them to be hard and brittle. We recommend leaving them to dry overnight – larger brushes may take a little longer than this.

How to Clean Makeup Sponges

If brushes just aren’t your thing, or you like to add an extra step to make sure your foundation or contour is seamlessly blended, you might also be wondering how to clean a makeup sponge.

We love them for their ability to provide such an even application for a flawless finish. However, by nature, sponges are super absorbent, which means it’s important to keep them clean.

If you’re wondering how often you should clean your makeup sponges, we recommend giving them a good rinse a minimum of once a week, but after every use is optimal as they can harbor lots of bacteria.

Washing a makeup sponge requires a slightly different technique to brushes, so here are our top tips:

1. Rinse the sponge in some warm water, squeezing it to help release any excess product until it is totally saturated.

2. Apply a few drops of your favourite cleaner and create a small lather.

3. Rinse again and squeeze out any suds until the water runs clear.

4. Leave to air thoroughly on a dry surface. We recommend on a clean towel.

How Often to Replace Makeup Brushes and Sponges

Makeup sponges should generally be replaced every 3 months, whereas makeup brushes could last up to 6 months, depending on usage and proper cleaning. Over time, makeup and oils can build up in the bristles or sponge material, leading to bacterial growth and potential skin irritation. If they

aren’t replaced, the bristles of makeup brushes may also wear down and start to shed as the glue disintegrates, meaning application may be compromised.

Regularly replacing makeup brushes and sponges helps maintain good hygiene and ensures optimal makeup application for a flawless finish.

It’s as simple as that, in just a few steps you’ll be able to enjoy beautifully fresh makeup brushes and sponges, and it may even help you upgrade your application game! It’s a win-win.

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Revolution Beauty

Revolution Beauty

Writer and expert