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Avoid Breakouts by Learning How To Clean Your Makeup Sponge

Oct 13, 2022
Feb 23, 2024

Nothing ruins a good makeup day like a blemish. No one wants a breakout — we often do everything we can to avoid them. But many of us miss a vital step in the battle to prevent bumps

Before you suggest that’s impossible, ask yourself one simple question: When was the last time you cleaned your makeup spong or beautyblender? 

While your favorite makeup sponge is laying down a dewy layer of foundation and concealer, it’s also soaking up the dirt, oil, and germs from your skin. Its porous texture absorbs these impurities, creating the perfect breeding ground for problem-causing bacteria. Every time you use a dirty sponge, you’re returning all that build-up onto your skin, increasing the risk of zits — or worse, skin and eye infections.

Like your towels and bed sheets need regular cleaning, so do your makeup tools. Regularly cleaning your makeup sponge also helps it last longer and work better. You’re removing all the build up that often causes the sponge to tear or apply your makeup unevenly. Learning how to clean your makeup sponge is definitely worthwhile. Trust us — your skin will thank you.

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The best ways to clean makeup sponges

While some people throw their sponges in the wash with their towels, these methods are quick and avoid the potential damage of a spin cycle. Here are three effective cleaning methods that work great for makeup sponges. 

Soap and water

This is the simplest and most effective means of getting a sponge squeaky clean. Make sure you’re using a mild soap, like baby shampoo or dishwashing liquid, to break down the oils in makeup. You can also use your favorite bar or liquid cleanser. 

  1. Give it a soak. Wet the sponge under running water until it’s fully saturated and has puffed up in size.
  2. Add the suds. If you’re using liquid soap, add a single squirt onto your sponge and work it in until it forms a lather. If you’re using a solid, rub your sponge across the surface of the soap bar, rotating and pressing it in to create and absorb the suds. Work the blender between your hands, ensuring the lather reaches the center of the sponge. If your beautyblender needs a good scrubbing, use a silicone cleansing palate to gently remove stains and build-up. 
  3. Rinse it clean. Once you’ve lathered the sponge, run it under warm water while squeezing gently until the water runs clear. Roll the sponge in a hand towel to squeeze out excess water, and air dry it on the countertop before putting it away.

BONUS TIP: If it’s been a while since washing your sponge and you’re worried about bacteria, clean it with a 2-1 ratio of dish soap to olive oil. Olive oil has antimicrobial and antibacterial properties to clear out germs lurking in your sponge and discourage them from returning. 

Sponge cleanser

To do any job well, you need the right tools. For cleaning makeup sponges, this means using a cleaning product formulated to help remove oil, dirt, makeup, and bacteria. While using a mild soap works well, it’s potentially irritating, especially if you have sensitive skin. 

The experts at beautyblender have saved the day, creating two formulas that effectively clean sponges while being gentle on your skin. The Liquid Lavender Sponge & Brush Cleanser is an easy-to-use wash that lets you squirt, squeeze, rinse, and go. The solid formula, Solid Lavender Sponge & Brush Cleanser, comes with a silicone pad to give your beautyblender a gentle deep-down clean. You can also use it as a makeup brush cleaner.

The cleaning method is the same as with regular soap and water — the only difference is peace of mind knowing you’re using a product designed specifically for the task.

Soak and microwave it

To zap away dirt and bacteria, use the power of your kitchen’s microwave to clean your beautyblender.

  1. Cover your sponge. Mix enough water and mild soap in a microwave-safe bowl or cup to completely cover your beautyblender. If you don’t, you end up with a sticky mess, or at worst, set your sponge on fire. No one wants that.
  2. Pre-soak your sponge. Rinse and squeeze the sponge under clean water until it puffs up before submerging it entirely in your soap and water mixture.
  3. Nuke it. Microwave your sponge on High for a minute, watching it closely. Take it out and let it sit for at least 30 seconds before removing it from the cleaning liquid to avoid burning yourself.
  4. Rinse and dry. Once it’s cool enough to handle, rinse the sponge under the tap, squeeze out any excess water, and let it fully dry before putting it away.

How often should you clean your beautyblender?

Makeup artists and dermatologists agree that, in an ideal world, you’d clean your beautyblender every time you use it — especially if you’re prone to breakouts. Realistically, rush makeup jobs, foundation touch-ups, and busy schedules mean we don’t always have time to clean our tools so diligently. Try to wash your sponge thoroughly at least once a week — more if you use it daily. 

When to throw it away

Nothing lasts forever, not even your favorite makeup tools. Knowing how to clean a beautyblender will help it last up to 3–4 months of constant use. If this doesn’t seem long, remember disposable sponges are usually single-use products. Reusing a beautyblender keeps plenty of beauty products out of the landfill. 

It’s time to get a replacement beautyblender if you see any nicks and tears or if it doesn’t seem as pillowy after cleaning. And if it smells? Straight into the bin it goes.

Adding beauty tool cleaning into your self-care regime is one of the simplest ways of protecting your skin and keeping it looking its best. Consider it the first step towards creating a healthy, glowing complexion. 

Not sure where to go next? Check out our favorite foundations for every skin type to help you find the right base. As always, Flip’s  friendly and knowledgeable reviewers are ready, willing, and able to guide you to the best product for your specific beauty needs. Looking for insights? Dive into reviews of Flip on Google Play!

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