Clean Up Your Act: How to Wash Makeup Brushes and Sponges

Repeatedly reusing a dirty makeup applicator is the equivalent of putting sweaty workout clothes back on – and you wouldn’t do that, right? Properly cleaning your makeup brushes and sponges is essential to preventing breakouts, stopping the growth of bacteria and spreading germs. And as an added bonus, regular makeup brush cleaning increases the lifespan of your brushes and sponges. 

What do I need to clean my makeup brushes?

Nothing more than a gentle cleanser, some warm water, and a few minutes! We teamed up with London Brush Company to create Clean Act, a vegan brush and sponge shampoo that uses essential oils and young coconut milk to clean, sterilize and restore your tools. (P.S. You might remember our previous cleanser, Come Clean. It got a makeover and came back as Clean Act.) You can feel good knowing that Clean Act is totally chemical-free, making it an environmentally friendly choice to send down the drain. It’s also unscented, making it the perfect solution for anyone who has highly sensitive skin.

RELATED: Top Makeup and Skin Care Trends for 2020

Let’s break it down. 

Step 1: Wet your makeup brush or sponge.

Use lukewarm water and try not to fully submerge the handle of the brush. If you’re cleaning a sponge, squeeze it a few times to make sure it’s thoroughly soaked.

Step 2: Add your makeup tool cleanser.

If you’re using a liquid cleanser, squeeze some in the palm of your hand and dip the brush or sponge into it. With Clean Act, just swish the tools directly on the soap to create a lather. Gently swirl the soapy tools in the palm of your hand to loosen the caked-on makeup. 

LimeLife by Alcone’s Clean Act & Blenderful

Step 3: Rinse your makeup brushes and sponges.

Run the brush or sponge under lukewarm water, squeezing gently until the water runs clear. For especially stubborn product, repeat steps 2 and 3.

Step 4: Dry, dry, dry!

Thought you were done? Not quite – and this one might be the most important step of all. If you immediately seal your brush or sponge in an airtight bag, chances are it’s going to produce mold, mildew or bacteria that you don’t want anywhere near your face. That’s why our Blenderful non-latex makeup sponge comes with a mesh drying bag, so you can keep your sponge in a safe, cozy and sanitary place while it dries. (And take it with you everywhere you go!)

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For brushes with a long handle, try this tip to help them keep their shape while they dry: stretch a hair tie around a bottle of hairspray and slip the brushes, bristles-down, under the elastic.

Okay, how often do I really need to clean my brushes and sponges?

If you’re a pro, after every client. And while it’s ideal to clean your personal brushes and sponges after every use, we know that’s not always realistic. We recommend cleaning your tools two to three times per week. Try pairing it with another task to help you remember – if you’re an every-three-days hair washer, scrub your brushes at the same time!

Of course, there will come a time when you and your tools will need to part ways. When cleaned regularly, sponges can last up to three months before needing to be replaced. Brushes should be replaced when they don’t deposit product evenly or the bristles start shedding (pro tools like our Classified Brushes are made by hand with high-quality bristles and should outlast many pans of product).

LimeLife by Alcone’s Professional Classified Brushes

Don’t sweat it if you can’t rush to the sink after every swipe of eyeshadow (find eye-opening inspiration in our post on custom eyeshadow palettes), but do treat your brushes and sponges with a little more love. When it comes down to it, we’re all just doing our best to keep things clean!

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