It’s easy to take our make-up brushes and sponges for granted but it’s important to clean them regularly – not just to get rid of excess product, but for hygiene reasons as well. After all, we rely on these simple tools to make us look good every day, so doesn’t it make sense to keep them in tip-top condition? And here are our top tips for doing just that!
You will need:
A bar of unscented white soap
A new household sponge
Baby shampoo or liquid detergent
Rubbing alcohol (for cleaning brush handles)
For make-up brushes: wet the bristles under some lukewarm water and then swirl them on the bar of soap, making sure you lather the bristles up well. Rinse the bristles clean beneath the water, gently squeeze them out to lose any excess moisture, and then lay the brush flat on a paper towel and leave it to dry.
Be careful not to get any water above the metal shaft of the brush because the brush could rust and lose its bristles.
Alternatively, you could put a little baby shampoo or liquid detergent on the wet household sponge, wet the bristles under lukewarm water and then lather them up on the sponge, rinse the bristles clean, squeeze them out and lay the brush on a paper towel to dry.
In both cases, make sure that when you rinse the bristles out they don’t feel slimy (slimy means there’s still some excess make-up residue in the brush). If that’s the case, you might have to repeat the lather-and-rinse process a couple of times to make sure the brushes are absolutely clean.
If you’ve got some stubborn brushes that are really blocked up with product, put a little olive oil or eye make-up remover on a paper towel and swirl the brush in it. The oil / make-up remover will break the product residue down. Finally, lather the bristles on the bar of soap or sponge, rinse them clean, squeeze them out, and lay the brush on a paper towel to dry.
Cleaning your sponges is just as easy! Wet your make-up sponge with lukewarm water, roll it in your hand and cover it in soap / baby shampoo / liquid detergent until you’ve created a fine lather, and then squeeze the sponge out under the warm water until the water runs clear out of the sponge and the sponge feels clean. Finally, lay the sponge on a paper towel to dry. You’ll know it’s fully dry when it has reduced a little in size.
It’s worth remembering that, although make-up sponges can be safely re-used for up to three months, they should be cleaned regularly.
Leave your brushes and sponges to dry for 6-8 hrs in a well-ventilated room. Don’t put them back into your make-up bag while they’re still wet because that encourages bacterial nasties.
It’s always a good idea to clean your brush handles too because, when you’re switching between brushes, make-up residue can transfer easily from handle-to-handle. Just use a drop or two of rubbing alcohol on a paper towel, rub the brush handles, and then lay them back down to dry.
And, if any of your brushes suffer from extremely stiff bristles (even after you’ve cleaned them), simply put a little hair conditioner in your hands, massage the bristles until they’re flexible again, and then rinse them out.
Finally, if you’re very lazy, another top tip is to put a bunch of used make-up sponges inside a net lingerie bag, put the bag inside your washing machine and use a gentle cycle with an extra rinse cycle to give them a thorough clean. But make sure they dry properly afterwards.
These are all crafty cleaning tips that the make-up professionals use, so don’t tell them we told you! For more advice and insider secrets, make sure you come back soon.
Alice has a keen interest in beauty courses and enjoys educating people on the great courses at LBTA.