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How to clean your makeup tools

14 June 2024 | By Shani Tsai

Prevent infections and breakouts by keeping your makeup brushes, sponges, and mascara wands clean.


If you’ve never cleaned your beauty tools before, don’t worry! Your journey to cleaner, healthier makeup applications starts here.

Why you need to clean your makeup tools

In a word: hygiene. Your sponges and bristles make direct contact with your face and, of course, their main job is to transfer product from a jar or tube onto your skin or eye area. 

The last thing you want is product build-up on your tools changing the consistency or colour of the makeup you apply to your skin, or for bacteria to start breeding on unwashed bristles and sponges. When your skin detects these signs of bacteria, it’s alerted to fight it off – leading to clogged pores and oil glands, and breakouts or acne. It’s especially important to keep your mascara wands, and any other eye makeup tools clean, as eye infections are easy to pick up. 

Another reason to make beauty hygiene a habit is that it’ll add to the lifespan of your tools. With regular cleaning, your tools will stay in tip-top condition and you’ll get the best performance from soft, clean bristles and sponges – no more streaky applications caused by those hard brush bristles!   

5 Easy steps to cleaner tools

The beauty experts recommend cleaning your brushes and sponges every 7-10 days, if you use them on a daily basis, and sponges can be cleaned more frequently due to the amount of product they absorb. 

Follow these five steps so your tools will be clean and ready for your next makeup application. 

1.    An initial rinse

For sponges and blenders, wet the whole item with lukewarm water so that they absorb a good amount of water. For brushes and mascara wands, dip the bristles into clean, lukewarm water but keep the handles and any bits of metal dry to avoid damaging them. 

2.    Call on the cleanser

Apply a small drop of a gentle cleanser – a face cleanser works just fine – onto the sponge or bristles. Gently massage up some lather, working only downwards for brushes so you don’t damage the bristles by rubbing them up and down. You can give the sponges gentle squeezes to ensure the cleanser make its way right through and apply a little extra water for more lather. 

3.    Rinse it right

Use clean lukewarm water to rinse the cleanser from your tools. If you still notice coloured water coming from the sponge or bristles, repeat step 2 and rinse again. Make sure that all the cleanser has been rinsed out too.

4.    Shake it off

Gently shake the brush or squeeze the sponge to remove as much water as you can. You can use clean fingers to do an initial squeeze, and then dab the tool into a clean, dry towel to remove any excess water.

5.    Dry properly before use 

To ensure the tools are completely dry, it’s a good idea to allow them to air dry for a few hours. Lay the tools out on a clean, dry towel, out of direct sunlight. You can leave them out overnight; they’ll be ready for use in the morning.

If, after cleaning your beauty tools thoroughly, you notice that the brush bristles are hard or falling out or that the sponge is still stained with colour or the texture has changed, toss them out and shop for new tools. 

Update your toolkit with these new brushes, sponges, blenders and mascaras:

•    Ecotools Starter Set Brushes

•    Smudge Powder Brush

•    Clicks Beauty Essentials Cosmetic Brush Eye Set

•    Clicks Sponge Set

•    Sorbet On A Blender Sculpt & Highlight Contouring Blender 

•    MyEarth Bamboo Foundation Brush

•    The Body Shop Mascara Super Volume Black

•    Sorbet Amplieye 4D Mascara

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