Cleaning makeup sponges has to be the bane of every girl or guys life, as well as brushes especially if you have over 30+ like me! Standing for what seems like hours in front of the sink trying to rinse out every last soap sud left on them. (Surely in this day and age someone would have invented self clean brushes?!) However, nothing quite compares to cleaning makeup sponges. I will take 100 makeup brushes any day over a bunch of sponges.
See, the thing is with sponges, you can only see the surface. Sure they look pretty clean, but are they actually clean?
You should be replacing all makeup sponges every 3 months at least, makeup brushes every year unless you keep them immaculate. On the sponges front, I’d like to think I’m pretty on top of it considering I have to be with my acne. My makeup sponges are washed after every other use of them, if I didn’t have acne it would be more like once a week!
When people clean sponges, they normally use some baby shampoo, give it a quick rub and rinse. Of course, some cleaning is better than no cleaning, but I’ve got some tips and tricks on hand to effectively remove old makeup and bacteria and give your sponges that squeaky clean new kind of feel again!
First things first, why is it important to clean your sponges regularly?
Sponges are great at applying makeup, it gives you that perfect finish and blend without you needing to do much, but they are a sponge (who knew?!) They absorb product, oils and anything on the skin that’s available. Your skin naturally has bacteria on it, it’s what keeps it healthy in most cases! It also has your body’s natural moisturiser – sebum. Sebum is great at giving your skin moisture if you don’t moisturise regularly, too much of it can cause them pesky spots and blackheads. So when you stipple that sponge on your face, it is absorbing all these oils.
Leave it alone and bacteria will multiply inside your sponge, it’s a perfect environment; warm, dark and wet. Don’t worry, your sponge won’t be growing legs from all directions and dancing around the place, but if you use it to apply your makeup again, you could come down with acne cosmetica. This is a type of mild acne that is caused by lack of hygiene, whether it being improperly removing makeup and lack of skincare routine, or by not cleaning your makeup tools. It presents itself with small pustules, blackheads and whiteheads that have no real ‘location’ and plant themselves wherever. Whereas other types of acne may appear in ‘groups’.
If for any reason you have a scratch or open abrasion on your face and you do decide to put some makeup on to try and cover it, using said infected gross spongey over there, you could wind up having a not so nice infection on your face.
Below is one of my sponges, after years of washing them with baby shampoo. It never quite got all the stains of makeup out, but I was convinced they were clean. I was about to throw this one out because it has overstayed it’s 3 month welcome, and I decided to cut it open to see what’s really inside.
It’s not as bad as some I’ve seen, but considering I though mine were pristine, I was disappointed.
The stains on the outside of the sponge run a lot deeper than you think. This was my sponge after washing with simple baby shampoo every other day for 5 months.
On the main part of the sponge I used, you can see where it had started to settle down more into the sponge.
As I mentioned earlier, baby shampoo is most commonly recommended for washing makeup sponges. Personally I wouldn’t touch it with a barge pole on its own anymore but thats just me!
There is one way that I would use baby shampoo and that is with the good old microwave technique. Fill a small bowl with water, a dollop of baby shampoo and the tiniest bit of olive oil and give it a mix, making sure the sponge is saturated and then pop it in the microwave on high for 30 secs. Once out, carefully squeeze out the water (it will be hot!) and rinse. The heat from the microwave will kill any bacteria left by the baby shampoo and the olive oil will condition your sponge and emulsify the makeup and debris making it easier to come out of the sponge.
If you want to thoroughly cleanse your sponges of any bacteria or dirt and don’t want to be spending ridiculous amounts of money, instead use an antibacterial hand soap. Although with this method you will need to rinse it for a while longer!
My personal favourite is using the BeautyBlender Solid cleanser. It’s the only thing that removes bacteria and leaves my sponges and brushes with that lovely sneaky clean, new feeling! What I also love is that it rinses out so quickly and easily, so theres never that dread of having to go back to the sink and rinse them all off again! It is super pricey, but at the end of the day you do get what you pay for! There is a bigger Pro sized version that lasts longer but, again, is a lot pricier.
I challenge all of you to cut open your sponges and see how dirty they really are. I bet the results will surprise you!
Love beauty? Have a look at my summer essentials!
Until next time,
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