Have you ever gone to use your favorite Beautyblender and looked down to realize its formerly bright color looks dull, faded, and downright dirty? With their signature teardrop shape and bouncy, sponge-like consistency, these makeup applicators are built to effortlessly handle products like foundation and concealer and seamlessly apply them to the skin. They’re a must-have in most makeup arsenals, but they can also get pretty nasty if they’re not washed regularly (hello, bacteria). When your foundation color starts to cake onto the outside of the sponge and distort the Beautyblender’s original color, it’s probably past time to give it a thorough wash.
Don’t worry; we too have gone weeks—sometimes even months—without cleaning our Beautyblender sponges, and it’s not pretty. That’s why we’re here to give you tips from the founder of Beautyblender herself, along with makeup experts and makeup-savvy Reddit users, on how to clean them. You can thank us later.
First things first: How often should you wash your Beautyblender?
Rea Ann Silva, the founder and CEO of Beautyblender, tells us that we should aim to wash our sponges with every use. “As a best practice, I wash my Beautyblender with Beautyblender Blender Cleanser before I put on my makeup,” she tells us. “That way, not only will my Beautyblender be clean and disinfected before it touches my sensitive skin, it will also be wet and ready to use.”
Silva explains that with daily use, any makeup tool can accumulate dead skin cells, dirt, oil, pollution, and bacteria and that using dirty tools can cause acne, skin irritation, infections, and accelerate the appearance of wrinkles. “Yes, more wrinkles!” Silva says. “This is due to the oxidative stress from free radicals trapped in makeup tools which cause the breakdown of collagen and elastin.”
What are some ways you can clean a Beautyblender?
1. Use product-specific cleansers.
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Your best bet to really get a Beautyblender clean is to use the products created specifically for the sponges, as these are alcohol-free and gentle enough to not break down the delicate foam that the applicators are made of. The Beautyblender brand makes both solid and liquid cleansers that work wonders for getting out unsightly foundation stains. According to Silva, “The Blendercleansers are all-natural and designed to protect makeup tools from 99.7% of all harmful germs and bacteria for a full 24 hours after washing, even if stains are left behind.”
To use the solid: Rub a moist Beautyblender on the soap and rinse under warm water until the sponge squeezes out clean.
To use the liquid: Fill a small bowl with warm water and pour the cleanser over the sponge or sponges. Then, gently massage the cleanser into the foam. Leave the sponges in the soapy water overnight to let the stains work themselves out, then rinse thoroughly in the morning.
2. Try some gentle soap.
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Valeria Heredia, a certified makeup artist and founder of Real Beauty School, says that a gentle soap, like Dr. Bronner’s, also works well for cleaning your Beautyblender sponges.
She says you should begin by wetting your Beautyblender or makeup sponge with water to clean off the excess foundation or any other makeup that may be caked on the outside. Then, apply a generous amount of soap in a bowl with warm water and let the Beautyblender soak for five to 10 minutes. Next, gently squeeze the sponge until it wrings out clear. Finally, rinse it with warm water and let dry. If you’d rather use a solid soap, you can try a gentle one like Dove and rub a wet sponge onto the bar until the stains come out.
3. Soak it in a drop or two of baby shampoo.
One Reddit user swears by baby shampoo to clean her Beautyblender and other makeup sponges. Simply soak the sponge in warm water with a little bit of shampoo for up to 30 minutes, then thoroughly rinse it and wring it dry. According to the user, this method works well because the baby shampoo doesn’t leave behind any residue and is gentle on the sponge’s foam.
4. Throw it in a mini washing machine.
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Yes, mini washing machines made to wash your Beautyblender actually exist, and they do a pretty decent job of it. To use, pour a little water into the machine (try not to fill it completely or it will overflow once you drop in your Beautyblender), then add a few squirts of the Beautyblender liquid cleanser or liquid soap. Put your Beautyblender inside and run the machine for a few minutes to get it nice and sudsy, then take it out and give it a good rinse. TBH, this method might be better for sponges that are only slightly soiled, as the traditional sink, soap, and water cleaning is probably more effective. But we have to admit, this little machine is pretty damn cute.
5. Whatever you do, allow the Beautyblender to thoroughly air-dry before storing.
If there’s anything you take away from these tips on how to clean a Beautyblender or makeup sponge, please remember this: Never put it away wet. “You always want to make sure you let [it] air-dry in an open space,” says Silva. Otherwise, you run the risk of it developing mold or harboring bacteria, which no one wants. When you’re done washing, simply lay the sponge on a towel to air-dry properly.
6. Know when it’s time for a replacement.
While it’s important to know how to clean your Beautyblender, it’s also important to know when it is past the point of looking like new. According to Silva, brand-name Beautyblenders that are washed with product-specific soap are made to maintain their integrity, so you won’t have to replenish until after around four to six months. However, how long the sponge can last does depend on how you take care and how often you use it.