Yes, you should be cleaning your Beautyblender—here’s how


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Photo: Getty Images/Anastasia Nurullina

I’m going make a guess that, like the thought of washing pillowcases or bras on the reg, how to clean your Beautyblender isn’t a topic that comes up all that often. And yet, if your makeup application tool isn’t on your list of things to be cleaned, you’re definitely doing your skin a disservice. You know, because a Beautyblender is a sponge, after all—so it has the propensity to soak up all kinds of stuff, and I’m not just talking about your go-to foundation.

This all goes to say that yes, you should be cleaning your blender so you can still have a glowy complexion underneath that contour. But it’s not as intuitive as you’d think.

“Getting a makeup sponge fully clean is a challenge, as products get deeply absorbed and pigments can stain,” says Jenny Patinkin, makeup artist, beauty expert, and author of Lazy Perfection. This doesn’t, however, mean that it’s impossible—it’ll just take a little elbow grease. Regardless of which of the below products and methods you decide to use, Patinkin says that “the key is to make sure the sponge is fully wet and that you build up a foam, massaging the sponge to draw the soap in deep, and then using a milking-like movement to squeeze the product out.”

You should be washing your sponges on a weekly basis and replacing them every 3 months, according to Patinkin. Aside from cleansing out all the grossness that could be hiding in your Beautyblender, “washing your makeup sponge at least weekly will help your products apply ‘truer,’ meaning that they won’t blend with other leftover pigments deposited in them,” the makeup expert says.

While 3 months is a good rule of thumb in terms of how often you should be replacing your sponge, Patinkin notes that you’ll know that they need to be replaced when they start getting tiny holes that develop from being cleaned and that will leave the surface less smooth—AKA it starts to resemble a sad corpse of the sponge it used to be.

Also, while you’re in cleansing mode, it’s important to make sure that you’re washing and rinsing your sponge thoroughly. When you don’t, your sponge will dry with soap residue on it which can irritate your skin and cause it to breakout. So with that in mind, these are the different expert-approved ways to go about cleaning your Beautyblender.

Here’s how to clean your Beautyblender.

1. Microwave your sponge: Just like the sponge in your kitchen, microwaving your makeup sponge can have similar cleaning and restorative effects. The internet is littered with success stories of bringing a Beautyblender back from the brink of extinction. All you do is fill a cup half full of water with a splash of liquid detergent in it and put it in the microwave for one minute. Once it’s done, squeeze it out and it should be clean as a whistle—though, depending on how dirty your sponge is, you may need to repeat this a few times before your blender looks as good as new.

2. Use a dishwashing soap: If the idea of zapping your sponge isn’t for you, you can simply try washing it out in the sink using a dishwashing soap since your makeup sponge is similar to a regular one, exposed to staining products and oils. In essence, the brand of dishwashing detergent that gets the coconut oil-covered pot clean could also help you get out stubborn stains.

To know when your sponge is actually clean, Patinkin says that “most soaps and cleansers won’t get foamy if there are oils present, so when you see bubbles, that’s a visual cue that at least all the oils are gone, if not all the pigment.”

3. Use a Beautyblender-brand cleanser: For a product that should be a bonafide success at cleaning your makeup sponges, Beautyblender has an entire range of cleansers dedicated solely for this purpose. The brand has a few different cleansing products in its line: There’s Instaclean, which is an everyday cleanser for your sponge. And they also have solid and liquid cleansers for your Beautyblender that are meant to be used for deep cleans.

4. Use your face wash or makeup remover: This one is so obvious it hurts, but I have somehow missed it. Using a product that you use to remove your makeup from your face can also work on removing the very same makeup from your blender.You can use a makeup-removing face wash or gentle laundry detergent because they are designed to break down pigments, or a gentle dish detergent because they’re designed to lift away oils.

5. Make sure you’re drying it properly: The worst thing you can do for your Beautyblender (and therefore your skin) is to keep it from drying properly. After using your sponge, avoid cramming it into a makeup bag or container where it’s susceptible to remain moist and thereby grow bacteria and mold.

For more skin-saving advice, this is everything you need to know about your skin barrier and the natural alternative to retinol to get on your radar

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