Makeup sponges that are reusable have revolutionized the makeup world. Not only have they have made life easier but makeup application is now a much smoother process.
It can be used to apply foundation, concealer, powder, highlighter, and many other makeup products to achieve a flawless finish. But, the rather unpleasant aspect of makeup sponges, like beauty blenders, is that they need regular cleaning, especially to avoid unwanted pimples.
Natural products, as well as professional ones, can be used to clean and sanitize them from time to time. Where a clean makeup sponge is essential for better makeup application and for healthy skin, it is seen that using many products also means that the sponge absorbs them and therefore they need to be cleaned more often.
Dirt, extra makeup products, and impurities from the environment settle in the sponge. This means that bacteria also breed freely, more so in the presence of moisture in the sponge’s porous texture.
When you use an unclean makeup sponge, your makeup will not apply as well and can even become patchy in appearance. Furthermore, skin problems such as acne and rashes can also develop when it is repeatedly being used for makeup application.
Nonetheless, there are many convenient ways to clean your makeup sponge and get it to be squeaky clean for your next usage.
Why Is It So Hard To Clean Makeup Sponges?
Blending makeup sponges are made up of sponge (also known as foam) as the name suggests, and the texture of any sponge is such is that absorbs products easily. The sponge is essentially porous, which means it contains thousands of pores that actually help in picking up the product and applying it seamlessly on your skin.
The presence of these pores also means that the makeup you apply with the blending sponge seeps into the depths of the sponge and can be difficult to rinse out. Additionally, the sponge is exposed to the atmosphere and the many microorganisms present in it. Bacteria can easily be attracted to the sponge and grow in and on it. So, irregular or infrequent cleaning of makeup sponges can make them hard to clean when you do finally get around to rinsing it.
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What Natural Products Can You Use To Clean Them?
To clean blending sponges, the cleansing product should be able to remove all the excess oil and makeup from it by breaking it down efficiently.
To perform these actions, the product must contain ingredients that can produce some lather as well.
For a natural product that you can use to clean makeup sponges, we have a simple recipe that you can follow to create your own makeup sponge (and brush) cleanser.
Argan and Coconut Oil
- In a microwavable bowl, take some shavings of the soap base and heat it in the microwave for 30 seconds.
- Repeat these 30-second spurts until the soap base has liquefied completely. Be careful to not burn yourself with the liquid soap.
- To this, add about one teaspoon of argan oil and two teaspoons of virgin coconut oil.
- Stir vigorously but carefully until the oils blend with the soap base.
- Once the mixture has cooled down a bit, pour it into a reusable container and let it solidify.
- Freeze the container for half an hour or so to speed up the solidification process.
Use this natural and organic makeup sponge cleanser to create some lather and wash your sponge the next time.
Olive Oil and Tea Tree Oil
Another great natural makeup sponge cleanser recipe that even works for makeup brushes require the following ingredients:
- ½ teaspoons virgin olive oil
- 10-12 drops tea tree essential oil
- 2 teaspoons castile soap (organic liquid soap)
- 2 tablespoons rubbing alcohol
- 1 ½ cups distilled water
Here is how to make this makeup sponge cleanser:
- In a glass bottle, add the olive oil and tea tree oil along with the alcohol and castile soap.
- Give the contents a few gentle swirls to mix these ingredients together.
- Now add the distilled water to this and shake the bottle after closing the lid.
- Pour some of this liquid on a wet beauty sponge and rinse it as usual.
If you have sensitive skin or if you are allergic to tea tree essential oil, skip this ingredient from the cleansing solution.
Suggested Article: Tea Tree Oil: 10 Ways to Use It to Combat Blemishes and Breakouts.
Other Affordable Alternatives You Can Use to Clean Your Makeup Sponges without Damaging Them
If you are not happy with the results of the natural products to clean your favourite egg-shape-tool, then there are other alternatives available that you can utilise.
These alternatives do not necessarily have to burn a hole in your pocket and can work out to be affordable in the long run.
Beautyblender Solid Makeup Sponge Cleanser
The brand that manufactures the cult favourite beauty blender also has a cleanser for it.
The name signifies the state of the cleanser as it is sold as a solid circular bar in a box. It is paraben-free, phthalate-free and sulphate-free, and is formulated with ingredients that thoroughly cleanse your sponge while maintaining its integrity.
Bar Soap for cleaning makeup sponges
If you do not have access to a store, physical or online, that sells a special makeup sponge cleanser, then you can always use a regular bar of soap. This is a great affordable alternative to clean your makeup sponge.
Simply wet the sponge and rub it on the soap to soak up some of it up. Press the sponge in between your fingers to rinse out all the dirt, excess makeup, and bacteria present in it.
Liquid Soap for cleaning makeup sponges
Apart from bar soap, a liquid soap of any kind can also suffice to clean your makeup sponge.
Firstly, use a hand wash/dish soap or some baby shampoo to lather up the sponge. Rinse it thoroughly and remove all the impurities that were lodged in it.
Tip: Some makeup enthusiasts like to add a few drops of extra virgin olive oil to the liquid soap to help maintain the sponge’s structure better.
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Microwave Technique for cleaning makeup sponges
This affordable method allows you to clean your makeup sponges quickly without damaging them. All you need is a microwave-safe cup or bowl with some water and mild soap in it. Simply, submerge the blending sponge completely into this soap water and microwave it for one minute. Then, carefully remove the cup and let the water cool down.
After cooling, run the sponge under clean water to remove any makeup remnants from it. Squeeze out all the excess water and let the sponge air dry.
Tip: One important thing to keep in mind when using alternatives for specialized makeup sponge cleansers is to use soap (liquid/solid) that is fragrance-free. This will help to avoid unwarranted reactions on your skin from the fragrance producing ingredients later.
Suggested Article: How to Develop an Eco-Friendly Beauty Routine.
How to Tell If Your Makeup Sponge Is Fully Clean
Whilst covering your sponge with soap, make sure that you have covered the entire sponge’s surface with it. Add some warm water to the sponge if you like and gently massage it to break down the impurities, makeup products, and oils present it. Next, squeeze to remove the contents that are settled deep inside it. Then, add some more soap and water, and repeat the cleansing process. Rinse with warm water again and squeeze the sponge to get rid of the excess soap and lather.
After one/two repetitions, the water you’ve squeezed out should be colourless. And, thankfully it should have no makeup remnants in it. Make sure that no lather remains as well. Use more water if you like to get rid of all the soap from the makeup sponge.
Once you have followed this routine, the colour of your sponge will be restored to its former glory. You can also feel the difference in the sponge’s texture when you hold and squeeze it. Once the makeup sponge is fully clean, let it air dry.
How to Sterilize Makeup Sponges Using Heat
Removing makeup and dirt is not the only motive to clean your makeup sponge. It is also important to sterilize or sanitize it to kill any bacteria that may reside on, and within, it.
When you use a bacteria-laden sponge, acne breakouts can crop up easily. Furthermore, infections can also develop in the eyes with the use of a dirty sponge. So, to effectively kill the microorganisms in the blending sponge, the microwave technique of cleaning it is a good option. The heat from the microwave deep-cleanses the sponge and also assists in getting rid of all the bacteria present on it.
Sterilising Makeup Sponges Method:
If you are unsure about putting soapy water in the microwave, then simply dip the sponge in a bowl of plain water and microwave it for 30 seconds. Carefully remove the bowl and let the water cool down. Rinse the sponge using soap, or a cleanser mentioned above, to get rid of the stains and any leftover makeup.
How Often Should You Clean Your Makeup Sponge?
When the question arises about how frequently you should clean, rinse or renew your makeup sponge, the answers vary greatly. Everybody has their own preference, depending on how particular they are about using clean makeup tools and how much time do they have on hand. Ideally, you should clean your makeup sponge after every use. However, this might not be practical and may even shorten the life of your blending sponge.
Undoubtedly, some people prefer to wash their sponge once a month, which is a not so ideal time period again. This is due to dirt, makeup residues, oil, and bacteria possibly accumulating in the sponge over such a long period. More so, infections can be contracted rather easily or acne breakouts develop when such a sponge is used.
Keeping these pointers in mind, the most ideal frequency that suits the majority of makeup sponge users is about two weeks. If you wish, you can clean it once every week if you use it every day for your makeup application. However, if you don’t use it on a daily basis, then washing it once every fortnight seems practical when both time and hygiene are considered.
For a step-by-step guide on how to clean your sponge, click to watch the video below.
Find the cleansing technique that works best for you by trying all of them out, so you can develop a proper cleansing routine to keep any sponge-related breakouts at bay!