This is one of those things I always put off way too long. I don’t really have a good reason not to because it’s super easy, I always have the stuff, and it takes less than 30 minutes (unless you collect makeup applicators). Right now I’m using the ‘it runs in the family’ excuse. My dad is a big procrastinator and since I take after him, I don’t have a chance. Really I’m just lazy. But yesterday I buckled down and got the job done. I also took the time to snap a few shots so I could share with you how to clean your makeup applicators.

Dirty makeup brushes are just not aceptable. They spread bacteria to your makeup and your skin which causes breakouts and infections. They don’t work as well and make you work harder for a less than stellar apperace. And they just look gross. Are you motivated yet?

Clean Your Makeup Applicators: Brushes

First gather all your dirty brushes by the sink and separate them into two piles, synthetic vs natural bristles. Squirt some makeup remover into a glass a put all your synthetic brushes in there, obviously bristle side down. This is especially good for the brushes you use to put on foundation or concealer or any creamy product that sticks like glue to the brush fibers. Swirl them around once or twice then set them to the side.

While they are soaking, take your natural bristle brushes and rinse them with lukewarm tap water. Make sure the entire time you are washing them you keep the bristles pointed downward to prevent water from getting in the handle and loosening the glue that holds the bristles in. Squirt either some baby shampoo or mild face wash into your palm and swirl the brush around. For really dense brushes you may have to run your fingers through the middle to loosen all the makeup. Then rinse really really well. Any soap left in your brush will dry the bristles out and shorten it’s life dramatically.

After the rinse water runs clear, blot your brushes on a paper towel and hang them up to dry. A clothes hanger makes a great DIY brush dryer. Note: These aren’t all my brushes but I couldn’t find any more hair ties at the moment.

After you’ve finished your natural brushes, take your synthetic ones out of the glass one at a time (save the makeup remover for the next step if there’s any left) and clean them in the same way you did your natural brushes. If your brushes aren’t that dirty you can skip this step, but I find it speeds up the process a lot if my brushes are really gunky.

Clean your Makeup Applicators: Sponges

Get your sponges damp, then pop them into a jar of makeup remover. Squeeze t

hem a few time to make sure the remover really penatrates then let them sit for a few minutes. I usually just put them back in the glass I used for my brushes and let them soak while I wash the batch of synthetic brushes. Whoops forgot a picture.

After 5 minutes start squeezing them again and this time the remover should start changing color, my sponges mostly just had foundation on them so the remover was tan-ish. I’m using a micellular makeup remover from Garnier (available from Ulta), that removes even waterproof makeup without leaving an oily residue. It’s much more than just a makeup remover though. It’s also a cleanser and moisterizer all in one. It sounds too good to be true but it works like a dream. I still cleans afterward because I need a special face wash formulated for acne-prone skin, but I wish I didn’t have to as micellular water leaves your skin feeling soft and clean. Read more about Micellular Water here.

Start rinsing your sponges with cool water, keep squeezing them under the tap until the water runs clear. They may not be as white as when you first bought them, but sponges can easily get stained with makeup, and if the water runs clear then they shouldn’t BEAPROBLEM. Let them air dry on a towel. To keep your sponges and Beauty Blenders clean for longer store them in plastic Easter eggs.

Clean Your Makeup Applicators: Spoolies

My spoolies are always my dirtiest makeup applicators. They are covered in dead skin (your eyebrows need to be exfoliated too) and eye brow powder. Plus, they seem to attract long hair strands that get all tangles around them. Ugh! Also sometimes my mascara wands needs some cleaning too. If your mascara with your favorite brush dries up just clean it off and use it with your other mascaras. I really thought it would be difficult to clean a mascara wand but it’s super easy.

Start by wiping it off with a paper towel to get as much mascara off as you can. Then soak it in some makeup remover. (starting to get the idea? use makeup remover to clean your makeup applicators as well as your face. It’s not rocket science =) I used a shot glass to use as little remover as possible.


As your rinsing it after it has soaked do not, I repeat, DO NOT run your fingers up and down the bristles to speed up the process. It will shoot water and mascara all over your sink. Can you hear the voice of experience? Instead wrap a paper towel around the wand and gently rub it around.

You no longer have any excuse for dirty makeup applicators…unless your dad is a procrastinator that is. 😉 What is your least favorite makeup related thing to do? Please share below.


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