Plenty of us are guilty of neglecting to clean our makeup tools on a regular basis, but now's the time to make a change!

Using dirty makeup tools, which are packed with invisible bacteria, fungi and mites, can really damage your skin, leading to breakouts, rashes and irritation. Cleaning your makeup tools may seem like an extra step in your routine but once you know what to do, it will soon become second nature.

How to Clean Makeup Brushes

Lavish Elegance

Those who don’t use their makeup brushes frequently may be able to get away with extending the time in between each clean but generally, you should be cleaning your makeup brushes every 1-2 weeks. Here’s how:

Step 1: Wash

Begin by holding your makeup brush under running water. Position it so that only the bristles are coming into contact with the water - if the base of the brush gets too wet, this will weaken the glue within, causing the bristles to fall out.

Step 2: Cleanse

Apply a small amount of brush cleanser or a gentle shampoo into the bristles. Use your fingertips to work this into a lather and then rinse, repeating until the water runs clear.

Step 3: Disinfect

No matter how clean your brushes may look, there will still be some bacteria lingering on those bristles. Vinegar is great way to do a deep disinfecting. Mix one part vinegar with two parts water in a small bowl, and then stir your bristles through for a couple of minutes. Rinse afterwards.

Step 4: Dry

Use a dry towel to soak up excess water from the bristles, and then lay your brushes down in a row to dry. Arrange them so that the bristles are hanging off the edge of the table or counter you’ve placed them on - allowing wet bristles to touch a surface while drying will encourage mildew. This method also helps the bristles to naturally spring back into shape, but feel free to reshape them yourself if needed.

PRO TIP: A brush cleansing pad can make the cleaning process even easier. Simply add your cleanser and some water to the surface of the pad, and then swirl your brush bristles through the ridges until they’re clean.

How to Clean Makeup Sponges

Studio Pro Beauty Sponge

Makeup sponges are porous, meaning all of the products they come into contact with will quickly start to build up within the material of the sponge. Not only will all of those impurities be rubbed back onto your face each time you use it, but they also prevent the sponge from properly absorbing new products, giving you a rough and uneven finish.

Ideally, you should be giving your makeup sponge a quick rinse with warm water after each use. This will help to prevent germs from building up, and will also keep the sponge in good shape.

Your makeup sponge will also need a more thorough clean after every few uses - never go more than a week without cleaning it. Here’s how remove:

Step 1: Wash

Just like when cleaning makeup brushes, the first step to cleaning a makeup sponge involves running it under warm water, ensuring that it gets fully saturated.

Step 2: Cleanse

Apply a small amount of a gentle soap or shampoo to the sponge, massaging this in with your fingers. If you are using a bar soap, rub this back and forth over the sponge to create a lather.

Step 3: Rinse

Once the soapy suds have changed color (usually to the same shade as your foundation), it’s time to rinse. Hold the sponge under running water, squeezing to ensure that all of the soap is pushed out. Stop once the water runs clear.

Step 4: Dry

Wring your makeup sponge out a few times to squeeze out excess water, and then use a clean towel to pat it dry. Unless you plan on using it straight away, leave it somewhere well-ventilated to fully dry. Throwing a damp sponge into a drawer or back into your makeup bag will soon turn it moldy. If possible, choose a drying location that also receives sunlight - UV light can help to destroy any lingering germs.

PRO TIP: Bar soap can be convenient when cleaning a makeup sponge, but, just like when it comes to your skin, it has a drying effect. Choose a gentle cleanser whenever possible - this will help to prolong the lifespan of your sponge.

How to Clean Metal Tools

Many often don’t think about cleaning their metal beauty tools, but everything from your tweezers to your eyelash curlers to your nail clippers need a regular clean. Ideally, you should be giving these a wash in water and antibacterial soap after each use. Then, give them a deeper clean every two weeks:

Step 1: Wash and Dry

Hold any metal tools under running water and wash with an antibacterial soap. Then, use a clean towel to pat dry.

Step 2: Disinfect

Use a cotton ball/pad that has been dipped into rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide to wipe down all of the surfaces on metal tools. As you work your way along, keep moving the pad so that only clean sides are touching your tools.

Step 3: Wash and Dry

If the metal tool doesn’t touch your face, such as with nail clippers, you can skip the washing stage. Otherwise, rinse the tool under running water, and dry with a clean towel.

PRO TIP: Treat plastic beauty tools, such as cuticle sticks and toe separators, in the same way when it comes to cleaning.

How to Clean a Hairbrush

Hairbrushes can quickly amass buildup, not only from the products you use but also from the natural oils produced by your scalp. Giving your hairbrush a good clean once a month will help to prevent this:

Step 1: Remove any Hair

Use your fingers or a comb to remove as much hair as possible from the bristles. Tweezers can help with particularly stubborn strands.

Step 2: Soak

Fill a sink with warm water and mix in a couple drops of a clarifying shampoo. Then, if your brush is plastic, soak it for a few minutes. If your brush is fabric or natural, dip the bristles into the water instead of soaking.

Step 3: Scrub

You will need an unused toothbrush for this stage - dip it into the water and then scrub the bristles of your hairbrush to remove any product residue.

Step 4: Rinse and Dry

Rinse your hairbrush thoroughly under running warm water. Then, lay it on a clean towel bristle-side down to dry overnight - this will ensure that any excess water drains straight out of the base.

PRO TIP: If you don’t have a clarifying shampoo, use a vinegar/water solution instead.

It doesn’t take long for bacteria to build up on makeup tools, making it important for them to be regularly cleaned. Not only will this save you from having to deal with infections, but it will give your makeup application a much smoother and more professional finish.