The definitive guide to using and cleaning your makeup sponge

I’ve survived on using my fingertips to apply makeup for the longest time, but I've found that the Beauty Blender and the subsequent teardrop-shaped makeup sponges it has inspired (like the Marshmallow Puff and the Pro Blend) can totally change my makeup game. It spreads and blends makeup right down to the pores to look natural, so I get a seamless application every time.

However, more than just getting base makeup onto the face, these beauty sponges can help with applying liquid or cream concealer, contour/highlight, and blush. It can also help with the baking technique when used with a translucent loose powder.

Compared to regular sponge wedges, this beauty tool has a wider variety of uses and makes flawless makeup application possible. It’s a worthwhile buy for budding beauty lovers - just make sure you know how to properly use and care for it, so you take full advantage of your investment!

Bounce it on

Though pros regularly use this tool, working with makeup sponges is actually easy. First of all, wet it and then wring the excess water out. For base makeup, dispense a small amount of product onto the back of your hand. Then pick up a little bit with the sponge and bounce-bounce-bounce it over skin or do a pat-and-roll motion for a stippled effect.

For both the teardrop-shaped Beauty Blender and the hourglass-shaped sponges, you can use the bottom or the side to work base makeup in the wide areas of the face (forehead, cheeks, and chin). The tip is for blending makeup in tiny corners such as the sides of the nose and eyes! 

Occasionally rehydrate the sponge by using a spray bottle or dunk it back into a bowl of water, so that not too much product is absorbed by the sponge.

Tip: Though a dry sponge is not ideal for general application, it does come in handy for when you need to sop up and spread out excess product on your face. Try it the next time you apply too much blush!

Keep it clean

Damp sponges are hotbeds for bacteria, so it's important to keep it clean at all times. Ideally, you should wash it thoroughly after every use with a specially formulated sponge cleanser, moisturizing body wash, baby shampoo, face wash, or even dishwashing liquid. Light coverage face bases should come off quickly with baby shampoo or body wash, but the heavy-duty, oil-based stuff such as thick, full-coverage foundations will require the surfactants in dishwashing liquid to sufficiently loosen up the gooey formula.

Lather it up

If the sponge is not too caked with makeup, you can apply your soap of choice, lather it up, rinse and repeat until the water runs clear. However, if there's already too much dried product in the sponge, we suggest soaking it first in a bath of water + dish washing fluid. This solution will loosen up the dried makeup thus making it easier for you to wash the sponge later. A 30-minute soak is recommended.

Go deep

These beauty sponges need their once-a-month deep cleaning to remove bacteria and the occasional stubborn stain. To kill bacteria, you can pop the freshly cleaned sponge in a bowl of water and nuke it for 30 seconds in the microwave. Wait for the bowl of water to cool down, and then dry it off as usual.

To remove stains, try a mixture of dishwashing soap and olive oil at a 2:1 ratio. Lather it up like you would with the other cleansing agents. The oil will give oil-based makeup something to stick to as opposed to water that it just repels.

Dry it down

Gently squeeze the newly-washed sponge with your bare hands, then further draw out the excess moisture by wrapping it in a towel or paper towel and squeezing repeatedly. Afterwards, unwrap it and let it air dry in a well-ventilated place. Don’t stuff it in your kikay kit until it's completely dry to prevent the re-growth of nasty bacteria.

There's nothing more satisfying than a pristine makeup sponge, amirite?!

There's nothing more satisfying than a pristine makeup sponge, amirite?!

Do you use a Beauty Blender or one of its dupes? What are your techniques for using and cleaning it? We'd love to know in the comments below!