Ask any makeup artist or beauty blogger how to keep your makeup looking great – if they know their stuff, they’ll tell you that the simplest way to achieve a professional finish is to ensure your brushes, sponges and beauty blenders are always clean.

Now, this might seem pretty obvious, but a 2015 study found that 39% of women clean their makeup brushes less than once a month, and a massive 22% have never cleaned them at all! If you’re a member of this guilty party, you should be aware that the buildup of dirt and oil on your tools can lead to breakouts, rashes, and even dermatitis.

To help you out, we’ve put together a step-by-step guide detailing the best ways to clean your makeup brushes, sponges and beauty blenders, along with some top products you can use to help ensure they’re always performing at their best.

How often should you clean your makeup brushes, sponges or beauty blender?

If you’re only using your makeup brushes on yourself, but you use them once a day, you should follow this guide:

• Concealer and foundation brushes: wash twice a week to prevent a buildup of product, dirt and oil.
• Makeup sponges and beauty blenders: clean after every use to avoid bacteria buildup (as they are left wet with product, bacteria can spread more quickly than with standard brushes).
• Blusher brushes: clean once a week, or each time you use a different colour.
• Eye makeup brushes: wash once a week, or spot wash if you are changing colour during application.
• Eyeliner brushes: clean each time you use them to ensure you get a perfect, precise line each time.
• Lip brushes: clean after each use to prevent a build-up of product, especially if you’re changing colours.

What’s the best way to clean your makeup brushes?

Here’s our fail-safe, step-by-step guide to washing makeup brushes:

1. Add makeup brush cleaner, like Derma V10 Makeup Brush Cleaner to a glass of warm water.
2. Swirl your brush in the water and gently rub the bristles together to remove any excess product.
3. Rub the brush on a Brush Works Brush Cleaner Tray or a similar rough surface to remove any oil and dirt.
4. Leave your brushes to air dry on the cleaner tray.

Pro tip: for day-to-day cleaning, a brush cleaner like Brush Works Small Brush Cleaner is the quickest and easiest solution. You can use this cleaner simply by wetting your brush and running it along the bristles. Its textured surface effectively removes dirt, impurities and product.

What’s the best way to clean your beauty blender or makeup sponge?

Cleaning your beauty blender or makeup sponge is a slightly different process than cleaning your brushes, follow our guide for great results every time:

1. Wet the beauty blender or makeup sponge in a bowl of lukewarm water.
2. Swirl some Derma V10 Makeup Brush Cleaner onto the sponge.
3. Allow the cleaner to soak into the sponge and squeeze it delicately until it lathers.
4. Rinse the sponge in cold water until there’s no cleaner left.
5. Squeeze out any excess water and dry in a well-ventilated area.

When should you replace your makeup brushes?

If you clean your makeup brushes regularly, they should last longer and be safe to use until you notice wear and tear.

If your brushes start to shed, smell or discolour, you should replace them as soon as possible. Also, if they begin to lose their shape or still don’t feel quite clean after you wash them, you’re due a new set!

Take a look at the LaRoc 10pc Kabuki Brush Set for an all-in-one brush set that offers quality application without breaking the bank. If you’re looking to splash out a bit more on your kit, the Joan Collins Good To Go Brush Caddy Complete Collection is a set of luxury makeup brushes that will have you creating professional looks with minimal effort.

Due to their nature, beauty blenders and sponges need to be replaced every two-to-three months, no matter what state they’re in. Try Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge & Travel Case if you’re in need of a replacement.

Now that you’ve got your makeup brushes sorted, why not take a look at our top beauty hacks that will save you both time and money? Or, if you’re looking to try something new, take a look at our makeup brush guide and discover your new go-to.