Beat the lurgies: time to clean our makeup brushes and sponges!

Hands up those of you who regularly clean their makeup brushes... We're all guilty. And yet our brushes and sponges are perfect breeding grounds for bacteria. So time to give our toolkits a much-needed wash!
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Why should we clean our makeup brushes and sponges?

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Cleaning our kit is essential if we want to keep it free of bacteria and grime. It seems pretty logical, yet according to a recent survey 22% of women don't bother. As everyday items, our brushes and sponges are frequently in contact not only with our skin, but its sebum, dust and spots. The result? A veritable hotbed of germs that can block our pores, zap our glow and leave us with blotches or acne. So regular cleaning is a sure-fire way to flawless skin. And that's not all: our makeup goes on and sets better if our toolkit is in good nick. How can we expect our pale pink eye shadow to look great if it was our smokey-eye tool of the choice the previous day? 
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2

How often should I clean my brushes and sponges?

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Well, ideally after each use. Which means every day for certain items. You'll not only kill any dawdling bacteria but also increase your toolkit's lifespan. However, it's a time consuming task, so we recommend a thorough clean every couple of weeks. Bear in mind that sponges suck up more impurities than brushes, so it's best to clean them more often. 
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What should I use?

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Firstly, you don't need to buy specific products or fork out a fortune! You can find special makeup brush detergents, but the contents of your bathroom will have all you need. Lukewarm water, a vegetable oil-based soap (or baby shampoo), some kitchen towel and a bowl. And that's it!  
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How should I clean my makeup brushes?

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Firstly, it depends on the type of bristles. If the bristles are natural, soak them in water. Don't soak the handle or the wood will swell. Apply a dollop of soap to your hands and gently wash your brush using circular movements. Rinse and repeat until the water runs clear. If your brushes are synthetic (the ones used for creamy products) then go for a no-rince cleaner that you should apply to the brush with a dry cloth.
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How should I clean my makeup sponges?

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Makeup sponges require a slightly different technique. Lather some soap on to your sponge, paying attention to the edges where makeup tends to build up. Place it in the water and gently squeeze and rub the grime out of your sponge. If the stains are stubborn, rub it on the palm of your hand. Keep going until it's squeaky clean and the rinsing water runs clear.
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How should I clean lipstick and foundation brushes?

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We need to take care when drying our brushes, particularly if they're natural and, therefore, more fragile than their synthetic equivalents. Don't even think about the tumble dryer! Start by gently squeezing out excess water, without pulling on the bristles. Lay out a towel and line up your brushes so they can dry. If you want to keep a tapered tip (for example on a blusher brush), gently roll it in a piece of kitchen towel and leave to dry. Golden rule - don't dry them upside down or you'll scrunch up the bristles!
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How should I dry my kit?

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We need to take care when drying our brushes, particularly if they're natural and, therefore, more fragile than their synthetic equivalents. Don't even think about the tumble dryer! Start by gently squeezing out excess water, without pulling on the bristles. Lay out a towel and line up your brushes so they can dry. If you want to keep a tapered tip (for example on a blusher brush), gently roll it in a piece of kitchen towel and leave to dry. Golden rule - don't dry them upside down or you'll scrunch up the bristles!
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And don't forget your makeup bag!

Makeup bags should also be regularly washed, if not the bacteria they contain will spread to your freshly cleaned brushes and sponges. Our makeup kit gets all squidged together when we pack it away for the day. So every couple of months, wash your makeup bag by hand or in the machine (depending on its fabric). In between washes, you can always give it a quick once over with a facial cleansing wipe.
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