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Deep Cleaning Foundation Brushes & Sponges

Continuing on from my previous post, 5 Ways to Apply Liquid Foundation, I thought I’d share with you all how I clean my foundation beauty tools.When using my fingers to apply foundation I always wash my hands immediately before application with some antibacterial hand wash and then again straight after.Moving onto my Brushes and Beauty Blender…

How often I deep clean…

While I don’t mind occasionally reusing a powder brush after a spot clean, I tend not to reuse a foundation brush / sponge until it has been deep cleaned – washed with water and a cleaning agent.

I hate deep cleaning my foundation tools as much as the next person but spot cleaning does not help with the following problems that only a deep clean solves:

(a) liquid and cream brushes/sponges tend to harbour far more dirt and bacteria than powder brushes. This is due to the moist consistency of creams and liquids which are a perfect breeding ground for bacteria.

(b) foundation sticks to the brush fibres/sponge making reuse not as effective as with a clean one.

When to deep clean?
Soon after useWhy?
Because the liquid / cream product has not had time to set-in and stick to the brush fibres / sponge which makes it easier to remove. Kind of like if you wash out a stain from a fabric immediately after the spill, it should stop it leaving a permanent mark.Cleaning soon after also cuts down the time taken to clean the brush by half.

I used to be quite good at doing this regularly but in recent years I’ve accumulated a few brushes so that I don’t have to wash them until Sunday afternoons, along with the rest of my other cleaning chores 🙁

My collection of Mon – Fri No7 Foundation brushes that save me having to wash a brush after each use (all purchased with the £5 vouchers!)
What do I use?
Mild shampoos don’t work for me. They’re fine for powder brushes but they just don’t do the trick with foundation brushes/sponges. A while back I watched a video by super talented Lisa Eldridge on makeup brush maintenance and remember her saying that cheaper shampoos are really effective at brush cleaning because they contain stronger chemicals that remove those stubborn stains: link(it’s midway through video). 
To paraphrase Lisa, the cheaper the better. I’ve yet to find an effective cheapo shampoo for this job…but in my quest I discovered a surprising cleaning agent…
Fairy Liquid. This product is brilliant at not only cleaning the dishes but also my synthetic foundation brushes – win win!Something to bear in mind is that synthetic fibre brushes are much tougher than their natural counterpart and so can withstand stronger cleaning agents. I wouldn’t dare use it on my beloved Suqqu brushes, no sirree!
I need to start using my Beauty Blender Shampoo more often, I have tried it and it does do the job, nothing special I don’t think.
Step-by-step wash guide…

  • Pour some Fairy liquid onto a saucer (amount should be based on the number of brushes you’re washing)
  • Soak the brush / sponge under a running tap (warm not hot water)
  • Dip the brush / sponge end into the liquid
  • Swirl the brush/ sponge in the palm of my hand
  • Rinse the brush / sponge under the tap
  • Repeat steps 2 – 4 until it’s clean. The amount of times may differ depending on the buildup and the density of the brush – the more bristles the longer it will take.



Any brush cleaning tips you want to share?