Your makeup sponge is probably full of mold

What are you really putting on your face?

Blender Credit: Getty Images

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I've owned my Beautyblender for about nine months and I can count on one hand the number of times I've cleaned it: once. (Dermatologists and skincare fanatics everywhere are cringing in horror, I know.) And yes, I'm at the extreme end of poor makeup sponge hygiene, but even if you clean yours more often, experts say you probably still aren't doing it enough.

How disgusting your makeup sponge really is

Credit: Getty Images/Andrey Popov

That sponge contains more than just makeup.

Think about all the bacteria and grime that gathers on your face throughout the day—then think about how many times your makeup sponge touches said bacteria and grime. Yuck. Not only that, but many of us are guilty of tossing your (still-damp, product-filled) sponge into your makeup bag and zipping it shut. And dark places plus moisture = the perfect recipe for mold and bacteria to thrive.

And just because you can't see any mold on your sponge doesn't mean it's clean or mildew-free. Many beauty YouTubers have filmed videos cutting into their perfect-looking sponges just to find black mold spots lurking inside. After all, it takes a lot of mold spores to accumulate before they're even visible to the human eye, so it's hard to know what's really lurking under the surface.

How often you should clean your makeup sponge

According to Beautyblender pros, you should be cleaning your makeup sponge after every use. Every single use. That means every day for most of us. "Within one minute of washing, blendercleansers provide protection against 99.7% of harmful germs for up to 24 hours, even if stains are left behind," the Beautyblender website explains. They also recommend replacing your sponge every three months and tossing any sponge that shows even the slightest hint of mold just to be safe.

The best way to clean your makeup sponge

Credit: Getty Images

So fresh, so clean.

Beautyblender recommends using their special cleanser to clean your sponge. However, our lifestyle editor (and resident beauty guru) Jessica Kasparian has an even better method. While she has used—and approves of—the Beautyblender cleanser, she says all you really need is soap and water. "The best method I've found is holding a bar of soap in one hand and rubbing the pre-soaked sponge or brush into it with the other hand while running the faucet over the soap," Jessica explains. "Pressing down into the soap helps let out any trapped product, in my experience."

Be sure to also thoroughly wring any excess water out of your sponge and let it dry completely before putting it away experts warn. That will prevent mold or mildew from growing on your sponge while it sits in your makeup drawer.

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