Oh goodness. Here we were beating ourselves up for not washing our makeup tools as often as we should—while trying out the lazy hack that is dry shampoo for our makeup brushes —and yet it turns out something even more vile may be going down in our bathroom right now. Inside of our foundation sponge. Makeup and beauty.
In news that',s going viral this week: Members of a makeup-obsessed Reddit community have been cutting open their Beautyblenders and similar makeup sponges to peek at what',s inside—a move that kind of makes us think of Easter eggs, only what',s revealed when you crack these colorful spheres open is sometimes far from festive. One poster, username beauty_blend, shared this photo of a freshly washed six-week-old sponge that when sliced open turned out to be harboring hidden deposits of her Revlon Colorstay foundation.
Not all examples are so extreme. User LadyofAcheron cut her Beautyblender open to investigate a small stain on the bottom and was actually pleasantly surprised the seepage only went this far.
One beauty blogger wrote a hilariously graphic account documenting how her Beautyblender retained makeup and "pooped" it out one day. The gross analogy was only too spot-on, as her photos reveal.
Even here at Glamour HQ, we were shocked by how much product the inside of one editor',s sponge was harboring (and she',s a tinted moisturizer user):
Makeup and a beauty blog
But if you swear by a sponge for your foundation, don',t freak—sponges (which can safely be re-used for up to three months) shouldn',t retain ancient makeup when cleaned properly. That doesn',t include using face wash or shampoo, as was the case with some of the soiled sponges you see above. The recommended method is to wash your sponge each time you use it with a cleanser specifically intended for this purpose, like the Blendercleanser. Yes, it',s probably pricier than your shampoo, but you',ll buy peace of mind knowing that nothing creepy',s lurking below the surface of your sponge.
"You can use either the bar or liquid formula—either way, it really does get all the foundation and makeup out," celebrity makeup artist Mai Quynh assures us, noting that yes, the inside of a makeup sponge should remain spotless. And while fossilized foundation probably poses little risk other than making you slightly nauseous at the sight of it, its presence could indicate that you',re also doing a sub-par job of rinsing away more harmful things. "You want a clean sponge at all times, because otherwise it can harbor bacteria and moisture, which can cause breakouts," Quynh notes.
We understand, however, that not everyone is the type to meticulously cleanse that sponge every single time. So here',s a way to deep-clean when you',ve fallen a tad behind schedule. "First soak your sponge in a soapy solution to loosen and break up makeup," says celebrity makeup artist Kathy Jeung. "Squish the solution through, then spot-clean, rinse thoroughly, and air-dry."
Meanwhile, she uses a time-saving (and hands-saving) makeup-artist hack that lazier types can totally steal, by having a few sponges in rotation at once. "I put my sponges and velour puffs in net lingerie bags and put them in the washing machine on the gentle cycle with an extra rinse cycle," she says. "Add some Beautyblender cleansing solution and Meyers laundry detergent, and voila—throughly clean sponges!" Collecting several sponges in the bag and tossing in at the end of a week? That',s a regimen anybody can handle.
However you choose to de-gunk your makeup sponge, be sure to let it dry thoroughly in an area with good air circulation to prevent something even more unpleasant than what you see above—mold (and we can',t help but remember the girl who found actual insects in her makeup sponge , horror of horrors). "Never store your Beautyblender in your closed, zipped up makeup bag," Quynh advises. "The moisture will cause bacteria to grow. If your Beautyblender is wet and dirty, at least leave it out so it can dry. Don',t close it up!" OK. Even on the roughest morning, this much we know we can manage.
But wait! It appears that makeup artists sometimes use the laundry room to speed up this step, too. Per this photo that Fiona Stiles just shared. Ha!
Before we scurry off to launder our sponges, here',s a parting gift for those of you who still haven',t found a life-changing makeup applicator worth all of this cleaning hassle: our ultimate guide to finding the best makeup sponge for you.