By Lisa DeSantis
Have you had the exact same eyelash curler since oh, maybe high school? We hate to break it to you, but it is time for an upgrade. Thing is, like your mascara and other go-to products, the beauty gadgets you use also collect a lot of gunk and bacteria over time. This is not only kind of gross, but it can also mean that your tools are not working as well as they could be.
The good news: you don't necessarily need to toss 'em out; many things in your makeup bag (including your makeup bag, actually) just need a good scrub or even new parts. Here's how to get each one of your beauty tools back in tip-top shape.
Okay, so back to that eyelash curler you've had forever: you can return it to its former glory by replacing the lash pads, explains Mally Roncal, celebrity makeup artist and founder of Mally Beauty. This should be done every six months to keep the pads flexible enough to provide the optimal curl.
But don't stop there. Adds cosmetic chemist Nikita Wilson, "You still have to clean the actual tool every two weeks." Her trick: Wipe it down with an eye makeup remover-soaked cotton ball to lift off any mascara residue. Baby oil works, too -- just don't use anything that could irritate your eyes such as rubbing alcohol.
Wilson suggests washing them weekly or as needed (if not performing the same). "Sponges are a petri dish for bacteria, so use a mild detergent and warm water when rinsing," she says. Squish the blender into the solution until all of the makeup pigment comes out; air-dry out in the open (don't throw back in your bag). Replace your makeup sponges every few months, sooner if you use them daily.
These last until they are no longer are functional, Roncal says. Also nice? They're super easy to clean: Simply dip a Q-tip into rubbing alcohol and rub it around the sharpener until all excess shavings are gone. The more often you do so, the sharper your pencils will be.
Facial cleansing brush
Once a week, use warm soapy water to rid the brush of any residue. You can run it under the faucet and rub some soap onto the bristles with the device turned on. To dry the brush after use, let it run while holding it to a towel or simply let it sit with the cap off to air dry. It is important to replace the brush head every three months because it gets worn down with each use.
A bi-weekly cleanse is recommended, especially if you tend to toss your pencils, brushes and sponges into the bag without covering them. "The hodgepodge of makeup stuck on the inside and constant exposure to heat and darkness creates the ideal environment for microbes to grow," Wilson explains. Remove all of the products from your bag and turn it inside out before wiping it down with a makeup removing cloth or baby wipe. Voila! All clean.
In general, you should be washing these at least once a month. Products like liquid foundation and concealer tend to build up quicker, so those brushes may need to be cleaned more frequently. Swirl the brush in baby shampoo and hold it under the faucet until the water runs clean. Dry overnight. They can last forever depending on the quality and how often they're used, but if the bristles lose their shape or become permanently etched with gunk, it's time for a trip to Sephora.
When (and Why) to Toss Your Eyelash Curler, Sponges, and More originally appeared on Health.com