February 17, 2021 5 min read

When was the last time you replaced your makeup brush? If we’re being honest, probably never!  Aside from the bristles that are now permanently encrusted with layers of old makeup, there are plenty of reasons why it’s probably time to toss your makeup brush ASAP!

A dirty makeup brush

Read on to find out what top celebrity makeup artists and dermatologists have to say about brush and sponge maintenance and why even your favorite beauty tools have an expiration date.

Your skin is an ecosystem

As the body’s largest organ, the skin is composed of  1.8m2 of diverse habitats formed by folds, nooks, and crannies, providing the perfect home for all sorts of microorganisms. But don’t go manically scrubbing your face just yet; many of these organisms are harmless and some even benefit the body’s immune system.

Nevertheless, overexposure to some strains of yeast, viruses, and bacteria (e.g. air pollution or touching the face with dirty fingers) can  cause breakouts and even serious skin infections. And whilst beauty applicators are a great way to avoid using our fingers to apply makeup, even these have an expiration date.

Do makeup brushes expire?

Yes! Just like the food in your fridge, the contents of your makeup bag also have an expiration date. And we’re not merely talking about your favorite eye shadow or that lipstick you’ve had since high school! Over time,  makeup brushes andsponges can trap dirt and harbor germs, creating a breeding ground for unpleasant microbes.

Regular cleaning and maintenance can help to extend the life of your applicator but no makeup brush will last forever. Knowing when to  replace your beauty tools will protect your skin health... and help keep your makeup looking amazing.

Still not sure if it’s time to toss your brush? Check out how many microorganisms they found on the team at Buzzfeed’s makeup essentials!



Can dirty makeup brushes cause acne?

Every time you use your applicator, it will pick up dirt, oil, dead skin, and old makeup. If you don’t regularly maintain your brushes and sponges, these will spread the old and nasty deposits right back onto your face.

Overexposure to dust and bacteria can clog your pores, cause an  imbalance of microbes, and trigger an immune response, ultimatelyleading to inflammation and acne breakouts. Or worse, a skin infection. In fact, if you use dirty or old makeup brushes and have any open sores, popped pimples, or scratches on your skin, you risk giving yourself a  staph infection.

When should I wash my makeup applicators?

According to  Allan Aponte, a celebrity makeup artist,you should be deep cleaning your foundation and concealer applicators once a week.



In addition, dermatologists recommend weekly cleaning of beauty tools used for moist areas, such as eye shadow brushes and lip gloss applicators. Otherwise, you run the risk of contracting infections, such as pink eye!


As for your powder brushes,  Marli Estime, a pro makeup artist from New York, suggests to “Spot clean them every couple of days, but a deep clean [is needed] every two weeks”.

Why are clean makeup brushes better?

After a few uses, the built-up gunk on your brushes and sponges will impede precise makeup coverage. Therefore, in addition to the obvious hygienic reasons,regularly cleaning your brushes will lead to a more flawless application.

How do I extend the life of my beauty tools?


Unfortunately, the majority of us simply don’t have the time to wash and condition our makeup applicators every day but, the longer we leave them to gather gunk, the longer it takes to clean them. Keeping your brush clean improves its performance and will, therefore, likely take less time for you to apply your makeup. Ultimately, it will also extend the life of your beauty tools.

Surface clean

If you’re in a hurry, then using a makeup brush cleaning spray like our  One, Two, Fresh! is the perfect solution. This easy-to-use brush cleaner lifts surface dirt and makeup. The quick-drying formula ensures that you can store your brushes dry or use them again immediately, making it a popular choice for makeup artists.

Deep clean

Keep on top of surface cleaning and you can probably stretch the deep clean to every 10-14 days. To perform this step, we recommend using a dime-sized drop of  brush cleanser and massaging it into the bristles before swirling your brush under lukewarm water. Once the water runs clear, make sure you dry your brushes properly and only store them once completely dry. Don’t forget, moist environments harbor bacteria!

Check out our previous blog post for more detailed information on  how to clean your makeup brushes and sponges properly. Alternatively, watch the video we made below:



How often should I replace my makeup applicators?

Careful maintenance will extend the life of your beauty tools but, like most things, they don’t last forever. At Yubi, we suggest replacing your sponge applicator every 3 months. The brush can go to month 5 or so, but that's with meticulous care.

7 telltale signs it’s time to toss your makeup brush/sponge

If you notice any of the following signs, then you’ll know your beauty applicators have reached the end of their expiration date:

1. Tears

Any tears in your sponge indicate you must throw them away immediately because there is the potential for increased bacteria exposure.

2. Overly stained

Over time, makeup will build up in your brushes and sponges and they will become harder to clean. Once they are overly stained, it’s time to replace them!

A woman tossing overly stained brushes

3. Bristles lose their natural fluffy softness

Does your sponge or brush feel harsher on your skin? Stiffer bristles is a major sign that you need to throw your brush away. This is especially true for brushes with natural hair bristles.

4. Reduced performance

According to  Katie Jane Hughes, celebrity and editorial makeup artist, “If you’re trying to blend your makeup and a brush that normally works well is blending your makeup in a spotty or patchy way, that’s not a good sign.”

5. Shedding

Are your makeup brushes shedding? Once the glue holding the bristles starts to loosen, it’s time to toss!

6. Weird smell

If your sponge or brush starts to smell a bit funky, get rid of it right away! This is a telltale sign that your applicator is harboring microbes like yeast and/or bacteria.

7. Brushes don’t return to their original shape

Finally, we recommend tossing your brushes if they still lose their shape after drying them correctly. They simply won’t be up to the task!

A boy replacing an old makeup brush that hasn't retained its shape

Time to Toss?

If you take care of your makeup brushes, then they’ll take care of you and your skin. However, as soon as you notice any of the above signs, it’s time to toss that makeup brush! 

Luckily, if you own a  Yubi Applicator, then replacing your brushes and sponges is super easy! Unlike other makeup brushes, which are usually attached to the end of a long plastic handle, our ergonomically-designed fingertip applicator comes with  replaceable brush and sponge heads.

Replaceable brush and sponge heads for Yubi

The interchangeable design enables you to switch between the Yubi makeup sponge and makeup brush in just two clicks - click out and click in. What’s more, that means there’s no need to throw away the applicator. Less waste, yay!

Reduce waste, protect your skin health, and improve your makeup game today with the Original Yubi Applicator!

As always, I’m rooting for you! 



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