Avoid these 12 mistakes to keep you from getting mold, tears, or stains in your prized beauty tool.

By Jessica Cruel, Popsugar Beauty
Updated October 23, 2015

The Beautyblender isn't your grandmother's makeup sponge. There's a reason professional and YouTube makeup artists keep more than one in their kits at all times. Since the brand launched over 10 years ago, it has become an insider favorite and created a new category of edgeless sponge applicators (with plenty of knockoffs available).

The main question we get when someone sees us with the pink egg: "Is it worth the money?" Yes. The Beautyblender will cost you $20 (which is about 19 more dollars than the cheap triangle versions at the drugstore). But you'll get a dewy, airbrushed finish you can't achieve with brushes alone.

There are a few things you need to know before you run out and buy one. Consider this your Beautyblender owner's manual straight from the product creator, Rea Ann Silva. Avoid these 12 mistakes to keep you from getting mold, tears, or stains in your prized beauty tool.

Water Works

You're using the sponge dry. We get it, you didn't read the instructions, but theBeautyblender is supposed to be used wet. The damp surface gives you streak-free blending and a dewy finish.

Your sponge is dehydrated. Professional makeup artists like to keep a cup of water nearby to keep the sponges moist while working on set. "The best way to use the Beautyblender is when it is activated and damp and completely wet," Rea Ann says. This January, the brand is releasing a new Reactivate spray that will plump the sponge when water is scarce.

Washing Machine

You only clean it once a week. Rea Ann recommends you pour cleanser on your sponge after every use, meaning every day. Make sure to keep the plastic cylinder it comes in as a drying station.

You're scrubbing it too hard. Your BeautyBlender can tear if you have supersharp nails or if you're pulling the ends too hard when you clean the sponge. Instead, use a gentle squeezing motion. While the sponge is soaking wet, pour the cleaner directly on any soiled spots. Use a pinching motion to distribute the cleanser in and out of the sponge. You can also roll the sponge between your palms. And no, you can't put them in the washing machine.

You're not soaking it. For stubborn stains, you can also use a concoction of cleanser and water to soak your sponges overnight. If the spot still won't lift, you can pretreat your tool with a thinner oil (like baby oil) before cleansing.

Storage Solution

You store it in a ziplock bag. Moldy makeup sponges do happen, but it's all due to human error (that's your bad). "When you remove oxygen and light from anything that is moist, you have the opportunity for mold and bacteria to start forming," explains Rea Ann. So a damp Beautyblender stuffed in your dark, enclosed makeup bag is a bad idea. Instead, use a breathable mesh or organza bag to transport the sponge when you travel.

You tried to microwave the germs away. "The worst possible thing you can do is put it in the microwave," Rea Ann says. "I don't think it kills bacteria, it just melts everything."

You kept it too long. Even though you clean your sponge every day (right?), the Beautyblender needs to be replaced every three months. The older it gets, the more likely it will rip or tear.

More Than Makeup

You're not using it for skin care. The Beautyblender is not a one-trick pony. You can use the damp applicator to apply your skin care products, too. Rea Ann recommends using the white Pure ($20) to apply your serums, sunscreen, and moisturizers because it's softer and free of dye.

You only use the Beautyblender with cream makeup. You've probably seen the Beautyblender on YouTube in your favorite contouring tutorials. Many makeup artists like to use it for applying setting powder in focused areas, like under the eyes. "The great thing about using a damp sponge with powder is that you can really control where you're applying it," says Rea Ann. "Brushes are like brooms that sweep things around your face."

You use a wiping motion to apply your foundation. The BeautyBlender bounce is not a dance you need to learn; it's the perfect application technique for this egg-shaped sponge. It's very similar to the stippling motion you'd use with a regular brush. "What you're doing in that one bounce motion is depositing the makeup onto the skin, and then blending it at the same time." It also works to sculpt the face. Use the pointed end of the sponge to drag product with your contour cream. Then, use the larger end to bounce away any lines of demarcation.

You're only using it for makeup. Yes, we told you to never use the Beautyblender dry — on your face. Rea Ann uses the condensed sponge to remove makeup and deodorant stains from clothes. Once you've hit the three-month mark, you can repurpose your old sponge for ombré nail art designs, too.

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