How to Sanitize and Disinfect Makeup

Just as much effort should be put into cleaning your makeup products as is put into your makeup routine. Products touch both you and your clients’ faces every day, making them a breeding ground for bacteria or diseases, should you fail to properly maintain sanitary conditions. 


Providing a safe, clean environment for your work is as essential to your career and professional reputation as your talent is. Makeup artists who have been admitted to a professional institute, have participated or earned a diploma or certification, or sought continuing education courses have probably encountered classwork on sanitation practices, along with the training they receive on technique. More casual or self-taught makeup artists, however, may not have much knowledge on the topic. The following guide serves as a reminder of tips and best practices for makeup professionals and enthusiasts. 

Use Proper Sanitation Products

The following list includes sanitation products that amateur and professional makeup artists alike should have: 


  • Paper towels/tissues: 
  • Disposable tools:
  • Plate and spatula (for use of cream products):
  • Professional brush cleaner:
  • 70% alcohol:
  • Makeup sanitizing spray:
  • Hand sanitizer.

Disinfecting Common Types of Makeup

Sanitizing makeup is extremely important given that these products touch your face so frequently. If you’ve shared makeup with friends or been sick while using it, you’ll want to sanitize it then, too. Makeup is exposed to an abundance of germs, making its cleaning something you cannot dismiss. 

How to Sanitize Eyeshadow

For sanitizing eyeshadows, you’ll need isopropyl alcohol and tissues. 


Sanitize eyeshadow by scraping off its very top layer with a tissue. You can do this by quickly rubbing the surface until it brushes off. After you’ve skimmed the top off, spritz the product with a little bit of rubbing alcohol and then let it dry. 

How to Sanitize Pencils and Liners

Pencils and liners include eyeliners such as gels, liquids, and pencils, as well as lip liners, and more. 


While sharpening your eyeliner or lip liner pencils will help keep them clean, this doesn’t sanitize them. For sanitizing purposes, you’ll want to dip your pencils and liners in isopropyl alcohol regularly after use. After that, use a q-tip to scrub them down. 


For gel or liquid liners, you can simply spritz them with some alcohol to sanitize them. You’ll want to remember to also clean the products’ caps. 

How to Sanitize Lipstick

All you’ll need to sanitize your lipstick is isopropyl alcohol, a small container (such as a shot glass), cotton swabs, and a paper towel. 


Take a few cotton balls with alcohol and wipe down both the outside of the lipstick tube and the inside of the cap. Use a paper towel to clean off the end of the lipstick, where it touches your lips. Fill your small container halfway up with the isopropyl alcohol and dip your lipstick into it. Make sure it’s only filled halfway so that the alcohol does not overflow. Let it soak for at least 30 seconds. Place your lipstick upright on a paper towel and let it rest until it is completely dry. 

How to Sanitize Mascara

For sanitizing mascara, you’ll need isopropyl alcohol and paper towels. 


First, you want to saturate the paper towel with alcohol. Next, wipe the mascara wand down the alcohol-soaked towel. Allow the wand to completely dry before placing it back in the tube. 


Eye makeup such as mascara, however, is generally better being thrown out than sanitized. The eye area is delicate and can easily succumb to conjunctivitis (pink eye). Play it safe and throw out your mascara if it’s been used by someone else or you dropped it in the sink or on the ground. 

How to Sanitize Cream Makeup

Like other products, cream products can also be sanitized with isopropyl alcohol. Simply spray your products with alcohol and wait just over a minute for them to dry. Remember to also clean your products’ containers with a sanitizing wipe. 

How to Sanitize Powder Products

You can clean powder products in the same manner as you would clean cream makeups — with an isopropyl alcohol spray and sanitizing wipes.

How to Sanitize Brushes and Sponges

Unfortunately, reusable brushes and sponges cannot be 100% sanitized. Instead of sanitizing, you may be better off using disposables when it comes to these makeup products. 


If you still wish to “sanitize” these tools as much as you can, use lukewarm water and liquid dish soap to do so. The soap will clean the sponge, but not sanitize it, meaning that bacteria may still be inside it. After cleaning, microwave your sponge in a bowl of water for 2 minutes. The heat from the microwave should help get rid of at least some of the bacteria. 

Follow Sanitary Practices In the Workspace

Part of becoming a makeup artist, or receiving licensure and certification, includes learning and tending to the sanitation of your products, and cleanliness practices when working with your client. Moreover, the cost of sanitation products can impact how much a makeup artist makes. Professional makeup artists should consider the cost and time of sanitation practices when pricing their makeup services


Below is a list of sanitary practices to include in the workspace:


  • Disinfect the workspace;
  • Disinfect tools/makeup after each client;
  • Book one client at a time;
  • Don’t work when sick, or take time off after working with a sick client;
  • Wear a face mask;
  • Wash hands;
  • Use hand sanitizer.

Additional Sanitation and Safety Tips

Below is a list of other makeup sanitation and safety tips to consider:


  • Be aware of your clients’ allergies;
  • Keep the outside of your products clean too;
  • Know product expiration dates;
  • Know when you opened a product;
  • Use tools rather than fingers when applying makeup;
  • If you use your fingers, always sanitize them beforehand. 
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