How to sanitize your makeup kit

Everyone should have a hygienic environment when it comes to makeup and beauty products, is one of the most important things you must consider when you are starting to use tools and beauty products. 

Cleaning your kit, not only keeps your skin safe from an infection or allergic reaction, it can also make your products last longer.

Dirty brushes, puffs and sponges will attract and hold harmful bacteria that can spread and cause contagious infections. 

If you are a professional, all tools and products must be cleaned and disinfected after every use to avoid contamination. If you are a regular human, who just does makeup for fun as me, then keep reading because we have the best tips for you too. 

Top 8 Sanitation Tips from Pro MakeUp Artists: 

1- Always wash your hands before and after makeup application

The first step is the easiest! Before applying makeup to yourself, a client or touching any of your products, make sure you wash your hands.

2- Use new or disposable applicators, brushes, and tools

Using disposables is the safest way to apply makeup. If you are doing makeup only on yourself, you can use sponges, q tips and other disposable applicators as well. If you are doing makeup on someone else, remember, every new coat should have a different applicator when working with clients. Note: Never double dip applicators, even with the same client.

3- Keep your Makeup brushes clean

Not only makeup stays on your brushes, also, natural oils, bacteria, dead skin cells, dirt, and grime accumulate on the brush, and then you are just reapplying that on a daily basis. Makeup brushes should be cleaned in between every client using a professional makeup brush cleaner and 70% or over alcohol spray over hair, ferrule and handle. If you are using makeup brushes on yourself, then it is recommended that you at least clean them once a week. 

4- If you are a professional makeup artist, never apply makeup directly from the product

Using spatulas, brushes and palettes are essential tools for maintaining a clean workspace. These will prevent cross-contamination and keep all of your products hygienic from one client to the next. 

5- Note expiration dates of products

Most makeup products have a long shelf-life, but some only last a few weeks. Make sure you are checking expiration dates on products and regularly replacing them. 

6- Avoid unsanitary practices

It might be a habit of yours to blow excess powder off a brush, wipe a product without your hands clean, but learning to break these habits  is essential to keep your kit free of germs! These can contribute to spreading bacteria and infections, which is a definite no-no in the beauty biz.

7- Don’t share your personal makeup products

Whether it is for clients, friends or family members, sharing your personal makeup has always been a big NO. 

8- Keep your makeup kit in a germ-free  environment

MakeUp will be used over your skin which is the main reason to be careful on where you store it. If your bathroom gets very steamy, avoid having your kit where humidity can cause mold on your products. 

How to sanitize your makeup products 

What do you need to clean your brushes, sponges and makeup products? 

  • Brush Cleanser
  • Alcohol
  • Paper Towel 
  • Towel

Other essential items to include in your kit are Purell Hand Sanitizing Wipes, Sterile Alcohol, Prep Pads and LED Lights. 


It is generally recommended to discard mascara three months after opening. In addition, storing them in a cool, dry place will help retain freshness. Always use a disposable mascara wand when using it with other people. 

Eye & Lip Pencils

It is recommended you spray alcohol before and after sharpening and before every use. 


Should last from one to two years. Throw out any products that have a bad smell or do not reflect a good appearance. When using on clients, always use a spatula to scrape off what is needed and apply with a lip brush (or disposable lip brush). If you need to use it again on another client, clean with brush cleanser and spray with alcohol to disinfect before next use.

Cake Liner, pomades,liquids and/or gels

Spray alcohol over the product before and after use to disinfect.

Eyeshadows and powders

These types of products have a lower risk of bacterial growth but now more than ever, sanitizing is key, specially with the products that we are using over the eyes. If you are a professional makeup artist, consider getting an LED light to disinfect your powders, and in general, you can spray alcohol and scrape the top layer with a clean tissue, then spray one more time a few inches apart from the powders. 

You should also know that the equipment, tools, materials and products also require extra cleaning and we made a list and gathered information for you to know it all and what you will need. 

MakeUp Tools that need to be satinized: 

  • Sponges
  • MakeUp Brushes
  • Tweezers
  • Scissors
  • Spatula
  • Palette
  • EyeLash Curler 
  • Sharpener
  • MakeUp Kit Case
  • Travel Mirror

How to sanitize your makeup tools: Brushes, sponges, and more

Lash Curler and Tweezers

Spray with alcohol before each use and wipe with Kleenex if needed. 

Sponges and puffs

Ensuring your hands are clean at all times when using these. When cleaning a powder puff, toss in with laundry and wash/dry or you can also use shampoo and clean them by hand. Your makeup kit should have two or more clean powder puffs, kept in plastic bags. 

As for sponges, you can use an organic dish soap, castile soap, baby shampoo or beauty blender sponge cleanser. Wash and rinse by hand. Keep this in a dry and germ-free container. 

MakeUp Brushes

How often do I need to clean my brushes? 

The ideal is to clean them two to three times a week if you use them daily. It may be difficult to find the time to do it so frequently if you have other priorities, but you can try to start by doing it once a week. Makeup brushes should be cleaned in between every client using a Professional Makeup Brush Cleaner and sanitize them with 70% or even 99% alcohol.

Here is an easy video on how to clean your brushes at home:

Ways to clean your makeup brushes:

As we mentioned before, the hygiene and cleanliness you maintain with your brushes or the tools you use to apply makeup has a great impact on the appearance and health of the skin on your face. Ideally, you should wash your brushes two to three times a week, but if you don’t have the opportunity to do it that often, once a week will be enough to protect your face from dirt and bacteria.

Besides this, keeping your brushes clean has other benefits:

  • Duration: this type of tool lasts longer when properly maintained.
  • Better results when applying products.
  • Smoother application, applying your products with brushes that have been previously washed will help your skin maintain a smoother appearance and more uniform finish, since you keep it free of dirt, makeup and natural oils previously added to the brush. 

There are different products that you can use to clean your brushes, one of the most common and cheapest is to use soap bars, to do this you must follow the following steps.

  1. Wet the brush horizontally.
  2. Pass the brush over the soap until it creates foam.
  3. Repeat the previous step until the foam generated by the friction comes out free of makeup.
  4. Be careful not to wash the brush upside down, as the humidity can penetrate deeply, causing the drying time to be longer and generating fungus.
  5. Remove any remaining soap residue.
  6. Remove excess water with small dabs of toilet paper.
  7. Finally, let it dry horizontally for a few hours.

According to the experience and knowledge of some international makeup artists like Jamie Coombes, who is part of the team of the French firm Dior, the time between each cleaning or washing may vary depending on the type of product you apply with certain brushes.

For example, the ones you use to apply powder products can be washed once a month because it is very important to maintain their softness and flexibility.

If your brushes have natural hair fibers, it is best to wash them with baby shampoo as it helps to effectively remove oil, dust and waxes.

On the other hand, synthetic hair brushes can withstand much more intense washing, which is why you can try using dishwashing soap as long as it is organic or castile soap.

Another tip that Coombes shares is that the best surface to wash is the palm of your hand using circular movements, if the brush is small you should be careful not to bend the base.

Mayela Vazquez, international makeup artist and Co- Founder of Within The Trend, shares that most of the time she uses Cinema Secrets liquid cleanser.

“I use one called Cinema Secrets, I’ve used it almost my entire career plus 97 or 99% alcohol, these two are the best combo, they are very effective.”

The 4 easiest and fastest steps to clean your makeup brushes:

  1. Clean the hair, the ferule and handle using a wipey and alcohol. 
  2. For the hair, you should put a certain amount of the brush cleanser in a smaller bottle, then, dip in the tip of the brush and remove the product over a paper or towel by doing gentle circular movements.
  3. Repeat the process until it comes out clean.
  4. Afterwards you spray alcohol over the brush hair as well.

The Best brush cleansers

MakeUp Forever, MAC Cosmetics and Bobbi Brown are some of the makeup brands that market their own brush cleansers. 

In addition to this, you can find in the market different types of brush cleaners as there are for brushes, sponges and blenders, as well as different presentations: liquid, aerosol and solid. And if you are looking for a product that is more environmentally friendly you can find brands such as Sigma and Beauty Blender that have paraben and sulfate free cleaners.

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