Makeup Tips and Tricks


 Germs and Bugs and Bacteria OH MY!! 

Sanitation is one of the top things that will set you apart from other artists. When word of mouth is the biggest form of landing a deal memo, your portfolio and practices will stand out.  Sanitation is not just for your client’s protection but your own protection. You should always carry multiple sets of brushes if you’re going to be working on more than one person. Professional makeup artists should do a full cleaning of their brushes at the end of each day. If you’re a makeup artist, it is imperative that you clean your brushes between applications.

 Some top rules to follow 

  • Never ever ever double dip anything especially mascaras.
  • Never blow on brushes way to many germs flying around
  • Never reuse a brush on another client without disinfectant
  • Never use a lipstick straight out of the tube
  • Never ever use the back of your hand as a palette
  • Always use pallets and spatulas
  • Always keep duplicate brushes when working on multiple clients


The term, “disinfect” is associated more with the healthcare industry. When we disinfect, we are destroying microorganisms (fungi and bacteria) on hard surfaces (non-living tissue). Disinfecting does not kill all of the microorganisms on the surface. Bacterial spores and some bacteria may be resistant to disinfectants. Disinfectants work by destroying the cell wall of the microbes and are typically chemicals.


The term, sanitize is associated more with public health industries such as the food and beauty industries. When we sanitize, we are reducing the number of microorganisms to a safe level. Sanitizing does not kill all of the microorganisms.


Sterilization kills every microbe on hard surfaces (good and bad) using a combination of heat, chemicals, pressure, or irradiation.


Bacteria are a family of microorganisms that are good and bad. Bacteria are found from the tops of our heads to the soles of our feet.  To keep it simple, bacteria can be divided into two groups: non-pathogenic and pathogenic. Pathogenic bacteria are the bad bacteria – the kind that causes illness and diseases. Pathogens are often referred to as “germs.”

In makeup, we should always strive to sanitize by way of disinfecting our tools and products.

Here are a few common diseases that can be rapidly spread

Conjunctivitis (Pinkeye):

Pink Eye from double dipping mascara

Pink Eye from double dipping mascara

caused by some bacteria and viruses can spread easily from person to person.  Often spread by cross contamination from double dipping mascaras and contaminated brushes.

Herpes Simplex:  Cold sores are caused by a contagious virus called herpes simplex. Cold sores usually occur outside the mouth — on the lips, chin, and cheeks, or in the nostrils

Staphylococcus:  (Staph Infection) Staphylococcus lives all over our skin but is not typically harmful, unless your immune system is compromised. Some species of staph can cause rashes, irritation, or legions. If this is in your makeup, it likely got there via your fingers.

Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus MRSA

This is an antibiotic resistant Staph Infection and one of the most serious forms of bacteria.  Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), can lurk on old makeup and cause an infection, such as dermatitis or pink eye, which can resist antibiotic treatment. This bacteria is considered very dangerous because the infection can be easily spread. When applying makeup, MRSA present in the makeup can enter a pimple, open cut or the mucous membranes of the eye and nose. Initial signs of infection include redness, inflammation and heat over the infected area.

Streptococcus: Streptococcus is found in saliva and mucous and some species can cause not only strep throat, but meningitis and “flesh-eating” bacterial infections.  If this is in your makeup, it likely got there via your fingers.  Gram-negative bacteria, Escherichia coli (E.Coli), Salmonella, Shigella (Dysentery),

Demodicids These are also called “eyelash mites” or “face mites” and they are largely harmless. They live in several areas of your face but often are found in the base of your eyelashes. The mites live in hair follicles and feed on dead skin and skin secretions. As a result, those with oily skin are more prone to demodicid infestation. Also, people who wear a lot of makeup and don’t cleanse thoroughly are also prone to infestations. When too many of these mites take up root in a hair follicle, it can cause the hair to fall out.

 Industry Standards of Good Sanitation Practices

  • Cream products (lipsticks, eye shadows, concealers, blushes, gel eyeliners, etc.) Always scrape a product out of the container with a clean spatula and place onto a palette.
  • Lip, eye, and brow pencils always wipe down with 70% alcohol, sharpen, and then wipe with alcohol again. This prevents contamination in your sharpener, which should also be wiped clean with 70% alcohol regularly.
  • Liquid eyeliner Use the applicator to dispense product from the container onto a palette. You can also use disposable applicators but they typically aren’t the best quality.
  • Precision felt tip eyeliners. They are alcohol based so wipe off outside with a tissue and 70% alcohol to make sure applicator is clean.
  • Pressed powder products:  such as blush, eye or brow powders, etc.
  • There are several methods you can use to avoid cross-contamination:

a)     Load up the brush and tap the excess onto a palette and work out of the excess

b)      Wipe the surface of the powder in between clients and spray with makeup brush cleaner70% alcohol,  Beauty So Clean, or DIY cleaner afterward. BeautySoClean is a product marketed to makeup artists for sanitation of their products, specifically powders. It is comprised of five ingredients: 70% alcohol and 4 emollients. The alcohol disinfects the surface and the emollients prevent drying and glazing (which can happen when you repeatedly spray a powdered product with alcohol). 

Why 70% alcohol?  It has been proven by Bio-Chemists that anything over 70% can freeze the outside cell wall of the bacteria, allowing it to lay dormant and it can come back alive and active.  70% allows the alcohol to penetrate the wall and destroy the bacteria.  *note* constant use of just alcohol can change the nature of some eye shadows.

For one of the best DIY Brush Cleaner Recipes go to Kevin J Bennetts Blog In My Kit


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