Makeup: A guide to sanitary/hygienic precautions

Sanitizing Lipstick, Concealer & Other Cream Products

Dip in or spray with alcohol (91% is preferable) and then wipe completely with a clean tissue, presenting a “virgin” surface to work from. You can then remove a small piece of the product and work from a sanitary surface or work directly from the tube or palette. In the case of cream concealers and foundations where blending is expected, use of a mixing palette is preferred by most professionals.

IMPORTANT: This is a two-part process, and wiping is equally important. Contrary to popular belief, alcohol doesn’t completely kill all germs and viruses that may be present on the product. What it does help to do is remove the outer layer of the product, where most of them are. Because the base of most cream products is usually carnauba or a similar wax, most of the things you’re looking to kill are only on the surface.

Sanitizing Pencils

Prior to using, remove any residue from the sharpener and then clean the blade and inner chamber with alcohol (99% is preferable). Dip the pencil in or spray it with alcohol. Then sharpen. Before applying the pencil, again dip it in or spray it with alcohol to prevent cross contamination from residue in the sharpener. Allow the pencil to dry before using on skin.

Sanitizing Pressed Powders (Including Eyeshadow, Blush, Etc.)

Wipe the surface thoroughly with a clean tissue prior to touching it with a brush or any other applicator. Repeat prior to touching the product as necessary. Spraying with alcohol doesn’t hurt in terms of sanitary precautions but can ruin the product over time.

Working Hygienically with Loose Powders (Including Pigments and Others)

Dispense onto mixing palette or other clean surface using a spatula or other sanitary tool.

Working hygienically with loose makeup powders

Working Hygienically with Mascaras and Liquid Liners

Use a clean disposable applicator (aka, “Spoolies” for mascara, etc.) and do not double dip. Dip once and use a new applicator each time if more product is required. Double dipping cross contaminates and defeats the purpose.

Variation: Use a regular, reusable brush and follow the same protocol of no double dipping.

Working Hygienically with Lip Gloss

Use a disposable applicator following the same protocol as above. If one is not available, dispense onto mixing palette or other hygienic surface. Never apply directly with included applicator.

Working hygienically with lip gloss

Working Hygienically with Liquid Cosmetics

Dispense onto mixing palette and then apply with brush or sponge. Make sure the mouth of the bottle doesn’t touch the surface of your tools—no pressing the sponge or brushing up against it, especially after it has already been used. This applies to foundations, moisturizers or anything else that comes out of a bottle.

NOTE: “Alcohol” refers to 70% isopropyl rubbing alcohol, unless otherwise noted.

DISCLAIMER: Author is not a physician, and article is not intended as medical advice.

David Klasfeld

David Klasfeld David Klasfeld is a makeup artist who has been in the industry for over 15 years. He lives in New York City, where Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics, his professional makeup line, is based.

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