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Makeup sanitation

Make-up hygiene

Today I want to talk about sanitation. Not only because I'm obsessed with it, but also because when it's not properly done by the makeup artist, clients risk their health. I am going to share general tips and things to look out for when you want to book a makeup artist.

I find it very important to work with clean and safe makeup products and tools. On every job I come prepared with clean brushes, clean makeup, clean tools, disposables and sanitation products. Why I'm being so obsessed with this? Because I want to give my clients a service where they do not have to worry about their health. Improper sanitation can cause sores, flu, pink eye, herpes and so on. First I will talk about a general approach when working and after this I will write some do's and don'ts for the makeup artist as well as for the client.

1. Wash your hands

This is the first step when you start your service. Make sure you drench them in soap and water, not only the palms of your hand, also in between fingers and go as far as above the wrist. Dry with paper towels. Also important: have clean nails.

If you don't have access to water or soap, use handsanitizer, but do use a good amount of it.

2. Clean the surface you are working from Spray a little alcohol over the surface and wipe with paper towels and use a clean towel to place over the surface so your kit never touches the surface.

3. Put your alcohol, brush cleaner, disposables, steel palette and spatula close to you

You are going to use these often. Make sure you never double dip, put product onto your stainless steel palette with a stainless steel spatula before applying on the client and clean and sanitize all of your tools in between clients. If there's not enough time to do this, take extra tools with you.

Spray pencils with alcohol, wipe with a paper towel, sharpen, spray with alcohol and wipe again. After this you can put the lid back on without having to worry. Make sure you clean your sharpener as well.

What about mascara? Well, just use disposable wands or a mascara fan brush (never double dip!). Same goes with eyeliner and lipstick/gloss. And clean your eyelash curler as well!

And what about the powder products? They do not harbour bacteria that easily because of its dry consistency. Do spray with alcohol and wipe the top layer with a tissue after every client. Do not wet powders in the pan, because bacteria can grow in them this way. Instead, scrape it onto the stainless steel palette (eyeshadows for example) and use them that way.

Sometimes people ask me why I never use a Beauty Blender. Well, first of all, I like brushes over sponges. But when I do use one, I use it only once because I think you can never sanitise your sponge well enough to guarantee that it's completely clean. Because of this I tend to use the good old triangular sponge and throw it away afterwards.

4. Keep an eye on the expiration date

Makeup products do have an expiration date. It's there to tell you if the product is still good to use. Write down when you open a new product, so you know when the product will expire. Liquids expire faster than powders.

5. Keep dirty products and tools away from the clean part of your kit

I always carry extra zipbags and trashbags with me to throw away disposables and to put dirty tools and brushes in. This way I also know what to clean afterwards or in between.

Stainless steel palette and lipstick

DO's (for clients) - Ask your makeup artist about their sanitation routine - Check the setup: can you spot the sanitation products? Good! - If you see something off during your booking: tell your artist and don't let anything touch your face that looks dirty.

- Please be honest to your makeup artist about a condition you might have.

DO's (for makeup artists) - Wash your brushes after every job and use alcohol afterwards.

- Use 70% alcohol: it doesn't evaporate as fast as 90 or 96%, so it has more time to kill anything unwanted. Saturate your tools with it, spray your makeup products with it, give it time to sit there and then wipe it off with a paper towel. - Use a stainless steel palette and stainless steel spatula so there is no chance of bacteria hiding in damaged surfaces of, for example, plastic ones.

- Label your sanitation products clearly so the client can read it, but also to make sure you don't confuse it with something else. - Sharpen and disinfect eyeliner pencils and lipliner pencils every time after each client before putting the lid back on. - Keep dirty tools and brushes separate from the clean ones.

DON'T (for clients)

- Do not touch the makeup artists kit.

DON'T (for makeup artists) - Do not use felt or brush tip eyeliners, because you can't disinfect them easily. - Do not double dip anything! - Do not use makeup from other people, you don't know if it's clean. - Never ask for the client to give back the fake lashes. You only use them once on 1 person. - Never blow on anything in your kit! (lashglue dries by itself ;) ).

- Make sure that when re-applying a product onto the stainless steel palette, it (or a spatula) does not come into contact with double dipped products on the palette. So clean the palette first or make sure you put enough on it in the first place.

- Never touch another makeup artists kit without permission.

This might seem as overkill, but I've seen some things happen in the past when working with colleagues which made me feel uncomfortable, so better safe than sorry.

If you've got any questions regarding this or anything else, please send an email to and I will answer as fast as I can :)

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