How-To: Sanitation Basics for Makeup Artists

If you’re a makeup artist, or you’ve hired a makeup artist, this is a MUST read (yes, even if you think you’re nailing sanitation)! It may seem like a boring topic, but nothing gets me fired up more than artists with bad habits, so I’m outlining the five areas you need to pay attention to below.

Photo Credit: Jessi Lauren

Photo Credit: Jessi Lauren

1) Disposables
Creams cannot be sanitized after double dipping, so disposables are your first must. Lip wands, mascara spoolies, q-tips & sponges are items I keep in my kit at all times. If you’re applying a second coat of lash glue, place the glue on your palette first & dip into it with a brush. The same goes for liquid eyeliner - if it cannot be poured out onto a palette, you can’t use it (sorry tattoo liner)! I could go on & on, but the most important thing to remember is that double dipping = a NO GO.
Clients: If you’re at a Sephora or MAC & the artist offers for you try on a lipstick, politely decline. Lipsticks cannot be sanitized!

2) Alcohol
Contrary to popular belief, it’s 70% that disinfects, not 99% (which evaporates too fast). 99% is still a great item to keep in your kit for use with alcohol palettes, but otherwise should not be used to disinfect.
Clients: If you don’t need alcohol in your makeup artist’s kit, RUN (don’t walk) away! It’s also a fantastic idea to regularly sanitize your makeup at home, with just 70% alcohol being all that’s needed.

3) Sponges
You cannot use beauty blenders on your clients. Period. They cannot be sanitized & are a breeding ground for bacteria. Opt for disposables instead!
Clients: If you absolutely love the finish of a beauty blender, offer for your artist to use your own! Otherwise, the same effect can be achieved by misting a disposable sponge (I like to use rose water).

Photo Credit: Jessi Lauren

Photo Credit: Jessi Lauren

4) Pencils & Powders
Pencils need to be sharpened & then soaked in alcohol after each use - this goes for lips, eyes, etc.
Powders are trickier - they will only breed bacteria if you get them wet. Keep your brushes dry, spritz them with alcohol between uses & you’ll be good to go! If you feel more comfortable though, scrape them out into a kleenex before using them.
Clients: Don’t be afraid to ask your makeup artist how they keep their kit sanitary! If your artist is a professional, they’ll have absolutely no issues letting you know what they do.

5) Brushes & Tools
Daily brush cleaners are not adequate for cleaning brushes in between clients. Brushes need to be fully washed & disinfected after each use. This means that if you’re doing 10 clients in a row, you need to have 10 brush sets & a suitable method for separating dirty from clean.
Tools also need to be sanitized with 70% alcohol between each use.
Clients: If ever you’re feeling uncomfortable about your makeup artist’s sanitation practices, don’t hesitate to leave part way throughout the application. If it makes you feel more comfortable, fake a family emergency if you have to! Sanitation is no joke.

Miscellaneous
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If you’re sick, let your client know! Even if you’re up for the job, you never know if your client has an autoimmune disorder, if babies will be around, etc.
* If your client has a worrying condition (like a staph infection), do NOT be afraid to decline services. MRSA & other such diseases can be life threatening & are just not worth the risk you would have to take. You should also have a clause in your contract to protect you in the event that something like this does occur.
* Clean your kit & do a product audit regularly! I clean my products the second I get home from each booking. I also find it helpful to keep a list of dates concerning when each individual product entered my kit. This may seem overboard, but it’s worth my peace of mind knowing that I’m not using lipstick which has been in my kit for 1+ year.
* Need more convincing?! Just read this BuzzFeed article, or search the countless other studies that are available on Google.

After all that, you’re set! If you have any questions about sanitation (or things I’ve missed), pop them down below.