We take great pride in maintaining the quality of our makeup products (or at least we’d like to think so), but what if we’re not actually going above and beyond?

While we do remember some basic rules like not sharing mascara or eyeliners and keeping our lipsticks to ourselves, it’s absolutely crucial to also follow proper sanitary guidelines.

Just like any frequently used surface, makeup products can harbour germs if not sanitised properly. And these germs can wreak havoc on your skin’s health, causing unsightly pimples, skin irritation, and more!

Keep reading to find out the best ways to clean your makeup products and discover the most effective methods for ensuring the utmost cleanliness in your beauty routine.

Why Do You Need to Keep Your Makeup Products Clean?

Even if you’re the only one using your lipsticks and pressed powders, it’s still important to sanitise them regularly.

Professional makeup artists understand the importance of maintaining cleanliness and do so before and after every job.

cleaning makeup products, how to sanitise makeup

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  1. Prevent breakouts and infections: Our skin naturally sheds dead cells and produces oils, which can build up on makeup products and brushes. This creates a breeding ground for bacteria, leading to breakouts, irritation, and even infections like pink eye.
  2. Minimise allergic reactions: Makeup can harbour dust, pollen, and other allergens that are invisible to the naked eye and can trigger reactions on sensitive skin.
  3. Smoother makeup application: Built-up bacteria and product residue can affect how makeup blends and sits on your skin. Sanitising ensures a cleaner surface for smoother, even application!
  4. Prevent product contamination: Sharing makeup with friends or using testers without sanitisation exposes your products to different bacteria and germs, potentially causing contamination.
  5. Prevent product breakdown: Bacteria can break down the ingredients in your makeup, making it less effective and possibly changing its consistency or scent. Sanitising helps preserve the quality and extend the life of your products.
cleaning makeup products, how to sanitise makeup

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Regularly cleaning your makeup products is crucial, especially for sponges, lipsticks, and eye makeup. These items directly touch sensitive areas, making sanitisation a top priority.

By taking this simple step, you can promote healthier and happier skin effortlessly!

Moreover, having the assurance that your makeup is free from harmful bacteria brings peace of mind when applying it to your face. Need we say more?

Related read: This Woman Found Years of Mascara Residue Embedded Under Her Eyelid – Here’s How to Avoid This

How Often Do You Need to Sanitise Your Makeup Kit?


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It’s common knowledge that we should clean our makeup brushes every seven to 10 days, but what about the products we use daily?

It’s completely up to you to decide how often you should deep clean your makeup, depending on how frequently you use each product.

Typically, it’s recommended to give your makeup a thorough cleaning every few weeks. However, if you have sensitive skin, it might be beneficial to sanitise your makeup products more often!

Of course, if you notice any visible signs of dirt or buildup, it’s important to sanitise them immediately.

But remember, cleaning your makeup isn’t a solution for replacing old products! If an item has passed its expiration date, it’s best to toss it in the trash right away.

Related read: Best Makeup Tool Cleaners to Get in 2024

How to Sanitise Your Makeup Like a Pro


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Now, we’re getting to the main event — how you should be keeping your makeup bag and products squeaky clean!

We’ve scoured the net and gathered all the tips and tricks from MasterClass, pro makeup artist Toni Malt, makeup artist Gabriel De Santino, and board-certified dermatologist Dr Whitney Bowe who cleans her makeup monthly to keep her skin healthy.

Cream Lipsticks

cleaning makeup products, how to sanitise makeup

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It goes without saying that you shouldn’t be sharing your lippies with anyone else.

For cream lipsticks, spritz the exposed portion and give it some time to evaporate and kill germs before reusing.

You can also wipe the top and the sides of the lipstick with a sanitising wipe before spraying with 70% isopropyl alcohol (IPA) which will dry in a minute or so.

Dr Whitney recommends twisting your lipstick till the lengths of it are revealed, scraping off the top layer of your lipstick, and turning it over to submerge in either vodka or rubbing alcohol for 30 seconds. Then, take it out and let it air dry.

Lip, Brow, or Eyeliner Pencils

cleaning makeup products, how to sanitise makeup

Credit: McKenna Burns/YouTube

Sanitising makeup pencils is an easy task that can be done effortlessly. According to Dr Whitney, simply utilise your sharpener to reveal a fresh section of your pencils.

For a more comprehensive approach, Toni says to lightly spray disinfectant onto a tissue and use it to wipe the pointed end of the pencil after sharpening it.


cleaning makeup products, how to sanitise makeup

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Mascara’s a tricky one… once you’ve used it and put the wand back into the bottle, there’s a high chance of contamination. Toni shared that professional makeup artists avoid this issue by using disposable mascara wands and never double dipping to keep the contents bacteria-free.

But this means that the convenience of a built-in mascara wand is never fully enjoyed. Instead, a good rule of thumb is to replace your mascara and never share them with others! Dr Whitney recommends tossing your mascara out after two months.

Adding on to that, Gabriel strongly advises against attempting to sanitise mascara at all if you have any concerns. Considering the delicate nature of the eye area, it’s better to discard your mascara altogether!

This precautionary measure helps prevent infections like pink eye and reactions to expired makeup ingredients, which can lead to itchiness, redness, and swelling.

Concealer, Lip Gloss, and Other Liquids

Just like mascaras, if the product has a built-in applicator, it’ll likely be contaminated right after your first use.

It’s best to apply the product onto a sanitised surface (it can even be the back of your hands, nothing fancy) before using a brush or your fingers to apply it onto your face.

Blushes, Bronze Powders, and Palettes


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When it comes to powders, Dr Whitney strongly recommends using 70% IPA to lightly mist before letting your makeup products air dry. Toni prefers to spray the 70% IPA from an approximate distance of 15cm.

You can also start by skimming off the top layer of your powder products and using a disinfectant wipe to clean the insides and outsides.

For added hygiene, while you’re applying your makeup, Masterclass shared to avoid using the same brushes on your powders from one use to the next.


cleaning makeup products, how to sanitise makeup

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If you’re all about cleanliness from the get-go, choose foundations that come with a pump or in a tube like Dr Whitney. This makes your sanitising step easier as you’ll only need to clean the exterior surface with rubbing alcohol every couple of days.

Alternatively, especially if your foundation comes in a tub or bottle packaging, you can always use a handy, clean spatula which is said to give your foundation a flawless finish.

Just remember to sanitise and wipe the spatula down before and after use!

Related read: This Should Be Your Go-To Guide for Testing Beauty Products Safely in Store

Makeup Sanitisers to Use

cleaning makeup products, how to sanitise makeup

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70% isopropyl alcohol (IPA) is the ultimate tool for maintaining the cleanliness of your makeup bag and its contents.

Crafted from a powerful blend of 70% alcohol and 30% water, it possesses unparalleled efficacy against bacteria, fungi, and viruses.

Contrary to popular belief, a higher alcohol content does not equate to greater effectiveness. In fact, it is the presence of 30% water that plays a crucial role in destabilising the cell membranes of harmful microorganisms. This enables the alcohol to effectively infiltrate the cells and annihilate them.

What’s great is that you can even DIY your own makeup sanitiser solution and transfer it into a spray bottle for ease of use!

For a deep dive into makeup sanitation and more tips, watch this YouTube video by makeup artist
McKenna Burns below!

Featured image credit: @kelsielynnxoxo/TikTok, @drwhitneybowe/TikTok, @kimberly.cat/TikTok