How To Keep Your Make Up Clean

Well hasn’t the current pandemic thrown a huge light on all of our hygiene practices? It’s made us realise just how easily germs are spread as we go about our daily lives.

Hygiene in makeup artistry is understandably so important that it’s covered on day one of makeup school, before you’re allowed anywhere near someone else with a brush. Infections can be easily spread between models and clients through bad hygiene.

If you’re not a makeup artist you might never have considered how easily bacteria can build up in your makeup if you don’t use it hygienically and that it can lead to problems like spots and eye infections.

There isn’t much you need to do to keep your cosmetics clean and germ free, but you do need to be rigorous about it. A small amount of bacteria can easily multiply in the right conditions.

First and foremost – wash your hands

Have you suddenly become more aware of all the different surfaces we touch throughout the day? That’s a lot of bacteria being transferred from your hands to your face when you apply your makeup.

So, before you start, wash your hands (properly, with soap!)

Keep your brushes clean

This should really go without saying but I think it often gets forgotten.

When you’re using your brushes on your face every day, it doesn’t take long for bacteria to build up on them. It might seem like a dull chore but it doesn’t really take that long (and I have tons of brushes to clean every day!) I usually stick a short podcast on my phone while I’m cleaning away.

Here’s how you can keep brushes super clean and in good condition.

Use a palette

Any product that contains moisture can be a breeding ground for bacteria. That includes liquid foundations, cream blushers, lipsticks, glosses, mascara, liquid liner and brow gel.

Once you’ve used a product directly onto your skin with a brush and then dipped that brush back in, you’ve transferred bacteria from your face to the product. Over time, the moist environment can allow that bacteria happily breed.

You can prevent this by taking a small amount of product out of the container and decanting onto a palette before dipping your brush in. Make sure both your palette and decanting tool are cleaned with alcohol spray.

This also goes for any skincare products that are in pots rather than tubes and bottles. Sticking your fingers in a pot of moisturiser every day isn’t going to keep it clean!

Cosmetics do contain ingredients that prevent the growth of fungi and bacteria but it’s still considered best practice not to double dip.

Pay attention to use-by dates

If you have a look at your cosmetics, you’ll find a little picture of an open jar with a number inside and the letter M, somewhere on the packaging (see above). This is the POA symbol, which stands for period after opening.

The POA symbol refers to the number of months before the product expires once it’s been opened, for example 12M means 12 months. After this time, the product is no longer safe to use and should be thrown away.


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Hi I’m Rebecca

I’ve been a makeup artist and hair stylist in the fashion industry for 15 years. Welcome to by blog where I write about all things beauty, makeup and skincare. Check out my Instagram below for daily content and mini tutorials.