How do we as makeup artists keep our kits clean and sanitary, especially at large events like Mercedes-Benz New York Fashion Week where we are working with numerous faces in a short amount of time? This question is posed to me time and time again by clients, everyday people, to models who sit in my chair. Makeup cleaning and sanitary application procedures are necessary when applying makeup, even your own. Skin breakouts can occur as well as nasty infections if proper sanitary makeup application precautions are not taken.

On last evening’s episode of My Strange Addiction on TLC, they featured a “makeup obsessed” woman in her mid to late 50s, or that’s how she appeared, with her crazy pounds of caked on makeup complete with green liquid eye liner. What caught my eye was the state of her makeup bag. Her sponges were literally dissolving before the camera’s lens because of the makeup and her own oil build-up. To boot, her shadows looked as if they were growing a special green sauce, and it wasn’t her eyeliner!

How can you at home care for your own makeup products and avoid possible skin issues due to unsanitary makeup application procedures? Check out my suggestions to a clean makeup application and, by “clean”, I mean sanitary!

1. Mascara should be discarded every 6 weeks. I know ladies, for those of you who purchase the “ultimate” in mascaras, which costs $20+ dollars, this may not be what you want to hear. But think of it this way, you will avoid eye infections such as Conjunctivitis, a swelling (inflammation) or infection of the membrane lining the eyelids.  If you are a makeup professional, needless to say, but I will anyway, please use disposable mascara wands when applying mascara and NEVER double dip!

2. Use a Palette Knife or Spatula to scoop out emollient, liquid, or cream based products. By removing the emollient, liquid, or cream based product from its container and working from the palette knife or spatula, you are avoiding contaminating your product’s container.  Bacteria can form rapidly in any wet product, so beware!  You can also remove the product and place on a Stainless Steel Palette if you need more space to work from.  All tools can be sanitized by wiping with 9o% Isopropyl Alcohol (rubbing alcohol), which can be found at any drugstore such as CVS, Rite Aid, Duane Reade, Walgreens, or at your local grocery store.

3.  Wipe your powder products with a tissue after each use. Bacteria has a hard time getting its act together on dry products.  Stop bacteria in its track by wiping down the first layer of your powder products, eyeshadows and powder compacts, with a dry tissue.  By doing this, you are removing any oil that has settled on the top of your product, thus circumventing the possibility of oil collecting on the product and producing harmful bacteria.

4.  Wash your brushes each and every night, or after each use. Yes ladies, I know it’s a little time consuming but your face will thank you!  Take a cup, I use the red disposable Solo cups, fill with room temperature water half full and add approximately 2 tablespoons of baby shampoo.  Dip just the head of your brushes in the mixture, swish it around, remove and massage the remaining shampoo through the bristles, like you would wash your own hair.  Rinse thoroughly and lay flat on a paper towel to dry overnight.  To speed up drying, place a fan near the brushes.  Follow this procedure and your brushes will be dry in the morning!  Avoid blow-drying with a hair dryer because this can make the bristles more brittle over time.

For added precaution, sanitize everything in your kit with the Zadro NANO UV Disinfection Scanner.

Directions: To use the NANO UV Scanner simply hold it between 1/4 to 1 1/2 inches from the surface you want to disinfect, press the power button once, and the light will come on for a 10 second interval. Pass the light slowly across the item or surface until the entire area is covered. For larger areas repeat process in stages until completely scanned. It’s that fast and easy to use, and giving greater peace of mind and control over sanitation issues! – Source:  Paint and Powder Cosmetics

Finally, there are some cosmetic companies that are ahead of the game and have added expiration dates or devices to their products. One in particluar is CARGO Cosmetics. They have developed and implemented their own “TimeStrip Technology” in their CARGO Classic Lip Gloss and blue_ray Gloss. Simply insert the TimeStrip in the top of the CARGO lipgloss wand and it will tell you in 3 months that it’s time to toss your lipgloss by illuminating fully red!  Now that’s an expiration date!

Check out some of the sanitary procedures and CARGO’s TimeStrip technology in action in this video, Flawless Faces For All Races Episode 3: