Sanitizing Makeup: How to Do it (and Why You Aren’t Doing it Enough)


Did you know that sanitizing makeup is necessary? I consider makeup sanitizing to be the first step in good skin hygiene.

Makeup can do a lot to improve the appearance of your skin and make a tired momma look refreshed and glowy, but if your makeup isn’t clean, you’re doing your skin a major disservice. Good quality lotions, cleansers, toners, and exfoliants (that are suited to your skincare needs) are key to healthy skin. Makeup sanitization is just as necessary to your skincare regime, as it can help prevent skin problems which impact your appearance.

Disclaimer: I’m not a licensed professional makeup artist, but I’ve received training from licensed professionals for the last couple of years, and have done extensive research on my own. With my own skin as my inspiration, motivation, and my canvas, these steps are tried and true processes that work for me.

Let’s take a step back before we even address sanitizing your makeup. There are three key areas that are integral to properly sanitizing if you’re going to do it correctly. 


Any surface you plan to touch with your makeup, makeup brushes, and other tools should be sanitized. Like the bathroom, which by the way I don’t recommend for makeup application because the lighting is, without a doubt, the worst. That is, unless you have a full wall of windows or an amazing mirror that mimics natural light.

But surface cleaning is the point, not lighting. And a clean surface is a perfect start to sanitizing and ensuring hygienic makeup application.


This is one of those, “Do as I say not as I do” areas. Ideally, you should be cleaning your makeup brushes, sponge and other tools weekly. Probably even more if you have acne prone skin. I’m admittedly on the every 2-3 week cycle.

What I would suggest is grabbing yourself a specific brush and sponge cleaner. There are so many options out there so you just have to find one that suits your needs. I have my favorite because it has the fewest ingredients possible, but I would strongly suggest you make sure whatever you use will leave your brushes hydrated and not dried out.

brushes, sanitizing makeup, sanitizing tools, makeup brush

If you are licensed and working on clients, or you simply like to sanitize daily, I would suggest a quick-drying brush cleanser instead of my suggestion below for makeup. Deep cleaning your brushes is always preferred, but isn’t always possible with heavy client demand, so a using something like Cinema Secrets or a similar product is fantastic. I only suggest that brand as I’ve used it firsthand and fully feel comfortable suggesting it.

Side note on brushes: I only use brushes that are made by hand with high-quality vegan bristles and my sponge is latex free. As an alternative, Real Techniques is sold in most drugstores and offers reasonably high-quality, affordable makeup brushes.


Wash your hands. Yes, I’m a mom down to the very core. But seriously, wash your hands.

sanitizing makeup, wash hands, clean

You may not have acne prone skin like I do, but keeping your hands clean is key to keeping bacteria away from your face, your makeup, and your tools. Acne prone or not, bacteria isn’t something to mess with.

That’s it for hands. Simple and to the point, but absolutely effective.


It’s time. The reason you actually clicked on this article right? The moment is here where I finally explain the process of sanitizing your makeup.

Now, there is absolutely more than one way to sanitize your makeup, but what I’ve been doing for years was taught to me by a licensed professional and it’s been a routine that I trust and it just works. Truthfully, I would have never thought sanitizing your makeup would be as simple as it is.

Here’s a brief list of what you need:

  • Alcohol. 70% isopropyl alcohol. Not 91%, not 90% or 99%, not mixed drink alcohol, but 70% isopropyl
  • Small Spray Bottle (cheap plastic one is fine)
  • Clean surface

That’s it. Three simple needs.

The reason 70% isopropyl alcohol is suggested over 91% is because 91% evaporates at a faster rate which can decrease the effects of sanitizing your makeup, and is ultimately not effective as a sanitizer.

And if you are struggling to find 70% isopropyl alcohol, it’s better to find a cosmetic sanitizer spray rather than settle for the 90%, 91% or 99% isopropyl alcohol.

Anything that is powder and cream can be sprayed down with alcohol. So, when it comes to foundation in a pan, blushes, bronzer, highlighters, or eyeshadows, I use the following process:

Step 1: Open up and lay out all of my makeup (individual items and full palettes). I like to see everything that I need to clean out and open.

Step 2: One at a time I pick up my products and spray them with the 70% isopropyl alcohol. Several sprays will coat sufficiently.

Step 3: I then wipe off the excess alcohol off the product to clean up my palettes and make them nice and pretty again. There is something about a clean palette that makes you want to use it even more!

Step 4: I let everything dry (I honestly don’t have a specific length of time, but it averages about an hour or so. Basically whenever I remember that I just sanitized my makeup and want to ensure the kids don’t dip their fingers into my clean palettes).

Step 5: I put it all away.

Now truthfully, I haven’t figured out how to sanitize products that come in tubes. I don’t use concealer or foundation in a tube or enclosed container, but I know many people do. And for my liquid lipsticks, and glosses, I will admit I’ve never sanitized them. If you really want to make sure they are clean, the best is to never actually use the tip that comes with the product, and just apply it with a lip brush, since you can wash that brush. Lipsticks that are bullet-shaped can be sprayed the same way as your powders.

The ease of breaking sanitizing into four categories ultimately stresses how simple the process is. It isn’t always at the forefront of anyone’s mind when we are applying makeup, but it really is important for healthy skin.

So tell me… have you jumped on the sanitizing train with me yet?



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