How to keep your makeup germ-free

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Can your makeup make you sick?

Disposable mascara wands available at Sally Beauty Supply

Disposable mascara wands available at Sally Beauty Supply

We have all become accustomed to regularly washing or sanitizing our hands after every activity. Some people have even resorted to wearing protective face masks in public places to minimize their germ exposure. The point is no one wants to get sick and most of us can't afford to visit a doctor or find the time to leave work to see one. But are there contaminants lurking in places we overlook, on products we use on our mouths and eyes daily? Yes. Your makeup can make you sick and so can the makeup testers in retail stores. Sanitary makeup practices are very important, so here a few key things you can do to keep yourself pretty and minimize the risk of becoming sick from using your makeup.


Eye infections like "pink eye" are painful and can last for several weeks. The most common cause of conjunctivitis is poor hand washing practices that lead to the spread of bacteria and virus's. It is very important to NEVER share your eye products with other people without proper sanitation procedures.

Tips for disinfecting eye products:

-Eye liner pencils must be sharpened with a sanitized pencil sharpener and then sprayed or dipped in isopropyl alcohol.

-Eye shadows can be sprayed with alcohol and then the top layer should be scraped off with a sanitized razor, revealing a clean layer underneath.

-Mascara should never be shared. Test mascara with clean disposable wands only.

-Loose powder shadows should be tapped out of the container onto a clean surface. Do not dip your brush into the product.

-Gel eyeliners should also be extracted from their containers onto a palette and then used with clean brushes. Don't double dip your dirty brush into your entire pot of germ-free gel eyeliner.

-If you do get "pink eye" it is safest to throw out any makeup that came in contact with your eyes.


Cold sores, flu, staph? Yes, you can get infected from germy lip products! Never ever pick up a lipstick in a retail store and put it directly on your mouth. I am always surprised at how often I see people doing that. I've lectured many teenagers on the dangers of contracting all types of nasty ailments from unsanitary makeup products. Sometimes if I see someone quickly pick up a product and use it without giving me a chance to clean it I will say, "Ooh, the lady before you picked that one up before I had a chance to clean it and she had a "thing" on her lip, I hope you will be okay!" The look on people's faces is priceless and I guarantee they will think twice before stupidly assuming something is germ-free.

Sephora and other self-serve makeup retailers set out alcohol so that customers can disinfect products before they try them. Smaller makeup stores have Makeup Artists available to sanitize any products a customer wishes to try. Also make sure that your artist is also demonstrating clean practices like hand sanitizing, sharpening pencils and using clean brushes and disposable mascara wands. Don't be afraid to call out a Makeup Artist out if you see something unseemly happen, you have the right to be safe and healthy!

Tips for disinfecting lip products:

Disposable lip brushes by

Disposable lip brushes by

-Dip or spray lipsticks with isopropyl alcohol. Gently scrape of the top layer of the lipstick.

-Use disposable wands for glosses in tubes.

-DO NOT share glosses in pots; they carry the most germs as most people stick their fingers into them and contaminate the whole container. Test pot glosses with disposable brushes.

-Sharpen lip pencils with a sanitized sharpener and then spray or dip them in alcohol.

-Use clean brushes or q-tips to apply liquid lip stains.

-DON'T Double dip!

Brush Off makeup brush sanitizer

Brush Off makeup brush sanitizer


I am a real stickler about cleaning my personal makeup brushes and I am just as finicky with my professional brushes. I do not share my personal brushes with anyone and I wash them weekly.

If I am healthy I use Ivory unscented soap to clean all of my brushes. I use hot water, thoroughly cleanse each brush and then let them air dry while laying flat.

Cleansing brushes helps keep breakouts at bay and also helps your products apply true to color. If you only have one blush brush but use many different blush colors you must wash it regularly or eventually your cheeks will be mud colored from your dirty product filled brush!

If I have a touch of cold or flu I will add an extra step and spray all of my brushes with alcohol and then wash them as I always do. When I am working as a Makeup Artist I sanitize all of my brushes after every use with anti-bacterial Brush Off. This product cleans and disinfects brushes, but dries quickly so that I can move on to my next client with minimal drying time. I always use disposable mascara wands, lip brushes and q-tips to apply products. I also sanitize my hands each time I do my own makeup and in front of each client I work with.

Use a makeup palette to avoid cross-contamination of brushes and products

Use a makeup palette to avoid cross-contamination of brushes and products

You can purchase Brush Off at their online store

Amanda Storey
Do you sanitize your makeup products after you've been sick? If so, what are your tips and tricks?

What's the most unsanitary makeup practice you've ever witnessed.....EEEK? Share your scary stories with us in the comment section below or connect with us on Twitter @yahooshopping

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