Friday, May 27, 2011

How to Sanitize Your Makeup

Hello Gorgeous! Today is the last day to enter the Benefit Eyeshadow giveaway on my Facebook page, so be sure to enter if you haven't done so already!

A couple months ago I answered a question regarding the shelf life of different types of makeup (read it here). One way to increase the shelf life of your products is to keep your makeup and brushes clean and sanitary. This will also help prevent breakouts and possible infections. Sanitizing your products is quick and easy, and I recommend doing it at least once or twice a month. All you need is some Isopropyl alcohol, a small spray bottle, paper towel, and a little soap and water.

Pour some of the alcohol into your clean spray bottle. I use Isopropyl instead of regular rubbing alcohol because it has a higher percentage of alcohol, which means it evaporates faster (this will be important when sanitizing eyeshadows, blushes, etc). I picked up this bottle at CVS for $2.

Before you get started, make sure your work surface is clean. You'll also want to choose a work surface that won't be damaged by the alcohol (i.e. don't do this on wood or a painted surface). Next, lay out everything you want to sanitize so you can work quickly and easily.

These are the types of items you will want to/can sanitize: brushes, powder, blush, eyeshadow, lip sticks, lip balms, tube lip glosses, pencils, eyelash curlers, etc.
First, use paper towel to wipe off any dirt or makeup from the outside of the items. If it doesn't come off easily, you can use a damp towel with a little soap on it. Next, using a clean, dry paper towel, wipe off the top layer of your powder products (e.g. pressed powder, blush, eyeshadow). You will also want to wipe off the tops of your lip sticks, eye/lip pencils, lip balms, and products that come in a tube. For brushes or other beauty tools, use a mild soap (hand soap will work fine) to wash the bristles and handles (Sigma Beauty has a good video tutorial if you're not sure how to wash your brushes). Once you have done a preliminary cleaning of all your products and tools, you should begin spraying them with the alcohol. If you have sensitive skin, you may want to wear gloves because the alcohol can dry out your skin very easily.

When spraying your products with alcohol, start with the outside container, then open them up and spray the entire inner surface (including lids, mirrors, etc). I usually spray the product itself a couple times, which will completely cover the top layer of the product in alcohol. Once you have sprayed all your products and tools with alcohol, let them air dry, which will only take a few minutes. Using a sanitizing product with a high alcohol content (such as Isopropyl alcohol) will ensure none of your products are damaged or altered in any way due to the fast drying/evaporation time.

Keep in mind, some products cannot be sanitized, in which case, you should not keep them longer than the recommend shelf life. Such items include loose powders, mascaras, liquid eye liners, and any product that you reinsert the applicator after use.

These types of items cannot be sanitized.
By following this simple routine, you can extend the life of your products, avoid breakouts, and save money! If you have any other questions regarding makeup care, please feel free to leave a comment or email me! I love to hear from you!


  1. Thank you for these tips! I always have the worst trouble keeping brushes clean. . .or maybe I am just lazy about it. This will definitely help!

  2. I was JUST talking to someone on Twitter about this. Literally five minutes ago. This is so helpful! I need to go through my makeup and do this. I knew I had to clean my brushes, but I never thought to wipe off the top layers of older make-up.

    PS, is that Revlon lip gloss in coral? I just bought it and I'm obsessed!

  3. Glad you found this helpful! And yes, that is the Revlon coral lip gloss- I love it, too!

  4. I never thought of that, so awesome! I clean my makeup brushes like once a month with MAC brush cleaner...I love it! I am going to have to do this with my makeup (which, btw, I've had for longer than recommended :S)

  5. Oh Tara! You just reminded me to clean my brushes this weekend! Thank you Doll!!! Also, thanks for teaching me about the tips and tricks for cleaning and sanitizing the makeup itself, I admit, I never thought to do that - but now it makes soooooo much sense!

    xoxo Teresa :)

  6. i should definitely sanitize my makeup more often. these tips are very helpful Tara!

  7. wow, really interesting. i really need to do this. thanks for the tips!
    alyson --
    (ps: still having the issue posting with my real account).

  8. Found this so useful. I commute to work in London on the train and am always worrying about putting make-up on on the train. What terrible germs have I touched at the ticket barrier? Who sat on this seat before me?!
    It becomes something close to a horror story.
    I will remember these tips!
    Lovely blog xxx

  9. Definitely sending this page to my best girlfriend.. she needs help.. haha
    lee x

  10. Oh my goodness I really need to do this. Such a brilliant reminder, darling. Have a fantastic Monday
    Kisses and hugs

  11. amazing tips....cute blog

  12. Thanks for this post! I don't know how to sanitize my makeup haha I needed this! So great meeting you this weekend and I will get you your photos from Friday soon!

  13. I'm happy so many of you are finding this helpful! I love reading all your comments!

  14. I was told rubbing alcohol will wreck your makeup. This is not true?