How to Sanitize Makeup: The Ultimate Guide

Bacteria can survive on our makeup brushes for days, which is why I always recommend sanitizing brushes weekly. If you are a makeup artist and work with several clients, sanitizing your brushes after each use needs to be a priority. The last thing you want is one of your clients’ skin to become irritated because you didn’t disinfect your products.

However, just like you’d sanitize your brushes you also want to disinfect the rest of your kit. This includes powders, creams, and pencils. In this guide, I’ll walk you through how to sanitize makeup the right way. Doing so will keep you and your skin happy and healthy! Let’s dive in. 


What Materials Do I Need? 

I promise that the process to disinfect makeup is easy. All you need are two things: 

  • Sanitizing wipes
  • 70% IPA 

You want to make sure you have 70% Isopropyl Alcohol (IPA) on hand. This solution is made from 70% alcohol and 30% water. This mixture is most effective in eliminating bacteria, germs, fungi, and viruses. 


To clean your brushes, you will need some warm water, baby shampoo, and 70% IPA. Run your brushes under lukewarm water and apply some baby shampoo (or a special brush soap). Then, squeeze the bristles of your brushes into a tissue to remove excess water. 

Next, soak water for 20 minutes in 70% IPA. This will disinfect them. Rinse in water and squeeze excess water out. Finally, set out your brushes to dry.

Beauty Sponges

If you use a reusable sponge, know that you won’t be able to sanitize it 100%. The inner core of the sponge will always retain bacteria. An easy solution is to use disposable sponges. 

However, many of us live by reusable spongers. To clean, wet your sponge in warm water and clean using dish soap. Then, place the sponge in water and heat in the microwave for 2 minutes on high. This will eliminate most of the bacteria and viruses.

Eyeliner and Lip Pencils 

Disinfecting your pencils is easy – simply sharpen them! This will remove the part that contains germs and bacteria. If you want to be more thorough, you can also spritz a little disinfectant on a tissue and wipe it over the tip of your pencil. 

Cream Products 

Cream products can include anything from foundations, lipsticks, or gel eyeliners. To clean, wipe the tops and sides with a sanitizing wipe. Then, spray this same area with 70% IPA and let it dry. 

Powder Products 

This category includes blush, face powders, eyeshadows, powder highlighters, and powder contour. To disinfect, open up all your powder products and lay them out next to each other. Spray them with 70% IPA from a distance of about 15cm. This mist will evaporate after one minute. Only spray one time (you don’t want to soak them).

Finally, using a wipe, sanitize the packaging of the product – both inside and out.


This is a tricky product to cleanse. If you’re using one mascara on several clients, I recommend using disposable mascara wands. This will prevent you from ever double dipping into your mascara. 

However, you probably invested in the mascara you use partly because of the wand. This is what makes disinfecting mascara so difficult. After you’ve applied one time, you’ve already started the process of double dipping. 

A good rule of thumb is not sharing your mascara with anyone if you choose to use the in-built wand and replacing it every month. 

Lip Gloss 

Lip gloss is similar to mascara because it can become contaminated after the first use. If you plan on sharing, it’s best to sanitize your hands and apply the gloss to a disinfected surface like a palette or the back of your hands. Now, you can use a brush or your fingertips to apply. If you don’t plan on sharing your lip gloss, simply apply directly to your lips. 

Eyelash Curler 

Wipe your curler clean using a sanitizing wipe. Make sure to remove any leftover mascara. Afterwards, spritz some 70% IPA and let it dry. 

Makeup Bag

How you clean your makeup bag depends on the type of bag you have. For instance, if you have a leather bag, wipe it down with a sanitizing wipe. I always like to invest in a bag that can be put in the washing machine. After washing, I spray 70% IPA and let it dry. 

Final Thoughts 

Sterilize makeup weekly to prevent bacteria buildup. This can lead to breakouts or skin irritation. As you can see, the process of disinfecting your makeup is quite easy. After a month of doing so, it will become second nature. 

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