Sanitize your makeup regularly to avoid transmitting bacteria.

How to Sanitize Cosmetics

by S.R. Becker

Sanitizing your makeup regularly helps prolong its life and prevent buildup of bacteria. If you're a makeup artist who uses the same makeup on multiple clients, you should sanitize cosmetics after every use, even if you apply it with disposable applicators. By keeping your makeup clean, you reduce the possibility of the cross-contamination that can lead to transmission of eye infections and cold sores, which you can contract by using dirty eye pencils, mascara, eyeshadow and lipstick.

Wash your makeup brushes every few days, or daily if you're a makeup artist who uses them on more than one client. Run hot water over the bristles, squeeze a drop of baby shampoo into the palm of your hand and swirl the brush in the suds. Rinse thoroughly and lay the brushes flat on a clean towel to dry.

Sharpen eyeliner, lipliner and concealer pencils every two to three days to remove the used outer portion of the tip. Wipe the blades of the sharpener with an isopropyl alcohol wipe afterward.

Wipe the surface of packed powder eyeshadow and blush lightly with an isopropyl alcohol wipe. Leave the container open until the alcohol dries, which should take a few seconds. After every two to three uses, scrape the surface of the makeup with a clean spatula to remove the used layer.

Wipe the surface of lipsticks and the ends of lip gloss wands with a clean tissue after every two to three uses.

Invest in an ultraviolet sanitizing wand, especially if you're a makeup artist. Point the wand at the surface of the makeup, holding it 1/2 inch away, and move it back and forth according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Items you will need

  • Baby shampoo
  • Towel
  • Isopropyl alcohol wipes
  • Tissue
  • Ultraviolet wand (optional)


  • Throw away mascara after two months. Dispose of all other makeup every six months.
  • Never share makeup, even with someone you know well.
  • Do not pump mascara wands in the tube, as this allows air and bacteria to enter.
  • Store your makeup in a cool, dry place.

About the Author

S.R. Becker is a certified yoga teacher based in Queens, N.Y. She has a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and has worked as a writer and editor for more than 15 years. Becker often writes for "Yoga in Astoria," a newsletter about studios throughout New York City.

Photo Credits

  • Hemera Technologies/ Images