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We take pride in maintaining the quality of our makeup products (or at least we like to believe so), but what if we’re not actually doing the absolute most?

While we remember some basic rules, like not sharing mascara or eyeliners and keeping our lipsticks to ourselves, it is crucial to follow proper sanitary guidelines too.

Like any frequently used surface, makeup products can harbour germs if not sanitised properly, which can deplete your skin’s health, leading to unsightly pimples, skin irritation, and more!

Read on to discover how you should be cleaning your makeup products and the most effective methods for ensuring the utmost cleanliness in your beauty routine.

Why Do You Need to Keep Your Makeup Products Clean?

For the uninitiated, pro makeup artists sanitise their makeup kits and used products before and after every job.

Sure, they might be doing that to maintain cleanliness and for different clients, but just because you’re the only one using your lipsticks and pressed powders doesn’t mean there won’t be any germ accumulation!

cleaning makeup products, how to sanitise makeup

Credit: @drwhitneybowe/TikTok

  1. Prevent breakouts and infections: Our skin naturally sheds dead cells and produces oils, which can build up on makeup products and brushes. This creates a breeding ground for bacteria, leading to breakouts, irritation, and even infections like pink eye.
  2. Minimise allergic reactions: Makeup can harbour dust, pollen, and other allergens that are invisible to the naked eye and can trigger reactions on sensitive skin.
  3. Smoother makeup application: Built-up bacteria and product residue can affect how makeup blends and sits on your skin. Sanitising ensures a cleaner surface for smoother, even application!
  4. Prevent product contamination: Sharing makeup with friends or using testers without sanitisation exposes your products to different bacteria and germs, potentially causing contamination.
  5. Prevent product breakdown: Bacteria can break down the ingredients in your makeup, making it less effective and possibly changing its consistency or scent. Sanitising helps preserve the quality and extend the life of your products.
cleaning makeup products, how to sanitise makeup

Credit: @kaelatripp/TikTok

Sanitisation is especially important for sponges, lipsticks, and eye makeup as these products come into direct contact with sensitive areas. Cleaning your makeup products regularly is an easy step to promoting healthier, happier skin!

Plus, knowing your makeup is clean and free of harmful bacteria can give you peace of mind when applying it to your face — need we say more?

Related read: This Woman Found Years of Mascara Residue Embedded Under Her Eyelid – Here’s How to Avoid This

How Often Do You Need to Sanitise Your Makeup Products?


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It’s common knowledge that we have to clean our makeup brushes every seven to 10 days, but what about the products we use daily?

Well, it’s up to you to decide how frequently you should deep clean your makeup, depending on how often you use each product.

Typically, it’s recommended to give your makeup a thorough cleaning every few weeks. If you have sensitive skin, it might serve you well to sanitise your makeup products more frequently!

Of course, if you see any visible signs of dirt or build-up, sanitise immediately.

However, do take note that cleaning your makeup isn’t a solution for replacing old products! If the item is past its expiration date, it should be a given to toss it in the trash ASAP.

Related read: 3 Ways to Clean Your Makeup Brushes Quickly and Easily to Remove Dust and Makeup Residue

How to Sanitise Your Makeup Like a Pro


Now, we’re getting to the main event — how you should be keeping your makeup bag and products squeaky clean!

We’ve scoured the net and gathered all the tips and tricks from MasterClass, pro makeup artist Toni Malt, makeup artist Gabriel De Santino, and board-certified dermatologist Dr Whitney Bowe who cleans her makeup monthly to keep her skin healthy.

Cream Lipsticks

cleaning makeup products, how to sanitise makeup

Credit: @drwhitneybowe/TikTok

It goes without saying that you shouldn’t be sharing your lippies with anyone else.

For cream lipsticks, spritz the exposed portion and give it some time to evaporate and kill germs before reusing.

You can also wipe the top and the sides of the lipstick with a sanitising wipe before spraying it with 70% isopropyl alcohol (IPA), which will dry in a minute or so.

Dr Whitney recommends twisting your lipstick till the lengths of it are revealed, scraping off the top layer of your lipstick, and turning it over to submerge in either vodka or rubbing alcohol for 30 seconds. Then, take it out and let it air dry.

Lip, Brow, or Eyeliner Pencils

cleaning makeup products, how to sanitise makeup

Credit: McKenna Burns/YouTube

Sanitising makeup pencils is an easy task that can be done effortlessly. According to Dr Whitney, simply utilise your sharpener to reveal a fresh section of your pencils.

For a more comprehensive approach, Toni says to lightly spray disinfectant onto a tissue and use it to wipe the pointed end of the pencil after sharpening it.


cleaning makeup products, how to sanitise makeup

Credit: @drwhitneybowe/TikTok

Mascara’s a tricky one…once you’ve used it and put the wand back into the bottle, there’s a high chance of contamination. Toni shared that professional makeup artists avoid this issue by using disposable mascara wands and never double dipping to keep the contents bacteria-free.

But this means that the convenience of a built-in mascara wand is never fully enjoyed. Instead, a good rule of thumb is to replace your mascara and never share them with others! Dr Whitney recommends tossing your mascara out after two months.

Adding on to that, Gabriel strongly advises against attempting to sanitise mascara at all if you have any concerns. Considering the delicate nature of the eye area, it’s better to discard your mascara altogether!

This precautionary measure helps prevent infections like pink eye and reactions to expired makeup ingredients, which can lead to itchiness, redness, and swelling.

Concealer, Lip Gloss, and Other Liquids

Just like mascaras, if the product has a built-in applicator, it’ll likely be contaminated right after your first use.

It’s best to apply the product onto a sanitised surface (it can even be the back of your hands, nothing fancy) before using a brush or your fingers to apply it onto your face.

Blushes, Bronze Powders, and Palettes


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When it comes to powders, Dr Whitney strongly recommends using 70% IPA to lightly mist before letting your makeup products air dry. Toni prefers to spray the 70% IPA from an approximate distance of 15cm.

You can also start by skimming off the top layer of your powder products and using a disinfectant wipe to clean the insides and outsides.

For added hygiene, while you’re applying your makeup, MasterClass shared that you should avoid using the same brushes on your powders from one use to the next.


cleaning makeup products, how to sanitise makeup

Credits: @drwhitneybowe/TikTok, @kimberly.cat/TikTok

If you’re all about cleanliness from the get-go, choose foundations that come with a pump or in a tube like Dr Whitney’s. This makes your sanitising step easier as you’ll only need to clean the exterior surface with rubbing alcohol every couple of days.

Alternatively, especially if your foundation comes in a tub or bottle packaging, you can always use a handy, clean spatula which is said to give your foundation a flawless finish.

Just remember to sanitise and wipe the spatula down before and after use!

Related read: 5 Must-Try Products To Clean Your Makeup Tools Effortlessly Along With Useful Guides

Makeup Sanitisers to Use

cleaning makeup products, how to sanitise makeup

Credit: @drwhitneybowe/TikTok

70% isopropyl alcohol (IPA) is the ultimate tool for maintaining the cleanliness of your makeup bag and its contents.

Crafted from a powerful blend of 70% alcohol and 30% water, it possesses unparalleled efficacy against bacteria, fungi, and viruses.

Contrary to popular belief, a higher alcohol content does not equate to greater effectiveness. In fact, it is the presence of 30% water that plays a crucial role in destabilising the cell membranes of harmful microorganisms. This enables the alcohol to effectively infiltrate the cells and annihilate them.

What’s great is that you can even DIY your own makeup sanitiser solution and transfer it into a spray bottle for ease of use!

Hospital Grade 70% Isopropyl Alcohol Antiseptic Disinfectant Spray

cleaning makeup products, how to sanitise makeup

Other than water and isopropyl alcohol, this 70% IPA spray also contains tea tree for extra anti-bacterial protection.

You really can’t go wrong with this one since it’s literally used in hospitals where hygiene is everything!

Hospital Grade 70% Isopropyl Alcohol Antiseptic Disinfectant Spray retails for S$5.20 (50ml), S$6.80 (100ml), and S$9 (200ml) at Shopee. There’s also a 500ml refill for S$10.50.

You can also check out the HospiCare 70% IPA Disinfectant Spray (500ml) which retails for S$24.90 for two bottles at Shopee.

VIROX 70% Isopropyl Alcohol Wipes

cleaning makeup products, how to sanitise makeup

These alcohol wipes are low-linting, strong and durable for everyday use, and non-smearing, which means they do not streak hard surfaces.

Plus, the wipes are already packaged individually, making it easy to bring along with you anywhere you want.

VIROX 70% Isopropyl Alcohol Wipes (50 pcs) retails for S$7.70 at Shopee and for S$8.70 at Watsons.

Guardian Isopropyl Alcohol

cleaning makeup products, how to sanitise makeup

Used to kill germs, clean, and disinfect, this rubbing alcohol is suitable on unbroken skin, before injections, or for objects and surfaces.

It’ll also come in handy if you don’t have smaller spray bottles or need something more “travel-sized” for your convenience.

Guardian Isopropyl Alcohol (120ml) retails for S$4.95 at Guardian.

For a deep dive into makeup sanitation and more tips, watch this YouTube video by makeup artist
McKenna Burns below!

Featured image credit: @kelsielynnxoxo/TikTok, @drwhitneybowe/TikTok, @kimberly.cat/TikTok