Hygiene tips for artists and their makeup kits


Taking certain precautions when applying makeup can keep everyone involved in the application healthy, and can sometimes be the difference in whether or not you get hired again.

To keep your makeup sanitary, adhering to the following rules will help.

It’s even best to sanitize, clean and wipe all tools and products in front of your client to make sure they know you are hygienic and follow health and safety precautions and procedures. Also, use a metal spatula to scoop or scrape products from original containers and place them on a palette to work on instead of dipping directly into creams, liquids, or gel formula products.


For powder products, remove the top layer with a tissue or invest in a product like BeautySoClean to keep your powder product from being contaminated. This cosmetic sanitizer mist helps remove bacteria and keeps your product looking new. Or, create your own sanitizing spritz in an empty spray bottle. A fine mist of alcohol of 70% or greater can also work but be careful it does not compromise the texture of the product. Let the alcohol evaporate from the product to be most effective.


When working on a client, Keep disposable wands in your kit for mascara application and never double dip the wand. Mascara is one of the highest risk products. I don’t like disposables so I use a small fan shaped brush for mascara or keep the brushes from my favorite mascaras and clean and sanitize them for client use.


Sanitize makeup pencils by sharpening them between clients. A spritz of alcohol and sharpening in between applications will comfort your clients as well. Do not forget to clean your sharpener each time too.


When working with a client, use a spatula to place lipstick or gloss on a mixing palette and apply with a lip brush. If you need to apply directly from the bullet, sanitize the lipstick with isopropyl alcohol of 90% or greater and remove the top layer by wiping with a tissue.


Use latex-free sponges to avoid potential allergic reactions. Always ask your client if they have any allergies or sensitivities.


Replace your makeup regularly. Especially products developed for the eyes. The general rule is typically to change your mascara and your eyeliner every four to six months. I recommend replacing every four to six weeks. If at any point in time you or a client develop an eye infection like conjunctivitis or pink eye, you should immediately throw away any makeup that has come in contact with your eyes and just start fresh with new products.

Rules of thumb for replacing other products:

If foundation has a pump, then it will last longer. If you are dabbing your fingers into a bottle you should be tossing your foundation makeup every six months.

Face powders, bronzers and powder product can last for well more than a year. If there is shine on the surface or it begins to smell funny, throw it away.

Most experts say lipstick, liner and glosses are good for two years, but be aware of the smell of the product and exposure. If you have cold sores or other infections regularly replace all product that comes in contact after a break out.

Use isopropyl alcohol of 90% or greater to sanitize any tools including tweezers, scissors and lash curlers. Be sure the alcohol has evaporated before using the tool on the client.

As Director of Artistry for The Makeup Show, The Powder Group and On Makeup Magazine , makeup artist James Vincent has touched every facet of the industry with his talent. With specialties in film and theatre, television and celebrity work, editorial and runway work, James is foremast a passionate educator, training for brands such as MAC, Stila, CNN and Lancome. He continues to inspire the next wave of artists with his beauty expertise. Follow James on Twitter @JVincentmakeup.

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