Makeup Artists' Tips on How to Keep Your Beauty Products Clean and Sanitised
Most of us are well aware of how essential it is to keep our makeup brushes and beauty products clean. But if you’re like me, these practices are often thrown out the door when we rush through our morning routines—brushes are briskly wiped with a wet tissue, and fingers are double-dipped into day creams or foundations so we can be ready and out the door in 15 min.
However, as cleanliness and hygiene become more important than ever during the Covid-19 pandemic and with more time on our hands as we work from home, perhaps it’s time to pay attention and start adopting these good habits.
And who better to consult than the experts in this subject—namely, professional makeup artists Andrea Claire, Cheryl Ow, Clarence Lee, Dollei Seah and Grego Oh. We ask these beauty maestros to share their top tips for maintaining the hygiene of their products and tools, as well as their recommendations for cleaning products.
Don’t use products past their expiry
This may be the oldest rule in the book, but you’d be surprised how many still break it. Andrea advises being mindful of expiry dates, while Cheryl highlights that mascaras should be thrown out after six months—“It’s the fastest germ-collecting item!” And if your cosmetic is starting to look or smell musty before its expiry date, that's also your cue to throw it out.
Cosmetics that contain more moisture or are used near your eyes tend to have shorter lifespans. This is because the products can trap bacteria and harbour disease-causing microbes, which gives rise to skin problems such as rashes and infections.
Wash your tools and brushes regularly
For hygiene purposes, professional makeup artists clean their beauty tools after each client, but once a week should suffice for us regular folks.
“Beauty tools need to be cleaned regularly and air-dried to prevent bacteria and mildew from growing on them. This is especially so for foundation brushes that are tightly packed together,” says Clarence. The makeup artist shares that he would also shine an ultra-violet lamp over his tools for additional germ-busting.
While there are various brush cleansers available on the market—we share some makeup artist favourites above—Cheryl prefers good ol’ soap and shampoo: “A gentle shampoo with no silicones is great to wash your eyeshadow or blusher brushes with. For foundation or concealer brushes, I use Dettol bar soap. Wet the bar of soap and the brush with water, run the brush on the bar of soap and watch that foundation disappear from the brush.”
Grego, on the other hand, shares that he deep cleans his brushes using lukewarm water with detergent and a dose of vinegar. “Soak it for 20 minutes or more, then brush the bristle clean using an old toothbrush. Run through with a light conditioner if needed.”
For a quick-fix on the go, the makeup artists recommend a cleansing spray, but note that this shouldn’t replace the regular deep cleanse.
Keep dirt and grime out of your products
Andrea and Cheryl stress the importance of washing your hands thoroughly before starting your routine. “If your fingers are dirty or still covered with skincare, it’s going to transfer to the product, onto your face, back to the product, and so on,” Cheryl explains.
She also shares that you should always blot your face before doing a touch-up to prevent oil and grime from transferring to the puff or brush and on to the product.
As much as you can, Grego recommends using a spatula for cream-based products, and not double-dipping.
Andrea adds, “Store your products in a cool, dry area and consider using anti-humidity packs such as Hippo Moisture Absorber—moisture breeds bacteria, and you want to keep that out of your beauty arsenal.”
(Related: Zoom Meeting Make-Up Looks: Try These Quick Beauty Tutorials on Youtube)
Sanitise your makeup
To sanitise your cosmetic products, try using isopropyl alcohol. To clean compact powdered products, Cheryl suggests wiping off the top layer of the product and then spraying with 70 per cent isopropyl alcohol. The alcohol will dry quickly on its own.
For cream-based products like lipsticks and highlighters, Andrea’s routine is to gently scrape off the top-most layer and wipe down with 70 per cent isopropyl alcohol wipes, but she cautions that any alcohol percentage of above 70 per cent can dry out your products and cause irritation to the skin.
Dollei also turns to 70 per cent isopropyl alcohol wipes for sanitising beauty devices and tools. If you’re allergic to the strong contents of alcohol, however, her tip is to use a vodka dip or spray on products instead, followed by a hairdryer to quickly dry the alcohol.