HOW TO: Good Hygiene Practice for Makeup Artists

posted in HOW TO

HOW TO: Good Hygiene Practice for Makeup Artists

The first cardinal rule when it comes to working in Makeup is always hygiene. I have seen some pretty disturbing habits that literally have made my skin crawl. Personal hygiene can be quiet a sensitive subject, when it comes to myself and my work I live by “If it’s not good enough to put on my face, then it’s not good enough to put on my clients”

We like to live in a world where we think everyone practices the same hygiene standards we do, but unfortunately it is simply not the case.

Whether you’re new to the world of Makeup or simply want to refresh yourself on some hygiene practices I have listed mine below;

1) Hands are the artist’s basic tools

I make sure my nails are a shorter length and clean, one- because I do use my hands on client’s faces (with their permission of course)  two- I hate getting products stuck under my fingernails. I prefer to wash my hands with soap and water if there is an opportunity to do so, if not I use a hand sanitizer, baby wipes are always great to have on hand too if you get any products on your hands during application and need a quick clean.

2) Brushes are your babies

I have never cared for something so delicately before (apart from my skin!) . My brushes get washed two -three times a week with shampoo and conditioner (yes I condition them), this gets rid of any product build up and keeps them smelling fresh and soft. I have the same brushes since I first started makeup because of this.

Between clients to sterilize them I use a mixture or Parian Spirit and IPA (Isopropyl Alcohol) .

As mentioned in my Skin Care 10 Commandments Post Parian Spirit is my favorite brush cleaner check the facts about all its functions here.

I also use IPA because of it’s highly effective anti bacterial qualities, I use this on brushes such as lip brushes, and foundation/concealer brushes as bacteria carries easily in moist environments so this ensures it’s killed, IPA also dries within minutes and leaves no residue on your brush, just be aware it is strong in smell and highly flammable so always exercise caution with this type of chemical.

3) No double dipping

Double dipping into products causes cross contamination (causing bacteria from one product to spread another). Always use a Spatula and a mixing palette. Most of my lipsticks are decanted into palettes, therefore I use a spatula to remove the lipstick and then use a clean lip brush to apply it to the lip direct from the spatula, same goes for cream foundations, concealers, blushes and eye shadows. Make sure all Spatulas and mixing palettes are also sanitized first, spray with IPA and clean with a tissue.

Good Hygiene Practice for Makeup Artists


4) No direct application

Mascaras, lip glosses, concealers or anything with it’s own applicator should never be applied directly to any clients face. For Mascara use disposable mascara wands (No double dipping back into the tube after application, use a new one) .

Good Hygiene Practice for Makeup Artists

Lip glosses, cream/gel/liquid liners and concealers decant onto a mixing palette or spatula.

Never use a brush or sponge directly on a foundation bottle either (this will spread bacteria) , always decant foundations onto a mixing palette.

Loose powders and eye shadows also follow suit with decanting onto palette.

Pencils should be sprayed or wiped with IPA and then sharpened before application

5) Clean brushes between faces

Not only is it to stop spreading bacteria between faces, but you will also get a clean color pay off with your products for each new application. It’s better to take 5 minutes cleaning and disinfecting your brushes then to have a client call you back to say they have a rash, breakout or cold sore from your unsanitary practices.

Good Hygiene practice for Makeup Artists


6) Contra-indications

A contra-indication is when a client has a pre-existing condition that could be harmful to them as well the hygiene of your products should you continue with the application such as;

Cold sores, contagious/infectious diseases, cuts/ abrasions , conjuctivitis/styes, allergies (skin & products), recent facial treatments (laser, chemical peels), sunburn, eczema etc.

If any of these arise you must check with the client FIRST before going ahead with any application, this can be hard because you do not want them to blame you for any further irritation, make sure you do have Public Liability cover and that you have explained the relevant information as to the risks involved and if you do continue, that the client is doing so at his/her own risk. I have never had this happen to me before, but if it is something you are concerned about carry a few copies of an agreement that covers you for this and have both you and your client sign it. Use DISPOSABLE wands, cotton pads, cotton tips when applying any makeup if you proceed. SANITIZE everything after wards – this includes makeup.

Good hygiene practices for makeup artists

7) Cleaning your products

Assuming you have exercised proper hygiene practices your products should be clean and sanitary. However it is always imperative that you keep your products clean (especially creams). It’s important to keep your actual kit clean too, I use IPA to clean out my bags (they are all plastic) as well as my palettes and products, it’s a big task but you will feel so good for it afterwards and clients always appreciate a presentable looking kit.

Cleaning Creams (eye shadows, lipsticks, foundations, concealers, blushers)

 Spray them with IPA and clean over with a tissue/cotton bud

Cleaning Powders (eye shadows, face powders, brow powders)

Wipe over with a tissue and if  necessary I will use a light spray of IPA

Cleaning Tools ( Tweezers, sharpeners, spatulas, mixing palettes, eye lash curlers)

Spray these with IPA and use a tissue to clean, sharpeners are a bit tricky I soak them really quickly in hot water and some IPA and them dry with a tissue, sharpenings love to get stuck in there so I use cotton buds to clean them out.

Cleaning Pencils

Clean with some IPA and sharpen with your clean sharpener

 Cleaning Products

Wipe all other products, cases and palettes with IPA it will ensure they are kept clean and looking sparkling!

Good hygiene practices for makeup artists


Got any more tips? Let me know !

P x


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  1. Hi there. I have just started my make-up business. One thing that concerns me is if a client has a contagious disease that prevents me from applying make-up for them on the day of their event. Must I then cancel that booking for that client and refund their money?

    • Hi Anita,

      It really depends on the contagious disease? Is it a skin disease or a cold sore? Always be very cautious and investigate exactly what it is the client is suffering, you can always email me through the contact form on my website and we can discuss.

      Thanks Phoebe

  2. Hi there! I’m hoping to set up a little makeup business but I am totally stuck when it comes to False Eyelashes! How much should I be spending on eyelashes for clients? How many should I bulk buy? How high quality do clients expect with false eyelashes? Would bulk eBay eyelashes put them off? Many thanks. Rachel

    • Hi Rachel,

      I always like to use lashes of good quality, such as Ardell & Eylure. Depending where you are from there are many places you can buy them , a great site is Madame Madeline as they have bulk buying options. I usually like to use individual lashes or my favorite Ardell’s are Demi Wispies and are hugely popular. I guess you should ask yourself what you would like to wear and expect from a professional Makeup Artist. Many Thanks, Phoebe :)

  3. This is really a good post. Thank you so much for this post. This is so much informative.I am really conscious about hygiene always. I am thinking to do a makeup course, my friends suggest me Lina Cameron, who is best for any kind of makeups, also trains makeup lessons for beginners in my town. What do you think, should I take my course from her? Can you please help me about this?

  4. This is super informative! I did want to suggest perhaps mentioning the % of IPA you’re using as I’ve come across some new makeup artists over the years that believe 99% is more effective because it’s stronger, when 70% is generally better for beauty sanitizing as. Thanks for your great post!

  5. Hi Phoebe thanks for sharing your expertise. I am wondering how to have a cost effective way that’s also hygienic for liquid eyeliner, is it best to just use gel liners in pot and decant on palette.

    • Hey Connie!

      Liquid Liner can be a tricky one, while I do like Pens, I do sanitise them with a bit of alcohol (I just spray the tissue and wipe over, however can be drying) or alternative Gels are also good as you can decant product.

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