How To Sanitize Your Home Makeup Kit Like a Pro

Emily LaCroix

You may feel like you take good care of your makeup, but are you cleaning your kit like a pro? Even if you never share your products or take them out of your home, you still need to disinfect them. Your makeup could have harmful germs on it if you aren't sanitizing it properly.

You keep your skin safe when you keep your makeup and tools clean. Dirty products can lead to skin irritation, allergic reactions, and even infection. Your brushes and sponges are breeding grounds for harmful bacteria. 

We are going to go over how to keep your makeup kit clean. We will also go over how you can avoid makeup contamination. 

Why You Should Sanitize Your Makeup Kit

Dirty makeup and tools can lead to a multitude of problems. You may not even realize that some of the issues you're having are directly related to your unsanitized makeup kit. Not only will your makeup and tools last longer if you keep them clean, but your skin will thank you. There are many reasons to keep things neat and tidy.

Premature Skin Aging 

The key to flawless makeup is beautiful skin, which harmful bacteria can compromise. In fact, bacteria can lead to more fine lines and wrinkles. When your skin is warding off contaminants, it opens the door to premature aging. Germs can cause your collagen and elastin to break down, creating older-looking skin.

Clogged Pores

When you don't clean your makeup or brushes, it allows dead skin cells, dirt, and oil to build up. When you use your dirty makeup and tools, it spreads those contaminants onto your skin, potentially clogging your pores. 

You can develop whiteheads, blackheads, and acne just from using tainted products. You can even get acne if bacteria are living on your makeup. If you want to keep your skin clear, keep your kit clean!

Contaminating Your Makeup

You can’t just clean your tools and not your makeup. If you've been dipping your contour brush into your bronzer, both are contaminated. Some makeup you can disinfect, but other products you may need to toss once contaminated. 

For example, mascara or brow gel you can't really disinfect. When you use your TatBrow Ultra Hold Brow Gel over brows that come in contact with bacteria, you may end up transferring it back into the tube. 


When your makeup and tools have more than just dirt and oil, you can end up with a serious problem. When harmful bacteria come in contact with your skin, it can cause minor infections or even a Staph infection. 

When staphylococcus bacteria reach the deeper layers of your skin, they can enter your bloodstream and make you very sick. Usually, Staph spreads when you share your makeup with other people. They can still spread harmful bacteria even if they are healthy and don't have an infection themselves. 

You can also catch viruses like pink eye or herpes. The best practice is not to share your makeup products with your friends unless your makeup is clean and you have one-use applicators. It’s better to be safe than sorry!

How To Sanitize Your Makeup 

You may be wondering how you even sanitize your makeup. Some products are easier than others, and as previously mentioned, you can't clean all your products once they are contaminated. 

Also, keep in mind that all makeup has an expiration date. Even if you keep it sanitized, throw it out after it expires. It can irritate your skin if you use makeup that has gone bad. Let's go over different products and what you can do to keep them clean. 

Mascara and Brow Gels

Try to store your mascara and brow gel in a cool, dry place to keep it fresh. You should replace mascara three months after opening since you can't actually clean the product. In addition, always use a disposable wand when you let someone else use either product. 

Eye and Lip Pencils 

Use spray alcohol after using your lip and eye pencils. Also, clean them before and after sharpening. You can get alcohol at any drugstore. Look for 70% isopropyl alcohol and a spray bottle. 

For eyebrow pens, like TatBrow Microblade Pen, spray it with alcohol and wipe it on a paper towel. Wait a minute before putting the lid on to allow the alcohol to evaporate. Your TatBrow pen will be as good as new!

Eyeshadow and Powders 

Powder makeup products have a lower risk of bacteria growth. However, it's still possible for them to become contaminated. Professional makeup artists use an antimicrobial LED light to disinfect their powders. 

These lights can kill germs, bacteria, fungi, and spores. You can also spray alcohol over them by holding the bottle a few inches away and misting the product. Next, gently wipe the top layer clean with a tissue.


You can also spray lipstick with alcohol as well to disinfect. If you are going to let a friend borrow your lipstick, use a spatula to scrape off a small amount. Your lipstick should last for a year or two before you need to throw it out. However, replace the product if you notice it starting to smell.

Liquid and Cream Products

When you have liquid products, try to keep your hands out of them. Using your fingertips to get the product out can quickly contaminate your makeup. 

In liquid, germs can spread like wildfire. You can apply a few drops of alcohol into the liquid and mix it up to disinfect. However, too much alcohol can ruin the formulation. Alcohol may also dry out or irritate your skin. 

How To Clean Your Tools

Now that you know how to disinfect your makeup, let's go over how to clean your tools. Consider splitting your tools into two groups. You will always have brushes to use when you're allowing your other brushes to dry.

You can use a makeup brush cleaning solution or a brush shampoo. You can also use dish soap since it does an excellent job at breaking down oil. If you have none of these products, hand soap will also work. You will need soap, paper towels, and your brushes next to the sink. 

Rinse brushes under lukewarm water and apply a small amount of soap. Swirl the brush around in the palm of your hands to break up the makeup. Rinse the brush, bristles facing down to avoid getting water on the glue holding them together. You may need to repeat this process a few times before you've removed all the makeup. 

If you don't want to hand wash each brush, you can also use the soaking method. Fill a cup with lukewarm water and put a tablespoon of cleaner or soap into it. Mix the soap into the water so it is combined but not bubbly. Place your brush's bristles down into the cup and allow them to soak for 20 minutes. After, rinse each brush under the faucet and squeeze out the excess water. 

Once you are done, gently squeeze the water out and dry it off on a towel. Lay your brushes out on the edge of the counter so the bristles are hanging over the side. This technique allows both sides of the brush to dry at the same time. 

Whatever you do, don't dry your brushes upright. It will allow the water to trickle down deeper into the brush and could result in mildew. The water could also disrupt the glue. Once they are completely dry, you can put the makeup brushes back in your kit. 

You should clean your brushes and other tools once a week to keep them from collecting too many germs. We know it can feel inconvenient to have to clean them so often. However, when it comes to your skin, the cleaner you can keep your tools, the better. 

If you don't have time to clean all your tools, focus on your face brushes, like your foundation and concealer brushes. Your eyeshadow brushes can usually last a little longer without creating any problems. 

Regularly cleaning your tools will also ensure that they last a long time. Makeup tools are expensive, and taking care of them is the best way to get your money's worth. Plus, clean brushes give you the best makeup application. It will go on smoothly and leave you with a flawless finish. You will also be keeping your skin youthful and supple for longer by removing contaminants. 

Tips for Keeping Your Makeup Clean

It would be best if you also cleaned the bag or container you're storing your makeup in since it can be covered in germs as well. We also have some extra tips and information important to know when it comes to keeping your makeup kit clean. 

Makeup Bag Care 

Check and see if your makeup bag can go in the washing machine. If it can, spray the bag down with alcohol and wash it by itself. After, allow the bag to dry out before putting your makeup back. If it isn't machine washable, wipe it down with sanitizing wipes and spray it thoroughly with alcohol. 

Try to clean your bag once a month to make sure it stays bacteria-free. In between cleanings, you can wipe it down with a wipe.  Don't forget to wipe down the outside of your cosmetics since they can also have germs on them. 

Where To Store Your Makeup Bag

You should try to keep your makeup in a cool dark space. Your foundation could change color if stored in direct sunlight. If you keep your makeup on the counter and have a window in your bathroom that allows the sun to shine in, consider moving it into a cabinet. The sun and warm conditions can encourage bacteria to grow. 

Declutter Your Makeup Bag 

A great time to check if any of the products are expired is when you're cleaning out your makeup bag. Generally, makeup will have a 6M or 12M symbol on the packaging to let you know how many months it's safe to use after opening. 

Try to pay attention to the texture of your makeup and the way it smells. You can also remove any makeup from the kit you don't use all the time. Consider keeping makeup you only use on special occasions in a separate place to keep your bag clutter-free. 

Can I Use 99.9% Alcohol? 

Isopropyl Alcohol, or IPA, is a very common disinfectant that is used in medical and healthcare settings. The best solution to use is 70% IPA because it requires less time to kill bacteria than 99.9% IPA. 

The 99.9% doesn't have any water, and it doesn't break the bacteria down. It just puts it in a dormant state. A higher percentage is better for removing stubborn residues from things like electronics. 

Wipe Down Your Other Tools

Don't forget your other makeup tools besides your brushes. You also need to clean tools like your spoolie and eyelash curler. Spray them with alcohol and wipe them off. 

In Summary 

Whether you're a professional makeup artist or not, your kit should always be kept clean. Sanitized products won't cause any skin issues. However, dirty makeup and tools can expose you to a world of germs. 

You can contract infections from unsanitized products. You can also end up with clogged pores and acne. When you share your makeup with friends and family, you can unknowingly spread viruses and harmful bacteria. 

While cleaning your makeup kit may seem like a time-consuming task, dealing with skin issues is no easy process either. You should clean your tools once a week and your makeup bag once a month. 


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If anyone uses your makeup, you should try to sanitize it immediately. A few spritzes of alcohol can do a number on the germs living on them. You don't want to have to get rid of your high-quality makeup, like TatBrow products, before the expiration date because of a pesky infection. 



Old Makeup Can Cause Serious Eye Infections - Health Encyclopedia | University of Rochester Medical Center

Staph Infections: Symptoms, Stages, Causes, Treatment, Contagiousness Staph infections of the skin can be serious | Web MD

70% ethanol / 70% isopropyl alcohol Frequently Asked Questions | EHS UMICH

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