Sanitation Series

Beauty Sanitation Part 2: How to Clean Your Makeup Brushes

Keeping your makeup brushes clean is one of the most important things a makeup wearer can do to keep your skin healthy, prevent breakouts, and extend the life of your makeup. Oils from your skin, as well as dead skin cells can build up in the bristles of your makeup brushes, and this can be redeposited into your skin and onto the surface of your makeup. If you have ever had difficulty getting a powder product onto your brush or applicator, and perhaps noticed a shiny spot in the middle of your powder, then you have witnessed first hand what is referred to as 'glazing' of your product. This happens when oil and skin cells are transferred from your brush or applicator and build up to form a layer that makes it difficult to get to the product underneath. This can be solved by taking a paper towel or clean mascara spoolie and gently exfoliating and removing the surface layer.

Preventing this from happening in the first place is just as simple!

Simply wet your brush under lukewarm water, and apply a bit of your chosen brush shampoo to the tips. Swirl the brush in the palm of your hand until the suds are free of color and rinse your brush. Lay flat to dry with the bristles hanging over the edge of the table or counter. Do NOT dry brushes upright as the water will seep into the ferrule and handle of the brush, causing brush hairs to loosen and wood handled brushes to warp and crack.

There are many popular brush shampoos on the market. Some of my favorites are the: E.L.F Brush Shampoo, $3 at Eyes Lips Face and Pure Goat Milk Solid Brush Shampoo: English Lavender (they also have other scents and vegan versions!), $18. London Brush Company.

In a pinch, I will even use 3 parts Dawn original dish soap to 1 part Extra Virgin Olive Oil blended as a brush shampoo.

If you wear makeup almost everyday, you should definitely be washing your brushes at least once a week, if not more often. If you only wear makeup maybe once or twice a week, you should still wash your brushes about every two weeks, or monthly at MINIMUM.



Ashlie Lauren

Sanitation Series

Halloween Makeup Safety

It's nearing that time of the year when people all over dress up and transform themselves into monsters, goblins, fairies, and more as part of their fall celebrations. However, there are some things you should definitely be aware of before you spackle on the Halloween themed makeup to complete your costume to make sure your holiday adornments don't become your personal horror story. These tips are especially helpful if you are planning to DIY with your Halloween makeup, but so called 'professionals' trying to cut corners can also put you at risk.

  1. Acrylic Paint Just because it says 'non-toxic,' that doesn't mean its safe to go on your skin! (House paint is even worse by the way!) Acrylic paint for one does not allow the skin to breathe and also contains ingredients such as nickel, which cause skin reactions with prolonged contact in many people. Because it is a plastic and dries stiff, it may also remove the top layers of skin upon removal, particularly for those with sensitive skin or young children.
  2. Craft Glitter The same glitter you find in Micheal's  or Hobby Lobby should not be the same glitter you would find in a professional makeup artist or face painters kit! Craft store glitter is much larger and is cut in a way that gives it very sharp edges. This can injure you if it gets in your eyes or is inhaled through your airways. Cosmetic grade glitter is much smaller and is cut with rounded edges so as to minimize injury in case of contact with sensitive mucus membranes.
  3. Sharing Makeup Sharing makeup should always be a no! Even with close friends or family. Unless a product dispenses sanitarily, such as with a pump, you could be sharing not only makeup, but also skin cells, germs, and more! Mascara and lip gloss or lip stick are the worse offenders and can cause pink eye, staph, or herpes infections. Professional artists should be removing product from the compact with a  sanitized spatula and work from a separate surface to keep you safe.
  4. Cleaning Brushes Brushes and sponges should be thoroughly shampooed and left to dry between clients, but sometimes this may not always be possible. This is why there are several wonderful brush cleaners on the market that properly disinfect brushes and dry quickly without harmful residue. Alcohol, although it may seem like a great choice for disinfecting brushes, for one does not remove product residue properly, and according to the State Cosmetology Board, is considered an ineffective sanitizer. It also may cause pain or discomfort when used near the eye area if it has not dried fully.

Sanitation Series

Top 3 ways to tell .. is YOUR makeup artist sanitary?

Photo Courtesy of Google Search Getting professional beauty services done should be a fun, relaxing, and most of all SAFE experience. While makeup may seem like a fun profession, you should remember that makeup artists work very closely with sensitive mucous membranes such as your eyes and mouth.  If a complete stranger at the mall came up to you and asked to borrow your lipstick, would you hand it to them? EW, NO! Of course not! You know there are germs that can be passed through that makeup, so there are many steps your makeup artist should be taking to ensure that you do not contract any disease! These are also things you should keep in mind for your next trip to the beauty counter (testers? anyone can touch those!), so pay attention! If you are working with a new beauty professional, (or if you even if you have a regular makeup artist but never really paid attention!) here are some VERY IMPORTANT things you should be watching out for! Disclaimer: This article contains images and descriptions of some of the gross things that can be found in contaminated makeup, and could be considered 'graphic' to some people.


The #1 thing I see when I go to fashion shows that always grosses me out is seeing 'makeup artists' applying the SAME mascara to multiple people - using the SAME applicator that came with the mascara!

I put makeup artists in quotations, because NO makeup artist EVER should do this. Even though I see this from a lot of newer artists, I also have seen people who claim to have been doing makeup for ten years or more do this as well. See, here's the thing. Most people have these things called eyelash mites. It has nothing to do with cleanliness, because they live off of dead skin and the natural oil in your skin. It's perfectly fine that you probably have your own, although according to WiseGeek, "high numbers of eyelash mites can cause irritation and inflammation of a person’s skin. When this happens, a person is said to have a skin condition called demodicosis. Severe infestations of these mites may also lead to infections of the eyes or skin."

A Close-Up View of A Lash Mite Photo Courtesy of Google Search

Kind of cute, no (ok, eek!)? These little guys are a large part of the reason you are supposed to throw out your personal mascara every 2-3 months (but not the ONLY reason). But, imagine someone using the same mascara wand, from the same tube on 20 different people, then using it on you. The same applies for liquid liner, or ANY cream or liquid based product period! Make sure your makeup artist uses a FRESH BRUSH OR WAND FOR EACH DIP INTO THE PRODUCT. If they double dip because they needed more product, they have still contaminated it, and the entire product is now compromised.


The other big thing I see happen a lot is improper sanitary measures when dealing with lip products. This one is a bit more straightforward, and many of us already know not to share lip gloss, but don't take it for granted that your beauty professional is taking appropriate measures to keep you safe (has anyone ever seen Tabatha's Salon Takeover?). Although I rarely see anyone picking up a tube of lipstick and heading straight for someone's lips, I do see what amounts to basically they same thing - double dipping the lip brush into the lipstick palette or onto the lipstick itself. However, as I mentioned before, any liquid and cream based products can become a breeding ground for bacteria! One of the most common things that can be transmitted through makeup besides pink eye is the herpes simplex virus, and that is what could easily be found in contaminated lipsticks or lip palettes.


Again, this is one that I see a bit less commonly, but still far too often for my opinion dirty makeup brushes. If you wear makeup on a daily basis, you should be washing your brushes at least once a week or so. A professional makeup artist should wash, or at the very least disinfect them between each and every client. Makeup brush hairs and sponges are porous, which means that they can attract and hold dirt, oil, and dead skin cells, as well as bacteria. Having worked at a beauty counter for almost a year, I can also personally testify that the brushes there were only shampooed once per week, although all employees were supposed to use the provided spray-on brush cleaner and alcohol between customers. I always brought my own brushes from my kit, and shampooed them every night when I went home! One of my favourite 'studies' in the case against dirty brushes is an experiment conducted by Lizzi at Makeup Utopia where she takes clean brushes, a dirty brush, (and of course a control blank), swipes them across a petri dish, and sticks them in an incubator. The bacteria that grew from being exposed to the dirty brush was straight up gross.

Clean Makeup Brushes vs Dirty Makeup Brushes : The Bacteria Within


Clean Makeup Brushes vs Dirty Makeup Brushes : The Bacteria Within

With contaminated makeup, you could develop conjunctivitis (pink eye), dermatitis, blepharitis, staph, impetigo, and ringworm, as well as the aforementioned herpes simplex virus. Keep this in mind when you are at a makeup counter, or are getting your makeup done by someone who you have not yet actively observed using proper sanitation procedures. Dry products like eye shadow and blush can easily be sanitized by wiping the top layer away, and/or spraying with alcohol or makeup sanitizing spray. However, these measures do not work for liquid or cream based products as you run the risk of simply pushing the contaminates further into the product. Also, be aware that the reason you can get your makeup done at a counter for so cheap ($30-$50 on average) is because the store salespeople are using the testers that are available to the public, so proper sanitation there can not be guaranteed. An early red flag for a freelancer charging those same types of rates is also not likely able to invest in the proper tools needed to maintain a sanitary kit, as well as provide quality cosmetics for use on clients, unless they are hobbyists, in which case their lower rate is simply to help offset the costs associated with safe and sanitary makeup application. Unfortunately, this is often not the case, and a lower rate can be a sacrifice of the makeup kit cleanliness. The testers at the mall are free, and when it comes to the bacteria in this case, you get more than you paid for, but keep in mind, I have personally witnessed unsanitary practices from all ends of the experience and/or pricing spectrum!


Urging you to stay safe when it comes to glam time,

Ashlie Lauren