First of all, I have to say that, this is just my personal way of maintaining hygiene around my makeup routine. You may already have a system that works for you, but if not, I hope this post will encourage you to start one.
Although most makeup products contain preservatives to slow down the growth of bacteria, it is still essential that makeup products and tools are kept clean at all times. Dirty or contaminated makeup is a breeding ground for germs which eventually leads to breakouts and sometimes even cause a serious skin or eye infection.
If someone tells me that a makeup product made her breakout, I always ask about her hygiene practices. More often than not, the breakout is caused by poor hygiene rather than the product itself. It seems that a lot of people don't think about cleaning and disinfecting their makeup and tools.
For a makeup artist, working on different people increases the potential of spreading infection, sanitizing makeup and tools is a must in your routine and should not be taken lightly. Sadly, not all makeup artists are concern about sanitation. I have seen a makeup artist apply makeup with brushes that looked like they never met soap and water. As for the makeup counters, I don't even want to start on that.
As with most things, handwashing is the crucial first step, all that cleanliness is useless if you touch your things with dirty hands. Handwashing does not mean running your hand under a faucet for a few seconds. You will have to use soap and actually wash your hands the proper way. It's also important to start with a clean canvas, wash and prep your face first to get rid of the dirt and excess oil. Your makeup will also look better if applied on a clean surface.
I use a 70% alcohol, cotton pads, cotton buds and tissue to clean my makeup. For liquid products in bottles or tubes like primers and foundation, after I pump or pour out the product, I use a cotton pad saturated with alcohol to wipe clean the nozzle or opening before replacing the cap. For cream and powder products in compacts or palettes, I wipe the suface with tissue after each use, this scrapes off the top layer where oil may have settled. Afterwards, I clean the compact or palette with alcohol soaked cotton pads. I wipe pencils with tissue saturated with alcohol after each use and sharpen after 2-3 uses. For retractable pens and lipsticks, I spray the tip that came in contact with my skin with alcohol then wipe with tissue. I can't do much with mascara and lipglosses, I just make sure that I apply them in a clean surface. If I use my finger to apply a product, I make use that I disinfect my hands with alcohol prior to touching the product.
I use cotton pads and cotton buds with alcohol to clean and disinfect all my make up tools like eyelash curler, tweezer, scissors, sharpener, etc. I wash sponge applicators after each use and powder puffs every week when I do my weekly cleaning. As for brushes, I like to use a clean brush everytime. I use both MAC brush cleanser and shampoo to clean my brushes. I prefer to wash my brushes with a conditioning shampoo and water rather than just using a brush cleanser. I only use the brush cleanser on my eye brushes, usually on MAC 217 because I use it so often and I only have one. All brushes that I used on cream and liquid products and eye brushes, I wash after each use. While brushes used on powder products are washed weekly. Washing brushes can be time consuming, but I love the look and feel of clean brushes so I don't mind making the effort.
I usually clean my makeup and tools right after I use them. I set aside 10-15 min every morning to do my aftercare. If I have enough time, I will even wash the brushes I used. If I don't have time in the morning, I set aside everything that I used and clean them at the end of the day or when I have the time. The makeup don't go back to storage until they have been cleaned and sanitized. I also set a time each week to clean my storage system, inspect my makeup and wash my brushes.
I realize that I'm wasting products with all that wiping and scraping, but I will never finish all my makeup before they reach their expiry date anyway, so I guess a little waste is not big deal. Always check out and note the expiry date of the product you bought, you can write down the date on a small sticker and place that at the back or bottom of the product. If it does not have an expiry date, you can note down the date that you opened it instead. There are different opinions on how long a makeup product can last before going bad. My rule is to be sensible. When it looks bad and smells bad, then it's bad, whether it has reached its expiry date or not.
Proper storage is also important. I keep all my make up in a plastic chest of drawers in my room, away from direct sunlight, heat source and moisture. As all these can spoil and ruin your makeup, it's probably not a good idea to store your make up in front of a window or in the bathroom, or leave your makeup in your car. Cleaning your storage unit atleast once a week and washing and cleaning your makeup bag as often is also a good way to prevent contamination.
If you never had a sanitation routine before, now is a good time to start. It might be a little overwhelming at first especially if you have a large collection. You don't have to become a germaphobe, take small steps and use common sense. Once you have worked sanitizing in your makeup routine, you will find out that it takes very little of your time. Taking care and keeping your makeup clean is taking care of your health.