Free shipping on all domestic orders over $39

Spring Clean Your Makeup

April 25, 2011 Reviewed by admin 8 Comments

It can be easy to forget that everything can be plagued with germs, including your makeup. This is a bit unfortunate because a lot of that stuff goes on your face happens to be near openings like your eyes and mouth. This is especially important if you're trying to get over a cold and don't want to keep infecting yourself. Also, if you're using things like makeup brushes after a night at the club, chances are you're sweeping up oil and reapplying it at another time- which is a no no if you have acne. Probably the biggest area of concern is at the makeup counter. Places that have makeup testers can be a hotbed for germ swapping between you and random people, and ever see those people at the makeup counter giving makeovers? It's all great until you come home with a case of the pink eye because your beauty stylist was more focused on bringing out your eyes than bringing out the sanitizing wipes. Take my word for it, no one wants to be friends with the girl who has pinkeye.  With that being said, try out these tips to end the reign of germs.

Purse: Or wherever you keep your makeup. You should clean it out once a week. The best way to get it done is to throw everything you have out on the counter, then use antibacterial wipes to clean out the inside of the purse. If you're really lazy and you have a durable purse, throw it in the washer on gentle.

Lipstick: Your mouth can be a dirty place, even Dr. Bryan T. Ambro, a facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon at the University of Maryland Medical Center notes that it's better to be bitten by a dog over human since there are 100 million bacteria in one milliliter of human saliva. We brush our teeth, rinse our toothbrushes, and if some object goes in our mouth, we try to clean that object out- so why not our lipstick as well. In case you want to do things the hard way, you can just scrape off the outer layer of your lipstick, unfortunately you'll be dealing with rapid lipstick loss this way. The easiest way to get it done is to dip your tube of lipstick in alcohol for 15 to 30 seconds. This works great unless you have some odd homemade lipstick that disintegrates when it comes in contact with alcohol, then again if that's the case you probably shouldn't be wearing it. But if you do have that odd type of lipstick, throw your tube in the freezer overnight and you can kiss bacteria and viruses goodbye.

Mascara: Essentially the same as the lipstick, close your tube and leave it in the freezer overnight.

Eyebrow Pencil: Just sharpen the pencil, the new layer will mean no germs.

Brushes: Brushes can be tricky because if you rinse them, you risk changing their shapes forever, but the choice is yours- a clean brush or a dirty brush with a good shape. A formula I found online for cleaning brushes included water, a tablespoon of clarifying shampoo, and four drops of tea tree oil (Tea tree oil works as a natural antibacterial and antifungal agent). Mix up the formula and put the brushes in, then gently clean them with your fingers. Don't keep them in the water for more than a minute. After you're done, squeeze the water out, dry them on a clean towel, and shake it downward to fluff the bristles back up. Finally, reshape the brush with your fingers. Lay them flat on a dry clean towel to completely dry.

Powdered Makeup: Easily the hardest of the lot to clean. Thankfully, since it isn't a completely liquid surface, you can scrape off the top layer but that isn't really economically and there's a chance you might just be pushing bacteria around than actually cleaning it. A company called Beauty so Clean has solved this with a cosmetic sanitizer mist that can actually sanitize powdered and cream based products. This includes pressed powder, eye shadows, compact foundation, and concealers. A pack of two misters will run you $20. This same brand also sells a pack of sanitizer wipes (good for lipsticks and eye pencils) and a conditioning brush cleanser (cleanses and conditions makeup brushes), each for $20. Not a bad deal if you're looking for a product line to keep your makeup germ free.

I completely understand how much of a hassle this can be, especially since chances are you have a plethora of makeup and brushes and such. But if you're going to use good products, like the ones we often cover here at TIA, you might as well go the extra step and ensuring that you're using them correctly. It doesn't make much sense to have a great paraben-free makeup line in your bag if it's filled with bacteria. Hope these tips helped — happy spring cleaning folks!

  • May 5, 2011

    by jaynadiya

    Although some of these tips & tricks are great for immediate results, they will damage your makeup! Alcohol damages the product! Brushes need to be cleaned (and it won't change the shape of the brush). I was so happy when I discovered Beauty So Clean. It's really the best product for cleaning your makeup and brushes, and it doesn't damage your makeup which means your makeup will last longer!

  • April 26, 2011

    by Sunil

    A freezer won't outright kill all, but kill some and retard the growth of others. But keep in mind this is lipstick, not a piece of meat so chances are that they won't be able to thrive. You're right though, using a sanitizer is the best way to clean.

  • April 26, 2011

    by Jaysie

    Here's a rec I got from a makeup artist for lipstick: quickly pass it through the flame of a lighter a few times, pausing between each pass. The flame is hot enough to kill germs and the wax will stabilize during the pause.

  • April 26, 2011

    by Pinky

    oops, not "ferm," I meant "germ."

  • April 26, 2011

    by Pinky

    It's my understanding that freezer temperatures don't kill bacteria, they only make them mad. At least that was a joke I read from a scientist once. Germies can survive temps of -30 for months. And when they "thaw" they begin to multiply at the same rate they did before.

    I think freezers and/or refrigerators are great to keep products from going bad - ferm replication is slower because they hibernate - but I wouldn't use them to kill bacteria. Soap/water and antibacterial wipes are used at my house!

  • April 26, 2011

    by Eva

    Actually, I think that modern people are much too 'clean', we don't get into contact with enough bacteria to build a proper immune system, that's why so many of us get all sorts of odd diseases such as hay fever (imagine ancient men wheezing&sneezing when wondering around the forest). So I’d say, go to that make-up counter and get some bacteria in you and stop taking showers twice a day and using anti-bacterial wipes every time you’ve used the subway, embrace the germs! (However, this is not to say I do not clean my make-up brushes, simply because oily, tacky brushes don't give a nice application, so I still agree with you on that point)

  • April 25, 2011

    by Sunil

    I think it might just be that, it might get ruined. Lipstick and mascara are less likely to deal with being dried out in the freezer. But of course that's the safe bet, I'm sure people have tried putting their powdered makeup in the freezer.

  • April 25, 2011

    by Jana

    Nice post, Sunil. Thanks for the information. I rarely wear makeup but I was wondering: Is there any reason powered makeup, especially the pressed & cream types, wouldn't be sanitized by putting it/them in the freezer overnight? Would it ruin those types of makeup? If it works for lipstick & mascara, wouldn't it work for powered makeup, too? Thanks for your thoughts.

Join the discussion! Leave a comment below.

My Comment

Add a comment...

-or- Cancel Comment
* Required Fields
truth in aging's five best

Truth In Aging's Five Best

The very best to choose from for your skin concerns.

Read More

truth in aging videos

Truth In Aging Videos

Helpful how-tos and reviews from Marta and friends.

Watch Now

meet our contributors

Meet Our Contributors

The TIA community consists of our trusted reviewers.

Meet Them

be inspired

Be Inspired

Inspiring thoughts and women who are aging gracefully.

Read More