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Home>Blog>How to Sanitize Makeup: What You Need to Know

How to Sanitize Makeup: What You Need to Know

MIRA BEAUTY • updated Dec 2, 2020
How to Sanitize Makeup: What You Need to Know

Deep clean products the right way with these tips

Playing with makeup is a lot of fun, but it takes work to keep your products in the best shape. This includes checking expiration dates, storing them properly, and of course… sanitizing items every few weeks to keep them (and you!) feeling clean and fresh. Deep cleaning your makeup and beauty tools can be more difficult than you think, as each tool has its own technique when it comes to removing dirt, oil, dead skin and all the bad stuff. Not to mention that everyday products need extra love to ensure that they don’t spread germs or make you break out.

You probably know the basics, such as not sharing your makeup and not holding on to your million tubes of mascara, but we’re here to help you dig a little deeper (literally) and deep clean your makeup like a pro. Find our favorite makeup sanitizing tips below!

Bullet Lipstick

Vice Lipstick by Urban Decay
Source: Urban Decay

The first thing you should know? Bullet lipsticks are far easier to sanitize than liquid lipsticks or glosses. Since these last two products are generally in a restricted tube, they can be difficult to clean, and may be better off replaced (more on that later.) However, all you need is a bit of rubbing alcohol to clean your Vice Lipstick by Urban Decay. You can buy a bottle of 70% isopropyl alcohol, which has shown to be more effective in removing germs than 99%, at nearly any local drugstore. You only need to pour a small amount of rubbing alcohol into a bowl, dip the lipstick into the liquid for 30 seconds to one minute, remove and gently wipe down with a tissue. Pretty simple, right? This should be done once or twice a month, as you definitely don’t want to be spreading bacteria along your mouth with every swipe of nude lipstick. It also helps to use a Q-tip and lightly scrape the top of the lipstick between cleanings, to ensure that you don’t leave behind germs or crumbs from last night’s meal.


Bundle of Joy by Beautyblender
Source: Beautyblender

Sponges are one of the rare beauty tools that you can wash with just soap and water, as opposed to a specialty cleaner. You may have seen the viral TikTok hack in which people place their dirty Beautyblender in a cup of warm water and dish soap, put in the microwave for one minute, and remove it to see that their sponge is perfectly deep cleaned. It definitely can work when done correctly, but you can also wash your Beautyblender or Real Techniques tool the old-fashioned way. In a bowl of water as you soak and lather up with soap, until you remove the germs and built-up product that gets trapped within the sponge - which is as satisfying as it sounds. Want to be sure that you eliminate every last makeup particle? Beautyblender carries the Bundle of Joy set, which features two sponges and their vegan Liquid Cleanser to kill 99.7% of germs and keep your tools feeling fresh.

Eyeshadow Palettes

Soft Glam palette by Anastasia Beverly Hills
Source: Anastasia Beverly Hills

While replacing makeup regularly is the ideal scenario for sanitization purposes, it’s not always feasible with eyeshadow palettes. Some of them are incredibly pricey (looking at you, influencer collabs), while makeup artists are often required to use the same palette on dozens of people. Luckily, there is a way to get your golden cut crease without sweeping other people’s oily eyelids on your own face (sorry for that visual) - and it includes… you guessed it, rubbing alcohol. You can use the same drugstore bottle that cleans your lipstick, but instead of dunking it, you’re going to spray it. Simply place a good amount of  70% isopropyl alcohol into a spray bottle, and lightly spritz your eyeshadow powders before letting the liquid evaporate. It won’t hurt your precious Soft Glam palette, we promise, it just removes all the oil and germs that were hanging out on top of your favorite colors. If you’re using the eyeshadow palette solely on yourself, the cleansing process only needs to be done once or twice a month. However, aspiring makeup artists or those who use their palettes on other people should spritz after every use!

Makeup Pencils

Kohl Power Eye Pencil by MAC
Source: MAC

Yes, we’re talking about all of the pencils for lips, eyes, and brows. And the sanitation process is super easy - all you have to do is sharpen them! Sharpening your MAC Kohl Power Eye Pencil before each use won’t just give you more precise lines, it also sweeps away all the germs and bacteria that previously lived on the tip. And the same goes for your favorite lip liner that you can’t live without. We know what you’re thinking… if I sharpen it every time, won’t the product go more quickly? Not necessarily. All a pencil needs is one or two twists to be free of bacteria and ready for your most luxury makeup looks - and it can definitely still last you the full one year lifespan of an eyeliner or lip pencil. If you’re more into retractable products, like the Ultimate Brow Retractable Pencil by Wet N’ Wild, all you need to do is lightly spray with rubbing alcohol before drying. Your brows will be fresh and free of all the bad things!


Murumuru Butter Bronzer by Physician's Formula
Source: Physician's Formula

As beautiful as blush and bronzer look on your face, your signature fall blush color becomes a lot less cute when you consider the dead skin cells and bacteria that sneak into these products. So annoying. But it doesn’t have to be that way, as all you need is a butter knife to get your most clean, sunkissed glow. Just take the sharp edge of the kitchen utensil, and gently scrape the top layer of the powder to remove fallout and clean your product in a simple way. However, you have to be careful. Pressing too hard can break or remove too much of the product, which is never ideal when dealing with the drugstore favorite Murumuru Butter Bronzer by Physicians Formula. A bit of rubbing alcohol definitely doesn’t hurt either, but a simple scrape once or twice a week will make all the difference in your makeup cleaning routine! Use it on your bronzers, blushes, contour, and highlighter products for a fresh and gorgeous glow.


Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation
Source: Giorgio Armani

Listen, we know that your special occasion foundation has been sitting in the vanity drawer forever, and it’s a bit dried around the opening. However, there’s no way that you should let your iconic Giorgio Armani Silk Foundation (or its amazing makeup dupes) go to waste. The solution? A Q-tip and a bit of 70% isopropyl alcohol. While you can’t go inside the bottle to deep clean, you can still spray it down to prevent the spread of germs. This includes the bottom, sides, and especially the bottleneck opening… as you don’t want your liquid foundation to be contaminated as you distribute it. Just dip your Q-tip in the alcohol, and rub down the opening of the bottle to disinfect. This guarantees that the foundation doesn’t just look better on your vanity, it also gives a whole new meaning to the term “fresh faced!”

Mascara (hint: don’t!)

Volum' Express The Falsies Washable Mascara
Source: Maybelline

Despite what Google or your aspiring makeup artist friends may tell you, the best way to sanitize your mascara is to just not. There are no tried-and-true methods of cleaning the wand, and bacteria spreads easily as you pump air into the tube with each use. This can be a big risk, as mascara gets close to your delicate eye area and has the potential to spread germs - causing infections like pink eye or styes. Not a good look. Experts recommend using your mascara for no longer than 2-3 months before replacing it, and if you must perform a bit of maintenance during this time - simply use a dry paper towel to gently wipe down your wand. This removes the annoying mascara clumps and spreads the bristles for more precise application. If you’re a bit peeved about the short shelf life of mascaras, don’t be. There’s plenty of high-quality and affordable drugstore mascaras (like Volum' Express The Falsies Washable Mascara!) to stock up on every few months and keep your eyes safe. You can even recycle your old wands!

Primers and Pots

Eyeshadow Base by NYX Professional Makeup
Source: NYX Professional Makeup

Most of us are guilty of it at least once - dipping our finger into a pot of gel eye primer or base and blending out across the lid before our eyeshadow looks. That’s what the influencers do, right? As it turns out, using your fingers isn’t exactly the best practice for keeping your makeup pots clean. Germs spread fast, and your fingers are often packed with them… the last thing you want to do is blend out bacteria on your fragile eyelid skin. Yuck. Instead, try using a small eye brush to dip into your primer and create a smooth, clean canvas for your eyeshadow. Like the E25 Blending Brush by Sigma. This won’t just keep oil and bad things out of your eye primer, it also helps you evenly distribute the product for longer-lasting, more vibrant makeup looks. If you’ve already made a fingerprint in your NYX Eyeshadow Base, don’t worry, it’s still salvageable! Simply take a clean tissue and gently wipe the top of the primer to make it fresh as new. This trick also works for eyeshadows, color correctors, and other creamy makeup items in pots!

Makeup Brushes

Morphe x Jaclyn Hill The Master Collection
Source: Morphe

Of all the tools and products in your collection, your beloved set of makeup brushes is the most important to keep sanitized. Why? It touches every area of your face, including the oily eyelids and T-Zone, and unwashed brushes mean that you could literally be sweeping dirt and germs on your face. Ew. Washing your tools once a week is necessary for any makeup lover, and it’s never been easier than with the dozens of brush cleaners you can find on MIRA BEAUTY. Makeup Brush Cleaner by Cinema Secrets is a professional-grade liquid and 99.99 percent antimicrobial disinfectant that’s beloved by both beauty beginners and makeup artists. Just soak and cleanse your tools in this vanilla-scented formula to deep clean, condition, deodorize and extend the life of your Morphe x Jaclyn Hill brush set - you definitely won’t regret it!

Find all the best makeup products and cleaning tools on MIRA.