It’s been ten (yes, 10!) whole months since I last posted on my makeup blog. Swiftly moving on from the shame and embarrassment of that realisation I want to return to my promise in my last blog post and restart by writing about the No. 1 lesson I was taught from my makeup instructor: hygiene and sanitation.
Not the most riveting subject, I know, but if you want to be taken seriously in this line of work or if you are looking to have your makeup done professionally by someone you need to pay attention to their level of cleanliness because your health could be at risk. Back in my youthful, naive student days I once used a friend’s mascara and learnt my lesson the hard way when I contracted conjunctivitis! So I speak from first hand experience when I say, using products directly used on another person is a big no. If you use lipstick used directly on someone else for example, you could catch anything from a mouth cold sore to Hepatitis. Just like you shouldn’t put cosmetic testers anywhere else but on the back of your hand to test them out you should also avoid old , expired cosmetics. Both categories of makeup can have bacteria ranging from eColi to Staphylococcus.
Grossing you out is not my intention here but please, for your health’s sake, look out for make up artists who do not follow the following basic rules of make up hygiene and avoid these people like the plague:
- Having clean hands – MUAs use brushes and other makeup tools but they also use their fingers a lot to apply or fix makeup. So if they’re not using a hand sanitizer and do not keep their nails trimmed and clean that is a major warning sign.
Tip for professional MUAs: Always clean your hands before working on a client and try to maintain well-manicured nails to look clean and professional. Using a hand sanitiser and keeping a box of wet tissues in your makeup box are absolute musts.
2. Thorough cleaning of makeup brushes – Everyone who uses makeup regularly must thoroughly clean their brushes at least once a week. Professional MUAs should do that every day without fail using an antibacterial wash that is soft to the bristles. In addition, they must always clean their brushes between uses (e.g. cleaning the bristles of an eyeshadow brush with a cleansing spray before dipping it into another colour) and most importantly deep clean them between clients.
The best cleanser for deep cleaning is Isopropyl alcohol. Pour a small amount into a shallow open container and soak your brush bristles in it, then dub them repeatedly on a paper napkin or tough kitchen roll paper to remove all the moisture and let them dry.
The brush handles also need regular wiping down with sanitised wet tissues or a cotton ball dubbed in alcohol to avoid contamination.
3. Using a stainless steel palette and spatula
Having a stainless steel surface like a palette where you can apply small amounts of the products you want to use with a spatula and then wipe them off when finished is the best way of ensuring you don’t apply too much product AND do it in the most hygienic way for your clients. This way lipsticks, foundations, concealers, etc (and thus dead skin cells) will not come into direct contact from one person to another. The lipsticks will not look pretty, as you will be breaking them up slowly with the spatula but this way you keep your hygiene standards high.
4. Using disposable tools
Spoolies, small makeup sponges and Qtips are essential for hygiene. These one-use only tools are so important in avoiding having any direct contact between a person and another using the same product. Especially when it comes to applying mascara spoolies are your best ally. Use one per application and dispose of it then use a fresh one for a second application. Never-ever double-dip the same wand in the mascara container. That would defeat the whole purpose.
Finally, not wiping the surface of powdered products (blushers, eye shadows, face powders) and blowing on brushes to remove excess product are bad form when it comes to hygiene.
Any self-respecting makeup artist who takes their love or profession for make up art seriously will follow these golden rules. Sadly, I have come across some disappointing “professionals” who do not know the meaning of basic hygiene. If you come across such professionals do yourselves a favour and run before you let them work on your face.