How to Keep Makeup Tools Clean

Makeup tools to be cleaned

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“Cleanliness is next to godliness” —or so the saying goes, and it is true when it comes to cosmetics. Beauty professionals don’t take shortcuts when it comes to cleaning and disinfecting their tools and workspace; neither should you. You should always expect it from them and practice it at home too.


Below we discuss the importance of cleanliness in salons. The makeup tools beauty professionals use as well as tools used at home, and why it matters that you clean and sanitize your makeup tools. Remember, everything you apply to your body is essentially absorbed by your skin. You want to make sure that as a beauty professional you do not bring harm to your clients. And if you regularly do makeup on yourself, it is vital to make sure that the tools you use are clean, even if they are not being used on anyone else. 


Cleanliness in Beauty Matters

If you are in the beauty business or frequent beauty salons, you know how important it is to keep the workspace clean. Beauty professionals rotate multiple clients all day, and for their safety and yours, they make sure that their tools are washed and disinfected before using them on each client. When possible, it is ideal to use disposable brushes or sponges. 


Since rules around cleanliness have become more strict in the last couple of years, Beauty Professionals know not to book more than one client in a shared space at a time and are making sure to keep incoming and outgoing clients separate. Whether you are a beauty professional or a client, be sure to wear your mask at all times and wash your hands for the recommended 20 seconds before any interaction outside of your bubble. 


How to Clean Makeup Tools

white ceramic sink beside window
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All beauty professionals are taught how to clean their tools, but for the non-professional, you may not have known that there is a procedure to follow. You may have never even thought about how, when, and how often to clean your makeup tools. Below we will go over the process, but you can also consult with a makeup artist to guide you. 


  • Sponges Run your sponges under warm water until they have become fully soaked. Use a gentle soap to work the product out of the sponges. You want to make sure that you rinse the sponges until the water is completely clear. Remove all excess water from the spongers and allow for them to air dry. —Always check for mould. 

  • Brushes — Start by running your brushes underwater with the bristles facing down. This is a must to avoid the base collecting water and increasing their longevity. When water gathers at the base, it is more likely to loosen the glue and damage the bristles. Apply gentle soap to your brushes, wash, and rinse until the water is clear.

  • After washing the brushes, you’re not quite done. It’s time to disinfect them! To disinfect your brushes, mix one-part vinegar with two parts water in a small bowl. Make sure to swish your brushes around, but not submerge. Have your brushes dry bristle down overnight.

  •  Metal Beauty Tools — These include eyelash curlers, tweezers, eyebrow trimmers, etc. You will want to use an antibacterial soap to wash all your metal beauty tools, which you will pat dry. Next, it’s time to sanitize them, which you will do by soaking a cotton pad or ball in alcohol and wiping down your tools


Why You Need Clean Makeup Tools 

You may be wondering if it is truly necessary to go through the process of cleaning your makeup tools. It definitely is! The American Academy of Dermatology states that if your makeup brushes are dirty, they can cause infections, such as a fungal infection, E. coli, or a staph infection.


In a 2019 study from the Journal of Applied Microbiology, they tested used cosmetic products and tools that were donated. After running the test, they found that about 79–90% of all the used products they tested were contaminated with bacteria. 


More specifically, a study published in 2003 tested small, natural and synthetic sponges that are commonly used for removing makeup daily. In this study, they found environmental factors such as humidity or temperature favour bacterial growth. According to this study, the use of sponges should be restricted for personal use, washed, allowed to completely dry, and must be kept in a dry place.


Not cleaning or replacing your makeup tools can also lead to acne. Some makeup itself, as well as the process of applying the makeup, can be a factor. However, when you don’t clean and sanitize your makeup tools, they effectively collect bacteria. That bacteria is all going onto your face. If your skin is sensitive, it is more likely that you will develop some form of acne. Those of you who don’t have sensitive skin also increase your chances of getting acne


Practice and Preach Good Hygiene

Changing out tools, using disposable ones, and being aware of when to replace makeup products is an important part of a beauty professional’s day-to-day life. We here at ScissorCut, believe that having context behind the importance of being aware of why it is necessary to sanitize the beauty tools used on the skin. 


Many tools come with instructions on how to properly clean them. Some brands even sell cleaning products for their brushes, sponges, and metal beauty tools. If yours does not come with instructions or cleaning products, you can follow the cleaning procedures that are listed above and search for widely available cleaning products. At the end of the day, what matters is that you are consistently following a cleaning and sanitizing schedule.


You typically think of what you eat and drink because it affects your body, now is the time to think and care for what you apply to your skin. Let us know what products you like to use to clean your tools and any tips or tricks you have for our readers in the comments below.