How To: Sanitizing Your Makeup

For those with acne prone skin, we know that sanitizing our makeup is a must. This keeps us from having to completely restock our collection after we’ve had a particularly rough bout with our skin. However, you should be sanitizing your makeup products even if your skin isn’t acne prone to begin with. Sanitizing your makeup can help prevent bacteria buildup in the products so that they might last a little longer, it can bring life back into your favorite product that dulled due to age, it can prevent breakouts, and it’s just a good practice to get into in general. We’re so careful with what we put on our skin on a daily basis, but why do we constantly overlook our makeup products? Hopefully this post help you make a couple small changes that have the potential to make a big impact.

Just bear with me, since this is a bit of a lengthy post. You can skip this part if you’re not too into sciency stuff.

In my opinion (note that I do not have any experience other than my own and what I’ve learned as a former Pre-Med student), sanitizing your makeup products once a month is a good routine to get into. Also, make sure you’re constantly checking to make sure your makeup products haven’t expired and that you’re rotating products out after their recommended lifespan has ended. You’ll see me mention freezing your makeup to sanitize it and this is why: the cold temperature is enough to kill some, if not most of the bacteria that’s invaded your product. Freezing does not kill all bacteria, as all bacteria react differently to different temperatures. Freezing can kill bacteria if its cold enough for ice crystals to form inside the cells of a bacteria and rupture their membranes. On the same note, some bacteria aren’t effected by cold temperatures, and some even replicate a little faster. By freezing your makeup products to sanitize them, you’re essentially playing Russian Roulette with germs. However, in my personal opinion, I’d say that the risk of any harmful bacteria remaining in your product after 12 hours of being frozen is relatively low. It’s a statistic that I trust and abide by, if that gives you any reassurance.

For the vast majority of these tips, I can say that sanitizing any makeup product will change the texture of your makeup, but it shouldn’t affect the way that product performs. Some products may feel a little gritty to the touch, but hey, we shouldn’t be sticking our fingers in our makeup anyway!

Let’s Do This

Eye Shadow – Skim off the top layer of product and give it a light spray with isopropyl alcohol and let dry.Mascara – Unfortunately, because mascara is so finicky and it comes in a tube, there’s no sure-fire way to sanitize it. Most professionals recommend you switch out your mascara once a month, but anything up to three months is generally the acceptable lifespan. If you’re a daredevil, you can try freezing your mascara and then let me know how it goes! However, the isopropyl alcohol trick won’t work on this product. Dumping a little in the tube might ruin your mascara completely, and just spraying the wand off before uses won’t help either – Since you still have to dunk it into the tube to get product out. The easiest way to make sure you’re not smearing unnecessary germs all over your eyelashes daily is to buy single use, disposable mascara wands, and make sure you’re changing out your product when recommended.

Side Note: If your mascara has gotten dried out and chunky and you’re dead set on reviving it instead of buying a new one, you can put a few drops of isopropyl alcohol in it. This should sanitize it as well as add a little moisture to it, so it’s less chunky and dried out. That being said, I wouldn’t recommend doing this anyway – If it’s dead, it’s time to let it go. I’m sorry for your loss!

Lipstick & Chapstick – Lightly wipe the top layer of product off and give it a quick dunk in a little isopropyl alcohol and then let dry.

Lip Gloss – A lot of people don’t recommend even trying to sanitize these because they’re in tube form, but freezing gloss shouldn’t have an impact on the consistency of the product. If you’re interested in trying to put a little isopropyl alcohol in the tube, please be warned that this will thin out your lip gloss. Yes, it’ll be germ free, but it certainly won’t look or perform the same as when you bought it.

Eye Liner (Gel & Liquid) – For eye liner that comes in a pot or in pen form, a quick spray of isopropyl alcohol and some drying time should do the trick. I’ve never tried freezing any liner, so I couldn’t honestly tell you how it would effect your product. As for liquid eyeliners that come in a tube, I wouldn’t recommend adding any alcohol to them, as it’ll cause the liner to thin out considerably, and you’ll have a hard time getting the pigmentation that you’d like. I haven’t tried freezing liquid liner that comes in a tube, so I can’t tell you how that would effect the product – I can speculate that it might just separate when thawing, but might have a chance of being okay once you shake it up afterward. If you’re willing to try this, let me know how it goes!

Pressed Face Powder Products (Foundation, Setting Powder, Blush, etc) – Skim off the top layer of product and spray a little isopropyl alcohol on it, then let it dry. If you have loose powder, you can still spray a little alcohol on it, but be very careful with how much you spray or you might end up with pressed powder. I would honestly recommend just popping your loose powder in the freezer overnight without adding any alcohol to it.

Lip Liner & Eye Liner Pencils – Sharpen off the top layer of pencil and then spray it with isopropyl alcohol and let dry. There’s no need to freeze liner pencils. If you’re using a retractable liner, twist the top of the product out of the packaging and snip it off with a clean pair of scissors. After doing this, I would recommend carefully twisting up the remaining product and dipping the whole thing into a little isopropyl alcohol – it won’t effect the product and this way you’re making sure the tube is clean as well.However, be very careful not to dunk your retractible pencil in a glass or bottle of alcohol vertically – make sure you do it on an angle to reduce your risk of the product falling completely out of the tube.

Liquid Foundation & Concealer – All I’ve ever done for my concealers and foundations is popped them in the freezer overnight and then let them thaw. Adding any isopropyl alcohol to these products will damage them, and there’s no way around that. Once your product thaws, you’ll probably have to shake the container up quite a bit, as it may separate. In my experience, this hasn’t changed the efficacy or color of any of my liquid face products.

Any Cream Based Makeup Product – You can lightly spray these products with a little bit of isopropyl alcohol and then let them dry. Just make sure you turn them upside down on a paper towel first, so any excess alcohol doesn’t sit in your product and end up thinning it out in the long run. I haven’t tried freezing any cream based products, but I wouldn’t recommend it. Freezing cream based products will most likely result in separation once the product has thawed and it’ll probably be a little difficult to make sure you’re mixing the product back together well enough for it to be useful in the end.

Eye Lash Curler – Everyone recommends you replace your eye lash curler pads once every three months or so, but in reality, it’s not a necessity. You can easily take makeup remover (liquid or wipes) and clean the pads off. Once they’re dry, just give your lash curler a quick dunk in isopropyl alcohol and let dry completely. Good as new! I’ve been doing this for years and I’ve only ever purchased one eyelash curler. And no, I’ve never gotten pink eye, styes, or my lashes ripped out.

Makeup Brushes – I’m the first person to admit that I don’t always clean my brushes as regularly as I should, but I’m going to tell you how to clean your brushes quickly and effectively for all of those reluctant brush-cleaners like myself. Clean your brushes thoroughly using your preferred brush cleaner (mine is MAC’s Brush Cleaner) and blot them off on a clean towel. Once they’ve fluffed up a little, spritz some isopropyl alcohol on them and let dry like normal.

Quick Tip: I recommend buying a brush drying rack or finding an easy DIY – Leaving your brush laying on the counter or sitting in a makeup organizer head-up can damage your brushes after a while, because this doesn’t allow them to dry properly. All makeup brushes that I know of (with the exception of brushes with wooden handles, which should be set on an angle to avoid warping the wood) should be dried vertically head-down to allow excess moisture to escape and ensure that nothing is moist and collecting bacteria in your newly cleaned brushes.

Let me know if you’ve found this post helpful or if you’ve tried any of these tricks and had different results. Each product will react differently to sanitization, so make sure you comment below with specific products you’ve had issues with so that the death of your beloved makeup product isn’t in vain! Also, please feel free to comment with any other tips and tricks you’ve learned along the way for sanitizing your makeup products so others can benefit from the knowledge 🙂

Until next time,



4 thoughts on “How To: Sanitizing Your Makeup

  1. charandtheweb says:

    This is FANTASTIC! I’m such a makeup newbie but do suffer from the occasional break out so this is the best advice for me. I don’t use much makeup but I like the idea of keeping everything as clean as I keep my face clean. Simply, easy solutions that will pay off in the end. Thanks for these recommendations. You’ve got a lovely blog.

    Would you be interested in sharing/featuring your posts on We’d love for you to share your thoughts and opinions with our ever-growing community as we continue to branch out. Let me know if you’re interested, and if you’ve got any questions. Feel free to shoot me an e-mail for more information. You’ll find my contact details on my blog. Looking forward to hearing from you.


  2. whoopsitshannah says:

    It’s very interesting to read how to sanitise products like eyeshadow, I tend to only think about cleaning things like brushes.

    Liked by 1 person

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