Why Sanitising And Hygiene Is So Important As A Makeup Artist

Hygiene is paramount in any business but it is especially important in the makeup and beauty industry. We deal with people’s faces all day long and hygiene and sanitation is what keeps our clients and us safe from infection and illness. Everyone has their own method but here are few tips on how to keep you and your kit clean!

Tool hygiene

Keeping your tools clean is makeup artist lesson 101. Not only is using a dirty tool on a client gross, it can be potentially dangerous. Dirty tools are the number one way of infecting your clients with illness or disease. To begin with if you notice any contraindications on your client prior to a service it is always smart to just use disposables to completely eliminate the risk of passing something on to another client. Regardless of whether there are any visible contraindications, you still risk passing on dirt from one face to another, colds, skin diseases and more by not sanitising your brushes and other tools between clients.

A simple brush cleaner (make sure it is a sanitising one) between clients should do the job. I like buying mine in bulk from Scotty’s Makeup; I find it dries relatively fast which is a must when you have multiple clients to do quickly. This should always be followed with a deep clean of your brushes at least once a week.

I use Sard soap to deep clean my brushes as I find it removes the more stubborn pigments and wax based products with ease. It also doesn’t have a strong scent/fragrance which I prefer as I don’t want anything that could agitate my clients skin.

To clean your other tools such as your spatula and mixing palette I recommend isopropyl alcohol. I use 99% but anything above 70% will do. This can also be used to sanitise your brushes in a pinch but it can damage and dry out your bristles quicker and dissolve the glue in the brush so it’s not great to use on a regular basis.


  • Always have a good quality, sanitising brush cleaner in your kit for sterilising your brushes in between clients.
  • Have isopropyl alcohol in your kit to sterilise your other tools.
  • Keep a good stock of disposable tools and sponges to use in case of contraindications I know they are evil for the environment but sometimes they are a necessary evil. There are lots of other ways we can be sustainable.

Kit hygiene

Keeping your kit sanitised is just as important as your tools. There are a few simple ways to do that. First, decant as much as you can onto your mixing palette. Any crème or liquid based products can be decanted bit by bit onto a mixing palette so that the only thing that actually touches your product is your clean spatula. It also likely saves you product as you only take what you need. For powder products such as eyeshadows, blushes, etc. there are sanitising sprays that you can use to disinfect that don’t damage your products. A popular one here in Australia is called Beauty So Clean. You can use isopropyl alcohol, but it can dry out your products, which is not ideal. If you don’t have a spray you can always wipe down the products with a clean tissue to remove any product that your brush came in contact with. This is not as effective and quite wasteful however.

Another great way to keep your products and kit clean is to make sure you always bring a towel with you (about the size of a hand towel) to jobs. This way you can place all your products and tools on the towel during the service and you know for sure they are on a clean service. Also means less clean up at the end of the day as you can just roll up all your dirty tools in the towel and you leave the workplace as clean as it was before.

It’s a good idea to give your kit pouches and bags as well your bottles and palettes a good wipe over once a month. You will obviously clean as you go on jobs but it’s good to pull everything out and give your kit a good clean regularly to help keep everything sanitary. You can use disinfectant wipes or for fabric use a solution of diluted tea-tree oil in a spray bottle. Isopropyl alcohol will work as well.


  • Decant your products where possible.
  • Keep a cosmetics sanitising spray in your kits for powder products.
  • Keep a clean towel or two in your kit to lay your products and tools on. Black is always a good idea as it’s easy to clean.
  • You can buy a bottle of tea-tree oil from the supermarket and dilute with water for a natural disinfecting spray for your bags and pouches.

 Personal hygiene

Next to dirty brushes there is nothing more off putting than getting a service done by someone with poor personal hygiene. Whether it was bad breath, bad BO, dirty hands or greasy hair, you only get one chance at first impressions. It is especially important when you work in an industry that so heavily involves contact with people. It can be something as basic as not washing your hands or sanitising them between clients. People want to feel safe in your hands and something as simple as sanitising your hands in front of them before their service can put them at ease, besides the fact that you should 100% be washing your hands before and after working with a client.

If you’re a smoker or just had lunch, remember to pop a mint in your mouth before you get nice and up close and personal with your client. You don’t want to do a fantastic job on their makeup but all they remember is the smell of that afternoon’s hummus snack.

Sometimes we work really long days on set and we sweat, it’s only human. A quick refresher spritz of deodorant can make all the difference to your client who has to sit in front of you.

Your appearance in this industry is also a selling point for you. That’s not to say you need to be full glam for every job, but people want to look at you and feel confident that you will do a job that they are satisfied with. If you rock up with dirty hair and no makeup, they are going to feel nervous. Wouldn’t you?

Lastly, it’s always a good idea not to wear any perfume or products that are heavily fragranced. They can activate people’s allergies and some people are super sensitive to smells. You don’t want to be responsible for making your client feel ill.


  • Always have breath mints and deodorant in your kit.
  • Can be worth having some floss in your kit as well for after meals, for you and your client.
  • Always have hand sanitiser on hand.
  • Make sure you present yourself in a clean and professional manner.
  • Dry shampoo, another good kit staple for those days when you don’t have time to wash your hair but it needs a little freshen up. Make sure you find one with a more subtle fragrance. Some people are sensitive to smells, and if it’s too overpowering it can make your client feel sick or activate allergies.

Want to learn how to become a makeup artist? Check out the courses available at The Australian Academy of Cinemagraphic Makeup. They offer short courses in Makeup Fundamentals, Intro to Prosthetics, Lash & Brow courses and the Diploma of Screen and Media in Specialist Makeup Services, which is a 12 month course that covers makeup and hair for film, television, fashion, editorial and special effects and is the highest qualification you can receive in Australia. You can also check out their Certificate II in Retail Cosmetics, Certificate III in Beauty Services, Certificate III in Hairdressing for all those MUA’s wanting to upskill, or for anyone that has a passion for hair, as well as online tutorials via Udemy.

Be the first to comment on "Why Sanitising And Hygiene Is So Important As A Makeup Artist"

Leave a comment