How to Sanitize Your Makeup and Beauty Tools

As part of the Dotfully community, please refrain from posting and giving away beauty products that are used or opened. Beauty tools such as beauty brushes, metal tools, Clarisonics, hair curler and more are allowed as long as they are thoroughly cleaned. Learn how to sanitize your beauty products and share dotfully!

Sanitizing everything in your makeup arsenal—all the lipsticks, the eyeshadows, the pressed powders, and of course the brushes—can be such a boring, tedious task. There are a lot of other things you could be doing instead—like watching a makeup tutorial on YouTube or buying even more makeup. Nonetheless, it has to be done.

And of course, if you’re going to do it, you have to do it the right way.

First things first, before we get to the good stuff, let’s talk about how to prevent your makeup and tools from becoming contaminated with dirts and germs.

The most basic thing, of course, is to always make sure to close all your makeup containers properly and store your tools in clean, sealed containers. Don’t leave the caps off your lipsticks. Always put the lids back on your foundations or concealers. Don’t leave your clean (or sort of clean) brushes in an open container that does not have a lid or cap to protect them from all the dirt and germs flying around in the atmosphere (all those invisible particles in the air can contaminate them too, you know).

Another thing to remember is to always wash your hands (or use some hand sanitizer) before handling your makeup—especially if you like to use your fingers instead of a brush with your makeup.

Lastly, avoid double dipping! Dipping your brush into a pot of concealer, dabbing it onto your face, and then dipping it back in can result in skin cells from your face being transferred to your makeup. Now, if you’re the only one who uses your makeup then it’s probably not such a big deal, but if you are a makeup artist, then you definitely need to avoid double dipping at all costs. Just use a scraper to scrape off a bit of the makeup that you are going to use, place it on a makeup palette, and work with that to avoid dipping your brush over and over in the same pot after using it on a client’s face.

By following these tips, you can lessen the amount of time you spend sanitizing your makeup and tools.

So, on to the fun part!

Sanitizing Your Makeup Tools


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There are three ways to clean your brushes, depending on how dirty they are.

Quick: If your brush isn’t all that dirty and you probably only used it once after your most recent brush cleaning session, all you need to do is wipe the brush on some antibacterial wet wipes in a circular motion until the makeup is removed. You can also spray a bit of rubbing alcohol onto the brush if you want to be thorough.

Basic: For a basic cleaning, pour some brush cleaner (of your choice) in a cup and swirl the brush around for a few seconds, then wipe on a paper towel. If you don’t have any brush cleaner, you could also use plain old rubbing alcohol for this.

Deep: When your brushes are dirty, as in really really DIRTY, it’s time for a deep cleanse. For the brushes you use with powder products, you can simply use baby shampoo. Pour a mixture of baby shampoo and water onto a plate or any shallow container, then dip your brush (wet the bristles first though) into the mixture and swirl the brush on your hand. Squeeze out the excess shampoo and water and rinse. Repeat the process until the water runs clear.

For brushes that you use with cream or liquid products, however, a mixture of oil (coconut or olive oil would be great due to their antibacterial properties) and dishwashing liquid is a great, inexpensive brush cleaning solution. Just mix those two with some water, pour onto a plate, and use the same process used with the powder brushes.

You could also use the Sigma Spa Cleaning Glove to speed the process along. It’s a rubber glove with different textures for different stages of cleaning—namely WASH, REFINE, and RINSE. One side of the glove has textures dedicated to larger face brushes, while the other side has textures for eye brushes and other small brushes—like your lip brush or angled eyeliner brush, for instance.

NOTE: Make sure to handle your brushes bristles-down while cleaning, as you don’t want to get water into the ferrule (the metal part) of your brush. When this happens, it can loosen the glue holding the bristles together, which can destroy your brush. With that said, when drying your brushes, position them at 20-degree angle (no need to measure this one of course, just use it as a guide) to the surface of your table with the bristles-down, to make sure the water travels down instead of up.


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Most makeup sponges are disposable, but if you have some of the more expensive ones—a BeautyBlender, for instance—then that’s another story. You can buy them from Sephora and other places. For BeautyBlenders, simply wet it a little bit and apply a few drops of their liquid or solid BlenderCleanser to the dirtiest areas. Squeeze until it lathers up. To rinse, squeeze out the suds under running water repeatedly until the water runs clean. Finally, squeeze out the excess water and place on top of a clean face or hand towel to dry.

NOTE: If you don’t have the BlenderCleanser, you could also use a mild, gentle shampoo, facial cleanser, or dishwashing soap. However, make sure to check the ingredients of your chosen cleanser, as any harsh chemicals can ruin your makeup sponge for good.

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Metal Tools (eyelash curlers, tweezers, etc.)

For all your metal tools, spritzing them with a bit of alcohol and wiping them down should do the trick. If you want to do a deep cleanse, get an old toothbrush, dip into a paste of baking soda and water, and scrub away any makeup residue. Rinse and dry thoroughly with a paper towel or microfiber towel.

To clean the rubber pad on your eyelash curler, just clean it with some antibacterial soap, rinse, and dry.


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Some of you ladies are probably all about that Clarisonic life these days—and we certainly can’t blame you. Now, the problem is, replacing brush heads every few months can be pretty expensive. To prolong the life of your brush, make sure to clean it properly! Just mix one cup of water, two tablespoons of baking soda, a quarter cup of hydrogen peroxide, and some lemon juice in a spray bottle, and spray liberally on the brush head (make sure to detach it from your Clarisonic first) and the part of the Clarisonic where the brush head connects. Place the parts on a clean towel and set aside to dry.

Sanitizing Your Makeup

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To sanitize your lipsticks, wipe the top (and any part that usually comes into direct contact with your lips) of the lipstick with a clean paper towel. For the next step, spritz a bit of rubbing alcohol on the top of the lipstick, and wipe it clean again with a paper towel after a few minutes. We also recommend dunking it into a cup of rubbing alcohol as that’s the best way to clean it, but others claim that this could dry out the lipstick or change its finish.

Lip Glosses/Mascaras/Concealer Tubes

There’s really no way to sanitize a tube of lip gloss or mascara, so the best thing to do is to use disposable doe foot applicators and mascara wands. However, if you find this too expensive or wasteful, the next best thing is to make sure your lips are clean and exfoliated before applying lip gloss to avoid getting extra dirt or skin cells into the tube. For the mascara, make sure to wipe the wand with a tissue or antibacterial wet wipe before returning to the tube to remove any foreign objects it might have gathered while you were using it, such as dust or stray eyelashes.

Also, do NOT pump the applicator, as this pushes air into the tube, which promotes rapid bacteria growth.

Pencil Liners

First sharpen the pencil follow by spritzing the entire thing with some alcohol and wipe dry with a paper towel. You can also dunk the tip into alcohol and let it dry.

Pressed Powders (blushes, eyeshadows, face powders, etc.)

Simply spritz some rubbing alcohol on the surface, making sure to coat the entire thing, and set aside to dry.

Loose Powders

There’s really no way as well, but as long as you do not keep the sponge or puff that you use every day with your loose powder inside the powder’s container, then you can (hopefully) avoid any contamination. Just don’t double dip!

Cream or Gel Products (concealers, gel liners, etc.)

Again, you can just spritz some alcohol on the surface of the product and set aside to dry. If the product has an uneven surface (using pointy brushes or spatulas usually create divots in the product) you can try smoothing it down first with a cotton swab before sanitizing with alcohol.

Squeeze Tubes (lip, face or eye products)

The only way to sanitize makeup items that come in squeeze tubes, such as concealers, cream eyeshadows, or liquid lipsticks, is to wipe down the part where the product comes out with wet wipes or tissues. But better yet, do not use your finger to get the product and do not apply directly to your lips or face. Just use a clean brush to remove the product you need.

Sanitizing Everything Else

Some people often forget that it’s not just the bristles of the makeup brush or the surface of their pressed powder that need sanitizing. You need to sanitize the containers/handles, too!

For makeup brushes, just wipe down the ferrule and handle with a cotton ball soaked in alcohol or an antibacterial wet wipe. Use the same method for all your other makeup items—just wipe down the outer and inner surfaces of the containers that house the product. Make sure to clean the caps (of lipsticks, pencil liners, etc.) as well by wiping them down with this same method. However, if your fingers can’t fit in the cap—as is the case with pencil liners—just spritz the inside with alcohol and set aside to dry.

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Try not to skip this step during your makeup sanitizing ritual, because even the smallest amount of dirt or germs can contaminate your makeup. You can go crazy spritzing alcohol on your lipstick, but if the inside of the cap is dirty, it kind of defeats the entire purpose of sanitizing the lipstick in the first place.

As part of the Dotfully community, please refrain from posting and giving away beauty products that are used or opened. Beauty tools such as beauty brushes, metal tools, Clarisonics, hair curler and more are allowed as long as they are thoroughly cleaned. Have fun and share dotfully!