Makeup Artist Sanitation in a post-COVID world

Makeup Artist Sanitation in a post-COVID world

As a makeup artist my client’s health and safety has always been of the utmost importance, and with the current outbreak COVID-19 I thought that it would be a good time to outline the measures that I take to ensure your safety.

The basic makeup sanitation is something that should be done always – coronavirus or not.


Before starting on a client’s makeup or skin prep it is very important that your makeup artist washes their hands with soap, and uses an anti-bacterial and anti-microbial hand sanitiser.

One of the most important things that I was taught when I first started in makeup, and something that I have always followed is that every client needs a fresh set of makeup brushes. That means if I have 10 people to work on that I bring 10 full sets of brushes with me!!!

Brushes need to be cleaned and properly sanitised between every person. The best way to do this (and the method that I follow) is to wash the brushes with a brush soap, or antibacterial soap, and then once dry do a second clean/spray & wipe with a sanitiser that is 70% alcohol.

Simply spraying an alcohol based brush cleaner onto a makeup brush, and wiping it off does not sanitise a brush.  You can, however, use this method to clean the color from a brush to reuse it on the same person!

Makeup sponges cannot be sanitised. This bears repeating.


I will only use disposable sponges on my clients, or if their skin requires a blending sponge be used it gets gifted to them at the end of the service.

Any product that is a cream must be decanted onto a palette, or onto the back of your artist’s (sanitised) hand, and can be applied to the face from there. Brushes should never be double dipped into a wet product – this applies to skincare and makeup products – to avoid cross contamination.

Never, ever, ever allow someone to apply your mascara using the wand that comes in the tube. The only time that I will do this is if the mascara is brand new and part of the bridal touchup kit, and will given to my bride after the makeup application is completed.   Mascara should be applied with a disposable wand, or a mascara brush.

The same goes for lipsticks and lip glosses. Products straight from the tube are a huge no-go, unless it is going to be given to you at the end of the makeup application.

All eyeliner, brow and lip pencils should be sharpened and disinfected before every client. To ensure that products are sanitary the pencil sharpener that is used also needs to be sanitised after use. Felt tip eyeliners should never be used on multiple people as, much like makeup sponges, it is not possible to sanitize these products.


You might be thinking “That’s all good, but how do I know whether my makeup artist does these things? Or what if I notice these things after they arrive?”

Great questions.

First – don’t be scared to ask any prospective makeup artist about how they work.  They should be able to confidently talk about their hygeine and sanitation practices.  Check their instagram for behind the scenes pictures and take note of their workstation setup.

Take a peek at their kit and their brushes before they start working on you.  Dirty brushes are an obvious red flag, but you should also look at their products – eyeshadow palettes should look clean, bottles should not have dirty fingerprints or be covered in product. 

Most artists will lay their products out before they start working, so you should have a chance to look before they start.

If the makeup artist has already started working before you notice something funky speak up as soon as you notice!!  You can tell them straight up to stop and let them know why.

Other things to look out for is whether you artist keeps dirty brushes seperate, or whether they put them back into their container or brush belt.  And watch for artists who blow on their brushes to remove excess powder, or blow on their palettes to try and clean them.  A very famous artist came under scrutiny in the some of our industry groups for doing this in one of her educational videos, so it can happen at any level.

I have heard too many stories of women who have been too worried to say anything and have just let the artist continue – your health is too important to risk.  No-one wants pink eye, or the cold sore virus, or MSRA.

Or if you are more non-confrontational makeup up an excuse to leave – family emergency, a sudden onset of gastro, dog ate your credit card.  Whatever.  Do whatever you need to do to stay safe. (And then send them a link to this article later on).


With the outbreak of the Novel Coronavirus there are several additional steps that I have taken to ensure my clients’ safety.

I have asked all clients to let me know before I attend their appointment if they have recently been overseas, or if they are feeling unwell.

If they are unable to postpone their appointment (which I understand, because weddings, birthdays and life still go on) I will  take additional measures, such as wearing a particulate pespirator mask – those normal masks that you see people wearing are not enough to protect you, but may help to stop the spread of disease. 

I will reserve the right to refuse services if it puts my health (and therefore the health of my clients and my family at risk).

In the event that I am unwell I will do my best find a replacement makeup artist for my clients, and refund any booking fees that have been paid to me if another artist is hired.

If you are worried about the Novel Coronavirus please contact your GP, and refer to the information that has been issued by the health department.

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Sally is a makeup artist, a beauty junkie and a coffee addict that loves finding new products and techniques and using them to give her clients an amazing experience – every time.

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