7 Steps To Keeping Your Makeup and Your Clients Healthy

Remember, the health and safety of yourself and your client comes first.

I would feel terrible knowing I used a product on someone else that caused an allergic reaction, infection, or disease! I wrote this article to be helpful for both Makeup Artists and Face & Body Painters, there are references to practices unique to both artists. Follow these tips to minimize the possibility of causing harm or spreading disease.

"Non-Toxic is NOT Makeup" is an awesome article by Lisa Berczel, a contemporary in the body art field. Read this if you still think it's ok to use Sharpies on skin.

I had friends in high school who would turn to sharpies when they couldn't find the shade of lipstick they wanted...Yeah. Kids may do the darndest things but professionals don't.

"What's sanitary and what isn't" Here is an excellent article/thread that I HIGHLY RECOMMEND to makeup artists and painters alike. Yes, the topic is targeted toward working makeup artists but there are many good pointers here for face and body painters as well. Worlds collide.

If you've come this far, chances are you are looking to go pro. Its time to become mindful of the materials you are using. Even things that are marketed as safe for skin may be harmful, as you have read in Lisa's article. What if your model has an allergy to latex and you're carrying makeup wedges or even lash glue that contains latex? I'll get to that in a little bit.

A note on the difference between Sanitary and Sterile

To be Sterile is to be free of bacteria and other living organisms, totally clean.  To be "Sanitary" is to be hygienic and clean, microbes and contaminants are reduced to a level considered safe.

A body paint kit or makeup case should be sanitary, a hospital is sterile. Your brushes should be sanitary, a tattoo needle is sterile.

I've actually heard a face painter claim that her paint cakes could not harbor bacteria and they were hypoallergenic.
Yeah, I'm not buying into that. 
Folks, its worth the effort to do test patches on your models and give a good spritz of rubbing alcohol over your paints and brushes. 

***Remember, its the drying of the alcohol that kills the bacteria.

Steps to Keeping Your Kit Healthy

1. Use hand sanitizer

Even if we try hard not to use our hands directly on our models, its still a comfort factor when your model or client sees you begin your work with a drop of sanitizer.

2. No double dipping

One of my favorite rules which mostly applies to mascaras, lip glosses, and the like. This also comes in handy for body painters when painting certain areas of the body. In that situation, my brush or sponge touches the cake once and is either disposed of or cleaned.
If I am concerned that contamination has occurred (i.e. child sneezes into face paint kit) I stop painting, scrape the top layer off of the cake, spritz with rubbing alcohol and set aside to dry. I can't prove this is the best and most effective way to sanitize your paint (lacking a microscope and a lab) but I feel better and I'm sure the client does too.
In the case of mascara or the like, where you sudden realize you accidentally double dipped, you're gotta chuck the remainder. I suppose you could always offer the remainder to the client, especially if it's a brand new tube of product.

3. Avoid bodily fluids

If your makeup client or child waiting to be painted is crying, nose is running, skin is broken, or appears to have an infectious disease (chicken pox?) I would strongly recommend passing.

4. Clean Your Brushes

Wash, then sanitize, between jobs. My brushes are washed regularly with either Cetaphil (because it is scent and dye free) or clarifying shampoo (to strip oily makeup from the bristles) and left to air dry horizontally, on a clean paper towel. More about proper care and feeding of brushes.

Swirling your brush in alcohol and drying with a tissue is not the proper use of alcohol to really receive the benefit of its disinfecting qualities. I like to spray my tools down with 70% Isopropyl Alcohol and leave them to air dry. The same goes for my pressed powders- mist with alcohol and let dry.

5. Have a palette

A stainless steel palette practically pays for itself. They are relatively inexpensive and an excellent surface to work from- easy to clean, and easy to fit in your kit! I use a small artist's palette knife to pull makeup from it's original container (cost approx. $2-$3). Many makeup stores offer palette knives that look more like little stainless steel spatulas. To each his own.
Scooping product onto a clean palette is a sanitary solution for cremes, lip glosses, lip sticks, gel liners, etc.

6. Chuck OLD Makeup

Old makeup is likely EXPIRED makeup.
Using old makeup can result in irritation, allergic reactions, or even infection.
How old is your foundation?

Makeup Shelf Life

Cream or Gel Cleansers - 12 months
Concealer - 12 months
Water Based Foundation - 12 months
Oil Based Foundation - 18 months
Loose Powder - 3 yrs
Pressed Powder - 2 yrs
Eyeshadow - 3 yrs
Pencil Eyeliner - 3 yrs (Sharpen Regularly). Totally true story, I got a stye from an eyeliner pencil that was at least 4 years old. I looked right at it, too, saying to myself, "Hasn't this been around a while?"
Liquid Eyeliner - 2 yrs
Mascara - 4 months * Please don't pump your mascara! You are pumping bacteria filled air into that little bottle. Looking to load your brush? Dip the brush and twist back and forth as your slowly remove it from the tube.
Lip Liner - 3 yrs (Sharpen Regularly)
Lipstick - 1 to 2 years * Follow your nose, if it begins to smell rancid, chuck it!

Something most people don't think about that could totally mess your day up. Ready for it?
Clean your makeup pencil sharpener!

7. Know your makeup!

Read the labels, know your medium and pigments. What are your concealer bases? Do any of your products contain coconut oil? Does your red paint include RED40? If you are using latex sponges, you should carry latex free alternatives. Is your gear stored in a pet friendly home?

These are things to consider!

I'm sorry, I'm not yelling. I'm excited about makeup. Happy creating! Don't kill anybody. :)


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