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Disinfecting makeup?

Hi, first post here. I'm liking what I see so far.

I ran across this video about "disinfecting" your makeup: People also wipe off then dip lipsticks into alcohol to sanitize them. And do the same with pencils. I know people who swap or sell second-hand makeup and use these methods.

I have a few questions about it:
- How effective is it actually?
- How much alcohol do you have to use? I know lysol is supposed to sit on a surface for like 3-10 minutes to kill bacteria. So a light spritz of alcohol doesn't really seem like enough to do anything to me. What if the aerosol misses the one spot where the bacteria is?
- Would doing this make secondhand makeup any safer?
- I'm also curious if there's any makeup products you shouldn't use alcohol on? I know liquids and creams and things in tubes are out, but I mean for chemical reasons-- anything that alcohol would change chemically?

Relatedly and out of curiosity, I have a UV sanitizer for my sonic toothbrush heads. If I were to stick some eyeshadow pans in it to sanitize them, what would be the result? Would it affect the makeup? Change the color or texture? Would it actually sanitize anything?

Thanks for any answers!


  • Great questions! Give me some time to look into this and I'll see what I can find out. 
  • Thanks! I am looking forward to seeing what you find out.

    (I almost feel like I should go out and preemptively patent a UV sanitizer for makeup. ;) )
  • 70% 90% isopropyl alcohol have it set for at least a min on what ever your disinfecting. That is the fastest way to disinfect a broad spectrum of bacteria and viruses. But ... your getting stuff soggy. And that's no good. As far as the UV, it does work, but it takes much longer. I don't know the product spec of your uv light so I wouldn't be able to calculate a time estimate, but if you could get that, I could really look up with the CDC, what all uv kills and deactivates. Then I can check with OSHA to get some numbers to crunch to get you an accurate time to expose your products in your uv case to rid them of all the potential viruses and bacteria it can. Spoiler alert, you may be going through a few packs of double A's.

    Um, my honest opinion is not to trade cosmetics or sanitize it, just keep your make up in a clean environment. As far as pencils, try sharpening them. If it gets gross, throw it out. I mean don't put lysol on something you put on you face. One because it takes 2 to 5 mins to fully disinfect, and two it nasty stuff to put near your eyes.

    I could pull up the studies to reflect this, but I'm pretty OCD irl, so .... if you still want them let me know.

    @ randy would too much uv exposure change the composition of the powder in the tins, like bake them? If so how would that affect the quality?
  • edited June 2015
    Hi, thanks for the reply. I do know better than to use lysol on personal care items. ;) I was just using that as a comparison because most people think just wiping with it is good enough, but I know it has to sit for longer to be effective, and it contains roughly the same percentage of alcohol that we're talking about.

    This is the UV unit I have: The light runs for 10 minutes to sanitize the brushes, but I can't find anywhere that tells the wattage of the bulb in it. Anyway, after some googling, I'm not sure UV sanitizing is the way to go with makeup, because it will only work on the surface of the item where the light reaches. I'm not sure exactly how bacteria work, (I managed to skip biology in school) but I'd assume that they permeate throughout if it's a porous item like pressed powders and they don't just sit on the surface. But I could be wrong about that. I picture them a lot like mold.

    So back to the alcohol, maybe using an eyedropper would be the best method. I can ensure the surface is covered, but not soaked. And it should evaporate. (In case you can't tell, I've already bought some secondhand stuff. I'm just trying to decide what to do with it before I use it. If makeup artists can reuse eye shadows on multiple people, then there must be an effective method. I'm just not sure if spritzing is it. Or maybe the danger is overrated, or it's never been studied. I don't know. I'm just kind of curious about it because a lot of people I've run across think the spritzing method is 100% effective and perfectly legitimate. I'm a bit more cynical.)
  • @ Randy - I am really interested to hear what you come up with on this topic. 

     The video referenced above is the one I had found a while back.  Makeup artists HAVE TO sanitize their makeup in order to be able to use it client to client. 

    Keeping it sanitized sure beats throwing all of your eye makeup out if you end up with conjunctivitis and contaminated your makeup before you knew what was going on. 

    Obviously it does not work on mascara, but I use it on my powders all the time. I spray it onto the surface with a small travel sized spritz bottle. Because it is 91% isopropyl, it dries very quickly. I also use it to clean my makeup brushes after each use. 
  • edited June 2015
    @ OP- Well mold and fungi are a thing too to consider whenever you're serious about cleaning. Lol, I figured I didn't have to say don't put Lysol on your stuff, but I'd feel pretty bad if I didn't. I really don't have the time anyways to look things up, so good thing you don't wanna try the UV route. Good luck.

    @ No one in particularly 91%  Rubing alc isn't exactly the best at getting makeup grime out of your brushes, You may want to consider a mild face cleanser first to actually wash the dirt make up and grime out of it. Also if you have brushes that are a synthetic blend of plastic, I would highly recommend not using 91% alc.You could be damaging the fibers if you haven't murdered them already depending on what kind of type of plastic it is, Also, it weakens it, and causes it to last a lot less longer and become ratty, quicker!. This is because 91 actually 'melts' some plastics. I only know because I have seen it eat through various plastics through cleaning. Just thought I'd give ya the heads up, and that I knew what I was talking about when I said 70%, and that I did research, it kills and deactivates effectively at that point.

    Either way, your brushes, just thought I'd mention stuff, but I'm not an expert, and if Lindy keeps doing it w/o fail she probably paid very nicey for pretty durable brushes, or w/e. Yep.
  • edited June 2015
    My brushes are mostly eco brand, plus one e.l.f. blusher brush, not expensive at all. After more than a year of cleaning daily with alcohol, and washing on a regular basis with soap and water, all the brushes are still in excellent shape.

    That is only my experience with it. Everyone is different.
  • I just meant it as to be informative and perhaps take caution. Not all plastics melt exposed to 91%, as I said it's just some. maybe it's not something to worry about with all, or even any brushes.

  • I'm really interested to know the response on this, I'm a makeup artist in the UK and have received so many conflicting advice from tutors.  I work in a busy makeover studio and each artist varies on their sanitisation / hygiene ... lots use the other end of their brushes (however I'm concerned how clean the wooden end of the brush is!!). 
  • Yeah, this is trickier than I expected. Still looking for good information. 
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