Years ago when I decided I wanted to become a makeup artist, one of the last things I thought about was sanitation. At one point I was under the impression that as long as I had a bunch of makeup, and watched some youtube videos that I would be more than capable.
Boy was I wrong.
After a few short months of researching, I realized I was missing a huge piece of the puzzle - Sanitation. Luckily I hadn't graced any clients with my talents at that point yet so, fear not, no faces were harmed in the making of my career.
There are a lot of myths and miscommunications out there about what is and is not appropriate to use on your clients, and how to go about using certain items. With the help of a few other local artists I have created this list of things to think about when you are beginning your career as a makeup artist.
1- BEAUTY BLENDERS! it is physically impossible to clean a beauty blender properly, and therefore using and reusing them on several clients is a huge risk to their health. How is that possible you ask? well consider some science for a second; bacteria only grows in a moist environment, and what is your beauty blender? a moist environment, that's what! even after cleaning it, its still wet, meaning that while it is sitting there to dry all the bacteria and germs that were missed are just getting sucked into the middle of the sponge, waiting for the next victim. Not to mention, here in Canada if you look up Health Canada's guidelines on spa tools, sponges are listed as disposable meaning you have to throw them out because its the law. There is absolutely NO REASON to use a beauty blender on several different clients, when there are so many other non latex sponge options for you out there that are disposable, and more affordable.
2- Brushes, they MUST be cleaned and disinfected between each client using an antibacterial brush cleanser. For tips on how to clean your brushes, see my last blog post "brush cleaning 101"
3- Disposables. You NEED to use them, this is no option or opinion. Lip wands have to be used for lip glosses or liquid lipsticks and mascara wands for mascara (obviously). That being said, you need to use a DIFFERENT disposable each time you dip in. Just because its disposable doesn't mean you can double dip.
4- 99% alcohol is ineffective. All makeup artists should be using 70% alcohol. This is explained by the CDC (center for disease control) very thoroughly. The short version of the story is that 99% alcohol does not have enough water content to properly destroy the bacteria. 70% alcohol is used in hospitals, spas, and various other places where hygiene is of the utmost importance.
5- Eyeliners and lip liners have to be sharpened and disinfected before each and every client, furthermore artists should NOT be using felt/brush tip liquid eyeliners on clients as they are impossible to properly disinfect.
6- Cross contamination & Double dipping. This is one of the main rules of makeup artistry but is often misunderstood. Double dipping is when you take your brush and dip into a cream product, use it on your client, and then dip into the product again. Anything creamy or wet should be scooped out with a palette knife and worked from a metal plate. Cream products are impossible to properly disinfect and this is why they must be scraped out.
7- hands, they are amazing tools to use for makeup artistry, and some of the most highly acclaimed artists use them and produce amazing work, which is fine, but please for the love of god wash them. sanitize them. clean your nails, and avoid having overly long fake nails that collect germs in the crevices. those gems look beautiful but they are full of poo particles, so avoid them if you can.
8- Lashes, never EVER ask your client for lashes back and then use them on another client. I have had more than enough models tell me that this has happened and I cannot in good faith understand who or what is possessing people into thinking that this is even remotely acceptable.
9- Keep your set ups clean, and organized. While you are working you should have full control over which brushes are clean, which brush has been used on which model, and garbage should be fully contained. I like to keep a pop up trash bin with me, or use the other half of my Dany pouch (lined with a doggy poop bag, works great!)
10- The after cleanse. Once your job is done, everything needs to be cleaned. Every single surface - thats right friends! everything! I like to travel with lysol wipes and use them to wipe down the surface of all my palettes, tools, brush handles, and kit bags. I also spray everything with 70% alcohol like its going out of style.
A lot of people may think that this is over reacting, however I want to remind everyone of some of the contagious virus' and bacteria that can be spread by makeup & their crafters:
Staphylococcus epidermidis is a form of staph bacteria that has been found on lipsticks, eyeshadows and eyeliners during laboratory testing. While this bacteria often is found naturally on human skin, for those with a compromised immune system--due to a severe illness, old age or a chronic illness--may develop an infection. Some strains of this bacteria are resistant to antibiotic treatment and can severely affect the intestines if left untreated.
Another member of the staphylococcus bacteria group, Staphylococcus warneri also is found on the skin of humans and animals. While it may not cause adverse reactions in those with healthy immune systems, it can cause severe reactions and illness in those with compromised immune systems. In the most extreme cases, this bacteria is associated with endocarditis, which is damage to the heart valves.
Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a common bacteria found in soil, water and on the skin and has been associated with inflammation, rash and in severe cases, sepsis--a serious infection that can cause organ failure. Pseudomonas aeruginosa that live on a mascara wand that can nick the eye or penetrate into the soft tissues or membranes of the eye.
Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus
One of the most serious forms of bacteria, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), can lurk on old makeup and cause an infection, such as dermatitis or pink eye, that can resist antibiotic treatment. This bacteria is considered very dangerous because the infection can be easily spread. When applying makeup, MRSA present in the makeup can enter a pimple, open cut or the mucous membranes of the eye and nose. Initial signs of infection including redness, inflammation and heat over the infected area. If you suspect you may be infected with MRSA, seek immediate treatment.
And, some of the infections you can get:
"MayoClinic.com defines conjunctivitis as an infection of the membrane that lines the eyelid and a portion of the eyeball. More commonly known as pink eye, this condition causes the small blood vessels in the membrane to enlarge. This causes the distinctive pink or red cast that gives this condition its name. Although this condition usually affects children, adults who use cosmetics can develop conjunctivitis if bacteria come in contact with the membrane. To reduce the risk of developing conjunctivitis, avoid sharing cosmetics with others and throw away eye cosmetics if they smell bad." (livestrong.com)
"Unlike bacterial infections such as pink eye, you cannot get rid of cold sores with medication, since they are caused by the herpes simplex virus. Usually appearing as small, fluid-filled bumps on the skin near the mouth and lips, cold sores can appear up to 20 days after you are exposed to a person carrying the herpes simplex virus [source: Mayo Clinic]."
"Microbial keratitis, also known as a corneal infection, occurs when bacteria come in contact with the cornea. The cornea covers the pupil and iris of the eye and has a domed shape. This condition usually occurs when bacteria contaminate contact lenses. If you put contact lenses in after using makeup, the bacteria in the makeup may contaminate one or both of your lenses. This allows the bacteria to attack the cornea, causing eye drainage, decreased vision, puffy eyelids and light sensitivity. Visit an ophthalmologist if you experience these symptoms, as keratitis may lead to blindness if not treated properly." (livestrong.com)
"The University of Michigan Kellogg Eye Center defines a stye as a small lump in the eyelid. This lump appears when chronic inflammation affects the meibomian glands, which produce oil. Usually, styes form as the result of trapped oil, but infection can also cause a stye. The glands can trap bacteria from cosmetic products, leading to inflammation and tenderness. Treatments for a stye include warm compresses, antibiotic drops, steroid drops, steroid injections and surgical drainage." (livestrong.com)
"Blepharitis, or an infection of the eyelid, can occur as the result of a bacterial infection. If staphylococcus bacteria contaminate a cosmetic product, use of the product transfers the bacteria to the eye and increases the risk of blepharitis. Blepharitis causes light sensitivity, blurred vision, eye discharge, pain and redness of the eye. If the bacteria enter the meiobian glands, recurrent conjunctivitis may also occur." (livestrong.com)
"impetigo is a common and highly contagious skin infection that mainly affects infants and children. Impetigo usually appears as red sores on the face, especially around a child's nose and mouth, and on hands and feet. The sores burst and develop honey-colored crusts.Treatment with antibiotics is generally recommended to help prevent the spread of impetigo to others. It's important to keep your child home from school or day care until he or she is no longer contagious — usually 24 hours after you begin antibiotic treatment[source: Mayo Clinic]."
Sounds pretty nasty right? While this post is not meant to cause any alarm, I do want to stress the importance of taking your clients health into the utmost consideration. Makeup Artistry is more than just slapping some colours onto a canvas, its about creating a lasting relationship with your client - finding out what they like, who they are as a person, and finding a way to accent that natural inner beauty. As makeup artists we need to come together as a team, and work together to lift each other up. If you have any questions about this post please comment below!