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How to Sanitize and Spring Clean your Makeup

by Lexi Smith |

We know you have heard of spring cleaning your house and your closet, but what about spring cleaning your makeup collection? During this time, when we’re cleaning absolutely everything, it’s a perfect time to make sure no germs or viruses are hiding in your makeup bag and to declutter anything that’s weighing you makeup bag down.


While we are reorganizing and cleaning our makeup, it is also an awesome time to pitch the old stuff, like the odd-smelling 5-year-old lipstick at the bottom of your purse.  Not sure what to do about a year-old concealer or mascara, no worries, we have a great article that answers all your questions about when each beauty product expires, Click Here to read our blog “When To Replace Your Makeup?”. 


Can COVID-19 live on your makeup?


Since COVID-19 is at the top of most of our minds, we did a little research to see how it’s affecting our beauty bags.  So far there has been no research into how long COVID-19 can live on makeup but the containers of your makeup is a different story. Recently, the New England Journal of Medicine reported that scientists found that COVID-19 can live on copper for a maximum of four hours, on cardboard for a maximum of 24 hours, and plastic and steel for a maximum of 72 hours. Now, this raises a real issue because most makeup is in plastic casing, meaning that potentially COVID-19 can live on the plastic of your products for three days!


Most of us clean our makeup brushes every few weeks or months, depending on how often we use them, but it may be a good time to consider sanitizing your plastic compacts or brush handles in this time. Plus, keeping your makeup clean is actually a great idea to avoid other infections and might be a great habit to start doing even after the pandemic for a safer makeup application.


How to sanitize your makeup


Sanitizing your makeup is actually a lot easier than it sounds, and don’t worry, you won't be scavenging through three different stores to find anti-bacterial wipes. 


Everything you need, chances are, you can find sitting around your house. All you need is rubbing alcohol above 70%, a spray bottle, some cotton rounds, and a small bowl.


  • Powder Makeup: bronzer, blush, and eyeshadow, etc. 
  • Spray the powder makeup with the bottle of rubbing alcohol, then let it air dry or fan it with your hand.  The alcohol will evaporate from your makeup within 12-24 hours.


    Pro Top: If you have any cracked or broken powder makeup, now is the time to fix it or toss it!  To fix broken makeup, all you have to do is spray the makeup with alcohol and press together the makeup. It’s that easy.


    Once done with the cleaning of the actual makeup, wipe down the makeup container with a cotton round that has rubbing alcohol on it.

  • Liquid Products with a Pump: liquid foundation and highlighter, etc.
  • Using a cotton round dampened with rubbing alcohol, wipe down the bottle, nozzle, and cap of the liquid products, then let air dry. 


  • Lipsticks, Pencil Eye, Lip Liners and Cream Makeup: blush, bronzer, and highlighter, etc.
  • Spray the makeup with the bottle of rubbing alcohol, then let it air dry or fan it with your hand.


  • Makeup Tools: pencil sharpener, eyelash curler, etc.
  • Fill the bowl with rubbing alcohol, place any metal makeup tools in the bowl for the duration of your makeup spring cleaning. Let air dry after it has been cleaned. 


    Finish by cleaning any other containers of anything we didn’t specifically cover, in the above discussion, with a cotton round dampened with rubbing alcohol and then let air dry. 


    Makeup bags are one of those personal spaces that are really hard to declutter, and as beauty enthusiasts, we totally understand. But beauty wardrobes are notorious for palettes that never get used, gobs of samples aren’t opened, lipsticks that are still in boxes, gifts that were a total miss and the list goes on and on.  All that to say, it’s really hard to get rid of your beauty items because they mean so much to us for one reason or another, however science proves that decluttering can actually be healthy for us.


    Clutter is known to have a huge impact on our brains, in a bad way, and neuroscientists from Princeton University back up this claim with research that says ‘physical clutter in our environment competes for our attention, which negatively affects performance and induces stress.’ Yasssss!  Basically, when we kick clutter to the curb, we’re opening up our lives to focus on the things that need focused on, without all the background noise, which reduces anxiety and increases productivity...and that all starts in your morning makeup routine!


    A few tips on clearing the clutter


    1. Take a tip from the declutter queen herself Marie Kondo, “If an item doesn't spark joy, when it's touched, a person should thank it for being a part of his life, and then donate or trash it.” Even if your dearest friend sent you the prettiest fire red lip gloss, if you’ve never left the house with it on, it has to go.
    2. If you have a large lot of free samples, first, know you’re not alone and, second, know our brains are actually hard wired to receive a reward response when we get something for free.  We literally can’t help ourselves when it comes to stuffing our toiletry bags full of free hotel samples. You need to remind yourself that if you really need the item, you will buy it and you don’t need 50 samples for a future vacation (and more than likely your future accommodations will provide a sample).  Give yourself a date you really want to try the sample by, if it’s truly something you’re interested in trying, but commit to chucking it if the date arrives before you use it.
    3. There is no doubt that beauty products are often an investment and there is no easy way to throw away something you’ve worked hard for.  Amen. But trashing, instead of stashing, helps you to let go of the poor choice you made at the time of purchase - like when you see a sales girl’s 12 eye colors and think to yourself that you’re going to do that everyday if you had the right palette - and acknowledge that wasn’t the real you.  

    Ask yourself who the real you is, in terms of the makeup and skin products you ACTUALLY use, not what you hope to use.  If you’re a 5-minute-makeup-mama, then chances are you’re not going to spend 25-minutes blending eyeshadows out from the latest Natasha Denona palette...and that’s ok.  Acknowledging is the first step, followed by confronting the regret about the purchase you made (you’re definitely now alone in this), and then deciding to make the best decision you can in the present. Lesson learned.

    1. Aspirational products, like a 10-step skin regime, are even harder to let go of than really expensive ones, because you’re still clinging onto the dream that you might use it someday...when you have time.  We like to follow a simple rule for aspirational items, if you haven’t worn it in 6 months, you never will and the products have to be pitched or donated.


    Our Pretty Pro action plan

    1. Grab all of your beauty products, from every stockpile you own, and set it out on your table or counter - it’s time to take inventory.  Don’t forget things in your shower, drawers, old makeup bags, organizer bins and bottom of your handbag.
    2. Categorize your items into bins or bags - here’s a few we recommend: Samples to try, Trash, Donations, Glam Aspirations, Everyday, Seasonal.
    3. It’s time to start sorting and being brutally honest with yourself.
      1. If it’s broken, put it in a ‘repair’ pile or pitch it.
      2. If it’s brand new and never been used, and you haven’t touched it in 6 months or more, it goes into the donations.
      3. If it’s not you, give it away.
      4. If it’s a staple product you use everyday, great, put it in the everyday pile.
      5. If you get ‘dolled-up’ once or twice a month, put the dolling-up items in a separate tote to be used when you do decide to get glam.
      6. Make yourself a to-go travel bag with samples and pitch or donate what’s left over.
      7. If you change your colors with the season or a new hair color, then make a separate box for products to use when your skin is lighter or darker, etc.
    4. Don’t give up and follow-through with your donations and repairs now, instead of later. Take your trash out immediately and text anyone who might be interested in your makeup donation (think family members, beauty enthusiast friends, makeup artists or non-profits helping women).  Don’t let all your hard work and willpower go to waste by letting the items you deemed trash or donation make its way back into your beauty bag.
    5. Reward yourself.  If you did the hard work, reward yourself with something new - like a new neutral lip balm that you know you’ll use every day without wasting.