#MakeupMonday – Kit Sanitation

Makeup to go makeup to go blog kit sanitation

The Clean Team


A couple of weeks ago here on Makeup to Go Blog, I posted an article regarding knowing when it was time to say “Goodbye” to your old makeup (click to read “Breaking Up Is Hard to Do: When to Toss Makeup). In that article I made mention of the fact that some rules can be bent or even broken. The trick? Kit Sanitation.

Makeup artists refer to their makeup product & tools as their “Kit”. If you have a lipstick, an eyeliner, a mascara and a few brushes, that is your Kit. Makeup artists obviously have a lot more in their Kits (not to mention an artist that does Airbrush or an artist that does FX), but the point of the story is whether your Kit contains 5 items or 500, proper care, maintenance and storage will enable you to keep and use your products longer. I debated doing this post as a “Makeup Monday” or as a “Biz Talk” post but as I was writing the makeup purge post I realized this is relevant info for pros and non-pro makeup lovers alike ๐Ÿ™‚

THE HARD TRUTH
Humans are bundles of bacteria, as are most things in the world. It is this constant contact with a barrage of bacteria why we cannot just keep makeup indefinitely. Think I’m exaggerating? Check out this LiveStrong article on the different types of bacteria found on cosmetics, transmitted through human contact.

– Staphylococcus epidermidis
– Staphylococcus warneri
– Pseudomonas aeruginosa
– Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus

So we’re talking 3 different forms of Staph infection, and one other infectious bacteria that is even worse. No bueno.

WHAT TO DO
Short version: Keep your stuff clean!!!!!

As a semi-germaphobe I just cannot believe the condition in which I’ve see some people’s makeup and tools. Sad to say, I include non-pros AND pros in this statement ๐Ÿ˜ Keeping your products and tools clean will not only lessen (not eliminate, lessen) the risk of catching some of the afore mentioned nasties BUT it will enable you to keep makeup longer. No makeup artist is buying a limited edition NARS palette and then tossing it after a year, that’s laughable. I owned my beloved “Skin Deep”, “Emotional Rescue”, and “Rapture” palettes for about 6 years or so (from when they came out until this past Labour Day weekend when I did my purge) and they were in steady rotation in good working use for about 5 of those 6 years. That final year was me being in denial and not ready to let go, even though the lipsticks were giving me that telltale smell ๐Ÿ™

HOW TO CLEAN

Ask a number of makeup artists and you’ll likely get a number of different answers, but in 15+ years I’ve never had a sanitation complaint or had talent have a negative reaction (that I am aware of) from my Kit. Here’s how I keep it clean;

Cream Products
(Foundations, Blushes, Eyeshadows, Lipsticks, etc):
SPRAY WITH ALCOHOL AFTER USING.

In my professional life I use a (preferably metal) spatula to take product out of its container so I can use it on my talent/client. On myself, of course, I just use the product directly on my face. In either case, I give a quick spray with alcohol after use (yes, even when using a spatula because the product has been open and hence exposed to air). Let the alcohol sit on the product for at least 30 seconds. I just give my product a good spray down and let it air-dry and by the time its fully dry it is good to go.

Powder Products
(Eyeshadows, Blushes, Bronzers, Pressed Powder, Powder Foundations, etc.)
SPRAY WITH ALCOHOL AFTER USING. Wipe top layer periodically.

Powders should last you a while because they do not carry bacteria the way creams and liquids do. That said, unlike creams and liquids you have to use them right out of the pan. With creams and liquids you can decant as needed and not have to “double dip” into your product. Since using powder products is a constant “double dip” you’ll want to keep that top surface clean. Spraying with alcohol will NOT compromise your product, just be sure not to over saturate your product, and let the alcohol evaporate completely. You can – and should periodically – use alcohol wipes on your powder product so that you are actually removing the top layer of product revealing a fresh, new layer underneath. Some people recommend scraping the top layer of powder products, but one time of accidentally crushing your favorite eyeshadow, blush, or bronzer and you’ll see why I’m not a fan of that method.

Liquid Products
(Foundations, Liquid Highlighters, Illuminators, Lotions, etc.)
USE PUMP and/or TUBE DISPENSERS

These are tricky because they generally need to be shaken and then most people pour the product out into their hand, often touching their hand. Once bacteria is in there, there is no way to get it out. My solution: Use liquids that come in a pump bottle. That way you only dispense what you need and the rest stays safe and isn’t exposed to air, your hand, etc. If your favorite product doesn’t come in a pump bottle or a tube, move it to one. Places like The Container Store or my beloved MUJI that I wrote about have empty pumps and tubes available. NOTE: Glass is better than plastic in terms of longer term storage. If you get a plastic container, don’t try to reuse as plastic is porous. Just toss it when the product is empty and get a new one. Extra Germaphobe Points: Wipe the opening of your pump bottle/tube with alcohol periodically ๐Ÿ™‚

Makeup to go makeup to go blog kit sanitation

Cut the wand OFF. Maybelline Great Lash comes like this now (click to see larger)



Mascara
CUT THAT WAND OFF!!! Use Disposable Wands Instead

Mascara just does not live long so your first order of sanitation business is just to accept the reality of that reality. However, you can make your mascara last longer by ditching the wand that comes with it and using disposable wands the way professionals do. And by ditching the wand I do not just mean not using it, I mean cutting it off. Why? Because every time you take the wand in and out of the tube, you are pumping air into the product. This not only increases the likelihood of introducing bacteria, it also dries the mascara out faster so you have to replace it sooner. By cutting the wand off you can stretch your mascara’s life from 3 months to as many as 6 or maybe more*. NOW – a lot of the hype with many mascaras on the market IS the brush itself and how it applies product or separates lashes or what have you. IF you want to use the wand that comes with the mascara you certainly can (on YOURSELF, not using it on multiple people), just know that you’ll have to replace your mascara more frequently.

Pencils
KEEP SHARPENED. SPRAY WITH ALCOHOL.

Pencils can actually last a while if well cared for. I do an alcohol > sharpen > alcohol routine for all of my pencils in my kit. For yourself, if you just sharpen your pencils** right after using it and keep your pencils covered (don’t lose those lids!) you’ll be removing that outer layer where the bacteria lives and your pencils will stay happy longer. Extra Germaphobe points if you sharpen your pencil AND spray with alcohol after each use.

Gel / Liquid Liners
NOT A WHOLE LOT YOU CAN DO

With Gel liners, which is what I primarily use, I scrape a small amount of product out with a spatula and I spray the gel liner with alcohol after each use. As we all know, gel liners tend to dry out quickly anyway, and alcohol hastens the process. Therefore like mascara, this is just a category of product that does not last very long.

Liquid liner is great for personal use but tricky for pro use because the brush/applicator sits in the product in the tube. Therefore to use the product you are constantly double dipping. For professional use if I decide I’m going to use a liquid liner for whatever reason it’s a case of one and done for me. I use it and I give it to the person I used it on and just keep it moving. For personal use, you can wipe off the brush/applicator tip with alcohol before re-inserting it into the tube. This may help a bit but again, this type of product by its nature just doesn’t last long.

Tools
(Brushes, eyelash curlers, pencil sharpeners, etc.)
CLEAN, BABY, CLEAN

I said this in a previous Makeup to Go post and I’ll say it again: Everything I just wrote is completely moot if you do not keep your TOOLS clean. Your TOOLS are the items making direct contact to the skin and hence they are the carriers of the bacteria.

– WIPE BRUSHES AFTER EVERY USE. Its not hard, in fact it only takes a few minutes. Wiping your brushes with a specifically designed quick brush cleaner will remove surface oils, skin cells, etc. that get on your brushes. Hence you won’t transfer that back to your product, hence your product will live longer. There are many brands, just make sure they disinfect as well as clean pigment. And always let the brush dry completely before using again, you do not want brush cleaner on your product or on your face! In a pinch you can always use good ole alcohol (just be forewarned, over use of alcohol will dry your bristles and cause your brushes to age prematurely). My brush cleaner of choice: Parian Spirit

– DEEP SHAMPOO your brushes at least once a week. If you’re doing makeup on other people, please do this as close to daily as possible. Again, there are a number of good brands, and in a pinch you can use either a shampoo/conditioner all-in-one like Pert, or any baby shampoo. My brush shampoo of choice: Clean Brush

– WIPE METAL TOOLS such as tweezers, eyelash curlers, pencil sharpeners and spatulas with alcohol after every use. And when they start looking raggedy, just replace them.

– WASH YOUR HANDS before doing anything. Our hands are our most important “tool” in our “kits”. Before handling anything and certainly before touching your face, wash your hands with soap and hot water. At very least wipe with a sanitizing cloth and use hand sanitizer. It makes a huge difference.

PRODUCTS TO HELP YOU STAY CLEAN

Alcohol
Preferably NOT 99% alcohol, it evaporates too quickly. I use either 70% or 91% alcohol, both of which are readily available at any drugstore. 70% is my favorite. The water content helps the alcohol evaporate more slowly so it disinfects more thoroughly but it is not so much water that it will ruin your product (I wouldn’t recommend a 50% alcohol, too much water).

Beauty So Clean
I’ve not personally tried it but I know many pros who swear by it. The main active ingredient in BSC is alcohol. The difference with BSC is the addition of emollient agents. They claim that straight alcohol can dry out and alter your cosmetics (not in my experience) and that BSC is formulated with a balance of disinfectants and emollients to prevent that from happening. Again, I’ve never had a problem with straight alcohol, but Beauty So Clean works and it smells good. If you’d prefer to use something other than straight alcohol, Beauty So Clean is there for you.

– Parian Spirit Brush Cleaner
(NOTE: Parian Spirit has lower alcohol content than most pro brush cleaners and uses citrus spirit as its main cleaning/disinfectant agent. Therefore it does not dry as quickly as other “quick clean” brush cleaners and the smell is very citrus-y. I love it, some folks hate it lol)

Clean Brush Shampoo
Solid brush shampoo to deep clean your brushes.

Bleach
This shouldn’t need to be said but I’ll say it just in case: DO NOT USE BLEACH ON YOUR COSMETICS PRODUCTS. It’ll ruin them. However I do use a small amount of bleach on a q-tip to clean my pencil sharpeners periodically. Wipe, let sit for a bit, then RINSE with water and dry thoroughly. Do not try to soak your sharpener in bleach, it will rust all the metal bits (ask me how I know that ๐Ÿ˜ ).

STORAGE makes a big difference as well in the longevity of your products but speaking of long, this post already is. Look for a post on storing your cosmetics in an upcoming Makeup Monday.

Breaking Up is Hard To Do: When to Toss Makeup

makeup to go blog makeuptogo blog when to toss makeup

You gotta know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em… (Lyrics ยฉ D. Schlitz)


I am sure for many of you the above photograph is highly depressing if not devastating.

Yes, that is a trash bag filled with makeup. That bag contains everything from NYX cream blushes (which I loved back in the day) to NARS Artists Palettes. Yes, you read correctly: NARS Artists Palettes. Discontinued ones that have not been available in years and years. Why would I commit such an atrocity? Because it was time. Sadly, all good things come to an end and for a lot of the makeup now residing in that trash bag, their end actually came and went a while ago yet I was still holding on. Today’s musing: When to Toss Makeup.

Students and others have heard me talk about my makeup room. It actually stores more than just makeup but obviously as a makeup artist, the makeup is amongst the more important things I store in there. Anyone who’s heard me talk about this room has also heard me talk about how I get new makeup quite often. It is the blessing of being a working artist however I recently had to confront the reality of the truth; I had way too much old makeup taking up too much space. So much so that my new makeup wasn’t making it into the storage room and instead the new makeup was living in my dining room. I would show you a picture of how that was, but it’s embarrassing so, no.

Why To Toss
There are a myriad reasons why makeup might need to be tossed. The real question is why we do we hold onto makeup in the first place. My theory is that memory is a powerful thing. And memory leads to nostalgia and nostalgia leads to holding onto items well past their due date. As I was doing my purge I realized that EVERY single piece of makeup I own is attached to a memory of my life and career. Be it a career milestone or a personal treat of some kind, every piece of makeup I picked up sent me back in time to some recollection of yesteryear. Thus, it made it very difficult to purge the old makeup, but purge I did and purge you must. There comes a time when you have to let go of sentiment and face reality head-on. In deciding what to keep and what to toss I gave myself 3 criteria:

– Is it still in good condition?

– Do I still use it? Does it serve any purpose?

– Can someone else use it or is it just DONE.

The first one is a no brainer. It is dangerous to use makeup that has expired be it on yourself or on others. If it has a funky smell or the colors have started to change, that’s an automatic trip to the trash. The second criteria helped me assess where I am now. I am not in the same place in my career that I was 5 years ago, and certain products – while I may really like them – just never get used anymore. They’ve either been replaced by new fabulosity or I have found my Holy Grail Staple of that item type. If it is not being used, it is taking up valuable real estate and it needs to go. Lastly, just because I cannot/do not use it does not mean someone else cannot. Whenever possible I prefer to recycle makeup either to friends or what-have-you (women’s shelters and other charities can only accept new and unused product).

When To Toss

Generally speaking there are broad guidelines that can be followed to know when to toss a given cosmetics. To paraphrase Morpheus, some rules can be bent, some can be broken. There are some rules, however, that MUST be followed strictly (MASCARA!!) in order to maintain makeup health. These are broad (i.e. not absolute) guidelines for once a cosmetic is opened and in use. We will get into how to bend/break the rules next week…

makeup to go blog makeuptogo blog when to toss makeup

(Click to see larger)


Powders – 2 – 4 years
Powder eyeshadows, powder blushes, pressed powder, loose setting powder, etc. Powder FOUNDATIONS are a little different due to the pigmentation and other ingredients that may be added. I would keep powder foundations the same length of time as cream/liquid foundations.

Creams – 12 – 18 months
Cream blushes, cream eyeshadows, foundations, concealers, etc. Liquid foundations last about a year.

Lipsticks – 12 months

Pencil Liners – 2 years
With good care, pencil liners can (CAN) last up to two years. Regular sharpening removes the used layer of product and keeps the product clean/sanitized so that it lasts longer**.

Gel / Liquid Liners – 2 months

Mascara – 3 – 6 months
Please do not try to play games with gel and liquid liners and mascaras. Not only are these products creams/liquids which transfer bacteria more readily than powders do, but these items are used in one of the most sensitive and infection prone areas of your body.

The other more specific way to see when to toss makeup is to look and see what your makeup is telling you;

makeup to go blog makeuptogo blog tarte cosmetics amazonian waterproof matte bronzer compact park avenue princess

(Click to see larger)


Nowadays, most cosmetics products feature this icon of an open cosmetics jar with a number next to it. That symbol is telling you once this product has been opened, you have X number of months to use it. So in the case of this Tarte Cosmetics Park Ave Princess compact, once I open it up it should be good for about 12 months.

Now mind you like I said before the reason I threw these items away was because they were not in condition to be given away. Hence they were not in condition to be used, hence they were just taking up space. Most of the time, however, I do give my overflow makeup away either to homeless/domestic abuse shelters (which is my first choice), or to students as prizes, or to my friends etc. etc. The point of the story is this: one way or another you’ve got to know when to let it go. The benefits since my purge has been faster kit organization and packing for the jobs I’ve had since the purge and just an overall sense of calm whenever I walk into that room. And getting my dining room back! Further, since throwing out the old and writing this article (which took me about a week to do) I’ve actually received two more packages of makeup. As Nicey Nash used to say when she was the host of The TV show “Clean House”:

When your hands are open to give, they are open to receiveโ€ฆ- old proverb

**Only if you sharpen after each use and keep your sharpening tools clean, however.

#MakeupMonday – MUJI – Makeup Organization Paradise

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entrance to the San Francisco store…


A couple of months ago, I was introduced to MUJI USA in Los Angeles by a fellow makeup artist.

I knew of MUJI from NYC where they have a few different locations, but I did not know they had migrated to other parts of the country, namely California. Yay!

For those who may not be familiar, MUJI is a chain of – I would describe – mini department stores selling a variety of goods. The focus of goods at MUJI is in clothing, housewares, household organization, some limited specialty food items, stationary, skin care & beauty accessories, etc. MUJI is short for Mujirushi Ryลhin, which translates as No Brand, Quality Goods. Basically instead of a bunch of flashy design, and wasteful packaging etc., MUJI uses a minimalist aesthetic and focuses on recycling, responsible manufacturing and waste reduction. My type of company. I LOVE the aesthetic and vibe of MUJI stores. It is absolutely the type of space I could spend hours in just relaxing and taking in all there is to take in.

For the makeup artist or aficionado, MUJI is an organizers paradise. From tubes, to pump bottles to acrylic organizers, pencil cases… you name it. In pretty much every quadrant of the store (except for the clothing section ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) you can find something that can be beneficial to organizing your health, beauty and makeup essentials. WARNING: This is the type of store where it is easy to spend way too much money! This is what I purchased on two recent trips;

muji makeup organization paradise makeup to go blog makeup san francisco makeup los angeles tania d russell

I am constantly obsessed with getting my kit smaller and more efficient so I purchased some tubes in which I plan to put various moisturizer and skin cleansers, an Oil Cleanser – which is one of the best ways to remove makeup – for my kit, a facial toner and a facial loton which I just want to try for myself, a couple of flip top squeezable bottles that I have no idea what I’ll use them for yet, a set of spatulas and syringes to help move product into their new containers and a set of 3 corrugated cardboard business cards holders which I LOVE. Those are going to come in quite handy as I actually two different business cards (one for Makeup to Go and one for myself as a freelance makeup artist) and I’ll be able to keep them organized and clean in my purse ๐Ÿ™‚ MAKEUP ARTIST NOTE: While the MUJI Tubes are OK in a pinch for color cosmetics, for my foundations, liquid blushes, etc. I still prefer the Yaby tubes. In particular it’s the shaker balls in the Yaby tubes which ensure the pigments stay evenly mixed in your color cosmetics that make all the difference IMO. HOWEVER, for moisturizers, gels, toothpaste, etc. etc. the MUJI tubes are great and they come in a few different sizes.

How does MUJI compare to say, The Container Store? Well, as you know The Container Store is my boo and no one will ever fully replace them. I have to say that – aside from the Asian aesthetic which makes them very different in feel from TCS – MUJI is a more curated, targeted, niche experience. They are not as big and they do not carry as much stuff as TCS and they are not trying to. MUJI is not new, the company began in the 1980’s, so it is not an issue of them growing as a company. The stores in Asia may be bigger, I have not been, but I feel like MUJI USA has pared their offerings down to what best fits their customer and what best serves their company ethos. Short English Version: There is room for both, both stores are great, and I will continue to frequent both.

Here is a visual walkthrough of the fabulousness that is MUJI. If you are like me and love organizational products and stationary, I warn you now this may be dangerous to your viewing health ๐Ÿ˜‰

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beauty accessories and implements


muji makeup organization paradise makeup to go blog makeup san francisco makeup los angeles tania d russell

more beauty accessories and implements


muji makeup organization paradise makeup to go blog makeup san francisco makeup los angeles tania d russell

even more beauty accessories and implements


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MUJI brand skincare


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more MUJI skincare, this is the men’s grooming section


muji makeup organization paradise makeup to go blog makeup san francisco makeup los angeles tania d russell

in addition to the skincare cosmetics, they also have great accessories like muslin face cloths and cotton face pads…


muji makeup organization paradise

beauty organization section: tubes, and jars and bottles, OH MY! (also pill cases, clear travel pouches, etc.)


muji makeup organization paradise makeup to go blog makeup san francisco makeup los angeles tania d russell

pump bottles in different colors, either for color coding or for product that should not be exposed to a lot of light


muji makeup organization paradise

stationary section: pencil cases, pouches, etc.