Banish bacteria with these simple steps.

By Hana Hong
March 19, 2020
Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.

You’re washing your hands, not touching your face, and sanitizing everything in sight. But the number one factor we often overlook in our chronic battle against bacteria? Your beauty routine. Don’t freak out, but your makeup and skincare products are a breeding ground for germs, which is why it’s so important to follow the proper procedures before putting anything on your face. Here are seven small steps you can take that will go a long way in keeping all that bacteria at bay. 

RELATED: How to Clean Almost Anything: An A-to-Z Guide

1
Use an antibacterial spray.

You use antibacterial or antimicrobial cleaning products around your home. Now, it’s time to take the spray to your vanity. Like hand sanitizer, sanitizing sprays for makeup have been shown to kill 99.99% of bacteria within 60 seconds and suppress further growth of bacteria between uses. Try Sephora Clean Up Nice Antibacterial Spray ($7; sephora.com), which can be applied on tools, creams, pencils, powders, and palettes to give your routine a refresh. 

2
Wash your makeup brushes.

Your brushes are the backbone of your beauty kit. As clean as your face may be, makeup brushes (and sponges) need to be cleaned at least once a week—if not more—in order to prevent germs from spreading. Aside from the ew factor, buildup of dirt and oils on your makeup brushes can spur an onslaught of skin conditions, including rashes and acne breakouts. If you want to remove residual grime from your precious tools without compromising the quality of your bristles, try a dollop of baby shampoo, a gentle face cleanser, or a makeup brush cleanser, like EcoTools Makeup Brush Cleansing Shampoo ($8; ulta.com).

RELATED: How to Clean Your Makeup Brush Like a Pro

3
Sanitize your lipsticks.

How many times do you reapply lipstick in one day? Because of its naturally warm, wet environment, the human mouth is swimming with bacteria, not to mention the leftover food remnants and dead skin cells that are transferred to your lipstick during midday touch-ups. Grossed out yet? There’s an easy solution: Wind up your lipstick bullet so most of it is exposed, then fully submerge the pigment in a small cup of isopropyl alcohol for about 30 seconds. Once you remove the product from the cup, it will be completely bacteria-free.

4
Use skincare applicators in lieu of your fingers.

We all love a good jar of moisturizer, but have you considered how many times you dip your fingers inside of it? If you’re not careful with how you approach your application, there could be a lot more in those jars besides the products themselves. To prevent your skincare from becoming riddled with germs, always ensure your hands are sanitized before applying anything. For good measure, using a skincare applicator is a great way to circumvent infection and keep your products clean. Some skincare products without a pump will come with one, but you can also purchase one separately, like Sephora Face Mask Applicator ($9; sephora.com).

5
Toss out expired products.

Yes, makeup has an expiration date. Take this as a cue to finally purge those crusty palettes and dried-up mascaras from years past. As a rule of thumb, the easiest way to tell if a product has properly served its time is by observing visual and olfactory changes. If a product separates, changes color or texture, or smells off, odds are it’s well past its expiration date. For some skincare products, you can also look at the bottom of the container. You'll usually see a number, such as 12M or 18M, which means it expires 12 or 18 months after opening.

RELATED: A Complete Guide to Makeup Expiration Dates—and How Often to Replace Every Toiletry You Own

6
Clean your makeup bag.

Not-so-fun fact: Studies have shown that a handbag can contain more bacteria than the average toilet seat. Yet most makeup bags usually go months without being cleaned, if ever. Skipping this very important step can render all your product sanitization pointless. If you’re using a plastic makeup bag, wipe out the inside with a soapy washcloth or disinfectant wipe. If you are using a cloth version, drop it in the washing machine and run it once in hot water to eliminate bacteria.

7
Never share your makeup.

When it comes to your makeup, not sharing is caring. Letting your friends borrow your makeup is a one-way ticket to infection—especially eye products, since your eyes are most susceptible to getting bacteria in them. In fact, many illnesses, like the common cold and flu, spread through saliva and mucus, so it’s best to keep your generosity to yourself (for their sake and yours). 

RELATED: 12 Beauty Products and Tools You Should Never Ever Share

Advertisement