Alcohol & Makeup

by Sarah

It’s not what you think…allow me to explain :) Whilst the love of makeup and makeup products is the focal point of our interest, there’s an even more important aspect to makeup that we tend to overlook in our personal routine: hygiene.

In my profession as a makeup artist, the very first thing that we were taught at school was caring for and cleaning the tools and makeup products we use on our clients. Not applying lipstick straight out of the tubes even with a brush, disinfecting all our powder products and brushes were on top of this must-do list. When we think about the bacteria, oils and cross contamination of products that can transfer between the containers and our faces, hygiene is just as important for our personal makeup use.

This is where rubbing alcohol becomes our trustworthy best friend:


Rubbing alcohol is usually made of 70% pure ethanol or isopropyl alcohol which is designed to use topically. It’s well known for its bacteria killing properties which is why it’s preferred for use in cleaning makeup tools and products. The fact that it dries up almost instantly leaving no residue behind is an added bonus for not affecting the products or brush bristles.

Rubbing alcohol is also a star product for fixing broken powder makeup as well, but I will have a full demo post on this in the near future.

The most convenient way to store rubbing alcohol for your everyday makeup routine is to fill up a small spray bottle with the alcohol and keep it at your makeup desk. Here are some fuss-free ways you can use rubbing alcohol, which will make a world of difference:

makeup-brushesSpray rubbing alcohol over your most used brushes and gently rub the bristles on paper towel to remove built up product.

Done on a daily basis, this is great in prolonging the use of your brushes in between washes, ensuring bacteria won’t get a chance to breed within the bristles.

This method is also helpful after washing your brushes. When you lay them down to dry, lightly mist the alcohol over the brush bristles and leave to dry. It’s an extra step but a great way to disinfect your brushes properly.




Benefit-full-finish-lipstick-review-swatches-photos-spring-2011-closeupSpray couple of pumps of rubbing alcohol on a paper towel and wipe the tip of your lipsticks, lip balms and lip liners.

We don’t realise the dead skin, food residue and any viral bacteria (if you’re prone to cold sores) can transfer onto our lip products after each application. Cleansing this way really helps avoid any nasty bits being reapplied to the lips.


MAC-Powerchrome-Eye-Pencils-1Spray couple of pumps of rubbing alcohol on a paper towel and wipe the tip of your eye pencils.

Health of our eyes are very important as bacterial infections are not only a pain and take a long time to heal but they can also continue to transfer between the eyes and your eye makeup products re-occuring over and over again. Cleaning your eye pencils this way help keep any bacteria away where you can confidently use your eye pencils without the worry of infection.


4Spray rubbing alcohol over the top of your eyeshadows, blushes and pressed powder products.

Cleaning face powders and blushes this way is imperative especially if you’re prone to breakouts. It kills any germs and bacteria which may transfer from your existing acne into the product and then back onto your face which becomes a vicious circle.

If you notice a shiny film forming over your powder products, this means oils from your face or face products have set over your powder products; in which case you can wipe the top layer off with a tissue first and then spray the rubbing alcohol to disinfect.

Rubbing alcohol can be found at drugstores, pharmacies and markets starting at as little as $6 for a generous size bottle. Making rubbing alcohol a part of our daily makeup routine is an essential step for the sake of our health and also caring for our makeup tools and products.

What do you guys do to care for the hygiene of your makeup tools and products? xx


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paddi November 2, 2015 - 7:51 pm

Alcohol & makeup

Just as my thoughts turned to sipping a demure glass of bubbly whilst applying my face 》your post jostled me back into reality. What. A. Splendid. Idea.

No more expensive brush cleaners for me! Thank you for sharing your “why didn’t I think of this? ” brilliant remedy.

Sarah November 4, 2015 - 3:30 am

hahaa Paddi, your alcohol + makeup connection made me laugh :)) Yes the cleansing alcohol is a great way to keep the brushes in check in between washes. Also, the best brush cleanser that I’ve been using and loving for years is Dr Bronner’s castille liquid soap. It literally melts everything off brushes and sponges, and you can get the largest bottle which lasts for months for $15 depending on where you shop.
I did a post on this soap as it has so many other uses, you can check it out here:

Sydney July 9, 2014 - 11:29 pm

Rubbing alcohol is my lifesaver!!! It’s like keeping salt & pepper in your pantry, I stock up regularly. I have never used it on my pressed powders and shadows. I will definitely start doing this! Great tips as always! :)


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