• Tamara Tott


In these uncertain Corona Virus times hygiene is a peak priority for all of us.

Having a clean kit at all times and sanitising brushes between clients goes without saying!


I have always been a 'paranoid - android’ type of artist. Personal and professional hygiene is a very big thing for me. I can’t use the same brushes on my clients or double-dip mascara. In fact, the ‘Mascara thing’ has been a controversial subject for many years and I know that some makeup artists strongly believe that bacteria CAN NOT survive in the mascara tube. Apparently it has been proven by scientists, but I am still sceptical of this theory. I am guided by my own common sense. If I would not want to have my mascara applied by someone who has been using the same tub on other people, so why would my clients?

Here are few tips on how I keep my kit clean:


Clean makeup-free brushes are a representation of you and your services. When arriving on a job, the brushes must be 100% spotless. Artists that arrive on a job and pull out unclean brushes raise a big concern in my eyes.

First, I clean off any excess by using a pot with IPA - Isopropyl alcohol (IUPAC name propan-2-ol; commonly called isopropanol or 2-propanol) and rubbing the bush on a baby wipe. This not only helps to clean-off stubborn creams, but also sanitises the brush and kills off any bacteria. Although IPA has a drying effect on brushes with natural bristles, I still have a few in my kit that I clean this way for about 9 years now. If this is of your concern, try using a hair conditioner on the natural bristled brushes, it will restore the moisture.

NOTE. A common mistake is to use 99% IPA. It is proven, that 99% IPA DOES NOT kill the bacteria. Such a high alcohol content stuns the bacteria and puts it in to a dormant state. Alcohol evaporates fast and bacteria survives. It is more efficient to use 70% strong IPA. I normally dilute a small amount in a proportion of 3:7, were 30 % is water and 70% - alcohol.

’’The presence of water is a crucial factor in destroying or inhibiting the growth of pathogenic microorganisms with isopropyl alcohol. Water acts as a catalyst and plays a key role in denaturing the proteins of vegetative cell membranes. 70% IPA solutions penetrate the cell wall more completely which permeates the entire cell, coagulates all proteins, and therefore the microorganism dies. Extra water content slows evaporation, therefore increasing surface contact time and enhancing effectiveness. Isopropyl alcohol concentrations over 91% coagulate proteins instantly. Consequently, a protective layer is created which protects other proteins from further coagulation.’’

You can read full article on this matter by clicking HERE

Don’t forget to wipe the brush all around the handle too! The bacteria may be killed on the brush itself, but if not sanitised properly, will survive on the handle and then be transported onto your brush belt.

Use disposable mascara wands or try synthetic fan brush. It is perfect for precise mascara application and can be easily sanitised between the clients. Fan brush is great as it also helps to reduce plastic waste. I personally have a few of these in my makeup kit and I love them!



After I sanitise with IPA, I then wash my brushes with a mix of shampoo and antibacterial soap. In cases where I used waterproof makeup, like waterproof mascara or long-lasting foundations, such as Estee Lauder 'Double Wear' or YSL 'All Hours', I use the mix above and add some Fairy Liquid and also a bit of olive oil in it. This magic mix restores my brushes to their original state.

Once dried, I then spray 70% IPA over all brushes again before they are put away.

IMPORTANT! Never double-dip cream products! Instead, pick a small amount with a clean spatula and use a palette or the back of your hand ( sanitised of course ).

TIP. Use antibacterial wipes to clean the rest of your kit. They are great when sanitizing makeup tools like pouches, brush belts, brush holders, makeup palettes and also any surfaces you may be using. I also like to spray my makeup kit with my 70% IPA before I put it away. Same goes to my powder products, including blushers and eyeshadows.

Don’t forget to wash your hands regularly and use sanitiser before and after each client.

I know we are in a situation where shops are selling out of hand sanitisers and if you are struggling to get one, try ordering 99% IPA online and mixing it with water, you can use it on your hands too. I may try to experiment and mix 3:7 aloe vera gel and IPA and create my own hand sanitiser.

Click HERE for a quick video on how I clean my brushes using my favourite SigmaPro Cleaning Kit.

If you have any questions, comments or tips on how you keep your kit clean, you can leave them below.



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© Tamara Tott - Professional Makeup Artist & Hair Stylist