It may seem obvious that we need to keep our makeup palettes clean and sanitized. Whether you are a pro makeup artist or you just love makeup. And regardless of how makeup fits into your world, it is VITAL to keep your makeup clean.


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Why is it Important to Clean Your Palettes?

Aside from just generally looking after and maintaining the integrity and presentation of your makeup, it’s of the utmost importance to keep your palettes clean, well, because HYGIENE!

If you care about your eyes, your skin, and health, you should be cleaning your palettes.

As you should know, bathrooms can lend themselves to being areas of high moisture – the perfect breeding ground for germs.. And if you happen to leave your makeup palettes in a drawer, or under a sink, they can very easily get wet.

And to remind you, water is bacteria’s favorite nightclub. To hang out, and to grow.

So remember to keep your precious palettes safe, and dry! So important!


When should you Clean Your Makeup Palettes, and How Often?

The funny thing is, that the more often you clean your palettes, the less they’ll need to be cleaned.

I know, sounds so simple, but it’s like your laundry, your bedroom, and yes, your makeup kit. If you do it a little bit on a regular basis, it will save you from doing a LOT of cleaning, probably not enough.

And sadly, if you leave it too long, the result may be to throw out your palettes instead of having them last longer.

Yes, if you ignore the cleanliness of your makeup, you may have a rude shock when you discover they hold bacteria, or are broken, and unusable.

So, if you are cleaning your palettes on a weekly basis, then you are doing well. If you can’t remember when you last gave your makeup palettes a once over with a sanitizing product, then its time right now.


Why you should pair this practice with Cleaning Your Makeup Brushes.

If you get into a nice slick routine, you can even pair your palette cleaning sessions with cleaning your makeup brushes.

This way if you can manage a quick weekly cleaning session, you can easily stay on top of having clean and sanitized makeup palettes, and clean and dry makeup brushes all at the same time. Great idea, and great way to get into a routine and keep your makeup hygiene top of mind.


What happens to a Dirty Makeup Palette?

As we touched on, neglected or dirty palettes can be breeding grounds for all sorts of germs and bacteria.

And I know you don’t want your makeup brushes contacting anything like that. Or have those germ-infested products touch your face!

A dirty makeup palette can cause the following. And I apologize for the drama, but it’s important:

  • rashes
  • extra pimples after makeup application
  • cold sores or herpes around your mouth
  • styes in your eyes
  • eye infection (such as conjunctivitis, blepharitis, and endophthalmitis)

and more serious things too!


How to Clean Different types of Makeup Palettes:

Eyeshadow Palettes

First, I like to set up a paper towel to work on. This ensures I don’t make a mess or spill all over the place!

  1. Open your eyeshadow palette and spritz it with your favorite makeup cleaner.
  2. Then, spritz a q-tip or cotton swab with 70% alcohol in a small spray bottle. I run it around the edges of the palette to clean any overspill between pans and keep the palette looking clean. This should take care of the display of the palette.
  3. Next, do the same inside any pans that may look dirty or have mixes of different color eyeshadows in them. I also give each pan a light spray with 70% alcohol at this time.
  4. Keep them open and let them dry and a light, clean area. If this is hard to find, leave a clean tissue over the palette and leave it to dry. This shouldn’t take long because of the small amount of 70% alcohol and cleaner you have used. What you are waiting for to dry is the product’s water content. And once it is dry, you should be left with lovely, clean eyeshadow palettes.

Cream Foundation and Concealer Palettes

  1. I like to use a wipe that contains around 70% alcohol and give the palette a wipe in between pans first. Cream palettes tend to get messier than powder products. They are more susceptible to germs having higher moisture content.
  2. Give them a quick spritz with 70% alcohol at this point.
  3. If any colors are messy or have makeup bristles, hairs, or fluff in them (or especially any dirt) use this time to use a clean spatula to scrape out the offenders and leave you cream products prisitne.
  4. I then give them another spritz with 70% alcohol.
  5. Keeping your cream palettes in a safe place, leave the lid open so the remaining cleaning material can evaporate before closing.
  6. I also like to wipe the outside of the palette packaging as well. It’s amazing how quickly a tiny amount of a cream product on your hands can spread and end up all over your precious palettes. Keep yourself clean, and they’ll stay cleaner, too.

Lipstick Palettes

While lipstick palettes can get messy a lot easier than the palettes we’ve already looked at, they don’t have to. By staying vigilant with them, and following the right practices, you can keep them clean and sanitary.

I always use a clean, metal spatula when working from mu lip palettes.

  1. Use a q-tip or cotton pad soaked in 70% alcohol to clean in between the pans, and keep the colors in their designated pan.
  2. Spritz over the entire surface of the palette lightly, but thoroughly enough to cover all products evenly.
  3. If your palette is really messy, use a wet wipe to wipe away the excess lipstick. Sadly this tends to happen with temperature changes if your products melt. Ugh, nightmare, right? Try to avoid this on all occasions. A warm, moist palette is the perfect real estate for bacteria on the search for somewhere to set up camp. Keep your kit cool and dry!
  4. Once you have done this, repeat if necessary.
  5. One final spritz and it should be ready to leave out to dry in a safe, clean and dry space.

Tools, Spatulas and Palettes

Don’t neglect your tools, either. I know they are metal, but that doesn’t mean makeup build up on them can’t still contain bacteria over the course of time.

So be sure to keep them clean, either with a sanitizing wipe or a 70% alcohol solution on a tissue or paper towel. Particularly your eyelash curler, which can quickly gain mascara and eye makeup build-up.

The best way to keep them clean is by quickly cleaning after each use.

Palette Cleaning Takeaway: try to regularly give your palettes a quick once over to maintain their cleanliness and avoid germs at all costs.

For pro makeup artists, spritzing your makeup products is undoubtedly a part of your daily routine, or after every face. This is almost easier to keep in in some ways.

If you’re looking after your palettes at home, follow the above steps and you should be great.


Is Cleaning My Palettes Going to Destroy My Makeup?

No. If you use the types of products we’ll discuss here, your makeup should stay intact and last its shelf life.


Best Practices to keep your Makeup Palettes and Yourself Clean and Hygienic

To go over these, it may seem a little repetitive, but it’s important. And once you grasp some good hygiene habits, keeping them in place is much easier. Your makeup and your face will thank you!

  • regularly spritz your palettes with a 70% isopropyl rubbing alcohol or makeup sanitizer spray
  • be sure to allow your palettes to dry thoroughly after cleaning
  • store your makeup palettes in a cool, dry area
  • avoid touching the makeup directly in the palette, but if you need to use your fingers to apply makeup from your palette to yourself, make sure your fingers are thoroughly clean
  • avoid sharing your makeup with anyone else at all costs
  • if using makeup palettes professionally, always use a clean, metal spatula to decant product from the palette onto a clean disposable or metal artist’s palette
  • for eyeshadow palettes where brushes will contact with the palette, only use clean, dry brushes, and clean and sanitize palettes after every use

I know this may seem like a lot of things to remember and steps to follow. But once you are aware of how important it is to keep hygiene at the top of your list of priorities, staying regular becomes way easier.


What’s the Difference between 70% and 99% Isopropyl Alcohol?

There may be some confusion around these two staples of every professional makeup artists kit. And while 99% is a necessity, it does not necessarily provide a higher level of sanitizing, as you would think.

70% alcohol is a far more effective solution to disinfect a material and break down bacterial cells than 99% alcohol is.

This is because the other 30% of it’s contents is water.

And that water content is vital in the sanitizing process.

Basically, when a 70% alcohol solution is in contact with bacteria, it breaks down and penetrates the cell walls of the bacteria. The water component, which evaporates more slowly than a higher concentration of alcohol, allows time for the bacteria to be killed by the 70% solution.

If you were to use 99% alcohol instead, the germs are actually protected by the alcohol, become dormant, and don’t actually die.

So essentially, the water component of 70% alcohol is vital to its effectiveness. AND make it a far more effective sanitizer for your makeup palettes than 99% alcohol is.


Best Products to Clean and Sanitize your Makeup Palettes

Beauty So Clean

Beauty So Clean Cosmetic Sanitizer Mist

Beauty So Clean is my makeup sanitizer of choice.

I use it to quickly and efficiently keep all of my eyeshadow, cream, and lipstick palettes clean in between uses.

It is an ethyl alcohol based product that contains capric triglyceride and just a tiny amount of isopropyl myristate (don’t freak out!), just enough to keep from drying out your powder palettes and not disrupting their formulations at all.

Find Beauty So Clean here.


70% Isopropyl Alcohol

70% Isopropyl Alcohol

This should be in every professional makeup artist’s kit, or stock. If it isn’t, get some now. This will become your go-to surface and makeup palette cleaner.

As we’ve discussed, this is a far more effective product to sanitize your palettes with than 99% and you will go through far more of it than 99%.

Find 70% Isopropyl Alcohol here.


99% Isopropyl Alcohol

You might be thinking, “So, what do I need 99% alcohol for then?”

Well, the short answer is yes. But let’s take a look at the properties of 99% to understand why it still has a vital place in makeup.

99% isopropyl alcohol has a far larger alcohol content, and a smaller water content than our 70% friend. So, as far as surface cleaning goes, that makes 99% a great option for cleaning surfaces that aren’t so water-friendly. It also evaporates incredibly quickly, what we call having a high flash point.

And for us makeup folks, what that means is it’s really useful, particularly in special effects makeup and when using alcohol-based makeup.

So it still holds a big place on our shelves, mostly in special effects makeup.


Find 99% Isopropyl Alcohol here.


Sanitizing Wipes

Wet Ones Antibacterial Wipes

The industry standard Wet Ones. Perfect for your makeup station, or home in the bathroom or kitchen.

Wet Ones contain aloe vera, so aside from doing the hard work of sanitizing, they’ll look after your hands, too.

Find the Original Wet Ones here.




The standard-shaped q-tip that’s perfect for keeping your makeup palettes in good shape.

Find your Q-tips here.


Okay, I know that’s a lot to take in. But honestly once you get into a routine cleaning situation, and just being aware of the potential of bacteria and germs in every aspect of your makeup products, brushes, and tools, it becomes much easier to be vigilant and clean.

I hope these steps make it easy to digest, and even easier to implement at home, and at work.


Featured Image by Siora Photography

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