MUA Hygiene & Sanitation
This is a topic that I feel extremely strongly about working as a Professional make-up artist and I want to arm EVERYBODY with my knowledge and tips within this blog post, whether you are a working make-up artist, make-up artist in training, self-taught MUA, a make-up enthusiast or a person who is planning on hiring a MUA for a special occasion or event such as a wedding.
I want this knowledge to be spread far and wide, as I have been witness on one too many occasions now, where poor hygiene and sanitation has occurred. Not only this, the college course in which I undertook I felt some-what lacked this important information. Sure, we touched on cleanliness of hands & brushes etc, but proper sanitation of tools and products was barely mentioned. Therefore, I took it upon myself to thoroughly research MUA hygiene. After all, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out that using the same mascara wand on numerous people could lead to cross-infection such as CONJUNCTIVITIS. Very glam…
My work is predominantly bridal based, so I am often booked to take care of the make-up for numerous members of the bridal party, sometimes for as many as 9 people. Now that’s a LOT of brushes and tools to get through when you think: one foundation brush, one powder brush, one lip brush, numerous eye brushes (around 3-4), countless cotton buds, pads and sponges. Obviously, working on this many people single-handedly is a task in itself, but keeping up with hygiene and sanitation should never mean that you can cut-corners because it’s ‘quicker’ or ‘easier’ to do so.
Just one instance I will mention whilst recently working on a large bridal party, where the client had booked a separate MUA to take care of the bridesmaids whilst I focused on the bride…I couldn’t help but notice the sheer lack of sanitation on their part, whilst I glanced in horror as they BLEW excess powder from a brush and persistently used THE SAME mascara wand on numerous bridesmaids. This was all in the space of a few minutes so I dread to think what other nasties occurred, and just how many millions of potentially harmful bacteria lives amongst their kit...
A client (e.g a bride) whom books a professional make-up service will expect that you, as a make-up artist, will carry out your services to the highest standard, from arriving in time on a date and location as previously agreed, to a safe and hygienic make-up application. Now whilst I do get that some people may not even think about whom or where the MUA’s brushes have last been used, or what make-up products have been used on whom, I don’t get how anybody who provides such an intimate service would think it is acceptable to use dirty and unsanitary tools. Would you expect a surgeon to use un-sanitised tools during an operation? No, most certainly not. It’s the same difference-it just should not happen when working in such close proximity to some body’s face.
The nature of this post is aimed at both make-up artists and those looking to hire one, so PLEASE, take note of these tips for future reference, and together let’s stop this horrendous and unprofessional practice.
Let us be armed with the knowledge of hygiene, cleanliness and sanitation within the beauty industry…
1. Cleansed and sanitised hands
It’s a bit of common sense to start off with. Make-up artists could not work without their hands, from applying moisturisers and creams to a client’s bare face, to holding and handling products and tools. As we all know, germs can spread extremely easily so to prevent this, always ensure that your hands are thoroughly clean. Sanitise in front of your clients to instill peace-of-mind.
2. No ‘Double-dipping’
This is a term that is used for when a brush or tool is inserted into a product (such as a cream foundation, gel eyeliner, lipstick etc) and then re-dipped, having been applied to part of a client’s face. This, of course, can cause cross contamination of the product and potentially cross-infection to your client. Just because germs cannot be seen does not mean that they are not there! Just imagine if a client had a cold sore (which is a strain of the herpes virus…which is extremely contagious) and you’ve applied lipstick to them from a brush, and then with that same brush, dipped it back into the product. Hey presto- harmful germ central. If this occurs, chuck the product immediately. I’d probably be inclined to chuck the brush too-you can never be too careful working in this industry. To be honest, I would be very dubious about doing a client’s makeup at all if this was the case, since any contagious diseases should be avoided. Always sharpen eyeliners & lip liners between each client. Your kit, personal health and your reputation is worth much more than an angry client- and they should understand this too.
To prevent dipping back into a product, invest in a palette knife and palette to decant small amounts of product and re-dip that way if necessary. Simply wipe clean and spray between each client.
3. DO NOT USE THE SAME MASCARA WAND MORE THAN ONCE!!!
This is a real personal hate of mine. Of course, if it is your own mascara that you use on yourself and yourself only, then this is absolutely fine, since you are not picking up different peoples eye bacteria and spreading it around. If applying makeup from your kit to a client, ensure that you use a disposable wand for EACH EYE and do not ‘double-dip’ back into the mascara. Mascara is the worst product for cross-infection since it is of a moist consistency, potentially warm and in a dark container – 3 areas where germs THRIVE!!
*Tip* Cut the mascara wand from the tube off to prevent the desire to double-dip.
4. Clean your make-up brushes, tools and equipment!!
Do not be tempted to use the same make-up soiled brush on more than one client. As mentioned above, when I work on numerous members of the bridal party I have a make-up brush sanitising spray that I use between each and every client. A few sprays will kill bacteria and then wipe the brush onto a clean tissue. It also dries in seconds so can be used again pretty much instantly. It’s a good idea to have a range of different brushes so that you are not spending lots of time cleaning them when working to tight time-frames, which is often the case as a MUA. After each and every job I give my brushes and tools a thorough clean with luke-warm water and an anti-bac gel. I then condition them with hair conditioner to maintain the bristles and dry flat, either over-hanging a window sill or upside down. Tools such as lash curlers, tweezers, pencil sharpeners and make-up palettes should also be sanitised between each client. A thorough kit and bag clean should be carried out every few weeks or when required.
N.B Clients, if you see a MUA come at you with a dirty brush-either challenge them or run a mile!! Also, never BLOW excess powder or product from a brush. It’s unsanitary and it’s rank.
5. Use disposables
Always ensure that you are well stocked up with disposables in your kit. These should include cotton buds, cotton wool pads, face wipes, mascara wands, lip brushes. You will find that these will come in extremely handy, not only with the cleansing of a client’s face prior to make-up application, but also for any spillages which can sometimes occur. Lip brushes are handy to give to your client (particularly brides), along with a sample of her chosen lippy so that she can re-apply when necessary.
6. Robe your client!!
Always ensure that you cover your client with a protective robe to prevent any accidents! The last thing you want is to drop a lipstick soiled brush into somebodies lap or spill foundation all over somebodies favourite blouse…or even worse…their wedding dress!!! I would advise that you NEVER make up a bride who is already in her dress. This would be the Worst. Most. Embarrassing. Situation. Ever. Not to mention a very angry and tearful bride. *GULP*
7. Personal hygiene
It should go without saying that when working in this industry you should take care of personal hygiene. Nobody wants to hire a smelly, scruffy make-up artist. Always carry mints and/or gum, deodorant, where possible tie long hair back and go easy with the perfume, you don’t want to be over-powering your clients and giving them a headache.
I would like to think that a lot of the above is common sense and that make-up artists already practice the above sanitary rules, but having witnessed first-hand the uncleanliness of some so called ‘professionals’, I felt I needed to share this important information.
MUA’s – Do not compromise your profession and your reputation
POTENTIAL CLIENTS – You have been warned :)
I really hope that this post has been useful. If I have missed anything please do let me know in the below comments box. Please share this with all of your friends and spread the word on proper hygiene and sanitation, instead of spreading potentially harmful, and even life-threatening germs…
(Images sourced from Google)