Makeup Artist Sanitation Standard

Makeup Artist Sanitation Standard (MASS)

MASS was created to inform makeup artists how to reduce the possibility of infection and spread of microbes, with special emphasis on COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2). Topics discussed include environmental controls, PPE, the application process, and makeup sanitation. The goal of this standard is to identify where risks are most prevalent and introduce methods to mitigate these risks.

It is important to remember these standards are the highest level of risk reduction and should not be taken lightly especially during the COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic. In keeping with our goal we will always strive, pandemic or not, to provide you with up to date information regarding these standards.


Aseptic Technique: using practices and procedures to prevent contamination from pathogens. Aseptic technique involves applying the strictest rules to minimize the risk of infection. Proper training may be required. Healthcare workers use aseptic technique in surgery rooms, clinics, outpatient care centers, and other health care settings.

Dry in a Clean and Clear Area: drying items completely and in a safe zone without the presence of aerosol virion particles (infectious viral particles) in the air for at least 24 hours or longer. Alternatively, placing a clean cover like paper towels that reduce the promotion of mold growth over drying items is next best. Properly disinfected items should be properly stored once drying is finished.

IPA and ETA Solutions: isopropyl alcohol (IPA) and ethanol alcohol (ETA) solutions should be fresh and stored in a tightly sealed container as alcohol will evaporate if the container is left opened. IPA and ETA solutions should contain between 60% and 80% of ethanol or isopropanol as active ingredients. Further diluting the alcohol to a concentration less than 60% will render the solution ineffective. Use the chemical solution according to the manufacturer’s directions.

Original Stock and Working Stock: original stock is the initial packaged product in the artist’s inventory. Working stock is created by removing a small portion of product (e.g. compacts, lipsticks, gel liners, etc.) from original stock and placing it in a disinfected container to work from at the makeup station.

Proper Hand Washing: first wet hands, then apply ample soap to form bubbles, and manually wash for at least 20 seconds before rinsing with water and drying. If material is present under the nails it should be removed with a pick made for that purpose or by scrub brush first, and then proceeding with hand washing.

Sanitize / Disinfect: a process that eliminates most pathogenic microorganisms on inanimate objects. In cosmetology, sanitizing refers to lowering the number of germs on surfaces or objects—either by removing them or killing them, whereas disinfecting refers to killing germs on surfaces or objects. In general, objects are disinfected by liquid chemicals or wet pasteurization (boiling). Many factors affect the effectiveness of disinfection and can nullify or limit the process. Make sure to follow manufacturer’s instructions on disinfection products and wear gloves to protect from harmful chemicals.


  • Have a discussion with the production team or client on related topics on SARS-CoV-2 protections, safety plans, health concerns, working environment, and artist expectations.
  • Makeup artists have the right to ask any questions related to their own health and safety on the job.
  • Makeup artists should be permitted to get in touch with the talent to discuss safety expectations on the day of the job.
  • Makeup kits, tools, and any items brought with the makeup artists on the workday should be disinfected. Create working stock (see Glossary) prior to the workday to minimize contamination of product.


  • Studios, production teams, and clients are responsible to keep all of their contracted staff and talent working in a safe environment during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic.
  • Good ventilation, HEPA air filtration devices, and UV/UVC lighting systems are recommended to decontaminate air.
  • Frequent disinfection with appropriate disinfection products (60-80% IPA or ETA, or soap and water), according to manufacturer’s instructions, should be performed on frequently touched areas, including:
    • Light switches, door handles to main entrances and studios, restrooms, including lavatory handles, sink handles, paper towel or hand sanitizer dispensers, makeup stations, drawers, talent chairs, etc.
    • Please be aware that disinfected surface areas should be completely dry before use.
  • A minimum 6 feet of distance should be maintained between workstations, and no one should come within 6 feet of a workstation without permission from the artist.
  • Barrier protection methods are recommended for stations, tables, and client chairs, such as disposable paper drapes or towels that can be discarded or laundered after each talent. Avoid using coverings made of plastic as studies have shown viruses tend to survive longer on this type of material.
  • Workstation surfaces should be disinfected with appropriate disinfection products (60-80% IPA or ETA, or soap and water), according to manufacturer’s instructions, before and after each talent, and before and after workstation set-up. Make sure disinfected workstation surfaces are dry before continuing with set-up.


  • Artists should appropriately wear a tight-fitting mask at all times. The best option is a non-valved N95 mask, or at a minimum, a multi-layered cloth mask.
  • Goggles and face shields are additive to face masks. They are NOT a substitute for them. Goggles are preferable over non-sealing face shields, especially when working indoors. Face shields are appropriate for people wearing prescription glasses, and while working outdoors as an alternative to goggles. If neither goggles or face shields are available, any type of glasses are the next best option.
  • Artists should consider tying hair back and limit flowing clothing while working.
  • Use of gloves is not necessary while working; however frequent and proper hand washing (see glossary) is recommended.
  • Smocks, gowns, capes (washable or disposable) should be worn to protect clothing from contamination while working.
  • At the end of a workday, contaminated clothing/PPE should be removed in a careful and cautious manner in a clear area and placed into a separate trash basket to be thrown away or other containment bag labeled “contaminated”.


  • Nylon, fabric, plastic and metal suitcases should be disinfected regularly using disinfecting spray, disinfecting wipes, a fresh solution of 60-80% IPA or ETA, or soap and water with a soaked paper towel. Close attention should be paid to fasteners. Hands should be washed afterwards.
  • Suitcases should be unpacked at the workstation and put in an area with the least amount of exposure to people and air and should remained zipped up or closed when they are not needed. Never leave them opened when you are working.
  • Small cases, pouches, bags (whether plastic or fabric) should be disinfected regularly using disinfecting spray, disinfecting wipes, a fresh solution of 60-80% IPA or ETA, or soap and water with a soaked paper towel. Close attention should be paid to fasteners. Hands should be washed afterwards.
  • Makeup compacts, makeup palettes, product bottles and tubes should be disinfected properly before and after each application on a single talent.
  • Creams and gels should never be physically touched. When possible, they should be prepared beforehand into smaller, single-use containers that are either sterile (new), or otherwise, properly disinfected (reusable). This should be done in a sanitary environment, by an individual wearing a mask and with sterile or disinfected gloves. Original stock products should be disinfected prior to the preparation of working stock (e.g. wipe down the outside surfaces). Otherwise, aseptic technique (see Glossary) should be used when on site for products that cannot be reduced to working stock.
  • Single-use disposables, e.g. lip brushes, mascara wands, and sponges; should be used when it is not possible to create a working stock (see Glossary).


  • Makeup artists and talent should properly wash their hands (see Glossary) before and after each application.
  • All parties should reduce unnecessary touching of face, surfaces, and objects.
  • Minimize the spread of aerosols while in close face-to-face contact by limiting talking (no cell phones, headsets, shouting across the studio, singing, etc.) and covering coughs and sneezes with tissue or by directing into the elbow.
  • Have talent face away from the artist’s makeup set-up while having makeup done.
  • No food, drink, or talent’s personal belongings should be brought to or set on the workstation.


  • To avoid contamination of products create working stocks for each talent.
  • Brushes that come into contact with the model should not be dipped into any “original stock”.
  • To avoid cross-contamination (double dipping) of pressed powder products, create a working stock by placing a cotton ball inside of a tissue, fold the tissue around the cotton and lightly press and twist into the pan of the original stock. The powder will transfer to the tissue creating a “ghost” from the original stock, allowing the artist to dip into the product multiple times.
  • Single-use disposables, e.g. lip brushes, mascara wands, and sponges; are the best way to avoid cross-contamination.
  • Reusable beauty sponges, makeup brushes, and applicators should be kept for one specific talent and properly disinfected before next use.
  • Dirty brushes, tools, and working palettes should be placed into a labeled “contaminated” box that would indicate sponges, brushes, and applicators are done for the day and ready for disinfection processing.
  • All cosmetic pencils must have the tip broken off and re-sharpened, then sprayed with 60-80% IPA or ETA before and after each use. It is important to make sure the pencil is air-dried completely, and not by wiping off after disinfecting.
  • Sharpeners should be disinfected before and after each use. This can be done by wiping away debris and spraying with 60-80% IPA or ETA and fully dried, or by washing with soap and water and fully dried.
  • For gel applications, use aseptic techniques with properly disinfected tools to remove products to the palette.


  • Safely put on PPE, e.g. a protective smock, face mask, and goggles.
  • Gloves are recommended, but not necessary. Alternatively, properly wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds first. Before touching any contaminated items, set up your washing/disinfecting area for separation of “dirty” and drying “clean” items. Disinfected items should be dried with or placed on a sanitary disposable material (e.g. paper towel or napkin).
  • Contaminated metal, plastic, rubber and silicone tools should be individually washed with soap and water for at least 30 seconds. Alternatively, submerge tools in an appropriate disinfection solution following the manufacturer’s instructions. Rinse with water and allow tools to dry in a clean and clear area (see Glossary).
  • Contaminated brushes and reusable sponges should be washed meticulously with soap and water for a minimum of 1 minute each. For brushes, make sure to wash thoroughly in between bristles. Reusable sponges should be pre-soaked in soap and water before washing. Allow cleaned brushes and reusable sponges to fully dry in a clean and clear area before reuse.
    • In addition, brushes and reusable sponges could be pre-soaked in an appropriate disinfection solution (e.g. 60-80% IPA or ETA) for 30 seconds before washing with soap and water. Be aware that disinfectants may erode the glue within the ferrule of a brush causing the bristles to fall out.
  • All bags or bins used for contaminated items should be properly disposed of or decontaminated. Use bins that can be washed with soap and water or submerge in an appropriate disinfectant, rinsed and allowed to fully dry in a clean and clear area.


  • UV/UVC works to decontaminate against microbes and is a great tool but poses serious health risks to humans as a mutagen and can cause cancer, as well as vision loss.
  • To use UV/UVC safely and effectively, one must have proper specialist equipment and training.
  • All types of UV can cause damaging effects to plastics, cosmetics and porous materials.
  • Currently there are no regulatory nor safety guidelines for use of UV/UVC devices at home.
  • Since there are no guidelines for home use, no data is available for their effectiveness.
  • UV/UVC has been proven to be effective against SARS-CoV-2, but no protocols have been specified for use outside of medical sterilization of N95 masks. This research was rushed to be available in pre-print July 26, 2020 and was not peer-reviewed (1).
  • Some have suggested the use of installed UV lighting systems to decontaminate the air against SARS-CoV-2 while people are absent. However, these lighting systems need to be maintained through annual inspection and certification by a trained technician.
  • Use of UV/UVC light in any wand, box or pocket size form to sanitize brushes is not recommended at this time, as it is unable to reach all areas inside the brush.


  1. The Effect of Ultraviolet C Radiation Against SARS-CoV-2 Inoculated N95 Respirators
    • David M. Ozog, Jonathan Z. Sexton, Shanthi Narla, Carla D. Pretto-Kernahan, Carmen Mirabelli, Henry W. Lim, Iltefat H. Hamzavi, Robert J. Tibbetts, Qing-Sheng Mi
    • medRxiv 2020.05.31.20118588
    • doi:


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