Jordan Liberty: Sanitation advice on Instagram (the good & the bad)

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Oh my. I think Jordan Liberty does some amazing work BUT his advice on sanitation practices are incorrect. Let me correct him on some of his advice.

Tube Products

I do agree with him on not using the wands that come in a tube product - be it mascara or a lip gloss or liquid lipstick or whatever the product is. When you use these types of product you need to decant the cream, gel, or liquid and place it on your palette.

Where Jordan went wrong was in taking the wand and rolling it on to the back of your hand. Once it has touched human skin you can't reuse it. It doesn't matter if the hand was cleaned with alcohol or not. The reason why is this: if you're working off the back of your hand and touching the client/model's face then your hand is no longer sanitized so it totally defeats the purpose of keeping your product sanitary.

What you can do is take a long plastic or metal skewer or silicone spatula and remove the product you want to use and place it onto a clean and disinfected palette and work off of that BUT you can't then go dipping back into the product to scoop out more without first wiping off and disinfecting the skewer or spatula first. To do that you must allow it to sit in 70% Isopropyl Alcohol for 10 to 15 minutes, allow to dry then reuse it. Ideally, it should be washed first but so long as it never touched human skin you can wipe off with a clean paper towel then disinfect properly.


Same as above. Do not allow it to touch human skin regardless if the skin is clean and been wiped with alcohol. Take a plastic or metal skewer or silicone spatula, scoop out what you need and put onto a palette to work off of that. Keep in mind mascara will dry out quickly so you'll want to use little and go back to apply more from the tube a clean palette each time you go into dip.

Palette Products

Again, when working off a palette - be it any type of cream, gel, or even powder - you need to work clean by not double dipping and by scooping out product. I agree with him on that as well. What I don't agree with is taking a finger wrapped in tissue to scoop out a layer then spraying it with alcohol. Alcohol cannot disinfect creams, gels, liquids, or porous items such as sponges.

This is where you need to have a metal, plastic or silicone skewer or spatula to scoop out the product you need and place it onto a metal or plastic palette and work off of that. When you go back into the palette to scoop out more then you need to use a clean and disinfected tool to scoop out. Once it touches the palette you're working off of that's it, it's no longer clean and needs to be cleaned and disinfected for reuse.

Products in stick form

Again, due to the nature of creams and gels, you can't wipe it down or use alcohol on it. What needs to be done from the get go, is take a knife or other applicator and "cut"/"scrape" off what you need and place onto your palette. If the product touches human skin it needs to be considered as contaminated.

Beauty sponges (Beautyblenders and similar cosmetic sponges)

Do NOT use these types of sponges on multiple clients. You can't wash these and then sanitize these. These cannot be microwaved properly. These cannot be soaked in alcohol. These are a ONE TIME USE item unless it's your own person sponge.

The Centers for Disease Control has previously told me (via email a few years ago) that when you use 70% Isopropyl Alcohol to disinfect the item needs to soak for a minimum of 10-15 minutes after it had been washed and rinsed. They also stated that when it came to sponges (note: it wasn't cosmetic sponges the study was one) they found that microwaving sponges was ineffective in household microwaves. It also required the sponge to be microwaved for more than two minutes which would melt a cosmetic sponge. It also can't be boiled as not all pathogens are killed in boiling water. Boiling water is defined as:

100 °C (212 °F) at sea level

93.4 °C (200.1 °F) at 1,905 metres (6,250 ft) Altitude

There are some spores - clostridium and bacillus spores - that still survive a boiling process. This is why boiling your cosmetic sponges is not deemed effective.

In a report from the NY State Health Department on boiling water for human consumption, it's stated that it is "...also reported that a 99.999% kill of water borne microorganisms can be achieved at 149°F/65°C in five minutes of exposure." While this is for drinking water the information can still be applied to disinfecting a cosmetic sponge as many of the organisms discussed can live on surfaces or even on human skin. Bottom line: boiling a cosmetic sponge is ineffective unless you're going to boil it in water for no less than 5 minutes at 149°F/65°C. Doing so will ruin (melt) the sponge as the material is fragile.

The reason why I'm linking to other studies and information is because no one has ever done a proper study on cosmetic tools (brushes and sponges) and sanitation. The information I use comes from other sources on disinfecting and sanitation which the CDC has confirmed to me via email is applicable regardless if it's cosmetic tools or medical equipment as germs and organisms will respond to the methods used or it won't.

Powder Products

I know it's said that bacteria don't typically grow on powder products. I know for a fact that mold spores do. I had an eyeshadow pan ruined by a layer of mold growth. Ideally, you scrape what you need and again place it onto a palette. What some students are trained is to scrape it off onto a tissue and work that way.

Normally you work in a dry environment but if there's a lot of humidity in the air your products are going to absorb that moisture regardless of clean you are. Over time even a powder product can become contaminated just from the moisture in the air.

Storytime: Now while this is an extreme situation what happened to me this past February serves as a cautionary tale in how you store your products. I had a box downstairs in our basement. The box was a plastic tote. Inside the totes were my products. Some stores inside Ziploc bags, some not. We had a power outage for about 61 or 62 hours and during the first 24, our sump pump was without power so our basement flooded. This happened on a Friday evening and by Saturday afternoon my husband was able to buy a power generator to get our sump pump up and running. For three days after that, the basement smelled bad as the basement was basically filled with humidity and wetness. Everything that was in the water was thrown away and everything that wasn't eventually had to be tossed or cleaned very well because the wetness in the air caused everything to become contaminated. As a result, those beauty products stored downstairs had to be thrown out as everything was contaminated. Some actually did grow mold EVEN if it was new, unused, and stored inside a plastic bag then placed inside a plastic box.

You can't take for granted that powders won't become contaminated because they can under different circumstances. Granted, my case was an extreme circumstance but it can happen if you're in a humid area or your products were exposed to water/liquids. Most often where you're going to encounter mold spores growing are in sponges.

Totally off topic but did you know you can catch wild spores to make your own bread? If you love sourdough bread you can catch wild spores (natural spores in the air you breath) to make your own bread.

Bottom line is this when it comes to sanitation. It's better to work as clean as possible. This means decant, depot, and scrape products you need to use onto a clean, disinfected metal or glass palette and work off of that. Have a few in your kit if you have multiple clients.


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