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Isopropyl Alcohol which is better - 70% or 99.9% ?

Updated: Mar 20

With the COVID-19 virus on everyone's mind it's probably a good time to address hygiene practices, specifically in these upcoming blogs, makeup artistry hygiene.

If your makeup artist is following the right steps, there is no need to cancel your makeup application, unless the event you were going to meets the current crowd limit restrictions and it in itself has been cancelled. But there are key things to look for and ask your artist prior to alleviate your concerns. Starting with what percentage of Isopropyl Alcohol they use and what do they use it on. In an upcoming blog I will cover what it should be used on and when.


But well before we look at what should be done, we need to work out which cleaning solution is better.


For many years I personally used 99.9%, that is what I was taught to use, and the belief was that as it was nearly 100% it would be stronger, killing more germs. I was also taught, it dries super fast so you can have dry brushes for your next client. I also was only ever taught to clean my brushes with it. But the OCD in me, fortunately, made me look into this further. After some research I went on to switch to 70% and started using it on much more then my brushes, and here's why.


Isopropyl Alcohol with percentages between 60 - 90% are the most effective agent against microbial bacteria, fungi and viruses.

Higher concentrations are not as effective and this is because there needs to be at least more then 10% water in the solution, therefore a mixture of 30% water and 70% alcohol works best.

Why does watering it down make it better? That doesn't make sense right?


The reason is because the water acts as a catalyst, its main role denaturing the proteins of cell membranes of vegetative cells. 70% solutions break through the cell wall fully, additionally the water in the solution slows down the evaporation time and this allows enough contact time with the membrane. This means that 90% IPA or higher, evaporates very quickly and does not allow enough time to kill as much bacteria as 70% IPA, which means the higher % is simply is not as effective.


So your first question to your makeup artist if your worried should be, what percentage of IPA do you use.





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