Be Careful When Testing Makeup

20 Apr

Everyone loves sampling makeup testers in department and drug stores, but is there a risk involved?

According to the LA Times, a two-year study conducted on public makeup testers found the presence of staph, strep, and E. coli. What’s even scarier is that the percentage of contaminated makeup went up 100% on Saturdays.

Does this mean you can never test makeup at a cosmetic counter? Dr. Elizabeth Brooks, a biological sciences professor at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia who was involved with the study, recommends the following tips when testing makeup:

  1. Use samples that people haven’t touched, for example, lotion squeezed from a tube.
  2. Clean the surface of the makeup tester with a tissue dipped in alcohol before testing.
  3. Use single disposable applicators or cotton swabs (never makeup brushes) for testing products; these items are usually available behind the counter but you have to ask for them.

The most important recommendation is to not test used makeup on your eyes, nose, or mouth.

Or, you can always follow the advice your mother gave you when browsing in a china shop: “look but don’t touch.”


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