The Bad News About Makeup Testers

They have some serious germs.

The Bad News About Makeup Testers

They have some serious germs.

-Jane Farrell

Shocked woman

Stop! Don’t touch that lipstick! And forget about the foundation, the moisturizer and the mascara.

A two-year study of makeup testers detected the presence of strep, staph and E. coli bacteria as well as traces of the cold-sore virus herpes, and viral conjunctivitis, or pink eye.

The study, by Elizabeth Brooks, M.D., of Jefferson Medical Center, was conducted when she was on the faculty of Rowan University in New Jersey. Brooks focused on testers in drug and department stores; she and her researchers took samples on Saturdays, the highest-traffic day in those stores.

And how the germs and viruses get there is pretty gross. “E. coli equals feces, ” Brooks said to The Los Angeles Times. “That means someone went to the bathroom, didn’t wash their hands and then stuck their fingers in that moisturizer.” E. coli, often associated with food poisoning, causes cramps and diarrhea and can be fatal.

Read 5 Steps to a Safe Pedicure

While it’s a fairly safe bet that no one has ever died from a makeup sample, the federal Food and Drug Administration does warn consumers of the “risk of contamination” from public makeup testers.

If you want to reduce the risk, the Times recommends, using single-use cotton swabs or disposable makeup applicators—but never shared brushes. (Actually, it’s not a good idea to swap makeup or makeup applicators even with your best friends. No offense or anything.)

The safest action of all, though, is to never sample cosmetics at all. And while that may seem unreasonable (you’ll probably end up with a few lipsticks you’ll never use), the possible alternatives – from E. coli to herpes – are much worse. (The Los Angeles Times)

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0 thoughts on “The Bad News About Makeup Testers

  1. jessica03 says:

    the headline says it all. “They have some serious germs.” – so true!

  2. Hayley_k says:

    It’s true. I work in drug store, and every time I walk past the cosmetics counter there are some gross looking people trying to do their whole make-up while the cosmetics girl isn’t looking.

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