How To Test Makeup Safely

Discussion in 'The Beauty Cupboard' started by lucy92, Apr 20, 2010.

  1. lucy92

    lucy92 Mod Squad Team Leader

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2005
    Messages:
    13,028
    Likes Received:
    235
    Handle those store makeup testers with care

    Most harbor bacteria that can lead to infection — think staph, strep, even E. coli. But if you test makeup properly, you can remain safe.

    By Alene Dawson, Special to the Los Angeles Times

    You know that sharing makeup is a no-no, and for good reason.

    "If a woman has a cut on her lip and borrows lipstick from someone who has a cold sore, she'll get a cold sore. You can pass herpes [the cold sore virus], conjunctivitis [pink eye] and all sorts of things through sharing makeup," says Dr. Zein Obagi, a dermatologist based in Beverly Hills.

    Now imagine sharing your makeup with a few thousand or so of your closest friends when you sample makeup in testers in stores. If you don't insist on practicing safe hygiene, or insist that the workers behind the counter practice safe hygiene when they're applying makeup to your skin, it can get ugly fast.

    Dr. Elizabeth Brooks, a biological sciences professor at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, conducted a much-quoted two-year study on public makeup testers when she was with Rowan University in New Jersey about five years ago. "We went to department stores, specialty stores, drugstores — everywhere," she says. Her researchers found staph, strep and even E. coli bacteria on makeup testers. "Wherever you see E. coli, you should just think ‘E. coli equals feces,' " Brooks says. "That means someone went to the bathroom, didn't wash their hands and then stuck their fingers in that moisturizer." Brooks says that when they tested the makeup on Saturdays — the day with the most traffic at cosmetic counters — the percentage of tainted makeup was 100%.

    The FDA concurs. In recommendations for cosmetic safety, the agency warns against sharing makeup, saying, "Don't share or swap eye cosmetics — not even with your best friend. Another person's germs may be hazardous to you. The risk of contamination may be even greater with ‘testers' at retail stores, where a number of people are using the same sample product."

    But there are solutions. For instance, if you want to try lotions, use samples that people don't have to put their fingers into; instead of sampling from a jar, try a lotion you can squeeze on instead.

    You can also clean the surface of the makeup tester with a tissue or a tissue dipped in alcohol before applying makeup. If you're trying lipstick, debride it with a disposable applicator. And always use disposable applicators or cotton swabs, never communal makeup brushes. "If the brush is made of animal hair, bacteria can grow into the actual hair and be harder to clean," Brooks says. You can also ask for a clean tester.

    "Every makeup display that we tested, and we tested hundreds, always had disposable brushes and little pads to put on makeup, and they had all of that behind the counter but it was for the asking — they didn't have it for the general public just to pick up at their leisure," Brooks says. "And of course your Avon or Mary Kay lady had one-shot testers that have just enough to put on your lips or eyes, and some of the bigger brands had one-shot testers of foundation, lipstick or eye shadow as well — but not every brand carries that."

    Brooks' most adamant advice is not to test publicly used makeup on your eyes, nose or mouth. "Mascara is the most troubling," Brooks says. "I have two teenage daughters —I tell them never, ever, ever use a tester mascara because there could be cross-contamination, and this is your eye — there could be some serious ramifications."

    Brooks says a lipstick is usable if the surface layer is scraped off or if it is dipped in alcohol. "But if you're asking me if I would personally try a public lipstick tester or if I would let my teenage daughters do that, the answer is no. I would ask for an individual tester," she says. "Even when the ladies [behind the counter] are very diligent about dipping it in alcohol, they're not lab technicians and I'm not 100% sure about it. Viruses are so small in comparison to bacteria it's harder to get rid of a virus. Lipstick you can actually test on your hand and see if you like the color. I also wouldn't test something like a face cream where I could not remove the top surface."

    But despite all of her research, Brooks is not a makeup killjoy. "Even doing all of this research, I'm not afraid or afraid to send my daughters to the mall. I just tell them not to put anything near their eyes, nose or mouth and you'll be OK. I want women to be happy that they're women and enjoy makeup but just be careful."

    latimes.com
     
  2. michyed

    michyed THE STRANGER

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2009
    Messages:
    2,470
    Likes Received:
    0
    Read about this before. Some girls over at the Makeup forum specktra put samples of their own makeup and they found disgusting bacteria all in all of them... Including E. coli. Ugh!
    I'll admit to having a carry-on mini spray bottle of 85% ethanol... It's so handy :lol: I always sanitize my makeup once a week with ethanol or isopropyl alcohol.
     
  3. Adrina

    Adrina New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2004
    Messages:
    301
    Likes Received:
    0
    good action
     
  4. lucy92

    lucy92 Mod Squad Team Leader

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2005
    Messages:
    13,028
    Likes Received:
    235
    from now on, whenever i'm hit up the cosmetic saleswoman about whether i want to try anything on - i'm going to ask for individual testers or sample sized items to take home.

    they will say no probably. they dont want to "give" anything away.
     
  5. December_25th

    December_25th New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2005
    Messages:
    465
    Likes Received:
    0
    ugh the thought of trying sample mascara gives me the heebie jeebies. Actually, I've been thinking about this topic for a couple days now because I've been looking for a new lipstick.. but sometimes it's just hard to get an idea of what the shade will look on your lips when you only smear it on your hand! Then I wondered if there was any possible way to sample lipstick in a sanitary manner. Thank goodness for Makeup Alley reviews and pictures though.
     
  6. goregeous

    goregeous New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2008
    Messages:
    268
    Likes Received:
    0
    ^ If you want to safely test a lipstick, ask the sales person or mua to either sanitize it for you or ask them for their alcohol. All counters will have a spray bottle of alcohol for sanitizing, you want to push the tube up, spray it a few times, then wipe down well with a tissue.....just give it a few seconds to allow all the alcohol to evaporate :P Then you can either use the tube, or better yet, scrape some of the lipstick off the side of the bullet where it hasn't touched lips yet and apply with a clean brush.

    What I wish more counters would do is actually cut off the applicators and wands of mascara and lipgloss! It really helps get people to start asking for disposable applicators and cut down on the potential to spread anything.

    There are lots of ways to safely test makeup you just have to take the extra time to protect yourself :smile: Another thing to do when you test foundations if there's a pump is to sanitize the pump and discard to first pump or so that you get out of the bottle. Either that or unscrew the top completly and pour a little out (what I do) because people's hands are all over the tops and bacteria can get inside the first part of the pump itself.
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice
monitoring_string = "058526dd2635cb6818386bfd373b82a4"