Independent studies done in both the US and the UK have shown that 90% of testers at the makeup counters are infected with some sort of bacteria ranging from strep and e-coli to herpes and staph! These can make you very sick and can leave you with skin diseases you’d rather not have.
You don’t have to forget about buying, or buying without testing – just follow these smart tips:
Most importantly – never put anything directly from a tester onto your eyes, lips or nose. This can bring the bacteria directly to your mucous membranes – infecting you almost immediately.
If you would like to try something, consult someone who works at the counter. But watch what they do – if they simply wipe off the tester with a tissue, don’t try it! They need to slice off a layer or use an antibacterial cleanser that you can get to sanitize wipes. Even if those steps are taken it is still important to use a disposable applicator to take the product from the tester to your skin.
Do not allow the cosmetician to apply anything to your skin using brushes unless you are sure they are fresh brushes or have recently been cleaned. Germs can live on brushes too.
You would think lotions would be safe, but dipping your fingers into that body lotion to wipe on your hands just spreads on the germs from everyone else who has dipped their fingers in there! Stick to lotions from a pump bottle or see if a jar is kept behind the counter and tested with disposable applicators.
You may also want to think twice about swatching directly onto your hand to see the color – while this is a lot safer than testing directly to your facial skin, there have been reported cases of skin conditions such as rashes being spread through testers. Again, clean the product and use a disposable applicator.
None of this should scare you away from the makeup counter. In fact, most makeup counters are aware of the problems and are more diligent about cleaning the testers or keeping them as request only products, and keeping these tips in mind while shopping means you will be able to shop safely.