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New Study: Makeup Testers Contain Staph, Strep and E.coli

In a recent two year study conducted by the LA Times, biological science professor, Dr. Elizabeth Brooks, discovered that makeup testers are harboring staph, strep and E.coli. “Wherever you see E. coli…just think ‘E. coli equals feces. That means someone went to the bathroom, didn’t wash their hands and then stuck their fingers in that moisturizer.” Brooks says. When she and her team tested the makeup on a weekend, when customer traffic was at its peak! 100% of the makeup testers were tainted!

When I worked at the cosmetic counters, we were only told to wipe down and sanitize the makeup at the end of the night, which many sales associates never did. One associate (who had been there for over 10 years) admitted to me that she had never cleaned her brushes. She felt like they didn’t work the same clean… 

cosmetic counter makeup testers
While bacteria ridden testers may not be news to most of you, there are still a ton of women who don’t know how dangerous contaminated makeup can be. Here are a few guidelines for using makeup testers (if you MUST).

Stay far, far, far away from mascara! Even though most counters cut off the wands, they offer disposables which customers double dip, thus defeating the entire purpose of the disposable. Mascara is the perfect environment for bacteria to grow and you could wind up with pink eye, or a sty.

 If you want to test a lipstick, ask the associate for alcohol and a tissue. Spray the product with  alcohol and rub the lipstick several times onto the tissue. This will sanitize and shave off any remaining germs from the last customer. Dirty lipsticks can spread cold sores and other bacteria which could even make you sick.

As a golden rule, test everything on your hand, not your face. If you buy the product and it doesn’t look good on you, simply take it back.

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1 Comment

  • Reply Kristen June 25, 2010 at 12:07 pm

    I’ve heard of some pretty scary reports recently about how dirty both tester products can be, but also our own personal cosmetics. A recent ABC report showed that many women hold onto their makeup for years, which is well beyond the recommended lifespan of any cosmetics. So be sure to toss your makeup if it’s older than 2 years for most powder products and items like mascara should be no more than 6 months old. And everyone should remember to clean their makeup brushes. I can’t imagine a makeup artist who doesn’t clean brushes between clients. That’s just so wrong.
    Kristen´s last blog post ..Chisel Deluxe Fluff

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