Dangerous bacteria that can make you sick could be lurking just about anywhere but the cross-contamination that happens from someone else’s fingers or lips touching makeup testers could be what causes sores, strep throat or worse.
Medical aesthetician Kim Chang with Baylor College of Medicine says you’re right to be leery.
“No skin should ever touch any of the testers,” she said.
What’s the worst consequence?
“The concerns then would be: staph, strep, E. coli that’s being cross contaminated with the general public,” Chang said. “E. coli is feces, so these are people who have gone to the bathroom, not washed their hands, dipping their fingers all up in the eye shadow.”
The public, she says, is the real problem.
“When the general public has complete access to the makeup. So, you’re walking through the aisles and you can pick up and touch and there’s no real regulations,” Chang says that’s where the cross contamination is most worrisome.
Chang says specialists are trained to sanitize beauty products by scraping, swabbing and dispensing on tissue to save you from these germs. She suggests tapping powders onto tissue and using only what’s on the tissue, and scraping a layer of lipstick onto a disposable tool.
Chang said this is especially important if you have sensitive skin. In which case, you can also ask about returns.
“Check it on your hand only, don’t put it directly on your eyes,” she said. “Take it home, use it, and see if that works for you… if not, bring it back and I’m sure they’ll refund it for you.”
She says you can also ask for samples of their products, some stores carry them behind the counter.