How to Safely Use Makeup Testers

Most of us have been there. We walk into a makeup store and see a beauty wonderland and run to test the prettiest lip color and most luminous shimmering highlighters. But, do you ever think about who may have tested the products before you?

A woman recently filed a lawsuit against beauty giant Sephora, claiming she contracted oral herpes after testing a lipstick at the retailer’s Hollywood and Highland store back in October 2015. In her lawsuit, she says that Sephora “failed to clearly warn customers about the risk of getting oral herpes from trying on lipstick.” A recent article is Forbes, noted that not only is it possible to contract herpes from testing in-store lipstick samples, but you can also contact several other scary-sounding viruses including listeria, salmonella and staphylococcus.

So, what’s one to do to avoid these unwanted things?

Unfortunately, there is no way to know how often different cosmetics stores clean their samples, and if they do, how effective the cleaning may be. One of the most obvious ways to avoid contracting something nasty is to not test the samples on your face. Think about it, if you were on the train applying lipstick and the person next to you asked if she could borrow it after you were done, would you hand it over to her? If not, why would you feel comfortable applying something that several different people have tried on over the course of the day, week, or event month.
If you must put it on your face, many stores have alcohol, which you can use to clean the product yourself before testing it. But, depending on the type of virus strain, alcohol may not be enough. To be completely safe, here are some tips:

1. Always use alcohol to clean the product before you test it.
2. After cleaning the product, only test on your hand or neck (they are less sensitive than your face), and then use alcohol to remove the product once you are done swatching.
3. Use common sense. If you have an open wound or cracked skin, do not apply the product there. Also, do not use the display applicators that. For example, if a powder is paired with a specific kabuki brush, don’t use the kabuki on your skin, because many people before you probably have.
4. I also found this helpful tip on Bravo TV: “take into account the day of the week you shop for beauty: Rowan University’s study found that samples were most contaminated after a busy Saturday at the makeup counter, and least contaminated during weekdays.”

Let me know if you have any other tips.

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