The Tale of the Makeup Counters

So, let me ask you all… how often do you go to your local beauty counters and try make-up before you buy it? I know I’m guilty of this. I love going in and having them apply makeup for me. Then, if I love it, I buy it and replicate the look at home.

Photo from The Daily Cookie

Well…. leave it to Good Morning America to test this natural buying process by looking into how many germs are living on all those testers.  We all know the germs are there, we just pretend not to think about it. With as much as we spend on our makeup, we do like to try it before we buy it. And, if you’re like me, I hate returning makeup. I always feel like they judge me for bringing back perfectly good makeup that they then have to toss out (or do whatever they do with it besides sell it).

Anyway, so GMA tested makeup products at a variety of locations (10 stores in 2 states) and lo and behold they found gross, gross things on 20% of the products. That’s 1 in 5 items. Think about that number. That means if you try on a mascara, a lipstick, two eyeshadows and a blush, at least one of those products probably has something on it. I know what you’re thinking, well you never directly touch the makeup, you use their wands or a sponge or something besides your finger. You may do this properly, but I’m sure there are people who don’t care about germs and will stick there finger right on in there and test it. Leaving you to contend with their germs.

What exactly is on these testers, you ask? They found a significant growth amounts of mold, yeast or fecal matter. Gross, right? While the GMA report say there’s really nothing to worry about, as long as you don’t have an open cut, this is still gross. And for people like me with really sensitive skin, this is kind of terrifying.

They do have suggestions on how to eliminate or at least reduce the amount of mold, yeast, fecal matter, etc you are applying to yourself when you test:

1) Research the makeup you want online before you go to the store, so your choices are narrowed and you don’t have to try as many.

2) Be wary of even disposable wands because you never know how many people double-dip the samples.

3) Stay away from open jars of lip gloss, moisturizer and foundations, because people may have dipped their fingers into them -and hands are hotbeds of germs.

4) When testing eyeshadow and eyeliner, use a disposable applicator and test it on your hand, not your eyes.

5) To test a new foundation, apply it to your neck, away from your face and lips.

6) Ask the salesperson to sterilize lipstick tubes with alcohol before you try them. Our “GMA” tests showed that kills the bacteria.

7) To try a new lipstick shade, apply it to the pad of your finger, not anywhere near your mouth.

8) Test concealer on your inner wrist, not your face, where the lighter coloring will usually match your under-eye area.

9) Never test mascara from a used tester bottle. Ask the clerk to open a fresh tester and give you a disposable wand. Dip each wand only once, to avoid contaminating the sample for the next customer. If a new tester isn’t an option, don’t test at all. Instead, ask the salesperson to describe the mascara to you.

10) Many stores now have a “buy and try” policy, where you can purchase cosmetics, take them home to try on, and then get a full refund if you’re not happy.

(List from Good Morning America – check out the article there too)

So good luck next time you are out buying makeup, and beware of those little germs waiting for you to test out that new pretty color.

What do you think of GMA’s findings? Are you surprised? Not surprised? Will it make you think twice about trying on makeup in store?

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