The Ugly Truth About Makeup Counters


Image from beautyhigh.com

Makeup counters are hard to ignore. With an array of eye-catching colors and potential purchases, they are designed to draw the customer in, but a new study may have ladies thinking twice before they dare to test out in-store samples.

The New York University Microbiology department recently teamed up with Good Morning America to conduct an undercover experiment that produced alarming results. They found that lip glosses and mascara samples are not the only things women could be applying to their faces. The study, which was conducted in 10 stores throughout 2 different states, revealed that 1 in 5 makeup counter products are contaminated with yeast, mold, dangerous bacteria, and even fecal matter! Applying a sample that unsanitary can lead to infections, rashes, break-outs, and illnesses.  Most people do not take into consideration just how many people have come before them and used the exact same samples.

There is nothing wrong with going the extra mile when it comes to safety and health, so don’t be hesitant to ask the beauty associate at the makeup counter to ensure the products are not contaminated.  The study found that brushes and foundation samples had the highest levels of bacteria, so when at the makeup counter women should request that the associate thoroughly cleans the brushes in front of them so that they can be positive they aren’t using a potentially harmful beauty tool.

Dr. Philip Tierno of NYU’s Langone Medical Center insists, “You don’t have to panic. You just have to realize that if you have an open cut, you might not want to go that route of using makeup that has been used by other people before you.” While his advice is appreciated, open wound or not, the uncleanliness of the makeup samples and the possible dangers that could be lurking on them is enough to make me stay away. If avoiding the makeup counter is impossible, then there is a list of recommendations provided by GMA to help women stay safe when trying out new products. The tips are as follows:

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 eye shadow 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.

While makeup counter samples are convenient and prevent the customer from possibly making a bad purchase, it is important to keep in mind the dangers of unsanitary products and to put health and safety before beauty.

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