The Testers At Your Favorite Makeup Counter Are Scary Dirty

how dirty are the testers at makeup counters


How many times have you wandered past the makeup counters at Sephora, Ulta or your favorite department store and felt tempted to try all of the goodies on display? Yeah, we have that urge approximately 100 percent of the time. But then we take one glance at those testers and think to ourselves, “This probably isn’t the best idea.”

It turns out we should stick with our gut here. Makeup testers are disgusting breeding grounds for all kinds of germs and bacteria that can make you hellishly sick. No matter where you shop and how meticulous the cleaning regulations of that particular store are, dozens (if not hundreds) of different people touch those makeup samples every day. And a lot of those people use their fingers on the lipsticks, foundations, eye shadows and more rather than snagging a Q-tip out of the hygienic testing jar. And a lot of those people don’t wash their hands after going to the bathroom, sneezing, touching public transportation handles and more.

It’s not uncommon for staph bacteria and E. coli to lurk on these “Try me!” cosmetics. What’s worse, these are the culprits behind many major eye and skin infections. Want to try that new mascara with a side of pink eye? We didn’t think so.

how dirty are the testers at makeup counters

Our best advice: Assume that all testers in all cosmetic counters are germ factories and avoid them. But if you must see how that shade of lip gloss works for your complexion, tab a little bit on the back of your hand and then immediately reach for the pocket-sized hand sanitizer waiting inside your purse. If you put tester products near your eyes and mouth, you’re just asking for trouble. So don’t go there, okay?

Oh, and if the testers are this bad, we don’t even want to know about the risk we run with the previously touched makeup and application brushes that in-house makeup artists use when you pay to get your makeup done for an event. We hope with every fiber of our beings that they wash their brushes thoroughly and constantly, but even so, you can never be too safe.

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