When shopping for cosmetics, it’s fun and helpful to try product samples in the stores, but publicly shared samples are a health risk.
Recently NBC News investigated makeup samples/testers available in many stores. These include eye shadow, mascara, lipstick, and others. Samples were gathered using sterile swabs, and most showed harmful bacteria. The bacteria included Staphylococcus aureus, (“staph”) which infects the skin and often causes abscesses. Also found in a similar 2005 study were strep and pinkeye bacteria. Even higher in the “yuck” category, some cosmetic samples in both studies showed E. coli and Klebsiella pneumoniae, which are typically found in fecal material.
Common sense may tell you that using lipstick or other makeup previously used by strangers is an invitation to germs. Ask a sales person if individual samples are available. Also, many stores are willing to give a refund or store credit for cosmetics the customer bought but didn’t like. When purchasing makeup, check carefully that the package seals are intact. And don’t be That Person who opens makeup containers in the store, samples, and then puts the package back on the shelf.
For additional information on cosmetics safety, contact the US Food and Drug Administration at 888-463-6332.