Women around the world are drawn to makeup counters for the possibility of a new and improved look.
However, upon testing that rosy blush or dark red lipstick these women may acquire a little more than a little color on their cheeks.
By standing a few hours around a popular cosmetic counter at a large department store, you can see consumers look at and touch all of the tester products.
Many of the women testing these products are nonchalant about trying these cosmetics on their bare skin.
The testers of various cosmetics like lip gloss, foundation and eyeshadow are a breeding ground for viruses that thrive in moist environments.
Hands are a hotbed for germs, making many counter visitors culprits for contamination.
Bacteria such as yeast, mold, e-coli and even fecal matter can be transferred by humans onto testers.
“I almost always use the testers at the makeup counters although I’ve heard some horror stories regarding the sanitation,” said Nicole Valdez, a 22-year-old catalogue model.
The risk of contamination poses a threat not only when consumers are applying makeup on themselves, but also when applied by counter artists.
Makeup artists tend to reuse products for all their clients, making it hard to remain sanitary from one makeover to another.
Few makeup artists are able to wash their hands between makeovers because cosmetics counters rarely have sinks, causing the bacteria and viruses to remain on the products and hands of artists throughout the day.
Esthetician Andrea Rodriguez said she recommends using a tissue to test out products.
She said due to the high amounts of bacteria, it is never a good idea to test on bare skin.
An undercover test conducted by Good Morning America found that one out of every five samples of makeup tested from ten stores across two states showed significant growth of mold, yeast or fecal matter.
Cosmetic counters may seem safe, but in the long run certain precautions are needed to remain healthy and free of viruses.
“Make sure any brushes used on your face by an artist have been sanitized and deep cleaned before you, if not you risk getting topical infections,” said Dominique Lerma, a professional makeup artist.
There are many ways to avoid the unwanted germs found on testers.
Be wary of disposable wands and open jars of lip gloss, moisturizers and foundations, shoppers may have double dipped the samples leaving behind bacteria.
These precautions may seem trivial and unnecessary, but that could not be further from the truth.
The bacteria and viruses left on the contaminated testers can cause life threatening diseases like endocarditis and sepsis, as well as minor issues like acne, rashes, pink-eye and dermatitis.
The saying goes “beauty is pain,” but it doesn’t have to be.