How Not to Get Herpes from Makeup Counters

You might want to think twice before trying makeup samples.

Shopping for makeup is tricky.  How can anyone resist free samples? Naturally, most of us will be tempted to try all the different hues to see which suits us best.

But be wary, Cosmo girls. As fun as it is to try makeup samples, it is also very dangerous. Think about it: when you use makeup testers from department stores, you’re basically sharing makeup with a bunch of strangers. Some of these testers may have also been on display for quite some time, causing bacteria to grow in them.

CBS News has reported that a 28-year-old woman from Harlem has filed a lawsuit against MAC Cosmetics for allegedly offering her a contaminated sample of RiRi Woo (Rihanna’s lipstick line). Two days after trying the lipstick, the woman’s lips began to swell and after having it checked by a doctor, she learned that she had contracted herpes. Though it has yet to be proven if the MAC lipstick is the real cause of the disease, the possibility of contaminating herpes or other bacteria like strep and E. coli via shared makeup is highly probable.

According to Beverly Hills dermatologist Dr. Zein Obagi, sharing makeup can cause cold sores and pink eye. He shares via LA Times, "If a woman has a cut on her lip and borrows lipstick from someone who has a cold sore, she'll get a cold sore.”

Dr. Elizabeth Brooks, a biological sciences professor at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, adds, "Wherever you see E. coli, you should just think 'E. coli equals feces.' That means someone went to the bathroom, didn't wash their hands and then stuck their fingers in that moisturizer.”

Grossed out yet? Don’t worry ladies, we got you covered. We rounded up some tips to prevent contamination from sharing makeup:

1. Dr. Brooks suggests that you request for disposable applicators from makeup retailers to prevent spreading bacteria. Wiping the lipstick or even disinfecting it with alcohol is not enough.

2. Don’t use the testers on display. Ask the salesperson for a new tester (they usually keep them in stock behind the counter).

3. Only try single-use samples which are individually packed.

4. Bring your own makeup brushes.

5. Avoid sharing your personal makeup with others (your girlfriends will understand!)

Sources:, Yahoo! Shine

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