Last August, when my blog was new, I wrote about the danger of using store testers. Please read that post. Nothing has changed - except that the issue is receiving more publicity.
I just listened to a feature on our NBC4 Washington, D.C. station called The Dirty Truth. That prompted me to write again. I want you beauties to stay beautiful without risk. If you are squeamish, you might want to stop reading now.
Dr. Elizabeth Baker studied bacteria counts on store testers. On certain days she tested, every single blusher, eye product, powder, and lip product she studied was contaminated with E. coli - every single one! She said the source of the E. coli is fecal matter and that it is on customers' hands because they don't wash them after using the restroom. She believed that if she had studied the samples for herpes and hepatitis, she would have found the same results.
Dr. Baker said the E. coli is unlikely to poison you and make you sick. It can, however, cause bacterial infections and acne breakouts. She said that you should assume that the person standing next to you has not washed her hands after using the toilet, and she advised that you never use testers near your eyes or lips. Assume they are infected.
The worst days of the week for dirty testers? Weekends when tester use is high. While stores try hard to constrain customers, they just can't keep their eyes on them at all times (again, please read my post from last August). One store owner reported a customer trying to use lip testers with an active, weeping cold sore (herpes).
Since I watched this news feature while eating, I found it pretty disgusting. I am already a tester phobe. I won't use lip testers at all - ever. I am really careful about eye testers. I won't use mascara testers - ever. Last week at Saks, Loyd pulled out a brand new eye pencil tester because he knows I am a germ phobe.
If you must try on eye and lip products in the store, try to minimize the risk. Ask the person behind the counter if he or she can open a new tester; make sure that brushes and lip products are cleaned with an alcohol sanitizing product after each use; and wash your face as soon as you get home. Better yet, test them on your arm and make sure to remove the product thoroughly before you leave.
I think it's important that makeup lovers weigh the risks against the rewards when shopping. Do you use testers? Will you think twice?
Photo courtesy of the LA Times