Undercover Video Finds What Is Really Lurking Inside Major Retailer’s Makeup Testers

Undercover Video Finds What Is Really Lurking Inside Major Retailer’s Makeup Testers
Undercover Video Finds What Is Really Lurking Inside Major Retailer’s Makeup Testers


Splashed on the news sites last year was the story about a
woman who claimed to have contracted the herpes virus from a Sephora makeup
tester. When the story went viral, consumers everywhere seemed to unanimously
agree that the practice of using makeup testers in the store was pretty gross
to begin with. The take away from that story is that most of us don’t trust
that the testers are sanitized the way they should be and many don’t feel the
risk is worth the reward. Now, a new investigative report conducted by Canadian
Broadcast Channel’s Marketplace confirms
what we already know, those testers are a treasure trove of bacteria and

In the video, producers for the show visit retail stores in
Toronto like Sephora, MAC Cosmetics, The Body Shop and a Canadian retail drugstore
called Shopper’s Drug Mart. After obtaining samples from testers in each store,
they had them analyzed by University of Guelph microbiologist Keith Warriner, who says trying on used makeup is a big risk on sensitive areas like the eyes, lips
and skin.

You May Also Like: Sephora Is Being Sued For Allegedly Giving a Customer Oral Herpes Via a Lipstick Sample

What Warriner found in the samples was strong data that will
make anyone think twice before swiping on a tester of the latest lip gloss or
buffing on a new shade of blush at the makeup counter. The Sephora testers
showed traces of eight different types of Staphylococcus aureus bacteria,
five types of mold and yeast. At Mac they found three types of Staphylococcus
 bacteria, four types of mould and yeast as well.

The other retail stores had similar results despite the
presence of alcohol and tissues available to wipe the tester samples. "I
was really surprised by how much contamination was out there ... it's more
worrying than I thought," said Warriner. "If they do sanitize these,
it's not so effective, is it?"

Louisville, KY dermatologist Tami Buss Cassis, MD says
avoiding dirty makeup testers is more than just about avoiding germs, it’s also
key to avoiding a serious infection. “If you come into contact with
staphylococcus bacteria or fungus you are at risk for developing an infection,”
she says. “If severe enough it can require a trip to the doctor for an
antibacterial or antifungal, but more specifically you could develop an abscess
on your skin which could require drainage, oral and topical antibiotics.”

If watching the investigative video is not enough of a
precaution to keep you away from dirty testers for good, Dr. Cassis advises
being extremely cautious if you absolutely must try on the lipstick, eyeshadow
or blush before committing to the purchase.  “If you must test, make sure the tester is
sealed, use an individual one-time use applicator and put on the back of your
hand,” she advises. “The best option is to purchase a new tube and just know
what the return policy at the store is. At the very least, think of what
the cost of a trip to the doctor and medications will cost you the next time you
step up to the trial counter.” 



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