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How to Sample Makeup Without Catching Something Gross

You want to test out a makeup product before you spend loads of money purchasing it, but how can you use the tester at the store without catching something gross?

First, let’s get real about makeup testers at the stores, this environment can easily spread infections and viruses, and dermatologist Dr. Zein Obagi gave us all a reminder of just how gross these samples can be when they told Los Angeles 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. You can pass herpes [the cold sore virus], conjunctivitis [pink eye] and all sorts of things through sharing makeup.” Now, that warning is just for you and your friends, but can you imagine how much more likely you are to pick up some virus when this makeup is being shared between thousands of women?

It’s important to practice common sense around these testers, and below are some tips which can help you avoid something gross. Remember to never (and I repeat never) put the makeup directly on your skin. First, use an alcohol swab to clean it and then a little disposable sponge or cotton bud to apply (some stores will have these on hand, but you can always bring them with you in your purse if you know you’re going to be testing makeup).

If there is an open foundation or lipstick, don’t apply it directly to your face but rather put a little bit on your hand or your neck, and then wipe it off after. This should still give you an indication of what the color is like, without the risk of spreading an infection.

Never apply makeup to your raw skin or open wounds, as that is just opening yourself up to infections.

Try to only use makeup from makeup counters that are being supervised by the staff. Most staff make an effort to keep makeup stands as clean as possible, but if you go into a big department store where the makeup has no makeup artist anywhere in sight then this can be harder to monitor and keep clean.

Ask makeup artists for samples. Some of the bigger makeup brands will apply the makeup on your directly, or give you mini tester samples to take home with you.

[Image via Shutterstock]

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