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How to sample lipstick without swiping loads of bacteria onto your face


Bacteria-free way to sample lipstick at stores Pin It
Photo: Stocksy/Studio Firma

Admit it: You’ve totally walked into Sephora wearing nothing but your natural skin but emerged with a face full of makeup—perfect pout and all! It’s probably thanks to the countless samples and tester tubes literally meant for you to try. The only issue? Well, sorry to freak you out, but you probably also left the store with loads of bacteria on your face, and that’s not a cute look on anyone.

It might seem safe to test out makeup at beauty-products stores because of all the disposable wands, spoolies, and cotton swabs available for that exact use. Well, unfortunately not everything is always sanitized properly by the staff, and not all customers abide by the unwritten rules of makeup testing, which could contaminate the makeup and leave you with an infection.

“Lipsticks, balms, and highlighting sticks are a bit trickier, as their emollient surfaces trap germs. You’re just putting your own clean applicator right into a potentially germ-infested product and applying it straight to your lips and eyes.” —Susie Sobol, professional makeup artist

The dirtiest culprits? Well, anything moist is the worst in terms of bacteria (think lipstick, foundation, mascara). There’s a good chance that at some point, a customer used the tester tube of lipstick directly on their lips (or double-dipped the applicator) and created a whole colony of bacteria on it in the process.

“Lipsticks, balms, and highlighting sticks are a bit trickier, as their emollient surfaces trap germs,” professional makeup artist Susie Sobol told Allure. “You’re just putting your own clean applicator right into a potentially germ-infested product and applying it straight to your lips and eyes.”

“Try on the palm, not on the back of your hand, as the palm resembles your lip color more than back of your hand.” —Ginger King, cosmetic chemist

So what’s a girl to do? Obviously testing makeup is a must—especially if you’re trying to decide what to buy between a few pricey items. And there’s a hack that can help you get the job done safely: Use your palm instead of your face. “Try on the palm, not on the back of your hand, as the palm resembles your lip color more than back of your hand,” cosmetic chemist Ginger King told Allure.

By using this simple trick, you’ll avoid swiping potentially harmful bacteria all over your face and still find a shade that suits you best. Unless you somehow luck out and are the first beauty babe to use a brand-new tester, don’t trust any samples to be germ-free.

Here’s the easiest way to take off your makeup, according to a dermatologist. Also, take a look at the three things in your makeup bag that you should throw away ASAP.