Safe makeup is your application safe?

Are you getting a safe makeup application?

When I was little my mother always told me not to ever sample the makeup at the mall because it was loaded with germs. She said I might catch something horrible. I thought my mom was just being overly-cautious, maybe even a bit paranoid. It turns out mom was right all along.

What tests showed…

A 2004 study of test products at cosmetics counters revealed most of the testers were tainted. The study, by biological scientist Dr. Elizabeth Brooks, sampled products in twenty New Jersey department stores, specialty stores, and drugstores. The researchers found all sorts of bacteria and viruses: staph, strep, Norovirus, conjunctivitis, various strains of herpes, even E. coli.

Dr. Brooks says “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.” We’ve all seen people use their fingers, perhaps even done it ourselves. Fingers directly into pots and jars, swiping sample lipstick straight from the tube onto lips.

Good safe makeup news…

This doesn’t mean we have to seal ourselves in a sterile bubble and never try on makeup again. Our skin is a near-perfect barrier. It keeps the inside in and the outside out. But our faces are more vulnerable to germs. We have openings into the body via our eyes, nose, and mouth. Of course, these areas are where we all like to apply makeup.

There are some common sense ways to prevent taking home a rosy shade of pink eye. One of the best ways to avoid contaminated makeup is to seek out a professional makeup artist at your local spa or salon. There may be a nominal cost for their services but there are rewards. You’ll get high-quality makeup and personalized expert service. You may also pick up some new application and color tips. License professionals must follow sanitation and infection control standards. Here’s how you know those standards are being followed for a safe makeup application.

Safe makeup standards:

  • First, take a quick look around the makeup area. Is the display area clean and tidy? Do the products look and smell fresh?
  • Before a makeup artist works on you, he or she will wash or sanitize their hands.
  • Brushes will be clean and disinfected between clients
  • A makeup artist never takes product directly from the container and applies to your face.  The makeup is decanted onto a palette or a piece of tissue to avoid cross-contamination.
  • There should be liberal use of disposable brushes, applicators, and sponges. They should never be double-dipped.
  • The most important disposable applicator is the mascara wand. Each disposable wand should only be used once.
  • To avoid contamination, the artist should never blow on or lick the brushes, or use spittle to smudge or remove makeup.

In the future, if you need to run to the mall to pick up items at the cosmetics counter. Try out products the smart way. Use swabs or other applicators, not your fingers to pick up the product.  Use the back of your hand, not your face, to test makeup. The inside of your wrist is a good color match to your face. Finish your browsing with a generous helping of hand sanitizer and you can walk away with a clear mind and clean hands. Your immune system will thank you.