Every day we use a dozen or more products in the pursuit of beauty (or, let’s face it, just trying to look like we got more sleep than we did). In fact our pursuit of looking well rested, beautiful, or younger is a $30 billion dollar industry. But there are dangers lurking on the road to looking good. Here’s your road map to 3 biggies to avoid.
Risk #1: The Bacteria Buffet at the Makeup Counter
Few things are as glamorous as the gleaming cosmetics section in a big department store, packed with fresh-faced clerks in chic, tidy outfits. But, don’t be fooled by appearances. The tubes, containers, and bottles they are beckoning you to sample are filled with the bacteria of the shoppers who came before you. Those shiny testers are touched by hundreds of women who may harbor pink eye, herpes, a cold or flu, or simply hands that weren’t washed after going to the bathroom.
What You Should Know
A 2-year study of germs at the makeup counter found that 100% of samples were contaminated with bacteria such as staphylococcus aureus, strep and E. Coli (yes, the poop germ). And it didn’t matter if the store was on Fifth Avenue or Main Street.
What You Can Do
- Employ single-use applicators for anything that will touch your eyes, nose or mouth. On lipsticks, swipe the swab or applicator on the side of the tube, not the top (which everyone else has been touching). With lip-gloss, squeeze a little out and discard, then use the applicator to apply.
- Disinfect lipsticks, pencils, and brushes with spray alcohol (ask the clerk to use theirs or bring your own). Use a Kleenex to scrape the top layer off eye shadows, blushes, and powders and apply with a cotton ball.
- Bring your own mascara if you’re getting a makeover at the counter.
- Avoid sampling on the weekend, when the study found the highest levels of contamination. The lowest levels were on Thursday afternoon.