Read This Before You Use That Makeup Tester

Before you grab that lipstick or eye shadow tester at the cosmetics counter to try it on your hand, you may want to keep reading. That’s because a new study of cosmetic testers found that 40 percent contained Staphylococcus aureus.

As if that wasn’t alarming enough, the study found that 28 percent of the testers at cosmetics counters contained mold spores. While most of the cosmetics contain alcohol and preservatives, these ingredients simply weren’t enough to keep the bacteria and mold away.

Representatives from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s (CBC) consumer protection show Marketplace swabbed 60 of eye shadow, mascara, lip gloss, lipstick and cream blush from The Body Shop, Sephora, MAC and Shopper’s Drug Mart and sent them for independent laboratory testing at the University of Guelph in Guelph, Ontario, Canada. That’s when the consumer advocates found that many of the cosmetics were contaminated with bacteria and mold.

While Staphylococcus aureus is found on many peoples’ skin, those who have it are perfectly fine when they come in contact with a lipstick or a cream blush when they are the only ones using it. But problems can arise when we come into contact with other strains of S. aureus that we’re not accustomed to. And, sadly, sometimes S. aureus morphs into the antibiotic resistant infection we hear about so often in the news these days—the one that is often behind cases of serious illnesses like MRSA.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m not suggesting that everyone who tries cosmetic testers will develop MRSA, that’s unlikely, but the fact remains that when such a high percentage of the cosmetics tested contained S. aureus and mold, we need to rethink the idea of using cosmetic testers that other people share. Let’s face it: you probably wouldn’t brush your teeth with a used toothbrush in a store, if such a thing existed, but they don’t exist because most people figure out that that’s an absolutely revolting thought. Yet, unsuspecting people use cosmetics testers everyday and probably assume that if it were harmful the government wouldn’t allow the practice to continue, which clearly isn’t true.

In an interview with CBC, the microbiologist from the University of Guelph who conducted the tests said: “We’re used to our own micro flora, but other people’s, that’s when things start going wrong,” He added: “If I had a lipstick and I put it on every day, I’d probably be good … but if I started sharing it, they’re introducing new strains which my body’s not adjusted to.”

So, what is the solution to the problem? Well, there are probably a few:

1)     Trier Beware: There is no good way to know whether you’ll be exposing yourself to harmful bacteria and mold on cosmetics testers so it’s best to stop using testers altogether.

2)     Cosmetics Companies Need to Create Individual Sample Sizes: Many companies are creating hygienic individually-sealed samples that consumers can try without risk to their health. They often charge a small fee for them but that fee is worth it to avoid any health risks.

3)     Write to Your Favorite Cosmetics Companies: If they don’t create individually-sealed samples, as them to start doing so. If they charge for them, ask the companies to make this option free in lieu of the unhygienic practice of offering testers at cosmetics counters.

Related Stories:


Dr. Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, DNM is the publisher of the free e-news World’s Healthiest News, the Cultured Cook, president of ScentsationalWellness, and an international best-selling and 20-time published book author whose works include: The Life Force Diet: 3 Weeks to Supercharge Your Health and Get Slim with Enzyme-Rich Foods.


Dennis Hall
Dennis Hall3 months ago


Marie W
Marie W4 months ago

thanks for sharing

Marija M
Marija M6 months ago

I do nt use that...

Cindy S
Cindy Smith7 months ago

I buy low cost make up that do not have testers,lol

Margie FOURIE8 months ago

Dont use testers

Olivia M
Olivia M8 months ago

thank you

Megan S
Megan S9 months ago

I have a friend who applies lipstick testers directly to her lips - eww

One Heart i
One Heart inc9 months ago


Angela K
Angela K9 months ago

thank you for posting

Angela J
Angela J9 months ago