Yikes! We've been doing this entirely wrong for years.

Perri Ormont Blumberg
February 14, 2018

Testing makeup can be an important part of the "Is this the look I'm going for at Easter dinner" process. But glamming yourself up with a smoky cat's eye or a layer of gloss can also be a landmine for exposing yourself to bacteria like E. coli and other ickiness. Sue Katz, Co-Founder of AMAZINGCOSMETICS, weighs in with four handy guidelines for next time you pucker up.

1. Check the counters for these three things.

"All makeup counters should be supplied with clean throw away applicators, tissue and alcohol spray," offers Katz. "If those items are not around, it’s best to only try on your hand." Or better yet, take your business to a store that values its clients' safety.

2. Follow this technique when trying on lipstick.

Lipstick is a Southern gal's best friend, but it's important to be sanitary when trying out a shade at the makeup store. "The best way to try on a lipstick is to use a new scraper and take a little off the side of the lipstick that hasn't been used, then use your finger to apply to your lips," advises Katz. "Never apply a liquid lipstick or lip gloss tester that’s been sitting on the unit. Test the shade on the back of your hand. We break off the doe foot [the spongy-tipped applicators] here in our studio and use a new clean applicator with each test-run."

3. Don't apply liquid eye liners to your eyes.

Bacteria central, y'all. "Just avoid the testers all-together on your eyes, and try them on the back of your hand instead," notes Katz. "For eyeliner pencils, sharpen and wipe off with alcohol before applying."

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4. Never, ever use a mascara tester that’s been sitting out. 

Did we mention we mean never, ladies? "The only way to ensure there hasn't been any contamination is to use a new mascara tester that has never had any double-dipping," cautions Katz. Beware: Even then, however, there's the potential someone double-dipped the disposable wand when adding an extra layer of product. Don't be shy about asking for a new tester, nine out of 10 times, a store will oblige, beauty expert Susie Sobol tells Allure.

Mental note to self: Print this piece and tuck into our purse for safe-keeping.