Wednesday, 2 March 2011

How Clean Is Your Makeup?

I was reading an article yesterday about ‘beauty beasts’. Basically it was about microscopic bugs that live in your makeup sponges, brushes, mascara wands etc and cause rashes and eye infections – yuck! The worst culprits for gathering germs and bacteria seemed to be products you use on your eyes – eye pencils, liquid liners, eyeshadow and mascara; I bet you all use these products daily, I know I certainly do!

I probably wouldn’t have given this article a second thought as personally I am pretty hygienic with my makeup; my brushes get washed, I never share makeup and I always replace old products before they can start causing problems.

So what has made me write about this now?

I was browsing around Boots the other day in my lunch hour and I saw something that made me shudder. A girl was looking at the Bourjois makeup, in particular the eyeshadows. As you probably know, the Bourjois eyeshadows come in the little round pots with an applicator sitting on top of the shadow. Anyway, she opened one of the pots and the applicator fell out and onto the floor. So what did she do? Picked up the applicator, put it back and replaced the eyeshadow. Cringe! Think of all the people who have walked over that floor, all the dust that has gathered etc. I do feel sorry for the person next person who comes along and purchases that particular product!

Anyway, it did get me thinking about the way makeup in shops is packaged. Very rarely do you get a product that has been security protected or given a plastic seal to prevent it from being opened before it has been purchased.

I popped to Boots on my lunch hour today just to double check that this is the case, and the worst offenders in my towns branch were No 7 and Collection 2000 with pretty much nothing sealed up.
 Other brands like Bourjois, L'Oreal, Max Factor, Maybelline and 17 have some of their products sealed but I still noticed some mascaras, lipsticks/glosses, blushers, eyeshadows, foundations and concealers with no seals at all.
Revlon and Barry M however had everything sealed up so it's good to know that at least some of my makeup has been previously untouched!

How often do you see people taking a mascara wand out to look at it, apply lipstick or gloss actually on their lips, or rub their fingers over a blusher/eyeshadow/concealer etc?

 I know tester products are put out but sometimes they just look so disgusting, that people resort to opening new products and testing those instead, and the icky thing is they don’t always buy them after! So you could very well be buying something that someone has already had their hands on, and has been exposed to the air and all sorts of bugs and germs which then find their way onto your face.  

I'm not saying I’m completely innocent here – I admit I’ve been guilty in the past of opening a ‘real’ product to check, either because the tester was missing or just looked too horrible to touch. I just think that since I've been getting more into makeup, beauty and blogging, I’ve become more aware of the problem and I now avoid doing this.

So what’s the solution?

Buying makeup online? Keep makeup behind a glass display like perfume? Obviously I’m not business minded so I don’t know the costs it would incur companies to put a seal on every single piece of their makeup, and then the knock-on effect of makeup prices for the customer. There’s also the environment to think about but I think people are more educated about recycling these days (I like to think so anyway) so the plastic seals/wrappers could just be recycled and reused.

Am I just being too squeamish about the whole thing, or would anyone else like to see better protection around their makeup?

I’ve love to know your thoughts on this!

*photos from


  1. Its funny because I never really thought about this either, but the other day I saw a girl in Boots open a New lipgloss that was obviously not properly sealed and try it on her lips then put it back in with the others! Eekk! I was tempted to say something but I am not the kind of person to have ago at someone, I shy away and am very polite even if someone else is in the wrong. But yeah I have really started thinking about this and think ALL products should be properly sealed so you know for a fact whether or not its been 'handled'. Excellent post hun.

  2. Oh God, that eyeshadow story just made me squirm! The number of times I've seen girls use tester lipstick on their lips makes me kind of uncomfortable too - it seems like the fastest way to pick up someone else's cold sore.

    I agree with you on the packaging thing, though. Products should be sealed, full stop. Even if it's just a bit of bloody sticky tape round the edges! I like the way Maybelline seem to be packaging their mascaras in blister packs now, at least you know that no-one's had a go with them! xx

  3. I loved this post. I rarely think of opening a product that is not seal before buying it to see if it has been used. However, I would never. try lipstick or something on my face! That is disgusting.

  4. The worst I've seen is a girl going from stand to stand literally doing her full face of make up - mascara, lippie, eyeliner - the works! I didn't say anything to her (but did dob her into a member of staff!)

  5. I'm always a little wary about tester products but it really annoys me when products are not sealed. The amount of times I've gone to purchase something from a drugstore brand, checked it and found that someone had used it's such an awful thing to do - you wouldn't just take a bite out of some food in a supermarket and then put it back on the shelf! x

  6. Great post! I agree with you that products should be properly sealed.

  7. I sometimes even see sales assistants applying a full face of makeup. I'm like 'how do they not care about hygiene?' I don't like to put any makeup anywhere except my hand, even at mac. It just seems icky. And honestly, I think it's just SO RUDE and selfish of people to open up and try products that are obviously not testers! It's a beauty store pet peeve of mine. Over here, pretty much everything is sealed because people just don't care. They think they have the right to just open whatever they want. Everything has tape on it!

  8. I'm glad you all liked the post ladies, happy it's not just me who thinks it's icky!

  9. ugh I saw people in Superdrug doing this with 'reduced price' items. And the sad bit is, they just didnt care.

  10. Ugh, it makes me sick to think about how some people does that. No offense, but to open a brand new product, test it and then put it back so that an unfortunate and unsuspecting person can buy the very same product... Disgusting :( They really should think about other people before doing such things. Products should be sealed properly, and if they aren't, i tend to reach as far back as i can to get one that hasn't been opened.


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