I've always been wary of using make-up and skin care samples from cosmetic counters. The idea of testing something that so many other people have used just grosses me out. That's why I love the Shiseido store near our place because they are just so liberal with their samples that are packaged in such cute little containers that I can bring home. No shared pots, compacts, lipstick tubes or whatever. I usually buy one thing, and I get a bagful of samples enough to last me weeks! I'm also amazed at how Sephora here is so generous with their throw-away make-up applicators, removers and tissues. These are just on stand-by ready to be used, without having to ask a sales associate for a single-use sponge, mascara wand or eyeshadow applicator.
Turns out it pays to err on the side of paranoia. Especially since testers and make-up counters harbor germs - "from the type of staph bacteria found on doorknobs to E. coli, a fecal bacteria transmitted via contaminated hands", according to an article by Wendy Korn for prevention.com. Eeeww!
So, how do we make sure we do not get the short end of the (lip)stick when we're out to stock up on make-up and skin care supplies? Here are some tips and reminders from make-up hygiene advocate Sydney Go...
1. Remember, you can get warts, skin irritations, herpes, or eye infections from contaminated make-up.
2. Samples in cosmetic counters are generally safe to use if ALL consumers use disposable sponges/brushes. If someone uses the sponge with the powder, and you use the same powder with a different sponge, it's still not that safe. But if from the beginning, the beauty associate uses new sponges, then definitely it lessens the chances of contamination.
WIth other cosmetic applicators, keep this in mind:
- With mascara brush, NO disposable brush or even the same tube brush should be pumped TWICE into the tube. If you need to pump again, use another disposable brush.
- With lipstick, it's better to use a lip brush (than swipe it directly on your lips), we don't know if a previous user has herpes (which btw, if one has it, it dies down but sometimes it can erupt again).
- With lipglosses, it's the same idea as liptsicks.
- It is safest NOT to share your cosmetics with other people.
3. For makeovers, check with the make-up artist if they have their own set of makeup brush tools which should at least be cleaned with a cosmetic brush cleaner (every week for general cleaning. every after use for sanitation).
4. Be aware that there are some cosmetic counters/spas who reuse make up sponges/facial sponges/applicators. We as customers should be more active in demanding single-use sponges and applicators. According to Sydney, "Some brands say --the consumers don't ask for it, so they don't give new ones. It's a sad state."
4. To stress further, be sure to be active in demanding for what you deserve especially if the brand you're buying is not cheap and they can surely afford to give you a clean sponge, etc. For salons and spas, there are other items which may be reused. It's best to be vigilant and finicky about the items used on you especially the ones used closest to your skin and face and other body parts. Make sure the machines, equipment etc are sterilized to kill the bad bacteria.
Oh, and since we are on the subject of hygiene, here's a latest discovery - the Sevà Mat and Towel Refresher that is perfect for gym rats, boxing enthusiasts and yoga (especially bikram yoga) addicts!
This refresher spray was created to be applied onto mats, towels and clothing that are often soaked by heavy sweating (just what I needed when I was doing Bikram yoga, my yoga mat had to be air dried after each use because I would drip buckets of sweat and the towel on top always got soaked through!). Hygienic, environment-friendly and non-toxic, it is safe to spray on children's clothing, an exercise towel, or even your kitchen towel. Not only does this refresher spray kill unwanted dirt and bacteria, its squeaky clean lemon scent gives off a freshly laundered smell.
To use: Just spray on the area you want, and leave it to air dry after each washing. You may spray on mats and towels before and after each use. For clothing, spray before wearing clothes for your daily exercise.
Available for Php350 per bottle at:
Aura Athletica Power Plant Mall
Certified Calm at Shangri-la Plaza,
Pulse Yoga Greenhills (02) 721 7900
Pulse Yoga Makati (02) 468 4165.
For those abroad interested in getting the Seva Mat & Towel refresher, you may email Sydney at firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire about shipping costs to your country.