The one rule everyone needs to follow when trying on makeup.

Thanks to our brand partner, Wonder

After reports that a Californian woman is suing a makeup store for allegedly giving her herpes from a tester lipstick, a debate has erupted. Is it problematic to try makeup testers directly on your face?

“It’s 11/10, very problematic,” Mamamia Out Loud co-host Jessie Stephens concluded on the podcast this week.

Given you don’t know who or where those testers have been, it’s surely common sense that it’s not the wisest idea to put it directly on the most sensitive part of your face. After all, you wouldn’t pick up any other personal products that were left out in a public space and put them on yourself.

Listen: Is it problematic to try on lipstick in a store? Jessie thinks so, Mia doesn’t. Post continues after audio.

However that does make it difficult to get an idea of what makeup will look like before you buy it. And with many expensive products on the market, purchasing blind isn’t always an option.

So how can you test makeup without risking your health? And what are stores doing to make it easier?

The biggest rule is simple: keep any foreign object that is accessibly by multiple people or that you do not own AWAY from your eyes and lips.

It’s something makeup stores take very seriously.

Image: iStock

"We never allow customers to apply any products/testers directly to their face, especially if they haven’t been sterilised," Jacob Stanley, Head of Education at MECCA told Mamamia.

"Instead, our store hosts use disposable applicators such as sponges, lip wands and mascara wands to test products on our customers. We even use disposable spatulas for any products like moisturiser and lip balms that are contained within a jar."

He also said the brand has a strict hygiene protocol that requires all of their store hosts to sanitise their hands and tools before touching any customer's skin.

"We use pure alcohol to sterilise all of our testures. We are also constantly ordering new testers to replace any that have been well loved," he says.

"This ensures we are providing the most hygienic environment possible for our customers to test products safely before they commit to purchasing."

Listen: The full episode of Mamamia Out Loud. Post continues after audio.

However, if you're one of those people who prefer as little human contact during shopping, there are options for you too.

Use a spray or tissue (usually found near the mirrors or makeup counters in store) to clean any products before you swatch or even take a small bottle of rubbing alcohol in your bag if you know you're going makeup shopping. Just spritz on a tissue and wipe the top of the product clean. Stores will also usually supply disposable mascara wands and lip applicators.

Sharpening products like eyeliners and lip liners can also help sanitise them by removing the layer that could have been exposed to other people. There's no guarantee it's completely safe though.

In terms of foundation, Stanley advises at least doing a patch test (foundations in pump bottles are generally preserved well and safer from bacteria).

"We always recommend testing a foundation before buying it at MECCA. There are two ways you can do this, either with a patch test, whereby we test the colour on a patch of skin, or alternatively we can do a full face of foundation. We always recommend testing the shade in the natural light, this gives you the best indication of colour," he says.

This content was created with thanks to our brand partner Wonder.

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