Why You Shouldn't Share or Swap Makeup


Recently, I’ve noticed posts on some of the Facebook groups I belong to where women are selling or swapping ‘gently used’ makeup. When I first saw it, I brushed it off as an isolated incident. Later, I saw more posts asking if anyone was interested in buying or swapping makeup that didn’t work for them. That stopped me in my tracks. Did I miss something in my sixth grade health and hygiene class?

We’ve all bought cosmetics that didn’t work for us. You get excited seeing the product’s results in advertisements. You run out to buy the product with grand visions in your head. Only to get home, use it, and be disappointed.

Now what? You’re stuck with this product that’s useless to you. And to top it off, you’ve spent a pretty penny on it.

Trust me, I understand. But, I can say this for sure; the solution is not selling or swapping your makeup. That is the fastest way to introduce yourself to a bigger problem: trading germs.

In a past blog, I discussed the importance of throwing out and replacing your old cosmetics. This included cleaning your makeup brushes and applicators to keep your skin bacteria and fungus free.1 Think about it – if you go through those precautions to protect yourself from your own germs, you definitely should not use someone else’s makeup.

Beware of Beauty Counters

Beware of makeup testers at beauty counters. They have been found to harbor staph (can cause skin infections), strep (a bacteria that causes strep throat), and E. coli (an indicator of fecal pollution).2 To ensure your safety, use disposable applicators for lipstick, mascara, foundation and blush.

Professional Makeup Services

When you have your makeup professionally applied, ask the makeup artist how often are his/her brushes cleaned. The appropriate response is, “After each client.” If they answer otherwise, politely decline the service. Makeup artists should also use disposable applicators for lips and eyes.

Two Major Diseases from Sharing Makeup

Lips – herpes simplex virus. Usually, people with herpes develop cold sores around the mouth and lips.3 Well that’s not always true. You can contract herpes from a person even if there are no visible signs of cold sores. Keep in mind that there are no cures for herpes, so you keep the virus for life.

Eyes – conjunctivitis, also known as pink eye. I think it’s pretty safe to say that everyone knows that pink eye is highly contagious. If you’ve never suffered from the red, itchy, gunky effects of pink eye, count yourself lucky. Don’t risk it by sharing eye makeup.

Although this may seem like common knowledge, sometimes we need a gentle reminder about our cosmetic hygiene. This is one area where it’s not good to share. And yes, this includes your best friend and your sister. Let’s keep sharing to good times, fond memories, and decadent desserts.