We tested makeup testers in stores for germs

DENVER, Colorado — You can tell Ana Rivas knows her stuff. 

"I love makeup, I'm all about it.

"I have been obsessed with makeup since I was a teenager," RIvas said.

But she's also seen some people do odd things while testing makeup at the makeup counter. 

"People coughing very long, and then putting their hands in the makeup. I don't understand why you would do that because you're obviously spreading germs." 

So just how dirty… or clean is all this?

We randomly chose four makeup counters at a big mall and swabbed samples. Then we paid to have each sample professionally tested for bacteria. 

Rivas said, "Honestly, I'm terrified to find out. I'm scared that it's going to be something worse than cold bacteria." 

The lab analyzed our samples and allowed any bacteria to grow on petri dishes. After a couple days -- put your makeup brushes down -- we got the results.

We'll spare you the scientific talk when it came to total bacteria the numbers might look big… but microbiologist Helene Ver Ecke says: we have nothing to worry about. 

"The numbers that we found are actually quite low in respect to other things that have microbes…There would be much more microbial growth on that petri dish just coming from my own hands." 

Compare the highest number we found of total bacteria -- 13,000 --  to what the FDA says might average on foods we eat. Dry cereal mixes, for example, can have up to 100,000 bacteria colonies and the FDA says it would still be safe. 

"There were no traces of coliform bacteria were are indicative of fecal matter." 

Tests showed getting sick while finding your perfect look is generally not something you need to think twice about. The bacteria here is just fine.

 "They are all over you body, inside your body, pretty much every single surface and the majority of microbes do not hurt you at all," Ver Ecke said.

Print this article Back to Top