Myth: It's Safe to Share Your Makeup

Women love to try out new products at the makeup counter, but in their efforts to look pretty, they may be dipping into something pretty ugly -- lots of bacteria

"I think the risk is real for bacterial conjunctivitis," said Rowan University biology professor Elizabeth Brooks.

She tested hundreds of makeup samples and was surprised by what she found among the different products. She said she found, "many, many colonies of staphylococcus, colonies of streptococcus, and E. coli."

E. coli is derived from fecal matter, so how did it get in the makeup?

"It's definitely the consumer here," said Brooks. "There are women out there walking around without washing their hands.

She said women should avoid trying samples on their mouth and eyes since they are points of entry for bacteria.

But if you can't resist the makeup counter follow these guidelines:

Ask for single-use samples

Have lipsticks dipped in alcohol; wiping off with a tissue isn't enough.

Avoid the makeup counter on weekends when traffic is heaviest. Brooks found 100 percent contamination on a Saturday afternoon and evening.

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