The beauty of department store cosmetic counters is the opportunity to test before you buy. The not-so-pretty downside is the potential to catch something — including the flu or a fungal infection.
Consider the scenario Dr. Torres describes: "You go to one of these places, and they are asking you to try lipstick. Well, how do you know that a woman with a cold sore wasn't in front of you testing it? She applies it, and then the virus that causes the cold sore gets into the product. Then you come next, and you try it, and that will pass the virus directly to your mouth."
But Dr. Wu adds that it is perfectly okay to ask the sales associate to open a new tester for you, especially if it's a lip or eye product. "If that's not possible, check to see whether fresh applicators are used for each customer," Dr. Wu says. Otherwise, she suggests twisting the lipstick up and taking a sample from the side of it with an applicator, rather than from the top.
Photo Credit: Daily Glow