Home Beauty Are Second Hand Cosmetics Safe To Use?

Are Second Hand Cosmetics Safe To Use?

Sure, thrifting is cool, but the trend has made its way to used cosmetics. Here’s why you should be careful.

Buying used things can conjure up a feeling of euphoria. You get to spend a portion of the retail price for an item you deem valuable. Sure, it may be a little worse for wear, but it’s cheap! However, now people are taking the thrift trend a little too far and applying it to makeup.

While the idea of selling your old makeup may sound like a great way to earn some extra cash, it’s not the safest of practices — at least for buyers. Still, the fact that popular websites like Mercari, Poshmark and Glambot have their own section of second hand makeup gives these purchases a sense of legitimacy and security, even though in reality, they could give you an eye infection.

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While some sites like eBay don’t sell used makeup products because of the health risks they pose, Glambot claims to check and clean all of their used products thoroughly, having each go through a five-step authentication and sanitation process. This is just a long way of saying that they wiped the products clean with some cotton swabs.

“Used cosmetics present some serious health and safety concerns because the products and applicators used to apply them often come into direct contact with the body,” explains eBay‘s makeup policy.

Photo by Joanna Malinowska via freestocks.org

Jezebel spoke with several dermatologists who had different opinions on the matter, yet most agreed that users should be wary of all second hand make up, especially those products that focus on areas near the mouth and the eyes.

“Used makeup can contain fungus or bacteria that can cause infections. This is especially an issue for makeup that comes in direct contact with the skin like applicators that touch the skin, or anything that you dip your finger into (like an open jar),” explains Jordana Mattioli, celebrity esthetician.

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Most experts also took the time to explain that makeup is generally applied in bathrooms, making it easier for these products to catch bacteria or viruses, which can survive and live in the product for long periods of time. While you might get lucky when you use a sample lipstick from a Sephora store, it’s much more likely to catch a virus or a staph infection from someone’s beloved (and well-worn) make up.

In short: don’t do it. A used mascara tube is not the same thing as a used jacket.

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