Can Your Lipstick Give You Herpes? Most Test Lipstick is Filled with Bacteria



Starkeema Greenidge is suing Makeup Artist Cosmetics (MAC) because she says that she contracted herpes from applying one of their lipsticks that was endorsed by Rihanna at one of her concerts.

Apparently Greenidge, 28, went to a MAC pop-up counter in Brooklyn, New York, where a representative applied the lipstick “RiRi Woo” to her top lip.

Greenidge said she asked the assistant if the lipstick tester was clean and the woman said that it was. The assistant then apparently told Greenidge to “press her lips together and spread the lipstick around.”

However, two days later, Greenidge went to the doctor because she had a cold sore on her lip and the doctor said she had herpes.  Greenidge, who couldn’t work for two weeks because of the infection, is now suing MAC, for emotional distress and loss of earnings.

MAC Cosmetics was founded in Toronto, Ontario, Canada by Frank Toskan and Frank Angelo in 1984. It launched its “Rihanna” lipstick in May this year.

Apparently testers are a dangerous way of trying out some new lipstick or eye shadow that you like because they could have been used by thousands of people. If a previous customer had some kind of disease and you tried the same tester afterwards, then you run the risk of catching that disease.

According to experts, more than 50 percent of all testers are contaminated with bacteria such as: staph, strep and E. coli bacteria from feces and some have the virus that causes herpes.

This means that when you try a tester you are putting yourself at risk of getting infections like pink eye, herpes or even hepatitis.

So what’s the safest way to try out a new lipstick or eye shadow?

First of all, make sure that the tester has been properly cleaned. If its lipstick, make sure it has been dipped in alcohol and the top layer has been scraped off.

For lip or eyeliners, make sure that the pencil has been sharpened, because the potential virus will be on the surface layer.

According to experts, most contamination is found on Saturdays so make sure you try it out on a weekday. Apparently the least contaminated times are Friday and Wednesday morning.

Stay away from open jars or pots that people could have put their dirty fingers in.

Unless you’re absolutely positive that the sample you’re trying is clean, always try it on the back of your hands and not your eyes or lips.



  1. Pingback: Janet Jackson’s Odd Behavior Concerns Others During a Recent Overseas Flight | Naturally Moi

  2. Really??Who puts lipstick that is available for public use on their lips???Did you expect the make-up counter rep to say the lipstick may be contaminated wit all types of bacteria from Jane public? Due diligence

  3. It just much her fault too im sure she should have just tried it on her hands what a dumbazz. I do not use any tester unless its the spray perfume bottles and that about it.

    There are just too many nasty people in this world for me to risk using any lipstick and having worked in retail I would never use those lipstick or any make up tester they do not clean them and should discontinue using them or get those small personal one that avon and mary kays use to give out for sampling

  4. Pingback: » Janet Jackson’s Odd Behavior Concerns Others During a Recent Overseas Flight - VENT RADIO

  5. People are fools. Why would you use a lipstick that you know other people have used. Serves her right. There’s nothing for free.

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