Are used cosmetics safe to use?

Ever since Macklemore sang about the thrift store, people have been excited about thrifting. Buying used things can bring a feeling of euphoria. You can spend a portion of the sale price on an item you consider valuable. In the new era of sustainable fashion, you can find unique pieces that are a little worn but still stand out. The adventure of the hunt plays into the adventure. But is using used cosmetics safe?

While the idea of ​​selling your old makeup sounds like a great way to make some extra money, it's not the safest course of action – at least for buyers. Still, popular sites like Mercari have a dedicated second-hand makeup section, giving these purchases a sense of legitimacy and security, even if in reality they could lead to an eye infection.

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While some sites like eBay do not sell used makeup products due to the health risks involved, Glambot says it thoroughly inspects and cleans all used products and puts each and every product through a five-step authentication and disinfection process. All that can be said is that they wiped the products off with a few cotton swabs.

“Used cosmetics pose significant health and safety risks 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

Dermatologists had varying opinions on the topic, but most users agreed that they should be careful with used makeup, especially products that focus on areas near the mouth and eyes.

“Used makeup can contain fungi or bacteria and cause infections. “This is particularly an issue with makeup that comes into direct contact with the skin, such as applicators that touch the skin or anything you dip your finger into (like an open jar),” explains Jordana Mattioli , prominent beautician.

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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 trap any bacteria or viruses that can survive and live in the product for an extended period of time. While you might get lucky using a sample lipstick from a Sephora store, you're much more likely to catch a virus or staph infection from someone else's beloved (and worn-out) makeup.

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

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