Sharing Makeup With Strangers: If Everyone Jumped

Dirty makeup is fine on a video, but we'll pass for everyday use

This week, we were grossed out by a story that appeared on about used makeup – including lipstick, foundation and brushes – that is up for sale on eBay, with plenty of bids coming in.

We thought the idea of buying makeup that a complete stranger has used was absolutely disgusting, particularly used lipstick and mascaras, but a little digging around the Internet revealed that scoring used makeup online is actually pretty common and has been going on for years now.

Back in 2007 there were warnings of the dangers of the buying used makeup on eBay phenomenon. {Associated Content} Even further back in 2004, The Early Show on CBS reported on makeup swapping site, where users can trade their used cosmetics for others’ old products. Not only that, but fans of the site who were interviewed for the story had apparently been swapping makeup for years.

“ is one of several Web sites where makeup enthusiasts can trade everything from lip gloss and eyeliner to fragrances and hair gel.Some of them are ‘BNIB’ (brand new in box), but many of the products have been used.” {The Early Show}

The report warned that most dermatologists and the FDA do not approve of using anyone else’s cosmetics. Makeup cannot be cleaned of bacteria and viruses from previous use, which can lead to serious issues like corneal infections that harm vision from mascara. In addition, bacteria are carried from applicators back to the product itself, so using a clean applicator does not decrease the risk. This also means even a product that has only been used once can be harmful.

Women who love to sample different colors and brands raved about regardless, and Hara Glick, the site’s founder, said they had received no complaints about contaminated products and their consequences. The Web site does have a disclaimer that users are “swapping at their own risk.”

We understand that getting a new lip color or foundation shade home from the store and realizing it is wrong for your face is frustrating, but taking used products from anyone, especially complete strangers, is just not worth the risk. We can see where fragrances, nail polishes and hair products would be harmless, but otherwise, the risk of shelling out money for something you might only use once is worth knowing you won’t end up wearing a rash, infection or anything more than you bargained for.

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