Dirty Secret: Sharing Makeup

It's oh so easy to hand your friend your lip gloss or mascara when she's in a pinch. But is it wise? Definitely not.

Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD on November 07, 2012

We've all done it: A swipe of lip gloss in the ladies’ room…a touch up of blush here or there. Where does sharing makeup rank on the list of beauty no-nos? Beauty and skin care expert Laurie Polis, MD, weighs in.

"When it comes to bad makeup sharing habits," Polis says, "the eyes rank as the most dangerous. The most common viral infection of the eye is conjunctivitis, or pinkeye, which is extremely contagious. People don't always know they're brewing it."

Polis also says that lending lip gloss "could be risky if your friend  has herpes labialis, an infection caused by the contagious herpes simplex virus. That's the virus that causes small painful blisters known as cold sores or fever blisters on the mouth. Your friend may be 'shedding virus' and not realize she’s getting a cold sore.”

If you really can't avoid sharing makeup, Polis advises that you at least protect yourself. "Wipe off the top layer of the product after a friend uses it or when you’re at a makeup counter in a store. If it's a liner pencil, sharpen it. And swipe a lipstick or shadow compact with a tissue."

Show Sources


Laurie J. Polis, MD, director, dermatologic services, Soho Skin and Laser Dermatology Group, New York City; director, Soho Integrative Healthcare Group; assistant professor of dermatology, Beth Israel Medical Center, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and Mount Sinai Hospital.

© 2010 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved. View privacy policy and trust info