Can You Get Herpes From Sharing Lipstick?


I would never, ever, share any beauty products with a stranger, but when it comes to friends, I’m pretty lax about offering anything in my makeup bag. If you’re my friend, I know you, I know what’s up and I know what you have.

I obviously wouldn’t knowingly share anything with someone who had any type of topical ailment. That may sound bad, but whatever, a girl has to look out for her own, you know? More women should be conscious about where the makeup they’ve been using has been before, especially after hearing about MAC’s latest lawsuit.

According to the NY Daily News, Harlem woman Starkeema Greenidge (28) alleges that she contracted the herpes virus when a representative for MAC Cosmetics applied a used tube of the Rihanna-inspired RiRi Woo lipstick to her lips at the Rihanna concert at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.

“I wasn’t able to work for two weeks. It cost me a a lot of money,” Greenidge, a waitress, told the Daily News on Wednesday.

Greenidge is now suing MAC in Manhattan’s Supreme Court, saying: “The company should train its employees to use disposable tubes or swabs to apply the lipstick. This is going to happen over and over again if nothing is done.”

Agreed. But did she really contract the virus via a shared lipstick? The jury is still out on whether or not she got the virus from a tester at the concert, but Greenidge is right about two things: 1. You can in fact contract the herpes simplex virus from a lipstick that’s been infected by it and 2. That all beauty companies should be mindful of training their employees to properly apply makeup with disposable tubes or swabs.

It’s also your responsibility, as a consumer, to look out for yourself. If you notice a makeup artist approaching your face with a product, remind them to use a swab or to open a new container, for your own health.

"In general, it's a good rule of thumb to not use anyone else's lipstick, toothbrush, what have you," says Larry Beatty, M.D. "If you had chapped lips or a break in the skin and swipe on a lipstick that someone used that's infected with the herpes simplex virus, then you're more susceptible to contracting it. But even if your skin is 100 percent intact, it's still not a guarantee that you'd be protected from getting it; there is still a degree of risk."

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