Methodologies for sample collection and lab testing

Producers went to three shopping malls in the Greater Toronto Area to obtain samples of different types of makeup to test. The malls were the Eaton Centre, Scarborough Town Centre and Fairview Mall. The team went to the same stores at each of the malls to keep sampling consistent, so each store would be represented by 3 locations.

Within each mall, the team visited four different stores: Sephora, Shoppers Drug Mart, The Body Shop and MAC. We chose these stores because they all sell makeup and are common to most shopping malls.

At each store, producers took samples of the same 5 types of products: lipstick, mascara, lip gloss, eye shadow and cream blush. We varied the brands or lines of products we sampled within the store since different products may have different popularity and may have been used more or less frequently than others. We chose these types of products because they are products that are often out and available for testing without the help of employees.

Control sample
The samples were collected by Marketplace producers with makeup pads that were available in the store, or sponges that they brought with them. In order to be inconspicuous, it was necessary to collect samples without wearing gloves.  Hands were washed thoroughly before collection. To create control samples from the field for the lab to use as a comparison, producers rubbed their hands on bags and sponges. We used that as a control sample to measure the samples collected against.

For additional control, we did not report on the Total Aerobic Count of the samples, but rather, the presence of staph and mould. We only counted a sample as contaminated if the log cfu/g was greater than 2.

Numbers summary:

  • Total Malls: 3
  • Total Stores: 12
  • Total Product samples: 60

Methodology for the microbiological test

Cosmetic samples were composed of lipstick, lip gloss, blush, mascara and eyeshadow. The lipstick and blush was provided on a sampling cotton pad with the lip gloss, mascara and eyeshadow being collected using single use applicators.

The samples were individually transferred from the sample bag and placed in a sterile tube containing 10 ml 1% Tween-80 in Phosphate Buffered Saline and vortexed for 1 minute. Aliquots (0.1 ml) were plated onto nutrient agar (total aerobic count; incubated 48h at 34°C), Mannitol Salt Agar (for Staphylococcus; incubated at 37°C for 24h), Potato Dextrose Agar (yeast and moulds; incubated 25°C for 5 days), E. coli/Coliform Petri films (E. coli and fecal coliforms; incubated at 37°C for 24h).

At the end of the incubation period the typical colonies were counted and used to calculate the log cfu/g.