The Funky Fungus/Bacteria in the Illamasqua Alter Ego Mystery Selection Beauty Box

I finally got my hands on a Sephora Friends and Family Code and I decided to purchase the Illamasqua Alter Ego Mystery Box since surprisingly I don’t own anything Illamasqua. The Illamasqua Alter Ego Mystery Box comes with 2 best selling items that you were told about up front, Lipstick in Fable and Chip Resistant Nail Varnish in Jo’ Mina. The other eight items are of course a mystery, however they are full size so I figured this would be pretty fun. I thought of it as kinda like one of those subscription beauty box services except I would be getting items that I might actually use. To cut to the chase below is a picture of the contents in the box. I am not going to go through them however I will say I was very pleased with what I received. That is, until I opened the Cream Blusher in “Ravish”….


Imagine my surprise when I opened the Ravish Blush and noticed a smidgen of bacteria growing in the corner. First, let me say that I was disgusted and upset. While some people told me just to return it and it would be replaced all I could think of was the fungal meningitis outbreak from the tainted steroids. While I completely understand that contamination events happen  I’ve never seen bacteria grow on blush like this. The microbiologist in me wants to take a swab, grow it up in the lab, and send it off for sequencing to see exactly what it is. I am more so concerned with the people who will receive a product like this and think that they can just wipe off the blush with alcohol to get rid of the contamination and continue using it. This is not bread!! You can’t just pinch off a piece and expect things to be fine.

Of course I plan on taking the entire box back to Sephora along with emailing both Illamasqua and Sephora Customer Service to notify them of this problem.

What would you do if you received a product with mold/bacteria contamination? Would you just chalk it up to experience, or would you notify the company?



    • Tala
      January 19, 2014 / 8:32 pm

      Ew that’s disgusting! I would throw it away, outside of my house, THEN COMPLAIN.. due to the fact that I have a SEVERE mold allergy and my throat TOTALLY closes & I can’t breathe if I smell/go near mold. D;

  1. November 2, 2012 / 12:53 am

    Oh my gosh. That is totally unacceptable. I would return the whole box- who knows if the other items are contaminated as well? I’m very sensitive to molds, so that would be a real health threat for me!

    • November 2, 2012 / 11:10 am

      I am returning it to a Sephora Store tomorrow. I am going to ask to speak with a manager so I can show them personally!

  2. November 4, 2012 / 8:07 pm

    Things happen…especially with cream based products and the humidity during storage and shipping.
    I would get it tested but it could be an isolated incident.

  3. gorgeois
    November 9, 2012 / 5:20 am

    Fungal meningitis outbreak?? Are you serious? There is nothing wrong with the blush. I just received a brand-new Illamasqua cream blush from Sephora, and it had the same little hump in the same corner as yours…it’s just a result of how they pour the blush into the pan.

    I just think this post was unnecessarily alarmist. Someone sent me a link to this post because she was planning to order the Alter Ego box, but your post made her afraid that the makeup was dangerous.

    • November 9, 2012 / 10:50 am

      I don’t think I’m being an alarmist at all, the fungal meningitis outbreak was caused by contamination. What’s on my blush is just that.. contamination. However, I’ve used several cream blushes before and I seriously doubt that you’ll get a white opaque layer based on how you pour… If you want to use a Blush that looks questionable that’s fine. I’ve since been in touch with Illamasqua and they are very concerned about this since I am not the only one who’s reported such a finding. I never said the makeup was dangerous nor did I say never buy from the brand. I said that I would not be using the items in the kit as a safety precaution to myself.

  4. Dionne
    November 15, 2012 / 2:23 am

    have you returned it yet? did you decide to exchange it instead. i purchased mine today. the pale pink lipstick might not be for me so i have to take it back.

    • November 15, 2012 / 9:54 am

      Hi Dionne,

      I had to return it back to sephora with the each item so I could get the my money back. I did contact Illamasqua. I’ll be posting an update on the blog.

  5. lyanowu
    November 30, 2012 / 6:09 am

    I really think it’s the wax that was separated from the cream. Apparently it is an old cream blush, but that may not be mold.

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