October 31, 2017

Sephora Allegedly Sued After Woman Gets Herpes

Apparently a woman is allegedly suing Sephora because she got herpes after testing a lipstick out in store. According to a TMZ report a woman claims she visited a store in 2015 and sampled a lipstick and ended up with herpes on her lip. She claims she has never had herpes or cold sores prior to visiting Sephora and she is now apparently suing Sephora because of it.

I don’t know if I believe everything TMZ reports on so who knows if this is actually true or not. However, it is a good less in hygiene. I’ve been collecting and wearing makeup for years but I never, ever test it in store. I’ve never set in a chair and had my makeup done by a makeup artist or sales associates because I’m a germ-a-phobe. I also limited testing to swatches on my arm and never on my face. I’d rather been shot than apply a lipgloss or a lipstick on my lips on a counter. I’ve seen people slather on layers of lipstick, lipgloss, or even do a full face by fluttering from display to display or counter to counter but I would never. It’s just gross not to mention it’s a breeding ground for germs.

Most counters or artists will defend the fact by saying they are very careful about sanitizing makeup at the counters. But sorry, they can get busy and I’ve seen with my own eyes people applying lipstick and putting it right back into a display and no sanitizing happens after the fact. I’m not even thinking of herpes here. What about the common cold?

So yeah, please, don’t go to a counter and slather your lips in lipstick or gloss or even foundation. Swatch it on your hand. Better safe than sorry!

Do you test on your arm or on your actual face, lips, and eyes?

Do share!


About the Muse

Isabella MuseIsabella is just an average everyday geeky girl who doesn’t blend her eyeshadow correctly, wears too much blush, and hopes she never finds her holy grail products because she likes the thrill of the chase so much. Her mission is to bring you super honest reviews on makeup, skincare, fragrance and all things beauty. She’s in no way an expert on the topic and she sure as hell isn’t a super model. But she’s passionate about makeup and is seeking like-minded individuals that like pina coladas, getting caught in the rain, and ones that enjoy spending hundreds of dollars at Sephora without feeling buyer’s remorse. If you’re that person feel free to reach out and leave a comment or follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Bloglovin‘.

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  • Sarah

    This whole story made me shake my head. Considering how vast the population of people with oral herpes is, and how easy it is to transmit, I would never consider swatching a communal product on my mouth.

    When I do swatch in store I disinfect first or I use a disposable wand – provided by the store – to swatch a sample of product because herpes isn’t my only concern. What if someone had the flu? Or a cold? I don’t want that either!

    This is just common sense. But common sense isn’t common so I hope that this suit gets thrown out in court. It’s a waste of time.

  • Agona

    Yikes! I’ve only had my MU done in stores if I watch them sanitize in front of me and it was only for foundation matching. I only ever did full face a couple of times in either spas or bareMinerals boutiques.

    That being said, one time I walked into a 100% Pure store and she tried to use a brush with the powder filled in the handle of the brush (some sort of blush/highlighter mix) on my face without even really asking. She started to touch the brush to my face AS she was saying “Here, try this!” and I took a large step back and gave her the “stop invading my personal space” look and offered the back of my hand instead. There’s no way to sanitize one of those type of brushes without emptying out the powder reserve because the powder is constantly being feed through the center of the bristles!

    • Isabella Muse

      gross. Please don’t come at me with “Try this” I will cut you! lol!

      • Yen

        Lol “I will cut you!” I swear this blog has the best readers. I have seen people grab eyeliner to apply directly to their eyes. Then proceed to put it back and grab another one… that grossed me out but even more so when the pencil liners weren’t wiped or sanitized.

  • Christina D.

    Gross with a capital G. Yeah, I heard about the lawsuit thing and, if it’s true — I never heard of TMZ until I had the misfortune of inadvertently coming across them one day and they are not exactly a news bureau — I don’t see how it could be proven. This person could have already had a cold, or could have gotten it from a multitude of other places, including her own makeup. And sorry but you’re not exactly the sharpest tool in the shed if you are stupid enough to use a tester on your mouth or eyes. I’m even hesitant to test swatches on my wrist although I have done so but immediately wiped the area with alcohol.

    • Isabella Muse

      naa TMZ is not reputable as far as I’m concerned lol! it’s hard to prove something like this in all honesty. To me it’s like saying she’s saying “I got a UTI at a bathroom in Target”. That’s freaking hard to prove. I do the same and even on my arm it grosses me out. I carry wipes with me because sephora nyc is gross especially the union square location. Ew, ew, and ew!

  • Wendy Sue

    90% of the population has herpes and doesn’t even know it. Most humans have been exposed to HSV1 by the time they are two years old. She will never be able to pinpoint that is where she got. If you read the statistics on HSV1 and HSV2, you’ll never leave home again LOL

    • Thea

      While I think that herpes shouldn’t be stigmatized, your numbers are inaccurate. According the whe WHO website, “An estimated 3.7 billion people under age 50 (67%) have HSV-1 infection globally. An estimated 417 million people aged 15-49 (11%) worldwide have HSV-2 infection.”

      That being said, I cannot even fathom trying a lipstick in a store. That just seems like a huge risk. That’s why the universe invented beauty blog reviews and lenient return policies 😀

    • kjh

      So true. It’s there, and waiting. I had the misfortune of getting, not a cold sore, but H1 of the esophagus. Couldn’t eat for 3 weeks! Then shingles the next year. Oy, vay! They are there, and just waiting for the multifactors to converge. Communal testers make zero sense, and the medical community could slash this contention in a nanosecond. Lawsuit dismissed….but lesson leaned.

  • Charlotte Lo

    Agreed. I don’t test out makeup on my face unless they come in small sealed packages. I can swatch stuff on my arm or hand but never face. This woman will have a hard time proving the lawsuit.

  • Christina D.

    OMG have you been to the 42nd & 5th Sephora? I wonder what the heck people do to the testers! They are destroyed and the stuff just crumbles. That’s not going anywhere near my skin.

    • Isabella Muse

      Yes, as far as I’m concerned every Sephora in Manhattan is disgusting. Union Square seems to legit have homeless people in there trying out makeup. Nothing against homeless people, everyone needs a little makeup love, but I do question some of the people in that store as they are positively grungy looking and trying stuff on their face. if you watch long enough you’ll notice someone pick something up try it on and within a few minutes another person walks up and does the same thing with the same product that someone else just literally used. It’s like an endless cycle. My best friend Jai and I literally people watch in that store because it is sadly funny what people do with makeup! I see people unscrewing fragrance bottles and dabbing it on. DUDE wtf just mist it!

      • Jennifer

        Wow. I am going to NYC in January, I was going to hit up that store. I will make a mental note to not test ANYTHING. I will buy it and return it if I don’t like it.

        Strange question: are you the type of gal that will return make up or anything else if you find it does not suit your taste or does not fit? I will return stuff if I get it home and don’t like it. I work too hard for my money. 🙂

        • Isabella Muse

          Ugh beware. I always feel like union sq is just gross. I don’t. I have some weird ass moral issue with returning makeup, I’m pretty strict with things I return. If I return maybe 3 things a year that’s a lot for me. I try to pawn it off on friends or family if it doesn’t work out for me. I always feel bad about returns and don’t want to take advantage of the system.

      • kjh

        Yeah, south shore Boston is the same way. I don’t darken the doorway, for fear. Locally called the 7/11 of makeup, but it’s far worse than 7/11. I would not consider any m/u app there or elsewhere. Inner arm swatch and hold it up to the face, in and out of store.

      • Lauren

        Yeah the sephora on the las vegas strip is the same. It is high traffic zone of folks trying to get their party faces on based solely on grungy samples. I went in on a business trip to grab a staple I accidentally left at home- what a nightmare.

        • Isabella Muse

          haha been there and people watched quite a big there and man oh man that’s worst than NYC ;-D

      • Yen

        I’m definitely one of those people who people watch inside of makeup stores. The things I’ve seen people do with testers makes me internally scream. That aside, I will make a mental note not to swatch anything at those Sephora locations if I go to NYC.

  • Adrienne

    Wow, that’s something to think about because I have had makeup applied to my face and gotten makeovers at Sephora and other counters, they recommend if for foundation thats hard to match to skin tones. When I swatch I generally do so on my hand and occasionally lips because some stores remove the tip of the applicators so you have to use the test applicators but if some one “double dips” it defeats the purpose.
    I no longer buy at Marshalls & TJMAXX because of this and just last Saturday I saw a girl open 6 KVD eyeliners and test them on her hand and close them back up and put them back on the shelf. I saw her but the next customer may have not so I informed the associate to toss all of them since she didn’t buy them.

    Thanks so much for bringing this to our attention as many people will be getting Halloween makeovers and more as the holidays approach.

    • Isabella Muse

      It drives me nuts when people destroy, DESTROY things at TJMaxx, Marshall’s, and certain drugstores. Horrible horrible horrible! It’s a shame people feel the need to open stuff and squirt it and just generally ruined it for everyone else 🙁 Aw my pleasure <3!

      • TropicalChrome

        It bothers me when people destroy things at TJ Maxx, etc., but it bothers me more when TJ Maxx just slaps a clearance sticker on the half used product! I call the makeup clearance shelf the “used makeup shelf”. Some of the stuff is half gone!

        I still buy from them, but only sealed items. Or things like nail polish, where nothing is going to survive. I still look to make sure the bottles are full, though.

        If I am going to test foundations, I have to test them on my face, because my face is NOT the same color of my arms (either side). I ended up with a lot of mismatched foundation using arm/hand swatches. But I test on my cheek or jawline away from my mouth, eyes, etc. and clean up afterwards.

        • Isabella Muse

          OMG YES! TJ Maxx is notorious for just leaving it there and selling it even when a bottle is half empty. They do this with fragrance and it drives me up a god damn wall. I don’t know why they just don’t open bottles and leave them out as testers and secure the rest of them so they can’t be opened. Nope, they leave them open and people have a field day misting it everywhere. Ok, I know it’s 75% off retail but still who wants a half bottle of fragrance!?

    • Agona

      This is why I mostly order online. Although, I did get an eye shadow quad in my Ulta online order that had been obviously finger swatched. Grr.

    • Yen

      I shake my head when I see those clearance stickers in items already half used up. I’ve actually seen half used up nail polish at drugstores and target just sitting in the regular displays. If I ever buy polish, I have to slowly and carefully open the bottle to make sure it’s not all crusty at the opening. I lost count how many times I bought nail polish at ulta, drugstores, and beauty supply shops to find they have crusty, hardened polish on the opening. I definitely have to double check drugstore items that are not sealed. I’ve had people look at me funny as I’m opening maybelline lipsticks to check for used ones, but those aren’t shrink wrapped nor sealed. Better be safe than sorry.

  • Jennifer

    First off let say, ewwww. And second, I never ever swatch on my lips. I have to wonder what Sephora will do now? Sephora has testers for everything and I think this will change their policy. I mean who wants a lawsuit? This will unfortunately give others ideas; especially if a settlement is reached. And speaking from an attorneys point of view (my husband) how can it be proven she got Herpes from Sephora? I will have to tell him about this tonight. He will most likely tell me I need to get out more. Lol.

  • Fey P

    I’m always surprised when people don’t know about getting HSV-1 (cold sore Herpes) from shared objects that have come into contact with a carrier, and there are many carriers! I agree that the woman has little chance of proving this, especially since HSV-1 can be dormant for sometime and she could have been a carrier for quite sometime before the incident. She could have been exposed to the virus months before, had a stressful week or a lowered immune system period, then experienced an outbreak on her mouth. I did let a Sephora associate apply a tester solid lipstick on my lips one time, and she cleaned the lipstick itself with alcohol first. I’m not sure if that completely sanitized it or if microbes and viruses can colonize underneath the soft lipstick surface. I’m not a germaphobe but am wary of transmission. I would agree that arm swatches are safest.

  • melanie

    always sample on the hand / arm. I never test out open products on my face, nor do I have my makeup done in sephora/ulta. This is just common sense.

  • Sarah

    Hand swatch only ever. Because ew. I won’t even share water bottles or something with my sister.

    • Yen

      Oh man I’m such a germaphobe regarding makeup. After arms swatches, I wipe with makeup remover AND alcohol.

      At work I deal with money and food so I wash my hands so much with the awfully dry work soap that they crack and bleed. And backwash… haha, I’m so weird I sometimes air drink my own water bottles. I rather not see anything floating in my water even if it’s my own bottle.

      • Agona

        I sanitize my own make up lots of time. I hate when I get crumblies on my lippies, so I’ll swipe them on a paper towel or something after using. I’ll scrape my pressed powders with a Q-tip (which also helps avoid hard pan). I sharpen my eye liners almost after every use. I try not to touch my lip gloss wands directly to my lips (but that’s more to avoid color contamination from my lipstick but I do hate if I see floaty stuff in my lip gloss tube). I do the same with water bottles but really only if I have lippies on. I sometimes even use a pad soaked in alcohol to wipe down my mascara wands, eye lash curler, etc.

        • Agona

          Also, I wash my eye brushes after every use. My face brushes tend to be a once a month thing though.

  • Jane

    The thing is that almost all adults carry herpes. Literally, it’s like 2/3 of the adult US population but most people are asymptomatic. Excessive stress, sun exposure, and a few other things can trigger them. And how, short of taking the tester and having the particular strand identified, would you even be able to confirm this?

    I used to work at a Lauder counter (eons ago) and while I know we washed brushes and used alcohol when we touched stuff, I definitely caught a lot of customers just slapping that stuff on.

  • Carol G

    Actually I can see this happening. I worked at a Clinique counter for 2 years and people would just randomly pick stuff up before we had a chance to sanitize it. Especially at night, with teenagers. When we applied makeup to people we sanitized it with alcohol but it is impossible to be diligent about every item being sanitized. That being said, the fault lies with the customer in this case because she just randomly picked up a lipstick and put it on herself. You are assuming the responsibility at that point, in my opinion. In fact, we would tell people that who would pick up testers. We would say, Let me sanitize that first. Some people would say, Oh it’s ok. Whatever. Then that’s on you.
    Also, she’s just now suing from 2015? That seems highly suspect itself. You would have sued immediately. But she shouldn’t be suing at all really.

    • Isabella Muse

      ITA on all this. I think you take responsible if you test something on yourself. it’s common sense you shouldn’t be applying it on your lips or face right from the tube. That’s basic hygiene 101!

  • Denise

    I just recently stood watching in horror as a woman picked up a Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara in a Sephora and USED IT ON HER EYES. I was debating whether to try to find a SA to tell, when I saw the tube was missing from the display. I breathed a sigh of relief, thinking they must have seen her do it, and discarded the tube. Then I saw it on the MUA table, with a client in the chair. I pulled the artist aside to try to warn her quietly, but it was too late. She had already applied the mascara. Using a disposable wand, but there were still cooties in that tube! I never never never test makeup on anything but my hand, and have had perhaps three makeovers in my life (long, long ago).

    • Isabella Muse

      yup! been there, seen that. I see all sorts of weird sh*t going down at Bath & Body Works, Victoria’s Secret, Sephora, and counters! Little old ladies love just swiping on a bunch of lipstick at any given nordstrom counter, it totally freaks me out enough to leave (like run away) lol. WHY would you do that? ugh you totally grossed me out with this story 😀

      • Denise

        I just wonder how many makeover clients realize that the MUA is using floor testers on them? I’m not rouge, but I always assumed that the artists had a separate stash. Not the same products hundreds of people have been playing with.

        • Isabella Muse

          Valid question! I think a lot of people don’t realize those are floor testers and not from special section!

    • Yen

      I gotta tell you the horror I have seen at my Sephora! I have seen COUNTLESS people apply mascara directly from the tube with the actual wand! They have a field day just double dipping, triple dipping until there are big lashes. I’ve been there in the morning and have seen someone apply mascara directly from the tube while a SA is standing there like it’s normal and didn’t do anything to the tube after it was placed back in the display. There’s definitely no way to sanitize that! But associates just leave it be. You couldn’t convince me to get a makeover at any counter after I’ve seen my fair share of horror stories. I see SA use their hands to swatch on people’s faces and eyes, but I don’t know where their hands have been since I don’t see them sanitize their hands. Especially since I see the same SA at the registers. If brushes are sanitized since they touch a person’s face, fingers should also be somewhat clean since they touch everything. Am I asking too much? Haha

    • Jane

      Those wands are applied directly onto the lashes by hundreds of clueless people. Never, ever, ever use mascara testers for anything other than looking at the brush.

  • chibi639

    Is it weird that if I make a planned trip to Sephora or Ulta, that I bring my own pack of makeup wipes in my purse? I usually limit myself to hand and arm swatches. The only sample I’ll put on my face is a swipe of foundation if it comes out of a pump and only after I clean the nozzle. The handful of times I felt I needed to test a lippy on my own mouth, I cut off the top portion with a pocket knife (I always keep a tiny multi-tool in my purse; they’re super useful) , then go in with a wipe or rubbing alcohol before applying with a disposable applicator.

    Pink eye and the herp-a-derps is not to be messed with!

    • Isabella Muse

      I bring my own too because the sephora stores I frequent never have clean up tools around. Everything is always empty. I also bring my own q tips and little spatulas. haha you’re like Swiss Family Robinson at sephora 😀

  • Cindy

    I always tested out products on my hands only & wash/sanitize after. Years ago I’d have my makeup done in MAC or BareMinerals and not think about it, but now I’m on medication that leaves me more susceptible to infection so I have to be REALLY careful. Years ago I also had this moment of stupid where a girl in Sephora wanted to give me a sample of an eye cream and she just took it from the tester jar, put it in a container and I tried it. God knows what was living in it because the next morning my under-eye area was red, swollen & itchy. I was SO grossed out & didn’t know HOW I didn’t think of that in the first place. I put a suggestion on the Sephora FB page that maybe samples of creams shouldn’t be given out that way and of course a few lunatics blamed me for having a reaction. Fine with me if they want to put something on their face that someone dipped their hands in it who might never wash after using the bathroom, I’ll never do it again. . .

    • Isabella Muse

      OMG! That’s horrible. I’d freak out if I got an eye infection from a sample!

      • Cindy

        It wasn’t in my eye, it was on the skin around it. It went away the same day, but still gross and I’d never do that again! If my actual eye was infected, Sephora corporate would have DEFINITELY heard from me! Not that they would do anything, as their usual response to everything is something like “that’s how it is, you don’t like it, ship somewhere else.” LOL don’t mind if I do Ulta!

        • Isabella Muse

          Oh sorry I misread! Isn’t the same everywhere nowadays? It’s like NO one gives a crap about customer servive!

          • Cindy

            When something goes wrong with an Ulta order they always make good for it. They either send a replacement without me having to send anything back or they send a gift card. It’s the “so what” attitude of Sephora I don’t like. But the Ulta vs. Sephora was another post! LOL!

          • Isabella Muse

            Ulta isn’t always THAT great with CS. Sometimes they can be idiots as well haha. But mostly with Sephora, they treat me like I’m trying to rob the place if something goes wrong with my order!

    • Yen

      Oh my goodness, I’ve had my moment of stupid in my teeanger days. I was in a different country getting a family photo shoot done. My sister and I got a makeover done inside the studio. I clearly remember all the products they used were MAC, but not once did I remember them sanitizing anything. I had gloss applied to my lips straight from the tube. It was my first time getting a makeover so I was enamored over how they made me look. Now that I think about it, I just want to rip my hair out for neither of us thinking about germs.

  • Jessica

    In my early 20s, I had this gross infection on my forehead after getting my make up done at a MAC counter. I still have a visible scar. Hard lesson learned …do not share make up with strangers.

  • Christina

    I’ve only occasionally tried out the lipstick (never lipgloss) at MAC after having the artist sanitize it in front of me, and even then, I will try to take a big chunk off of the lipstick or use the sides that have been untouched. I’m paranoid after I do it though, and scrub the heck out of my lips and even use alcohol wipes on them (burn!) in the store right after trying. I try not to do it, though, if I can avoid it. I don’t think I’ll do it anymore after reading this!!

    • Isabella Muse

      you’re not allowed to test lipstick anymore haha ;-D I can’t blame you for asking them to sanitize though! Honestly, I don’t trust they are doing it sometimes because there are a lot of people around.

  • Kimryan8

    I’m curious to see if any makeup counter employees would comment? What is their opinion? I won’t test anything except on my arm/wrist and I wash up afterwards.

  • Magenta Wilde

    I saw that story. It’s a hard one to prove, and yet, the things I’ve seen in stores, including women putting on makeup (eye and lips) and then walking out with it on their faces, it almost seems plausible. It’s solidified that I’ll never put any of that stuff on my face. Ulta tends to be pretty good having alcohol and makeup remover on hand, so I’ll swatch more items there on my hands. I always thought it was better to swatch and then move to natural light to see how it looks there. I don’t want anything in a makeup display going near my face, though. With cold season coming upon us, it’s definitely smarter to keep that stuff away from the face!

    • Jane

      Your Ultas have that stuff? That’s literally the main thing that turned me off that store – never any remover, only occasionally can I find alcohol.

      • Patricia De La Torre

        Our Ulta always sanitizes. Guess we are lucky. although I only swatch on the arms.

  • lizzie

    Oh hell I’m with you. I’m a total germaphobe my kids think I’m a little over the top. Sorry but I saw a woman once pick her ear wax out of her ear and flick the wax out from under her nail and then proceed to try on nail polish. I also work at a dental office so I can’t even tell you what kind of nastiness goes on in people’s mouths. Just no and no. I don’t care if I don’t get the perfect foundation color match either or if people say you have to try it on my face. Oh hell no I would rather risk it and return it or I just mix foundations to get my perfect match. Truthfully good luck with that frivolous law suit. It will be impossible to prove she didn’t get it from drinking from a water fountain or sharing a drink with someone or even kissing someone. If she’s willing to try on lipstick from a make up counter and not think about consequences then sorry but stuff happens. It’s not like I could sue for catching a cold when I walk into a hospital for a routine check up during cold and flu season.

    • Isabella Muse

      omg you just made me gag a little. gross. I agree! I’d rather get a wrong shade and return it versus try it on my face! You aren’t over the top, that would mean I am too lol! I just can’t even with people ugh!

  • Christina D.

    Note to Jennifer (for what it’s worth):

    I am, like the Muse, a native NYer and I do love to browse in Sephora. I occasionally buy in store, but I prefer to purchase on-line for a multitude of reasons. From one makeup junkie to another, the stores are definitely worth checking out on your NYC visit. I think the one in Times Square is probably one of the nicest. But I do not use testers in any store, whether it’s Saks Fifth Avenue, Bergdorf Goodman, or Sephora, for any reason.

    For what it’s also worth: I love Union Square. The Sephora there does not represent the best of the neighborhood.

  • Kish

    I have OCD so I rarely even test things on my hands. But in a few cases I have. I can’t believe the stuff I’ve seen at Ulta, people just putting on a full face of makeup from the testers. Lip stuff especially freaks me out. Ughhhh. I feel the need to go wash my hands just from reading this post lol.

  • Alex

    I live in Australia. None of the makeup testers here are ever sanitized. The displays are usually very gross with used makeup. I have also seen many women open new products, apply full face makeup then put them back on display as new. Hygiene standards are very poor. Having a cold or obvious herpes does not stop people testing products here. I have asked a few times about why testers are so dirty the response has been, we are not allowed to ask people to stop using the products, we might lose customers. They also say that it is not their job to clean the makeup displays. Sanitizing is not used here and most sales people do not know what it is This includes high end makeup. Skin products are used as well, new products are opened, used then put back. Testers are usually so dirty with grime the bacteria must be huge. I never try anything on here.

    • Yen

      It bothers me sooo much that people just open new products to test even in a department store when there are testers!! Then they have the nerve to put it back into the box. If there isn’t a tester, I usually ask a sales associate to crack open a new one to use as a tester. I remember going to Ulta to buy an Urban Decay lipstick when there was a sale and the box I picked out looked a little mangled. I had the urge to open it to check the product inside. To my amazement, the lipstick had been used and placed back onto the shelf. After that incident, I feel the need to open boxes to make sure nothing inside has been used. Even at a high end makeup store, people still dig into new boxes to sample. It makes me so mad/sad.

  • kjh

    This post has pretty much been on topic, so let’s tangentialize. How about the MAC counters, where all the kids through forty somethings get their faces done before going out? Fifty odd people over ~2hrs. I’ve often watched, and the artists will flit about putting finishing touches, etc. on clients on other’s stools. No change of brushes, no sanitizing. Wipe the brush on an already colorful rag! Eyes, lips, blush. All quasi communal. No wonder young’uns get gross stuff more often from m/u than older persons. You are much better off with your own app than a free artist app with bacs and viruses!

  • Chris

    Rarely have I have tested lipstick on my lips, but I have used the side of the tube with a Q Tip and keep changing the Q Tip until I see how the lipstick looks. That is probably safer than using the top surface.

    It will be difficult to prove her case.

  • MakeupAddict549

    I also rarely swatch in-store at all but mostly because I usually just shop online after looking through a ton of blog/youtube swatches. If I do shop in-store, I’m too germpaphobic to put anything on my face so I will only swatch on my hands. And wow, so glad I read this before using my complimentary VIB makeover at Sephora. I totally always assumed that the artists would have a separate stash too. I wonder what I should do with it.. Too germaphobic to use it and too frugal to throw it out. Must resist temptation hahah!

  • Lauren

    I’ll test on my hands, usually. Occasionally, I’ll test on my lips, but only after sanitizing the product with an alcohol wipe or something, And I only use single-use disposable wands to do it, too.

  • Viki

    I’ve seen people at Sephora tried on testers ON THEIR LIPS in stores!!! Tht is just gross cua you never know who tried them on before.

  • Jen

    So, I work at a beauty store that will remain unnamed and I cannot tell you how many gross things I see on the daily. I watched a woman with many large, open, weeping sores on her face pick up a concealer tester & jab the doe foot applicator right into her bloody sores to “see how well it’s gonna cover”. My eyeballs almost fell out of my head. Another time I had a teenage girl ask me to help her pick out new makeup because “her doctor said she had to because she had a skin infection…uuuhhh called something that started with an ‘M’. Oh yeah, it was called MRSA”. She had no clue how serious that was (how stupid some people are is scary!!) and I told her to give me just a second to ring up my customer & I’d be right over (reluctantly) to help her. Before I was finished with what I was doing, I looked up & she was trying on Smashbox liquid lipsticks right out of the tube. I was a phlebotomist at a blood bank for many years, so I’m extremely weird about cross contamination anyway, but just ewww. I won’t use testers even on my arms after what I’ve seen. Not even with the disposable applicators because the entire tubes are contaminated with who knows what!!

  • miki

    i used work as a beauty advisor inside a mall. trust me we warned people not to use our testers because we have homeless, prostitutes, etc coming in and use the products all the time. we cant be at the counter 24/7 so we cant watch everyone. people using our testers are at their own risk. i know some counters arent really good at replacing there tester after past expiration. its fine if u sanitize it and swatch on your hands but really eyes and lips? some even demands us making them samples from our tester jars. and im like are you really sure you want me to make a sample from this jar for you. people dip their hands and you dont know what they touch. again we cant watch every tester at all times. they say they have sensitive skin and need to see how the product would work for them first. well im sorry to break it to those people. if u have sensitive skin dont ask for samples from the testers or use testers! if you/re interested in the product get it and try it for youself. youre not really testing the product by using a tester, you are probably just testing how filthy that tester was. we warn people but many are just dumb or too cheap to purchase products to test out. they are just risking the chance of getting pink eyes, herpes, etc. i dont know what these people are thinking when they want to sue a company for using their tester. no one forced them to use the tester or told them to use it near the eye or lip area. its there for them to see and swatch but there for them to do their entire makeup. its really common knowledge that its at their own risk. no one also force them to demand a sample from tester containers. if they have sample packets are are pre-sealed by venders then ask for it but dont take it from testers that anyone can touch or damage. also a beauty advisor can be really good at giving customers a clean new tester mascara wand but it takes one idiot who doesnt listen to ruin a whole tube of mascara.

  • Claudia

    I grew up hearing that you should never drink after someone else, wear anyone else’s lip stuff or share your own for that matter and always wash your hands. My dad was a cosmetologist and warned us about herpes. He also warned us about sharing hair stuff. My sis in law thinks I am weird because we met for lunch and I refused to share my drink after she had spent the day with her fugly boyfriend! She also found it weird I wouldn’t share my brush. It felt really weird to share with my husband until about after 5 years.

    • Isabella Muse

      My mother was adamant about not drinking from someone else or sharing lipgloss, etc…and never smoke lol! And yes, always the lecture about not wearing anyone’s hat or hair brush lol! We obviously have the same mother!

  • Denise

    I see people applying lipstick, lip gloss, and even mascara from the testers. Lip gloss and mascara can’t be sanitized! Do they think they’re the only ones to use the products?
    How about a nice little eye infection??

  • Carolyn (Deux)

    Ok, so I am a person who has suffered from cold sores since I was a child. My mother had it and mys sisters. Not sure if it was a hereditary thing we caught from our Mom or….(well Mommies doe like to kiss their babies….if so then YEAH THANKS MOM!!). So it has appeared (for whatever freaky reason) every year I had a school pics taken. (Ugh!!!). Stress maybe?? Also, there have been certain brands of cosmetics to make is spontaneously combust (lol as I put it)…especially the old Mary Kay lipstick (not sure why that brand back then). So when I am having an outbreak, I never ever use any of my lipsticks and I only use pot lip balms so I can swipe once and not transfer in the virus (not all mfgrs make stick forms…and thank goodness for peeps like me…me and my sisters don’t even bother buying the stick forms).

    Now SHAME SHAME SHAME ON ANY COLD SORE PEOPLE WHO SWIPE PRODUCTS AT STORES WHEN YOU ARE HAVING A BREAK OUT!!!!! To me that is that like having HIV and going around having unprotected sex. Of course you won’t die from a cold sore, but once you get it, you have it for life. It’s not really contagious when you are not having a break out (kissed my hubby a millions times…so I have over tested that theory, LOL). But when I have a break out, it’s Abreva (expensive as heck but truly a wonder and worth every penny) and hubby is not allow to kiss, drink or even touch anything after me. And wash wash wash those hands if I touch your mouth because it can be spread that way as well.

    Also, I would never never ever swatch in anything in a store. I buy and if I don’t like it, in the garbage it goes. I guess I can’t say I am a “Germaphobe” since I am a germ carrier. 🙁 But I at least have the decency to keep my problem in check and I myself am also disgusted with people who have it and are so careless!!!!

    Also, SHAME on the stores for reusing the same makeup on several people!!! They should either petition the cosmetic companies to make one time use items that can be thrown away OR one time use tiny disposable brushes and ONLY swipe once. Heck even when I have been to the hairdresser and they dropped a comb, the would never pick it up and reuse it on my hair. So why it this not the same standard for cosmetics???

    Sorry to rant…but I totally agree with everyone here and with Muse!! And even though I may have this virus, I have had my share of avoiding sick people like the plague as well (esp. if like someone has a cold, otherwise I always catch it, GAH!).

    • Lauren

      I too am a lifetime sufferer of cold sores – and I recommend to anyone who hasn’t tried it yet – get a Rx for valtrex/valocyclovir from your Dr. It’s an antiviral and you take a couple “superdoses” during the tingle phase (I do 1,000 mg 2x in 24 hours) and it cuts the duration and severity of cold sore by half or more. I’m talking like nothing else, Abreva etc. doesn’t come close. You can also take it daily as a preventative when you know you are susceptible (e.g. during a cold, during high stress or periods of exposure). I took it daily for three months before my wedding day– lol wasn’t gonna chance that.

  • Tiffany

    The most safest lipstick tester I’ve seen is in a Merle Norman studio. When you want to try out a lipstick they give you a brand new mini lipstick bubble that has been completely sealed. And you get a brand new one each time you try it out. After you’re done it gets tossed out. Genius idea but I don’t know why Sephora doesn’t adopt this way of sampling lipstick. I’ve seen so many unsanitary practices by customers. At busy Sephora locations they do not clean their testers throughout the day. They don’t have time for it. The smart thing to do is to always ask a staff member to disinfect it for you. But here’s the kicker when they’re super busy they’ll have to put you down on a waiting list. And you’ll have to wait for a long time just to have someone disinfect it for you. Not an effective way of doing things. For sure I believed it if someone catches oral herpes from there.

  • Penny

    Yikes! I have never tested anything on my lips or face only the back of my hand…but now, I don’t think I will even do that anymore…Better safe than sorry. 🙂

  • Cil

    Except for foundation, IF I can test direct from the pump/bottle, I don’t test anything in store, let alone a lipstick that other people used before me. Ewwwww!

  • Sarah

    Goodness. In my life I think I’ve swatched maybe half a dozen dry products on my arm. I hate the idea of testing makeup before you buy. If I see something that I may want I go for it. If it’s drugstore stuff and I don’t like it I toss it. If it’s expensive, well I don’t tend to buy a lot of the high end stuff so I usually end up liking it. And I never test foundations, I just buy the palest shade available and hope it works.

  • Yen

    I have never posted so much before on one single article, lol! I feel like these comments have convinced me to never swatch testers again! Especially reading the comment about MRSA. I am so thankful for blogs.

  • Linda

    The lawsuit is real. I work in a law firm in Southern California and we get notification of every lawsuit filed in the Los Angeles and Orange County Superior Courts. I saw this one on the list a few days ago and it caught my eye. I did not download the court documents, so I dont know exactly how she alleges this happened, but like everyone else commenting here, I don’t see how she can prove it. Unless she tested negative immediately before she walked in the store and used the testers, then headed straight to her doctor’s office and tested positive!

  • genevieve

    I think customers have to take responsibility for their actions in makeup shops. Maybe some more signage re hygiene would help…some people just don’t think of others and how their germs can be so easily transmitted and makeup is the perfect medium.
    Personally, I very rarely get my makeup done and the last time I did, the Elizabeth Arden MUA was very particular about cleaning her brushes.
    At DS stores, I always use the back of my hand to test lipsticks and the inside of my wrist for foundation.

  • Silvia

    Good luck to that trying to sue Sephora it’ll be real hard to prove her case. Lol! I never try stuff in my face and even in arms I would be careful not to have a scrash, cut, injury, rash or something those germs would happily sip through like a million minions. I’ve seen many years ago some woman I guess getting ready to go out applying all kinds of sample makeup even perfumes! Yuck! Everything a free ride from makeup counter. I also seriously wonder in TJ Max why don’t they just throw away all that broken smeared junk on clearance is plain nasty. I will buy something like a blush or lipstick but make sure it is completely sealed and check for finger prints inside. Awww just gross!

  • Mariele

    Yikes. 🙁 I can’t believe people actually try out those testers! I mean, sure, I swatch things on my arm just to see how they look with my skin, and I have tried blush, and pump foundation on my lower jaw to see if it oxidizes/makes me break out/matches my skin… but I would never even dare to try lipstick/lipgloss/mascara/eyeshadow. Jeez louise!

  • Sandy

    I agree. That is my pet peeve! It is gross. The sales people don’t care.

    In my Sephora in NYC some people pulled out shake shack burgers and ate them at the make over counter.

    The staff couldn’t care less.