An unidentified woman is suing Sephora, the popular cosmetics chainstore, after she allegedly contracted oral herpes after using an unsanitized lipstick tester at the store.
The woman claims that she never had herpes or coldsores before sampling the lipstick.
As TMZ reported:
She’s suing the cosmetics chain for the emotional distress over an “incurable lifelong affliction” she says she now has to deal with as a result of using its lipstick samples.
A representative from Sephora responded to the lawsuit by releasing this statement:
While it is our policy not to comment on litigation, the health and safety of our clients is our foremost priority. We take product hygiene very seriously and we are dedicated to following best practices in our stores.
Sephora employees regularly inspect the makeup samples to make sure that they are clean, but with the high volume of customers on any given day, they may miss some of the products before they’re used again.
In an interview with Bravo’s The Lookbook, Dr. Joshua Zeichner, a director of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, said:
“Using a dirty makeup tester in a store can potentially spread infections if they have been contaminated. Moist environments—like those in lipsticks or liquid makeups—may allow bacteria or viruses to grow, putting a new user at risk. Bacteria can cause skin infections like impetigo while viruses may cause cold sores.”
The Lookbook also reported that researchers at Rowan University discovered the presence of staph, strep, and even E. coli bacteria on testers.
So what causes the accumulation of harmful microbes on makeup testers? Tracey Garcia, co-founder/CEO of StyleMeBar, said that it’s because people “double dip.” She told The Lookbook:
“You don’t double dip. It’s the whole double dipping thing that gets people in trouble. I truly believe that if you walk by every makeup counter or every makeup store, they do have all the precautions to keep it clean, but there’s only so much you can do because people are out there being, not to be rude, but a bit disgusting.”
According to TMZ, the woman claims that she was not properly warned of the diseases that could come with testing their products before using the lipstick sample:
According to the docs … Sephora failed to clearly warn the woman and other customers of the risk of getting herpes or other diseases from trying on the lipstick samples. She says if she would have known … she would’ve avoided them like the plague.
The threat of bacterial colonies on testers may inspire others to start avoiding them as well.