A woman from California is suing beauty product retailer Sephora, alleging that she contracted herpes from a lipstick testing tube at one of the stores.
Sephora, which sells hair and skin care products, is more known for its range of cosmetics. The woman who filed the lawsuit claims that she had never had cold sores associated with the herpes virus before she visited a Sephora location in Hollywood in 2015, Bustle reports.
The woman, who remains unnamed, tested lipsticks at the store and confirmed with medical professionals that she had contracted herpes. The question remains as whether or not the “common use” lipstick tubes directly caused the virus.
[The woman] is 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.
Sephora allegedly failed to warn the woman and other customers that there was a risk of contracting herpes or other diseases from their lipstick samples. The woman likewise said that other cosmetic companies have tried-and-true methods of making sure their samples are safe for use.
“Common use” testers at cosmetic stores have long been the subject of scrutiny among dermatologists and doctors. Sephora does provide separate wands and sanitation materials for customers who wish to use their samples, but it’s incredibly difficult to ensure that all items are sterile, especially when it’s up to the customers to keep such “common use” items clean.
For those who really want to try on lipstick shades – or other kinds of cosmetics, for that matter – there are more sanitary ways of doing so than just applying the sample directly. Customers can use cotton swabs or cotton pads that are usually available at test stations, as refraining from using hands to apply prevents bacteria or viruses from spreading even further.
In addition, stores like Sephora have excellent return policies so that customers don’t have to use the test samples at all.
Sephora has not responded to requests for comments on the issue.