People are urging makeup stores like Sephora and Ulta Beauty to stop offering samples and makeovers as coronavirus spreads

  • At the time of writing, the coronavirus has killed more than 3,800 people and infected more than 110,000 in over 100 countries.
  • But despite health concerns, makeup stores seem to be doing little to prevent the spread of coronavirus through makeovers and product samples.
  • For example, an Ulta Beauty employee and esthetician told Insider that she finds it "astonishing" how many people are willing to use product testers in the store she works at.
  • Similar sentiments have been shared on Twitter, where people are urging retailers like Ulta Beauty and Sephora to remove samples and halt makeovers for the time being.
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Over the past few weeks, the coronavirus has infected more than 110,000 people in over 100 countries. And at the time of writing, more than 3,800 people have died as a result.

But despite growing health concerns, not all industries are taking the same measures to prevent the virus from spreading. A number of beauty retailers in the US, for example, don't appear to be addressing the growing virus in their makeup stores.

From customers to makeup artists, here's what people are saying about their experiences at makeup stores as the coronavirus spreads.

People are urging retailers like Sephora and Ulta Beauty to remove product testers from stores to prevent the spread of coronavirus

On Twitter, some people have expressed surprise that retailers like Sephora and Ulta Beauty haven't removed product samples — which are often kept open and on display for customers to share — as the coronavirus spreads. Others have advised their followers not to use the shareable products as a precaution.

An Ulta Beauty employee told Insider that not all shoppers seem worried about the prospect of coronavirus spreading through makeup testers

Speaking to Insider, a licensed esthetician who works at Ulta Beauty named Maegann said the store she works in is taking some precautions to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

"I feel like our stores have been a little emptier," the Colorado-based employee told Insider. "We've been doing our best to wipe down all tester stations, countertops, door handles, tester bottles, and all of that fun stuff."

Still, she hasn't noticed a change in how customers sample products, despite the CDC's confirmation that the virus can be spread through contaminated surfaces and objects. According to Maegann, she even had a customer ask to purchase a tester lipstick instead of a new one because she preferred the oxidized color of the sample.

"As far as services go, our salon has remained fully booked, I've still been doing facials at a normal rate, and people are still coming in to get shade matched and to get their makeup done," Maegann said. "I would say there's been less volume in the store, but everybody who comes in still acts the same."

Ulta Beauty offers both product testers and in-store makeovers.
Amy Gutierrez/AP

Still, it's unclear how most makeup stores are working to prevent the spread of coronavirus

Insider has reached out to representatives for Sephora, Ulta Beauty, Morphe, MAC Cosmetics, and Bluemercury to see if the retailers are taking measures to prevent virus contamination amongst employees and customers. We have yet to hear back from any of the companies listed.

At the time of writing, none of these brands appear to have posted messages on their websites or social-media pages to inform customers of preventative measures they may be taking to address concern amid the growing number of coronavirus cases in the US; there are currently 603 confirmed cases in the country, including 22 deaths, and eight recoveries.

According to dermatologist Dr. Joshua Zeichner, people should be extra cautious in makeup stores in the weeks to come

Speaking to Insider, Dr. Joshua Zeichner said that while he always encourages patients to be careful when using makeup testers, he now suggests being "doubly cautious," or avoiding makeup testers altogether.

"We know that the virus can be spread through direct exposure to airborne droplets," Dr. Zeichner said. "It is possible that the virus can live for a short period of time on a moist environment, such as a lipstick or liquid makeup.  If you come into direct contact with a recently contaminated product, you are likely putting yourself at risk."

"If you are getting a makeover, I do not recommend using any products that have come in direct contact with anyone else's skin," he continued. "Any brushes should be thoroughly cleansed, as should all makeup sponges. Reusing dirty makeup sponges not only increases the risk of skin irritation and acne breakouts, but also can put you at risk for skin infections."

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