Amid coronavirus, Sephora, other brands ban in-store makeup testing

(NEW YORK) — The coronavirus outbreak, COVID-19, has now morphed into a global pandemic, massively affecting major industries worldwide, and beauty companies aren’t exempt.

For years, makeup testing and product sampling have become staple services at retail beauty shops and department store counters. Now, many of these businesses are taking heightened precautionary measures to assure customer safety.

On Wednesday, Sephora released a statement confirming that all in-store makeup and skincare testing would be suspended until further notice.

The beauty retailer also stated it will regularly disinfect all high-touch areas, including workstations, product displays and hygiene stations, with a hospital-grade disinfectant.

As a replacement, customers have been encouraged to engage with Sephora’s online tools such as their Digital Makeover Guide and Virtual Artists.

While Sephora has released a statement, there are several customers who claim they have still noticed offerings of communal makeup and testing.

Ulta Beauty, another popular chain beauty store, released a message from the company’s CEO Mary Dillon.

“We’re closely monitoring the situation and following guidance from public health officials and government agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization, so we can make ongoing assessments and stay in constant communication with our associates to provide information and guidance as developments unfold,” the statement reads.

“In addition to our regular cleaning procedures, increased sanitization measures are being added to all locations with extra attention to product testers and high traffic areas,” the statement continues. “For any guest wanting to use a tester or trial a product, please ask an associate to assist you.”

Like Sephora, Ulta Beauty has also invited customers to try virtual services through the brand’s virtual beauty app.

Although many beauty companies have begun to follow suit, lots of customers continue to voice concerns as well as avoid in-store services that many once enjoyed.

“My days recklessly using the testers at Sephora are over thanks to coronavirus,” said Anna Khaciyan on Twitter.

Coty Inc., which owns approximately more than 70 beauty brands, has also created a “global response team” that meets daily to “actively monitor the situation very closely,” according to The New York Times.

In addition to makeup avoidance within stores and department stores, independent makeup artists have been impacted as well.

Celebrity makeup artist Neil Scibelli told ABC News’ Good Morning America his clients have been continually canceling for safety reasons.

“As a New York City-based makeup artist, I’m already feeling the impact,” he said. “I knew it was coming, especially because it’s such an intimate profession.”

“I’m on hold to do something with a major basketball team, but it seems like that may also get postponed,” he continued. “So, it seems like everyone’s taking the proper precautions, which I appreciate. But, of course, when you’re an independent contractor, we’re the ones taking the loss.”

Scibelli has also taken safety measures with his makeup tool kit, such as thoroughly sanitizing brushes as well as handles with rubbing alcohol.

“For right now, I’m only working with foundations that are in pumps,” says Scibelli. “I don’t want to risk transferring anything that I’m dipping into too much.”

He adds, “I’m keeping my immune system up, like I always try to do, with high vitamin C supplements, greens, elderberry, and zinc while also keeping mindful of the proximities and space between me and the client, or anyone right now.”

“I may have to start turning to my journalism passion soon and work from home,” Scibelli said.

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