When you pop into Ulta or Sephora, it’s hard not to try some of the product. Single-use wands for eye shadow, mascara and lip gloss are everywhere, along with cotton balls and makeup remover. Don’t even get me started on the moisturizers. I don’t know about you, but this is how my two-second trip to pick up one thing turns into a 45-minute wander that always hits me in the pocketbook.
But now that we are in the don’t-touch-your-face era, two big beauty companies —along with many other retailers — are addressing customer concerns over the coronavirus pandemic with some new in-store policies.
Customers have been pushing for changes on social media, including Dr. Donnica Moore, who also called on consumers to stop using multi-use samples they see at cosmetics counters at the mall and everywhere else:
Dear @Sephora, @bluemercury & make-up counters everywhere: For #coronavirus prevention, now is a good time to put away multi-use make-up samples. Everyone else: Don’t use multi-use samples, especially lipsticks!
— Donnica Moore MD (@DrDonnica) March 7, 2020
On March 11, Sephora announced it was suspending its paid in-store services, which include makeovers, skin-care applications and classes, until “further notice,” according to Allure.
The company told Allure in a statement, “We invite our clients to engage with our well-trained employees, who are happy to teach and coach on how to use and apply product through face charts and tools like our Digital Makeover Guide and Virtual Artist.”
The company has employees cleaning testers with hospital-grade disinfectant throughout the day, according to Allure. Sephora also has employees wiping front door handles with Clorox wipes hourly.
Ulta put out a six-step plan to reduce the contagion risk that included canceling in-house services (such as haircuts and brow styling) in some cases. The company said in a tweet that it takes health and safety seriously.
The health and safety of our guests, associates, and their families is our top priority. Read more about the steps we’re taking in response to coronavirus. https://t.co/g22QiuGN1T
— Ulta Beauty (@ultabeauty) March 11, 2020
“For guests who have services booked, we’re happy to reschedule your appointment for a later date,” said Ulta CEO Mary Dillon in a statement linked to the tweet. “We encourage you to reschedule if you’re not feeling well.”
Ulta also shut down the customer samples we’re used to walking up and using ourselves. You can still try a sample of a product, but you have to ask a staffer at the store for it.
“For any guest wanting to use a tester or trial a product, please ask an associate to assist you,” Dillon says in the statement.
The store is also stepping up its cleaning efforts in high-traffic areas, including product testers, and encouraging the use of virtual makeup trial tools through its app.
I don’t know about you, but one of the reasons I like both Sephora and Ulta is that they have good return policies. However, buying something you’re not sure about is money out of pocket, and that’s a bummer.
Meanwhile, it’s not all bad news for beauty and cosmetics companies. With all of that diligent hand-washing we’re doing,