Makeup aficionados should be wary of testing communal cosmetics at beauty retailers, at least according to one woman who claims she contracted herpes from a lipstick sample at Sephora, TMZ reports.
According to the site, the unnamed customer sampled a “common use” tube of lipstick on display at the makeup mecca’s Hollywood, Calif. location in October 2015, and was later diagnosed by a doctor with oral herpes.
Claiming that she never had herpes or cold sores prior to the incident, the woman is suing the chain for the emotional distress over the "incurable lifelong affliction.”
The woman and her doctors further contend that Sephora failed to warn customers of the health risks of trying on lipstick samples and that the cosmetics chain did not have adequate practices in place to avoid herpes exposure.
In March, however, Tracey Garcia, the co-founder and CEO of cosmetics service StyleMeBar, told The Lookbook that makeup stores simply cannot take every precaution.
"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," said Garcia.
Following the publication of TMZ's article, a Sephora spokesperson responded to Fashionista’s request for comment on the matter.
“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,” they said.
According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, 50 percent to 80 percent of U.S. adults have oral herpes caused by herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1). Once infected, a person has the virus for the rest of their life, which can lead to painful outbreaks of sores and blisters.