A Woman Is Claiming A Sephora Lipstick Sample Gave Her Herpes & Yeah, We're Grossed Out, Too

by Caroline Burke

Sephora is basically a makeup mecca. From those shining aisles filled with your favorite products, to the makeup professionals waiting to help you out at every turn, there's something about shopping at Sephora that makes you feel like you're being swaddled in a tight, loving embrace. Although, it appears not everyone has been fortunate enough to have such a pleasant experience there, because Sephora is allegedly being sued by a woman who claims their lipstick gave her oral herpes.

Elite Daily reached out to Sephora for comment on these allegations and received the following statement in response:

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.

Believe me, I'd also prefer not to know that this happens at all, let alone that it did allegedly happen, and at a store where I've been known to wander up and down the aisles painting my face into something resembling a Kardashian-obsessed clown on more than one occasion.

But it's true, according to TMZ, who first broke the news about Sephora's alleged, unfortunate herpes flareup. Of course, this totally isn't a laughing matter, but when you imagine this conversation (one that I assume usually happens between two people who've had sex) happening between a woman and a customer service representative, it's a little bit insane.

The scariest part about this is that pretty much every woman has been to a Sephora before and tested out the sample products, which is why it's crucial to get to the bottom of what really happened here.

If it's true that you can contract herpes via a lipstick sample, then Sephora may have some explaining to do.

The woman who's reportedly suing Sephora claims that she contracted oral herpes after using a lipstick sample at the store's Hollywood location (which is very close to me — don't panic, don't panic, don't panic). According to TMZ, she insists that it had to have been caused by Sephora's lipstick sample, because she's never had herpes or cold sores prior to this.

OK, let's talk about a few things.

First of all, yes, it's totally possible to contract herpes via shared lipstick or any other type of shared oral cosmetic.

It becomes more common if you have chapped lips or any sort of cut that might allow the infection to travel. Larry Beatty, M.D., spoke to Cosmopolitan about this very issue back in 2013, explaining,

If you had chapped lips or a break in the skin and swipe on a lipstick that someone used that's infected with the herpes simplex virus, then you're more susceptible to contracting it. But even if your skin is 100 percent intact, it's still not a guarantee that you'd be protected from getting it; there is still a degree of risk.

As a rule of thumb, there's always an element of risk when using sample products of makeup that other people might have put on their own eyes or lips. Of course, massive companies like Sephora do have procedures to minimize these types of risks, including alcohol wipes at every makeup counter that employees can (and should) use before assisting someone with a product.

At the same time, though, when you think about just how many people come in and out of big stores like Sephora every day, it may just be inevitable for some products to be used without an employee noticing, and for a product to not be properly cleaned between those uses.

Of course, this isn't to say that it's this woman's fault for reportedly contracting oral herpes from a Sephora sample lipstick. Something like this could honestly happen to anyone.

For now, though, I think I'll personally just stick to online shopping for my makeup needs — just to be safe.