Sephora Lawsuit: Woman Claims Lipstick Tester Gave Her Herpes


Sephora now faces a lawsuit over a woman's claim that she suffered from emotional stress after contracting herpes from a lipstick sample at one of Sephora's California stores.

Woman's Herpes Linked To Use Of Sephora Lipstick Tester

The lawsuit alleges that the woman was diagnosed with an incurable and lifelong affliction after she used a Sephora lipstick tester that was on display in October 2015. The woman said that she never had herpes or cold sores prior to trying the lipstick.

The documents claimed that Sephora failed to clearly give warning to the woman and other consumers about the risk of getting herpes and other diseases from using lipstick samples. The woman said that she would have avoided those samples had she known about the risk of using them.

Many stores encourage their customers to clean cosmetic samples before using them. They also provide sampling stations with cotton swabs and rubbing alcohol for cleaning the products.

Dangers Of Sampling Lipsticks And Makeups

Dermatologists have long warned about the dangers of trying on makeups in cosmetic aisles. In 2015, Toral Patel, owner of D&A Dermatology in Chicago, shared that patients go to her office with cold sores, pinkeye, bacterial infections, and boils after trying on makeup.

One problem with using makeup samples is that it is difficult to know if the previous sampler washed hands after using the bathroom. Patel explained that while viruses such as the herpes virus responsible for cold sores need a human host to survive, they can remain long enough on lipstick to latch on to someone else.

"It's not you, it's the people before you," Patel said adding that the risk of getting infected from makeup samples can happen anywhere. "It's not a matter of the neighborhood drugstore versus a high-end department store."

The dermatologist advised those who want to sample to apply on the wrist or neck, and avoid dabbing around a scratch or open sore.

Sephora declined to comment on the litigation but stressed how it places importance on its clients' health and safety.

"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," Sephora said.

Symptoms Of Herpes

Symptoms of oral herpes include painful blisters or open sores in or around the mouth. Those infected often experience tingling and burning sensation around their mouth prior to the appearance of sores.

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