Can you really get herpes at Sephora from lipstick?

IMG_2320Earlier this week, TMZ reported that a woman had sued a Sephora store in Hollywood for contracting herpes on her lip after swiping on a “common use” tubes on display in October 2015. TMZ’s report said that the woman was suing because Sephora did not warn “customers of the risk of getting herpes or other diseases from trying on the lipstick samples. She said if she would have known she would’ve avoided them like the plague.”

The woman has not publicly released details, but Sephora gave The Daily Beast a statement: “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.”

According to medical experts, it is highly unlikely.  A cold sore isn’t a sign that someone wasn’t carrying herpes for years, even decades, and did not know about it until something triggered the disease to show.  A person can have Type 1 herpes, which is asymptomatic. That means the initial signs of the virus taking residence in your body—swollen lymph nodes, feverishness, and body aches—can be latent for a while before a person realizes they’ve got herpes.

There’s also the fact that a person may have had symptoms in the past and just not noticed them. The herpes virus lives in and travels through nerves that branch from the base of the head into the nose, lips, and out to the chin. Some people have the sores, but do not notice them.

The herpes virus enters a person’s body; an antibody is made. If a person thinks they have herpes, they get an antibody test. If it’s positive, that means they’ve previously had herpes in their system—and therefore, that it would not be from trying on lipstick at a makeup counter. If it were negative, a person would have to wait about a week, continue to have sores, and take another antibody test that would turn up positive. That change—from negative to positive—over the course of several days is crucial in laying blame on herpes on a specific product or source.

Furthermore, to even contract the virus (very, very slim) you would have to walk into Sephora with severely chapped lips and use the same lipstick three minutes after a person who is carrying the herpes virus, ew.  The whole thing is gross.

Save yourself the grief of this horrible virus and use an antiseptic clean lipstick wand and try to avoid sampling publicly shared lipstick when your lips are busted.

Moral of the story keep it clean!

Sending healthy Saturday vibes! 💋

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Photo credits:  luvtolook-Tatyana,


  1. Jess

    Well, we can’t be sure if the poor lady contracted the virus from Cephora or not. However, it is possible indeed to catch herpes or something worse from using a lipstick that 100ss people are using. Also, there are other STDs that have been contacted by the simple fact of seating on a chair that was exposed to a virus. Everything is possible. A better solution would be for Sephora and other retails to no offer testers. It is dirty indeed! We can be naive and summe that is safe to use the testers if a well known store have the option. At least a warning sight should be displayed to warm people.

  2. ayrgalaxy

    eesh, that sounds awful…I can’t say I blame Sephora though…I blame the lady because it’s common sense to not put a lipstick directly onto your lips.. especially regarding a tester. I personally never assume such things to be “safe” to put on directly on my face, at least when they match foundations they are very cautious…hmm…idk. I guess I’m divided on this issue. Sephora could* probably display a warning?

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