Apparel, Fashion & Retail | Fashion | Featured | News & Insights

End of an era : Beauty Testers

Published: June 14, 2020

There are virtual try-ons, color descriptions, and customer reviews to help you buy a new foundation online. However, none of these tools can ever compare to an in-store makeup shopping experience.

Swatching your wrist with a foundation tester and actually applying it to your skin is a foolproof way to find the perfect shade and formula for you. But will makeup tester still be in stores post-COVID-19 lockdown?


Across the board, Sephora, Ulta, Nordstrom, and SHEN Beauty are getting rid of communal makeup testers that customers can physically touch and apply on themselves.

“To ensure our guests’ safety, product testers will no longer be available and are on display only to offer a truer sense of colors and textures,” Kecia Steelman, chief store operations officer and president international at Ulta Beauty, shares.

However, while single use testers are being explored, they can be expensive for both brands and retailers to execute. “I have a few ideas, but I also need to work through it from a financial standpoint because my idea is going to be relatively going to be expensive if it comes into fruition,” explains Jessica Richards, founder of SHEN Beauty. “There’s also talk of brands providing one-time use testers for stores. But what about the smaller brands that can’t afford to make them? Those are mostly the brands I work with.”

While mass retailers may axe testers for all categories, boutiques might still allow them for skincare and body samples, but you won’t be able to dispense them yourself. “Skincare and body care have pumps and you can drop it into the customer’s hands, but it’s the makeup that’s concerning,” Richards says.

Another option is offering take-home samples, which is what Nordstrom is doing.



                    In lieu of in-store testers, some retailers are ramping up their digital try-on experiences. Ulta is expanding its GLAMlab offerings, a try-on experience within the Ulta Beauty app. “GLAMlab is an excellent way for guests to virtually try-on makeup products across categories such as eyeshadow, eyeliner, brows, lips, mascara, foundation, false eyelashes and even hair color — an experience you couldn’t try in-store previously,” Steelman shares.

Sephora also has its Virtual Artist tool in its app. This allows you to virtually try on eye, lip, and cheek makeup, plus full makeup looks created by Sephora experts.

As for in-store events, Nordstrom plans to move them online, too.


On top of not being able to test makeup products yourself, don’t expect mass retailers to give you makeup application demos. Nordstrom also going one step further to pause all waxing, nail, and spa services.

On the other hand, Ulta is suspending brow and skin services, but will continue offer hair services in select locations. (Check your nearest Ulta store to see if it’s included.) The retailer is also upping its in-store salon safety and hygiene practices.

“While we have always kept high quality safety standards, we have increased our measures and now require both the stylist and guest wear a face covering during appointments; associates will also wear gloves,” Steelman shares. “We frequently clean and disinfect between each appointment and throughout the day; and salons are operating with limited capacity to help maintain social distancing where possible.”

As for boutiques like SHEN Beauty that offer facials, waxing, makeup, and brow services, they will require their employees to have elevated training. Richards says that she is asking her staff to complete BARBICIDE training every six months, in addition to any other relevant teachings.

“My employee that does microblading and I were discussing how he may have to take an additional course once we can offer the service again,” she says. “Since microblading creates a wound, it may need to be wrapped up afterwards like having a fresh tattoo wrapped in plastic because the virus is airborne. This would require an additional course on hygiene protocols for bandaging wounds.”

This particular video shows the state of make up stores in USA during COVID – 19 pandemic

1f4933b0-3364-47c6-a1c0-e264e5db1256 (1)



  • With the COVID-19 situation in India rapidly evolving, we want to assure you that your health and wellbeing is paramount, and we are handling this situation with utmost importance.
    Sanitation standards for our products and tools have and will continue to be our top priority. To this effect, we have temporarily suspended all product tester demonstrations and makeovers at our counters. As the situation continues to evolve within the country, we have taken additional measures to ensure we can continue serving you in the safest way possible. Our Beauty Advisors across stores are equipped to uphold and practice these measures, as we closely follow the latest guidance provided by local and internationally certified health authorities.
    The enhanced safety measures include:
    •    Regularly disinfecting all high-touch areas, including workstations, product displays with a hospital-grade disinfecting cleaner
    •    Increasing accessibility of hand sanitizers for clients and beauty advisors to protect the safety of the community in and outside our stores
    •    While Lakmé counters across the country currently remain open for business, we understand you may choose to shop from home, if so, we urge you to engage with our Virtual Try-Me feature on our website –
    •    Safety instructions to our team at the counters and stores to ensure for their health and safety such as
    o    Cleaning all makeup brushes and testers regularly
    o    Using spatulas to apply product and not to use their fingers to avoid contact with the shoppers
    As we navigate through these challenging circumstances, be rest assured it is our continued priority to keep our counters safe and clean for you, our employees and the community at large.

The article has been authored by -Bhavika Gulrajani.




Related Posts