Women Develops Herpes From Lipstick Tester at Sephora

In November of 2017, a California woman motioned to sue Sephora after she claims she was infected with herpes from one of their testers. Elena Davoyan said that she used a “common tester” at a Los Angeles Sephora in October of 2015. She was diagnosed with herpes shortly after.

Davoyan said that she was never diagnosed with herpes prior to shopping in the store. Davoyan sued Sephora for emotional distress over the “incurable lifelong infliction.” According to court documents, Davoyan is also suing Sephora for liability, negligence, and intentional infliction.

Davoyan’s lawyer, Robert Kransey, argues that the cosmetic store does not warn customers of the dangers of using communal testers.

According to the lawsuit, “The bottom line is that (there) are numerous simple solutions to prevent the spreading of diseases through lipstick testers, and that is Sephora’s responsibility.”

Sephora put out this response to the public lawsuit:




“The health and safety is our foremost priority. We take product hygiene very seriously and we are dedicated to following best practices in our stores.”


Sephoria Lipstick


Is it possible to catch an infectious disease from a cosmetic tester? Yes. While uncommon, it is possible to catch a virus from a cosmetic tester. In fact, bacteria can live on testers for days. This is why it is so important to use disposable products when testing products in the store.

It is also important to note that there are two types of the herpes simplex virus, HSV-1 (oral herpes) and HSV-2 (genital herpes). Davoyan was diagnosed with HSV-1, which most commonly causes cold sores or fever blisters.

While Davoyan could have been inflicted with the herpes virus from the tester, it is very uncommon and most likely hard to pin down the source of her infliction. According to John Hopkins Medicine, 50-80% of U.S. adults have HSV-1. The virus is very common and virtually unavoidable.

Once someone catches the virus, they have it for the rest of their life. This is why it is so important to practice safe makeup practices, especially when using testers or products that have been used on other people. Make sure that you use the disposables provided at Sephora or any cosmetic store to prevent the spread of bacteria.