There is some kind of morbid fascination with freeloaders. We love them, we hate them.
We see them swiping their artichoke hearts through as potatoes at self-checkout. We watch them trying to pay for their coffee with half a five dollar note. And yes, we nod in silent appreciation as they rifle through the bargain bins at the local Vinnies.
But freeloading has reached a new level with the discovery of an international stingy sect called the ‘Sephora Make-up Moochers’.
*rubs hands with glee*
Tight-arsery has reached soaring heights with these nifty crews of women across the world using the local Sephora store as their own personal makeup counter.
According to the Wall Street Journal, women are arriving armed with their own brushes, collecting armfuls of display cosmetics, pulling up a stool in front of the mirror and giving themselves a makeover. Wow. Just wow.
In the article, secrets of DIY makeovers are revealed.
"The [Sephora] self-service stations invite people to test the limits of what’s free—and many do, treating the places as extensions of their own bathrooms," writes Khadeeja Safdar.
"Shoppers waltz in and spritz on dry shampoo.... some use concealers to cover up under-eye circles, others pamper themselves with a manicure. A few commuters drop by on their way to work, as if stopping in for a morning latte." (Post continues after gallery.)
Some women are even coming in and giving themselves a full manicure, three coats and all.
(Um, does the smell of acetone not bother the 129 other customers in the store, or...?)
Makeup artist Keara James worked at Sephora NYC for three years, and came to resent the 'tester junkies.'
“They would walk in bare bones, douse their bodies in perfume, walk out with everything on their face,” she recalls. “Some people would go through this whole shebang and act like they want to buy the product.”
But what's the deal with using makeup that's been shared by, literally, hundreds of other women?
Some products, such as powders and bronzers, are fairly safe, as they're applied with a brush only to parts of the face and body that don't carry disease or infection.
But sharing eye products such as mascara, eyeshadow, eyeliner or concealer; you run the risk of contracting conjunctivitis or worse.
Don't even get us started on the shared lipstick testers...
Bottom line: if you want to walk in a human, and walk out with contouring that rivals a Matisse, there's a pretty high chance you're walking out with pink eye as well.
According to Sephora, their health and hygiene standards are super tight, saying they teach all the staff how to prep products for testing.
“That includes using disposable applicators, cleaning all brushes before each use, how to ‘shave’ powder-based products, using sharpeners or alcohol to freshen pencils and lipsticks,” says Julie Taing, who works on Sephora’s PRO Artists team of makeup artists.
While that is reassuring, we can only imagine the hundreds of other brushes/fingers/lips/eyeballs that those products are touching from the Sephora Makeup Moocher Club members.
Anyway, the whole 'leaving amazing makeup samples lying around for any old schmuck to use' strategy seems to be a deliberate move on Sephora's behalf, with the abundance of testers actually boosting sales.
"Beauty retailers do little to discourage freeloading," says the Wall Street Journal.
"In fact, both Sephora, which is owned by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE, and Ulta Salon, Cosmetics & Fragrance Inc., pride themselves on how much product they give away. They both say they train employees to let customers do as they please—so long as it isn’t too gross."
You try, you buy. We get it.
And it's a strategy that's seeing the company boom.
The gross ingredients hidden in your cosmetics.