Using makeup testers and getting mani-pedis are, for the most part, on an indefinite pause. The coronavirus pandemic has curtailed daily schedules, and that doesn’t exclude the everyday things we typically take for granted, like retail therapy. Store closings were inevitable but in hot spots like New York and Los Angeles, the shift began almost immediately in an effort to decrease foot traffic, well, everywhere.
Beauty brands are unsurprisingly (and rightfully so) taking extra precaution as these shopping experiences usually involve interaction beyond a friendly greeting from employees. I’m talking brow services, makeup applications, and product testing. If you’ve ever walked into a Sephora, you know what I’m talking about. Any of these situations could be a petri dish of virus transmission, making it absolutely necessary to shut them down until further notice.
Furthermore, certain brands are already closing brick-and-mortar locations altogether in an effort to promote and help enforce social distancing. Beyond that, chances are we’ll begin to see a shift in the nail and hair salon industries too, where hand-touching is required to perform most services. For now, the experts are recommending we keep our retail therapy online, where thankfully, most of our go-to places like Sephora and Ulta ship everything you’d grab during a store run.
Ahead, a running list of how beauty brands are responding to the coronavirus pandemic. (And as noted by the World Health Organization, remember to keep washing your hands for at least 20 seconds at a time, avoid public gatherings and call your primary doctor if you’re feeling ill.)
As of 3/12/20, Sephora stores are still open, though shoppers will quickly notice a couple of changes. In addition to suspending all of its makeup and skincare services, hand sanitizer is throughout the space and employees are constantly cleaning “high-touch” areas including product displays and hygiene stations.
Shoppers are also encouraged to avoid makeup testers and use the retailer’s Digital Makeover Guide and Virtual Artist tools instead. And because a lot of us are staying home in the name of social distancing, anyone can shop the Sephora website and score free shipping with the code FREESHIP through the end of March.
Starting today (3/13/20), Benefit is suspending all of its beauty services, though stores will remain open. The retailer laid out its plans in an email to “Benebabes” everywhere:
As a precautionary measure in response to COVID-19, we are suspending all beauty services until further notice. The health and safety of our customers (you!) and our employees is our #1 priority. We’re sorry for any inconvenience this may cause.
Any services you are currently booked for will be cancelled. Our boutiques remain open for business and we will be sure to alert you the moment we resume services.
On 3/12/20, Glossier founder and CEO Emily Weiss announced in a letter on the brand’s website that all of the permanent and temporary retail locations would be closed for the next two weeks “to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.” This also includes a delay in the highly-anticipated opening of Glossier Arizona, originally slated to open on March 18.
Weiss noted that the decision was a tough call, but that in the interim, employees would be compensated during the two-week closure. She also cited a reason article from The Atlantic which highlights the importance of social distancing in times like these: “Yascha Mounk wrote, ‘…anyone in a position of power or authority, instead of downplaying the dangers of the coronavirus, should ask people to stay away from public places, cancel big gatherings, and restrict most forms of nonessential travel.’”
Weiss concluded her letter on a positive note, encouraging Glossier fans to stay connected to the brand’s social channels and of course, to bring their shopping experience online whether it’s to stock up on those cult-favorite essentials like BalmDotCom or the new Skywash eyeshadows (check out our review here).
“To our customers and community, remember the power of adaptability. Stay present, be responsible, and try to lean into warmth and openness when you want to close off and pull down the shades. This is a time for us to remember our humanity.”
In a message posted to the retailer’s website, hours of operation have been adjusted to 10am–6pm (11am–6pm on Sundays) in Ulta Beauty stores across the country. It was also noted that additional restrictions to certain locations, so in the rare case that you decide to step out, be sure to call your local store first.
“Second, we will be temporarily discontinuing all hair services in our stores as of Monday, March 16. We’ll be working with guests who have appointments to reschedule for a later date. We greatly appreciate your understanding and flexibility.”
Continue to check the Ulta Beauty website for ongoing updates. And in the meantime, you can always place an online order because the 21 Days of Beauty event is definitely still on.
Bumble and bumble
Starting March 14, the haircare brand announced that its two flagship salons in New York City would be closed through the end of March.
“There is nothing more important than the health and well-being of our incredible employees, clients, and community,” says an official statement. “All appointments currently scheduled during this time period will be postponed. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. Thank you for your understanding and support. We are all in this together – and we look forward to seeing you in our chairs soon.”
As of March 14, Urban Outfitters physical locations were closed globally and won’t open until at least March 28. This includes the company’s other brands (Anthropologie, BHLDN, Free People, Terrain and Nuuly) and thankfully, hourly employees will get regular pay during this time.
Important news for all of the “Lushies” out there: “all 258 Lush retail stores across Canada and the US” will be closed from March 16-29. The brand has pledged to do all it can for employees and ensure regular pay despite the emergency closures.
“Given what we know today, we believe it’s our duty as an ethical business to do what we can to slow the spread of this virus and minimize the impact on our hardworking healthcare professionals,” says an official statement. “These are trying times for all, and we thank you for your continued support. Please know that you can still find us on social, email, and our website, trying to brighten your day any way that we can.”
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