Updated on February 13, 2018 at 4:30PM EST:
Ulta Beauty is under fire after several former and current employees came forward with allegations that the store cleans and resells used makeup. The employees, who worked at Ultas across the country, allege that they were ordered to repackage and reshelve unsanitized, returned merchandise, such as lipsticks, foundations, and eye shadows, for new customers to buy.
Former Ulta employee, @fatinamxo, led the charge on Twitter with a viral thread on how she was asked to resell everything from makeup to skin care to hair tools. To prove her case, Fatina shared two pictures of alleged resold products. One picture featured a used foundation stick with residue on the rim, which Fatina claimed was touched up with a Q-Tip before it was reshelved. Another photo showed a used lip palette, which Fatina claimed was lightly cleaned with alcohol before it was resold.
Fatina also claimed that she was instructed on how to clean used eyeshadow so it could dry overnight and be sold the next day. She claimed that when she tossed “damaged” products, her managers would become angry at her for throwing away something that could be resold. When she contacted corporate to report the situation, Fatina was allegedly met with a disappointing response.
After her Twitter thread went viral, Fatina was flooded with DMs from other employees who echoed her claims. One employee claimed that her manager used a blow dryer to smooth a used brow pomade so it could be resold, while others said they resorted to destroying returned products beyond repair so they couldn’t be resold.
Another employee, who worked as a makeup artist at Ulta’s salon, also claimed that the store used testers and unsanitized products on clients. Others compared ULTA to beauty retailers like Sephora and MAC, which reportedly sends back and throw away all used and returned merchandise
After Fatina’s thread went viral, Ulta began replying to Twitter users and customers who chimed in with their Ulta horror experiences. Ulta denied any wrongdoing and assured that it does not sell used products. Ulta also issued a statement to Revelist, denying the resale of any used and opened merchandise
“The health and safety of our guests is a top priority for Ulta Beauty and we take these matters very seriously. Ulta Beauty’s practices do not allow the resale of any items that have been opened and/or used. The actions described appear to be inconsistent with our practices and we are currently looking into this matter,” the statement read.
A Chicago woman who previously worked at her local Ulta, has since filed a lawsuit against the beauty giant, corroborating previous claims that “managers will take used products out of a damaged bin and if they look good enough to resell, they’ll put them back on the shelves and resell them so they don’t exceed their quota.” According to her attorney Tom Zimmerman, also reiterated that the danger of this alleged activity lies in pathogens that can remain on the products for weeks.
“There is E. coli and klebsiella bacteria which is commonly found in intestine and expelled with fecal matter,” he also said.
As expected, the Cook County-based store has issued a statement of its own, denying the allegations and promising to fight back in court.
“Our policy does not allow the resale of used products. We are aware of the lawsuit and intend to vigorously defend against the allegations. The health and safety of Ulta Beauty guests is a top priority and we strive to consistently deliver an optimal experience every time they shop with us.”
There’s no telling if these allegations will sway many from shopping at Ulta in the future, but we’ll keep you updated.