After months of closed doors and an increased reliance on virtual shopping, many beauty retailers are beginning to reopen. However, because the risk of COVID-19 remains, the shopping experience as you once knew it has changed. Popular beauty retailers and standalone stores have made necessary adjustments to ensure the safety of shoppers, and here's what you can expect the next time you shop for beauty products.
While many retailers are following CDC and local health official-approved guidelines for reopening, it's important to note that all stores will not open their doors just yet. In a statement to NYLON, Glossier confirmed it had no confirmed details on a reopening date for its stores. Additionally, the brand's CEO, Emily Weiss, had previously shared a blog post in April, writing, "The very things that make Glossier retail so special—the crowds, the lines, the experience of being together—are also the reasons why we have an added responsibility to our community." M.A.C. Cosmetics also confirmed to NYLON that a reopening date for its standalone stores has not yet been announced.
So, while you may be eager to add to your beauty cabinet with a shopping trip, it's best to check with an individual store before making any plans. If you are headed to an open retailer, don't forget to wear a mask, and be aware of some of the following changes being implemented at some stores, listed below.
Expect To See Increased Cleaning Measures
Retailers including Sephora, Ulta, Bath & Body Works, and more reported an increase in cleaning measures being implemented at stores. In a statement to NYLON, Bath & Body Works confirmed that store hours and staffing have been adjusted, allowing employees extra time to thoroughly clean stores. Ulta noted similar measures, confirming the frequency of cleaning and disinfecting throughout the store was to be increased. As for some stores, like Sephora, an intense deep cleaning was required of stores before reopening. Bath & Body Works reported that between each customer, the checkout area and credit card machine would be cleansed.
Expect some stores to offer customers in-store hand sanitizers and masks, and in some cases, stores may ask customers not to bring or use reusable bags from home, citing the health and safety of employees. And as always, social distancing remains an important tool, with multiple stores asking customers to remain six feet from one another and the staff.
Tester Products Are For Display Only
In order to ensure continued cleanliness throughout the store, and as a means of protecting customers, multiple retailers confirmed altered protocol for tester products. Both Sephora and Ulta are using tester products for display only, while stores including Lush have temporarily removed tester products, offering fresh-made samples instead. Sephora will also offer limited, prepackaged samples.
Some Experiences Will Be Done Virtually
Due to the discontinuation of tester products, expect for stores, including Sephora and Ulta, to rely on virtual try-on services. Glossier, while it remains closed, had previously unveiled a Live Edit program that paired customers with an expert, and e.l.f. Cosmetics, although it has no standalone stores, recently unveiled a virtual try-on tool. Additionally, stores continue to offer online shopping, some brands and retailers reported for customers to expect delays due to an increase in orders and safety of warehouse employees, including Kylie Cosmetics and ColourPop that had temporarily paused shipping, but have since resumed.
Select In-Store Services Will Still Be Unavailable
Even with stores reopening, some services will still be unavailable. Ulta confirmed to NYLON that its hair salons are currently by appointment only, and both brow and hair services require both customers and employees to remain masked. "While we are excited to have guests back in chairs, their safety – and that of our stylists – remain our top priority," the company said in a statement.
Sephora has temporarily suspended its in-store services, previously telling NYLON that it was following the guidelines of local government and health officials when it came to deciding on which stores could reopen, and how in-store operations would proceed. "We are taking an intentionally measured and phased approach to reopening, putting the priority on the health and safety of our communities,” said Jean-André Rougeot, President and CEO of Sephora Americas.
Curbside Pickup Is Sticking Around
If you're not yet comfortable with in-store shopping or you're located in an area where stores remain closed, there is good news. Curbside pickup remains an alternative for many beauty retailers across the United States, with some stores continuing to offer curbside pickup even after reopening.
However, when it comes to returns, some stores have altered their policies. Sephora had temporarily extended its return window, while Ulta stores operating as curbside locations only are not able to accept returns until the store reopens. Ulta stores that are open have an extended return window. If you're not sure of a store's policy, it's best to contact and ask.