There's nothing like opening up a brand-new makeup kit and glamming it up—though that glamorous feeling may be lost if you find out you're applying makeup someone else already used. That's the gist of a complaint filed in Chicago last month by a California woman who says Ulta repackaged returned cosmetics and placed the items back on store shelves, the Los Angeles Times reports. "Every customer who has purchased cosmetics at Ulta since this practice began was put at risk of unwittingly purchasing used, unsanitary cosmetics," the lawsuit states. Kimberley Laura Smith-Brown of Los Angeles alleges she stocked up on dozens of items from Ulta's Sherman Oaks location over the past six months or so—and then saw whispers on social media that her stash may not have been as pristine as she thought.
A Twitter user who said she was an ex-Ulta employee started the hubbub, claiming that when she worked there, her manager would instruct employees to clean returned items with cotton swabs and alcohol, seal them back up, then slip them back on the shelves. And, she said, they "would resell EVERYTHING (makeup, hair care, skincare, fragrance, hair tools, etc.)." Other supposed Ulta employees both refuted and supported her claims. ABC Action News reports a second lawsuit was filed last week in Illinois' Cook County Circuit Court, with plaintiff Meghan DeVries alleging Ulta managers are given a "quota" of how many returned items can be listed as "damaged," per a release. The lawyer in that class action says used cosmetics can contain harmful bacteria like E. coli and even the herpes simplex virus. (A potential concern in children's makeup: asbestos.)