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Gone are the days where we could pull out the wackiest lipstick shades from the shelves, try it on, and laugh with our friends. Ever since the major beauty retailers reopened in Phase 2, most have had their testers removed, and counters and shelves wrapped up in plastic.

Previously, Sephora introduced a safe and easy way to find your foundation shade in stores – a Beauty Advisor (BA) would squeeze three foundation shades (closest to your skin tone) onto a clear plastic film for you to hold up against your face and match the shades. This method is still available at all Sephora stores, and all you need to do is ask a BA for help! Our editorial director tried the foundation match service at Sephora and shared her experience.

Now, Sephora has reintroduced product testing in their stores, with additional measures and special guidelines. From what we understand, Sephora may just be the first (and only) retailer to launch this initiative. I recently headed down to the Sephora outlet at ION to try on some makeup and treat myself to an early Christmas present, and here’s how it went.

Beauty Studio

I approached one of the BAs who was more than happy to help me with the testers, and I was lead to the Beauty Studio before they went to gather the samples of all the products I wanted to try on. Bear in mind that under these new regulations, all testers will be handled by the BAs themselves, who will be wearing gloves and sanitising their hands throughout the process.

Depending on which kind of product you want to try on, there’ll be different types of disposable single-use applicators the BAs will use to retrieve a portion of the product. Each product will be wiped down with a sanitised wipe before the applicator is dipped in, so you can rest assured that any cross-contamination is kept to a minimum.

All the single-use applicators can only be handed by the BAs, so if you’re looking for more pigment or a different shade, just let them know and they’ll use a new applicator to retrieve a sample for you!

Trying lip products at Sephora


After the sanitising and wiping down was complete, my BA used a plastic spatula to scrape off a small wedge of the lipstick, before transferring it onto the applicator and handing it to me. As for a liquid lipstick, your BA will use a cotton bud to retrieve some of the product instead.

It was easy, fast and simple – I applied a couple of shades onto my palm like we used to in the good ol’ days when testers were out for everyone to use.

Trying powdered formula – eyeshadows, blushers, etc. at Sephora


Just like before, my BA used a single-use applicator to retrieve some of the eyeshadow before handing it to me. To comply with safe distancing measures, he had to stand one metre away from me and guide me on how to apply and blend the eyeshadow instead of helping me out.

As an eyeshadow rookie, I really appreciated the lengths he went to to explain the colours, finishes, and guide me through the application and blending.

This goes for all products where techniques are involved, including contour, highlight, and concealer, where your BA will guide you verbally as you test the product.

Trying liquid and viscous products – serums, creams etc. at Sephora

Serums And Creams

For liquid products such as serums, creams, and liquid foundations, it’s a whole other story! There’s no way to scrape or pat the product onto an applicator, so the BA used the dropper and filled up a little pot with the product, which I could then apply on the back of my palm to feel its texture and consistency.

As for products with a thicker consistency and won’t drip all over the place, your BA will use the same scrape-off technique and hand you the tester to try on.

Important note: Your mask has to be kept on at all times, so trying to smell the fragrance of certain products might be quite a challenge!

Product testing at Sephora resumes: What I think of my experience

Even though these added measures meant that there were more steps to trying the products than what we were used to, it didn’t make my experience at Sephora any less enjoyable and fun!

So hey, if you’ve been eyeing that one lippie but you’re wary about whether the shade will look like it did online in real life, now’s your chance to go try it out and see for yourself at Sephora.

In-store product testing is now available at all Sephora outlets.