Pin It
8e9e26e0-55c7-11e9-a3ae-f2742b367090_image_hires_1
Courtesy 1enthirtv /South China Morning Post

Critics are calling China’s new shareable make-up booths unhygienic


TextSapphi Littleton

Would you use it?

China’s trend of sharing just about everything - bikes, phone chargers, umbrellas, cars and even clothes - has gone one step further, with shareable make-up booths spreading around the nation. Founded by beauty brand, 17 Beauty, the booths, named the “17 Beauty Box”, have been popping up in shopping centres across Shanghai, Beijing and the rest of China.

Marketed as an affordable way for consumers to use expensive make-up, one use of the booth costs just 8 yuan (around 90p) for a 15-minute make-up session. Once inside the pink cubicle, you can expect full-on privacy as the glass doors turn opaque and a cabinet opens to reveal over £400 worth of high-end make-up.

However, with the latest booth opening in Eastern Wuhan, the discussion around the controversy of the service has been reignited following the first installations earlier in the year, with many taking to China’s Twitter equivalent, Sina Weibo, and their personal blogs to question whether sharing make-up with a stranger is hygienic. Although there are cleaning products available for customers to sanitise the products before and after each use, is it enough to rely on everyone to do this?

Commenting on the situation, one booth user told the Pear Video website "lipstick, for example, lots of people will use - that's not very hygienic," with another adding, "cosmetics are personal items, I can't really accept this."

Talking to South China Morning Post, dermatologist Dr Steven Loo King-fan believes that the booths offer a more sanitary environment for on the go make-up, compared to public toilets, but highlights the health risks of sharing products with others: “staphylococcus aureus is the most common skin infection. When someone carrying these bacteria uses a brush to apply make-up, the bacteria will get transferred to the make-up container where it will grow.”

With concern around bacteria and skin conditions growing, 17 Beauty responded explaining how make-up is fixed to the booths’ counters so that customers can’t directly apply products to their faces. They also added that disposable applicators are available and ask that customers use a new brush with each application so that international hygiene standards are met. This means every dab into bronzer and every dip into lip gloss should be done with a new disposable applicator. Cleanly, yes, but is this wasteful?

There’s no doubt that the idea of a sharing economy is a good, one that many Western countries have borrowed from - think Santander Cycles and ZipCars - with the trend giving people access to shared luxuries and also reducing negative environmental impacts. Sharing make-up, however, is still up for debate.

Read Next
aquaria
Drag Race's Aquaria spills the beans on her NYX eye collab Beauty news
baf4e8289d25a4ea52b93bcf29148560
An introduction to field recording Digital Spa
ketamine
Does ketamine have a future as a mainstream antidepressant? Digital Spa
37113339_251795382302980_2887840738865840128_n
Quiz: Which positive affirmation is right for you? Digital Spa
Donna Trope
Why the commodification of self-care might actually be a good thing Digital Spa
1218188
A lesson in breathwork Digital Spa
George Stone and Suzannah Pettigrew
This virtual simulation explores what spas will be like in the future Beauty Feature
22158794_173444696541915_7477370545726554112_n
An introduction to ASMR Digital Spa
Making wellness more inclusive-1
Are minority spaces the key to making wellness more inclusive? Digital Spa
Doom Yoga
A lesson with Do.omYoga Digital Spa
Extreme wellness and placebo
Extreme wellness: how much is just placebo? Digital Spa
1530748205675
What's the next step for hallucinogens as a health cure? Digital Spa
53416970_322141915162702_3830750742624359031_n
Quiz: How can you improve your sexual wellness? Digital Spa
1122617
An introduction to positive affirmations Digital Spa
57648950_453959322097375_7973497350323033923_n
Quiz: How can colour therapy help you? Digital Spa
42895098_1977568602362759_6574256757615568450_n-1
A lesson in guided meditation Digital Spa