This Is Not A Test: Ulta Beauty outlines reopening strategy, no product sampling allowed

By Deanna Utroske contact

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images \ (Thanaphong Araveeporn)
© Getty Images \ (Thanaphong Araveeporn)

Related tags: Ulta beauty, coronavirus, retail, safety, consumer behavior

Today, the beauty retailer announced plans to begin opening stores in some 7 US states, implementing special Coronavirus guidelines that Ulta is calling its Shop Safe Standards.

“It is our responsibility,” ​says Ulta Beauty CEO Mary Dillon, “to create store environments that are safe for our guests to enjoy the shopping experience and for our associates to work confidently. We look forward, with cautious optimism, to welcoming all back to Ulta Beauty.”

Ulta Beauty plans to reopen in 7 states next week

The beauty retailer’s reopening is set to begin with select stores in 7 states across the US. Most of those never had state-wide stay-at-home or shelter-in-place polices and nearly all have reopened personal care services like salons, barbershops, and spas.

“This Monday,” ​Dillon tells the press, “we will reopen approximately 180 stores in select states:” ​Arkansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, and Utah.

“Our focus,” ​she says, “has been on how to reopen safely – not just when – throughout our preparation and planning to ensure we are confident to welcome guests and associates back to Ulta Beauty.”

That preparation and planning has, according to today’s media release from the company, incorporated information from both government and health sources as well as best practices collated by the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA).

Ulta Beauty introduces Shop Safe Standards for consumers and employees

Ulta Beauty shared just some of the company’s new Shop Safe Standards in today’s media release, under heading like Face Coverings, Social Distancing, Salon Service Safety, Testers, In-Store Cleanliness, and Associate Wellness.

Some of the new protocol include associates wearing masks and customers being asked to do the same. “Mandatorywellness check before the start of [employee’s] shifts.” ​By-appointment-only salon services with extra space between stations, gloves and makes for associates, and masks for clients.

And there will be no product sampling allowed. “Product testers are not available for use in store,” ​explains the company’s media release. “Open product is now for display only and guests will find signage throughout stores reinforcing the new policy. Products remain on display to showcase colors offered only and hand sanitizer continues to be readily available throughout the store.”

There are no-contact beauty shopping options for Ulta Beauty customers

“Throughout the last few months, we have navigated the fluid dynamics of COVID-19 with the safety of our guests and associates at the heart of every decision we have made,” ​emphasizes Dillon in her remarks to the press, adding that, “That commitment to safety has guided our thoughtful, phased approach to reopening,”

“In the last few weeks,” ​she notes, “we have introduced curbside pickup in more than 700 locations.” ​And that option, which the company describes as “limited-contact”​ will be offered at stores across the US, both those that are reopening as well as at some that are still temporarily closed. Ulta Beauty also sees its own eccomerce site and shoppable app as contactless purchasing options.



Deanna Utroske is a prominent beauty industry writer, thought leader, and speaker.​ As Editor of, she writes daily news about the business of beauty in the Americas region and regularly produces video interviews with cosmetics, fragrance, personal care, and packaging experts as well as with indie brand founders.
CLICK HERE to read about Deanna’s approach to newsgathering and communication during COVID-19, as recently featured on Publishing Executive.

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