Sharing cosmetics in China: Pretty unhygienic?

PHOTO: EPA-EFE
Chinese customer Fu Jie, 28, trying out make-up in a "shareable make-up" pod operated by 17Beauty, or Seventeen Beauty, at a mall in Beijing. Such pods are the latest fad to enter China's large sharing economy, aimed at young urban women on the go. C
PHOTO: EPA-EFE

Chinese customer Fu Jie, 28, trying out make-up in a "shareable make-up" pod operated by 17Beauty, or Seventeen Beauty, at a mall in Beijing.

Such pods are the latest fad to enter China's large sharing economy, aimed at young urban women on the go. Chinese start-up 17Beauty currently operates about 50 such booths in four cities - Beijing, Shanghai, Wuhan and Guangzhou, with nine pods in the capital city itself.

The booths are located in shopping malls, office buildings and transportation hubs. Customers have to scan a QR code to enter the booth, which usually features a dressing table, chair, mirror and cosmetics and beauty products of local and international brands. It costs 28 yuan (S$5.70) per 15 minutes for customers to use the booth. Local cosmetics companies pay 1,500 yuan a month to have their products featured in the pod.

Customers also have the option to buy the products online by scanning a QR code if they like what they have tried out. The "shareable make-up" pods have sparked discussions on hygiene issues in sharing make-up with strangers, though some customers view it as a convenient way to freshen up before rushing to important meetings.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on January 27, 2019, with the headline 'Sharing cosmetics in China: Pretty unhygienic?'. Print Edition | Subscribe