Shared makeup booths pop up in major Chinese cities

A woman walks past a shared makeup booth in Beijing. (Photo/

Shared makeup booths, the latest trend to enter China’s booming sharing economy, are popping up in major Chinese cities at a growing rate.

Booths have arrived in shopping malls in Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou. The central city of Wuhan is now home to 15 shared makeup booths.

A survey indicated that nearly half of Chinese women believe it is necessary to put on makeup before going to work, and almost 40 percent of working women think cosmetics make them look more professional.

Shared makeup booths, like other sectors of the sharing economy, such as shared bikes and shared automobiles, are a result of modern times.

“I usually carry various cosmetics in my bag and touch up my make up in the restroom, which is inconvenient,” said Liu Xiaoqi, a woman from Beijing. She believes that the emergence of shared makeup pods brings significant benefits to women, saying she now often uses them.

However, problems always arise with innovation, and shared makeup booths are no exception. Concerns have been raised in regards to hygiene and product quality.

For instance, used tissues were found on the table of one booth, and packaging often becomes sticky if items aren’t closed correctly after use.

“Most cosmetics make contact with the skin, and I don’t want to share them with strangers,” said a citizen named Zheng Yanqing. She explains that bacteria exists on the packaging of shared cosmetics, and it’s not very hygienic to share with strangers.

Experts warned that sharing lipstick might spread viruses such as herpes, and contaminated facial cream and eye shadow could easily cause conjunctivitis.

One makeup pod operator responded that they would improve conditions and reinforce supervision to optimize user experience.