Starkeema Greenidge, 28, contracted oral herpes after trying a Rihanna’s “Riri Woo” MAC lipstick at the singer’s recent Brooklyn concert. She slapped MAC with a lawsuit, she told the New York Daily News, claiming the brand’s representative applied a lipstick on her that was previously used on another attendee.
Two days after her Riri Woo experience, Greenidge developed a cold sore on her lip that her doctor diagnosed as herpes. New York dermatologist Dr. Rebecca Baxt said Greenidge’s story is plausible — you can in fact contract herpes from an infected tube of lipstick. “If someone has an active a cold sore/herpes then yes, it could be transmitted by sharing lipstick,” she wrote in an email. (Baxt has not treated Rihanna or Starkeema Greenidge.)
In the suit, Greenidge seeks an unspecified amount of cash for “mental anguish and emotional distress” caused by the incident, which she says put her out of work for two weeks and “cost me a lot of money.”
Baxt cautions that a number of things can transmit oral herpes — not just lipstick. These include:
7. Basically anything that goes in or around your mouth.
8. This all puts a whole new spin on trying lipsticks at Sephora, doesn’t it?
June 3, 1 PM: This post has been updated to clarify that Dr. Baxt has not treated Rihanna or Greenidge.