Bellacara in the Time of Coronavirus

I’ll admit that I have often been accused of borderline OCD. Most of the time people are joking of course, but there is a kernel of truth in it. I can’t rest if the house isn’t clean. I really can’t. Even on the days where I’m inclined to cozy up on the sofa and watch a movie, I have to thoroughly clean the family room, plump the sofas, tidy the coffee table, and light a candle before I can settle in happily. Suffice it to say, the minute I do all of this, one of my boys plops down on the sofa, moves the throw pillows, sits for a few minutes before realizing he has no interest in watching The Crown, and leaves after depositing a glass on the coffee table. This drives me to near insanity, which my family thinks is, in and of itself, insane.


Photo Credit: Brandless


This is all to say that owning a makeup store in the midst of a viral outbreak for someone like myself is….challenging. Even without a viral outbreak, I have somewhat of a reputation with my employees for being a clean freak. They have the necessary, but unwelcome task of policing our customers to ensure that they do not accidentally use a tester without an applicator. On the rare occasion where they don’t catch them until it is in mid use, they have the unhappy job of collecting the item and telling me that it made its way to the trash bin. Replacing these testers is costly, but I won’t have a store that I can’t get made up in. One visit to a big box beauty store many years ago left me so shaken by what I saw customers doing that I vowed we would be the complete opposite. In twenty years, I have never gotten pink eye or anything else from my store because we are vigilant with the testers. Our trash can can attest to our vigilance. When someone comes in and decides to swatch an eyeshadow with their finger (sigh), it gets spritzed with alcohol. Before each and every application we spray the item with alcohol.



So, in the midst of coronavirus, how do I make myself and my customers feel safe shopping at Bellacara? Embrace my inner neat freak, that’s how. Myself and my employees will be sanitizing all surfaces constantly. We are even misting the products on the shelves with alcohol several times a day. Overkill? Probably. Does it make me feel better? Yes, it does. We are excusing ourselves between customers to wash our hands and we are continuing to utilize hand sanitizer. Additionally, we have requested that customers not touch the makeup testers for the near future. We have sanitized the testers and do so frequently. Ensuring that we are the only ones touching them while we are engaging in constant hand washing means the testers will remain clean. We know it may be an inconvenience, but we feel it’s a necessary step to protect our customers and allow them to continue to shop for makeup.

We don’t know how long this will last and we know that some of you will be self-quarantining. Some of you may live with elderly or immuno-compromised individuals and need to distance yourselves from public places. We understand. In order to make it easier for you to get the items you need, we will be offering pay by phone / drive up delivery. Just call up, place your order, and pull up behind the store. We’ll run your purchase to your car.

We have always held ourselves to a higher standard of cleanliness, now I get to really up our game and rather than be called OCD, I’ll be lauded as highly practical.


  • The latest from Angela
I have been a beauty junkie for what seems like forever, but before I did anything about it, I went to law school. (Yes, my life is a little like the reverse of Legally Blonde.) Then, I worked as a prosecutor in Sonoma County after which I moved to the DC area with my husband in ’97. I served as Majority Counsel to the Senate Banking Committee followed by a year-long stint at a lobbying firm. You get the picture. It was then that I decided to act on my dream of becoming an entrepreneur. Finding my favorite beauty products proved to be impossible without stepping foot in a mall–the horror. So, I decided to bring my favorites to Alexandria. A few trips to New York and a flight to France and Bellacara was born in March 2000.

Located in historic Old Town Alexandria, for more than 17 years Bellacara has been Northern Virginia's preeminent boutique for high end cosmetic, skincare and haircare products. At Bellacara you will find premiere beauty products that have been carefully edited by the store’s owner, Angela Sitilides, who personally tests all the products sold in store. The boutique carries only the best product lines – Kiehl’s, Jouer, Dr. Dennis Gross, Christophe Robin, Moroccan Oil, Bumble & Bumble, Fresh, Molton Brown, Skinceuticals, Smashbox, Stila, Mario Badescu, Clarins, Dermalogica, Kevyn Aucoin, Kai, Child, St. Tropez, Smith and Cult, and many more.

1000 King Street
Alexandria, VA 22314


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