Beauty Dumpster Diving.

Hi Friends!

Today I wanted to talk about Dumpster Diving for beauty products. You may have seen on YouTube or Facebook, groups of people that go around to Ulta, Sephora, or other beauty retailers and dumpster dive for products. This has stirred up a lot of controversy in the beauty community around if this is OK or not and I wanted to share my opinion.

Dumpster Diving For Makeup | Tayler's Edit

I have personally never dumpster dived or bought anything from people who dumpster dive and I am trying to stay as unbiased as possible for this post. So firstly, let’s talk about why makeup gets thrown out. A lot of the beauty products that end up in the dumpster are products that customers have tried and returned for whatever reason. Once a product has been used, retailers are not allowed to then re-sell that to other consumers for sanitary purposes so all of it ends up getting thrown out.

As I have mentioned in the past, I am kind of against returning makeup (just for me, personally). I understand, sometimes, a product is not what you thought or it really just does not perform well and you can’t make it work so returning it is the only option. However, places like Sephora and Ulta have generous return policies and people take advantage of it. I understand the frustration of the store managers because by policy they have to throw this makeup out and then there are people digging it out of the dumpster instead of actually purchasing it.

I have seen beauty retailers bleach products and write rude letters to people dumpster diving which I think is crossing the line. I think they should dispose of the products according to policy and leave any hateful notes out of it.

On the other hand, dumpster diving can have its pros. TONS of beauty products get thrown out everyday and some of it is perfectly good. Dumpster Divers, in a sense, are up-cycling these makeup products. If they genuinely get some use out of them or pass them off to a friend to use, then those products are no longer going to waste which can be great. I also think people who are dumpster diving should respect the store property and not trespass if there are signs.

When I was first thinking about this topic, I couldn’t really make up my mind on what side I was on. I can definitely see pros and cons to both sides. However, I changed the way I was thinking of the products and instead of them being makeup, I imagined that people were dumpster diving for furniture. Once I pictured divers pulling out furniture from a dumpster and upcycling it for their home or re-assembling it and selling it to someone else, I instantly felt like that was OK and no longer felt like it was a grey area. We come across things all the time that we may not necessarily pay for but could still enjoy and if it brings someone joy, why wouldn’t you want them to have it? It shouldn’t matter the type of product it is.

That is about it for me though. Let me know your thoughts on dumpster diving for makeup. Do you think it is okay or do you think they should pay for the makeup like everyone else? I would love to know!!

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7 thoughts on “Beauty Dumpster Diving.

    1. I agree – I think that is a really good point. There should be better procedures in place to re-sell used makeup. Definitely ensuring that it is sanitary though. Also just donating makeup.. I feel like it could have a better home if donated to a woman’s shelter instead of just thrown out.

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  1. Great post. I Personally worked for Ulta before. When it came to “Damaged product” a lot of the used ones were turned into testers. The expired ones were either returned to the brand it came from or thrown out. I don’t know about other makeup stores…I’m just speaking from my own experience. Dumpster diving wasn’t a big issue until someone made a video that went viral and people would boldly dumpster dive for, majority of the time, expired makeup and skincare. I’m against dumpster diving for sanitary reasons. Seeing the thrown out product first hand and knowing why it was thrown out makes you have a complete different outlook. Alot of the times, it’s not only makeup being thrown out in the same dumpsters. There’s disgusting breakroom trash going along with it.

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    1. Thank you so much for sharing your experience! I am glad to learn that some of the used items were turned into testers, that is a much better use for returned makeup. Yeah, I definitely think dumpster diving turned into a big thing after a few videos went viral. And I don’t think as many people are actually dumpster diving but they are buying makeup from the dumpster diving which is kind of concerning for sanitary reasons. And its also kind of unfair to brands and retailers like Sephora and Ulta because they lose out on those sales. Its just an interesting topic!

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  2. This is such an interesting post. I’ve definitely watched a few different dumpster diving videos (makeup, clothing, food) from some of the eco-conscious YouTubers I watch.

    Personally, I would never use makeup that I found in a dumpster (for sanitary reasons) but totally understand the waste-related reasons people do this. It’s too bad that Sephora and Ulta couldn’t work with women’s charities that clean and donate gently used makeup to shelters or to programs that do that (like Project Beauty Share).

    All the above being said, I have an issue with people who dumpster dive and then resell the products they find. In my eyes, this crosses the line because those products weren’t paid for in those instances. Unfortunately, reselling products (or falsely returning something that was never purchased) are both factors as to why some retailers go out of their way to damage / destroy products that are thrown out.

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