What to Do With Unwanted Makeup

If you have a makeup collection, the following scenario is probably going to sound pretty familiar.

You’re going through your makeup, probably doing your makeup for the day or just playing around. Everything is everywhere. And then it hits you: “Holy shit I have too much makeup.” So, you set aside some time one day to go through your collection, and you pick out what you want to keep and what you don’t. But once you have your pile of unwanted makeup, there’s a new problem. What do you do with it?

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And it turns out, there’s a lot you can do. Sweet, right?

Sell It Online

In the past few years, particularly with the rise of minimalism and online sites like vinted.com and depop, selling unwanted makeup, clothing, accessories, etc. has become really popular! Every site has their own rules about what can be sold, but this is an awesome option. A lot of the time, our makeup or skincare is expensive, and the splurge you thought was going to be totally worth it doesn’t work out. If it’s in great condition and sanitary, you can often sell it.

This is also a good option because it’s not a total bust if the makeup didn’t work out. You’ll be able to at least get some money back, even if not all of it. And for folks on a budget, this is a pretty solid route.

Donate It to Shelters or Organizations

If your unwanted makeup wasn’t very expensive, or if you’re in a philanthropic mood, donations are a fabulous way to go. Many women’s shelters and I believe some LGBT+ centers take makeup donations. Again, each organization is different, but you get the added bonus of making a difference for people who could really use the help.

Makeup helps people, particularly women, go to (and kick ass at) job interviews, as well as boost their quality of life if they’re in poverty or in a difficult situation. It’s an easy luxury to overlook, but it helps. And for trans folk, the impact is especially meaningful, especially for those who are having difficulty transitioning.

Check out your local shelters or centers, and these great organizations: Project Beauty Share, Dress for Success, and the Beauty Bus Foundation.

Hold a Makeup Swap

Now here’s a fun one, and one that’s good if downsizing isn’t your main concern. If you know other peeps who have more makeup than you totally need, consider doing a makeup swap! Get some booze, make some popcorn, sit down on the couch and let the bargaining begin. Make sure everything is sanitary (duh), and see how it goes! It’s always fun to see what your friends have, and who knows, you may get some really awesome stuff at the end of the night. It’s free, and less risky than a game of Monopoly. Albeit less raunchy than Cards Against Humanity.

Give to Friends or Family

This is one I personally use all the time. My momma and I like a lot of the same stuff, but I’m a bit more switched on in the makeup department, so I have a bit more. Plus I blog, so I’m always trying stuff. I’ll try something once or twice, and if I don’t care for it, I clean it up and share it with my mom. This does have the added benefit of being able to get an opinion on the product from someone with a skin type pretty opposite to mine. But don’t tell her that, she doesn’t need to know she’s also a guinea pig. And it is also payback for all the times I took her makeup when I was younger.

Rambling aside, this is another fun, free option that’s a win-win all around. If you don’t like that palette anymore but your brother looks like he’s been eyeing it, maybe it’s time to pass it along.

Take it to a Makeup Recycling Program

Lots of brands like MAC and Origins and Lush actually take back old packaging in exchange for a discount or free products! Not all brands do this, and some don’t necessarily advertise it. So hope on the internet machine, and take a look see of which brands take back what, and what their terms might be!

Or Recycle the Old Fashioned Way

Something that’s easy to forget about makeup is that it can kinda be a sanitation hazard. Not Hazmat suit levels, but it can house bacteria and not all kinds of makeup are easily sanitized. Some can’t be sanitized at all (looking at you mascara). This means that not all your unwanted makeup will be suitable for donation or sale, like I mentioned above, and you can’t always recycle it back through the brand.

If that’s the case, recycling may be an option! Like good ol’ reycling with the bins ‘n shit. Depending on the packing material, plastics and glass for example (or cardboard from the cute boxes), you can pop it into the recycling along with plastic bottles and the like. Just make sure it’s cleaned out first!

If All Else Fails, Throw It Out

This isn’t my favorite option, but there’s a reason it’s on here. Sometimes your unwanted makeup isn’t of a material that can be recycled, or you can’t clean it out in order to recycle it. It happens. If that’s the case, and you haven’t used that makeup in months it’s probably gone off anyway. Sometimes the trash is just the final option, and it may be the only option that works. Still though, it’s at the bottom of the list. For a reason.


Overall, you have a lot of options if there’s unwanted makeup in your stash, and there’s an idea for pretty much any situation. Let me know what you’ve done with your unwanted makeup!



1 Comment

  1. Heather 01/13/2018

    My family seem to love the days I have a huge clear out of my makeup, they seem to get most of it. also my Fiancée’s niece has become a huge fan of makeup and testing out new looks so she gets whatever’s left over, that way I know none of it has gone in the bin and that someone else will get use out of it.

    Heather xo || http://www.xhighlandbeauty.co.uk


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