Do you feel guilty returning beauty products?

Nah, that's what the policy is for!

30%, 1,217 Votes

Yes! So guilty that I hesitate to return!

26%, 1,054 Votes

Yes, but I still return!

25%, 1,037 Votes

Sometimes but not usually!

19%, 788 Votes

Total Voters: 4,096

We hope you'll consider supporting Temptalia by shopping through our links below. Thanks!

Compare Any Two Swatches

Curious how two shades compare to each other? Type in the shades below to get instant side-by-side swatches!

We hope you'll consider supporting Temptalia by shopping through our links below. Thanks!


Comments that do not adhere to our comment policy may be removed. Discussion and debate are highly encouraged but we expect community members to participate respectfully. Please keep discussion on-topic, and if you have general feedback, a product review request, an off-topic question, or need technical support, please contact us!

Please help us streamline the comments' section and be more efficient: double-check the post above for more basic information like pricing, availability, and so on to make sure your question wasn't answered already. Comments alerting us to typos or small errors in the post are appreciated (!) but will typically be removed after errors are fixed (unless a response is needed).

We appreciate enthusiasm for new releases but ask readers to please hold questions regarding if/when a review will be posted as we can't commit to or guarantee product reviews. We don't want to set expectations and then disappoint readers as even products that are swatched don't always end up being reviewed due to time constraints and changes in priorities! Thank you for understanding!

Comments on this post are closed.

Sometimes I feel guilty, but not usually. I usually only return if the product really doesn’t live up to what it should be. If I’m hesitant about a product/shade, I always try to get a sample before I buy just so that I won’t return unnecessarily.

Funny…I was at Kiehl’s yesterday because I wanted to try their eye makeup remover. They couldn’t make me a sample, and actually encouraged me to just buy and return if I didn’t like it. So I bought. I don’t like it, and I won’t hesitate at all to return it!

Unless I have a serious adverse reaction to a product, or it’s just sooo bad that I can’t do *anything* to make it work, I don’t return it. Even if it’s a palette where half the shades work, I’ll keep it. I prefer not to use most testers anywhere near my face, so the only thing I’ll get samples of are products that come in tubes or bottles, which is pretty much only foundation. Because these are easily available in sample form, there is no reason to buy it, only to return it because it was the wrong shade, not the right coverage, etc.

As for other products, I have a pretty good idea what shades work, and which don’t. The same goes for formulas. You can tell from swatching a tester on your hand/arm whether or not the formula is right for you. If I don’t want a thick, sticky gloss, I simply won’t buy it; the formula is just as thick & sticky when swatched. The same goes for eyeshadow; if I have issues with glitter shadows, or my stash is brimming with frosts & shimmers, I just won’t buy them, and I’ll stay away from brands known for these formulas.

Yes, the policy is there to use, but it really should be reserved for real, unforeseeable, and unavoidable problems. We also have to take responsibility to research & find out what ingredients may be responsible for issues. While we can return freely & frequently, we don’t know if that policy will remain in place over the long-term. All it takes is for one retailer to realize how much abuse of the policy is going on, and stop it; I can guarantee other similar retailers will follow suit.

I want to add, just because a product boasts specific claims (ie, 12-hour wear), I have a pretty good idea, and reason to believe, it won’t likely live up to that claim; however, if it does, then that’s just a bonus.

I completely agree, everyone knows its unlikely for an item to last 10 hours. I just think people should think about what they are buying in the first place. So wasteful.

I have to disagree with that, especially what you said about a product fulfilling a claim being a bonus. If companies chose to advertise their products in a certain way they have to be willing to take responsibility for that.
I have very dry skin and lots of foundations dry my skin out – even the ones that claim to be moisturizing. I have absolutely no shame returning a foundation if it gives me dry patches, and frankly most of them do (which is why I for the most part stick with what I know).
I also have no issues returning items of they’re just of subpar quality. A nailpolish that’s sheer (unless it’s meant to be), streaky or chips after one day? There are so many decent polish formulas on the market that I don’t see why I should give my money to a company that decides to cheap out on theirs.

Exactly, Liz. We are the consumers. The obligation is to US. If you claim a product will last 10 hours and it lasts 5, I’m returning. And if I’m paying top dollar, the packaging better not break, and the product better be excellent quality. If it isn’t, I have every right to return it. If the company doesn’t like it, they need to change the product or change the policy.

I completely agree!! I hate returning things unless, as you said, there’s a serious reaction to it or you can’t ever find or think of a way the product could and would be used. I also dislike returning personal care products (deodorant, razors, etc.) as I feel like that’s much more unsanitary than returning an eyeshadow.

I’m sure many people reading Temptalia’s blog today have made an effort to research products before they buy, but it seems like quite a bit of them have no qualms about this issue. I think that perhaps we should commiserate more with the retailer, and return after thorough deliberation.

I´m always impressed to see this return policies you have in the United States. In my country, once something is bought there are no returns even if you are at the counter and just paid the money for it, if the bars of the product where already checked indicating that the product was bought, there are no returns and no changes. Even if you have a bad reaction to a product no returning of your money. I agree so much with you Xamyx, about how we should do research about the product and try swatching it if possible, because if everyone abuses that return policy you have, there may be a day it won´t exist anymore, because it would affect in a negative way the companies to have it. I sure hope that doesn´t happen.

I can understand why a person would feel guilty or think that they wont accept returns at the drugstore BUT just as you start to feel that way, think about how all the packages are all sealed tight/covered to where you cant even swatch anything in the store. If they had samples of the products it would be easier for us to match colors etc. instead of having to take it home and then realize it afterwards.

I never feel guilty returning. My returns are usually the result of online purchases. Whenever a store doesn’t stock the product in store, but carries it online it’s hard to tell (without seeing it in person) if its right for me. I understand that liberal online return policies are meant to encourage customers to purchase products like this sight unseen, which it does. So I never feel guilty returning products I’ve purchased online that just didn’t work out. As for products that I purchase in store, I usually take the time to test and research the products first. In that case, I’ll only return a product that performed poorly. So of course I return those products, which I know ultimately benefits the store, as it sends a message to the store that the product wasn’t of good quality when there are large amounts of people returning it. All in all, I return a lot— a lot. But I never feel guilty, because I also spend a lot as well. If I place a $1000 order on beauty purchases, I can almost guarantee some of that order won’t work out. But with the amount of money I’m spending, consistently and loyally, I think it’s a small price to pay for my continued business, as I will always shop at a store that has a good return policy as opposed to one that does not!

You make a great point about feeling better about returns when a store only carries the product online or only in select (out of state) stores. Now I’ll feel a little less guilty returning these types of products. 🙂

I don’t normally return products, so I know that if I do there must be something wrong with it (i.e. if my skin breaks out, etc). I wound up returning a product yesterday, but before that it has actually been ages. I can’t even remember the last time I returned something.

Same here. It drives me nuts though, coz in Asia we generally pay higher prices than in the US, and I know that part of that money is going to fund people who are getting to return stuff in America and other foreign countries… Feels like I’m paying more but getting less you know?=/

I live in the U.S. and I cannot agree more. I do think the prices are higher as a result of those returns. It is not the only reason but it is a reason. It used to be returns were not possible in the U.S. when the item was used. Stores like Nordstrom have mini jars for samples so that you dont get buyer’s remorse. This is a true story. My aunt (around 40 years old at that time) lives in Vancouver, Canada and she is very spoiled. She went back to Hong Kong to visit. She wanted to return something. The SA refused at this department store. My aunt got mad and bought white flour and poured it onto the SA. My aunt was arrested. Hah Hah. She really felt she was in the right on demanding a refund.

I always feel guilty returning items. I once went to MAC and asked for a 209 brush. As soon as I stepped out, I notice they sold me a 208 brush instead. I went inside and explain to the lady that its only been 5 minutes since I purchase the brush and just wanted an exchange. She wrote “NS” or some kind of code, and I asked her if they were going to resell the item, and she said no, that’s its being destroyed. I told her I didn’t touch it (which I didn’t), but that’s company policy. I felt bad because its such a waste, but I understand if its to prevent contamination (Someone with cold sores returns a lip gloss, etc)…

Yes, I don’t like to do it becuse they would throw it away, and it is such a pity. But I have done it, like mac prep and prime loose powder, it just broke me out like crazy, but love the finish it gave me.

Absolutely. I’m not going to abuse a policy, but if I don’t like a product & wasn’t able to try it, I’m returning it.

I’ve bought eyeshadows from Sephora online (unavailable in store) that I was in love with the shade on screen & in the pan. Then I used them and they were horrible disappointments.

Definitely not, especially if it is a premium brand. Cosmetics have a very high mark-up. Returns are expected by these companies and accounted for in their calculations. I constantly purchase new products, and the lack of a good return policy would deter me from purchasing new and higher-end products.

You people are so lucky. In France if you have open a product or if you tried it or if it’s not brand new anymore… you just can’t return it. Even if the color is totally wrong.

French Sephora is not fun…
Or any other retailer for that matter.

Believe me I´m sure most of the world doesn´t accept returns for any reason, it´s like that where I live too. Probably there are like two or three countries that have return policies really.

You can’t return products in my country but I don’t think I’d ever feel guilty. I think I’d return a product only if I really really hated it!

I probably would feel guilty if I returned stuff I’d half-used, or that isn’t quite perfect. But I only return things that either really suck or that I have a severe allergic reaction to (rare, but my skin is unpredictable and highly sensitive).

I have only returned one product (a MAC paint pot) in the last 20+ years. I shop carefully, partly because I know that the cost of returned products that people didn’t like or ordered without seeing in person or ordered figuring “what the heck, I can use it one and return it” – all of that gets passed on to us eventually though increased prices. And as I say, I do make it a point to shop carefully, do some research, try a sample, etc. before purchasing a lot of my beauty and skin care products.

I never, ever feel guilty about returning a product. In most cases, these are huge companies and my $30 return is a drop in the bucket. I’m more inclined to keep sub-par products if I’m supporting a small or local business, but I certainly don’t hesitate for one second returning something to Sephora or MAC.

I work at a Lancôme in a Macy’s. we don’t have a lot of the counters/brands that Macy’s carries. So when we get a return that we don’t carry, even if it hasn’t been used, it gets damaged. It’s so sad because people buy beauty products on impulse and just return it later. I can’t stand to damage it out but it’s the policy. We’ve damaged out thousands of dollars of unused MAC products. And people complain when the prices go up every year. People need to be more conscious of what they buy

I agree that people shouldn’t make such careless impulse buys. Maybe the companies should have packaging with special seals on it, so at least you know if someone returns something with n in tact seal, you can guarantee its never been used, and it can safely go back on the shelves. That might curb the waste a bit.

HELL yeah! if it s breaking me out…..nailpolish seems to streak too bad,if mascara makes my eyelashes look like I have only 3-4 lashes on,if there’s no pigment…..oh baby I am returning it for sure. why would I want to keep something that SUCKS? just maaaybe if ALL return items that suck,maybe then some companies would rethink their work

I only feel guilty returning lip products, so I avoid doing it unless the product is really the wrong color for me, poorly formulated, etc… basically something I can’t work with.

It’s rare that I return something. It really has to fall down on claims for me to even consider it. I’ve returned foundation for fair skin (studio fix fluid nc15 and nw 15 both!)after it turned dark tannish orange on me. I took a lipstick back when the twist up mechanism broke after one use. If it’s just a matter of a color not working on me, well, my sister is a hint warmer and darker, so some things will work on her. If I went too glitter/bright crazy, that’s when it goes to my 19 year old niece.

I’ve done that too with a MAC skinfinish powder that was too dark, oxidized and turned orange on my skin. Otherwise I research what I’m buying, mainly looking at reviews by women with my skintone (dark) to see how it looks on them. I browse a lot at Sephora but I’ve never had to make a return because it’s rare that I do an impulse buy.

I feel guilty sometimes. Mainly when I feel like I’m returning to the same store all the time, like I walk into Sephora with my little bag and they’re like ” here she comes again.”

Unrelated kind of, but I returned some stuff to victorias secret and the lady told me basically to return stuff to the store I got it at. She was so rude!

I tried to return an eye primer to VS once and was told that I could only get 30% of the original cost back on a store credit card. I took the 30% because the primer made my shadows crease worse than bare lids, and I emailed customer service and got a $10 gift card from it. They ended up paying out more than they would have if they’d given me a full refund! It was very satisfying haha

I have a mild guilt complex about returning anything that can’t be reused or is an otherwise functional product, but I will do it on a very rare occasion. Coincidentally, Bobbi Brown’s cream compact foundation is probably the first major beauty product I’m going to wind up returning this weekend, and it’s a shame because it’s untouched. I took it home, opened up the compact, and promptly realized it would be way too yellow for my skin tone. I am having a minor guilt trip over it since I’m pretty sure they’re required by law to discard it, regardless of the fact that I never used it.

I do feel guilty returning products, because in a lot of cases the product will be thrown away needlessly. I don’t tend to return drugstores products that don’t work for me. However, when the product is costly, I can’t justify keeping it if I don’t like (and thus won’t use) it.

i try my best to research products thoroughly so that i don’t have to return anything. But if i do, i don’t feel that bad because i know brands mark up prices a lot. they aren’t losing much when things get returned although it is a waste.

I don’t do returns, I usually research like crazy before I buy something, or if I find I don’t love it or don’t use it I give it away. That said, I would absolutely return something if it was of poor quality, or if I had a reaction to it, and it cost a substantial amount of money and I would not feel guilty about it whatsoever. As other commenters have said, cosmetics have a crazy high markup which more than covers the cost of returns. But I think people who abuse the return system are a**holes and could potentially ruin it for the rest of us.

I´m not going to answer the question because in Spain the return policy for beauty products is simply non existent… sad but true. You´re really lucky for having the chance to return them!

I have wasted a lot of money in foundations that didn´t suit my skin and I couldn´t return them, and the best part is that I couldn´t even try those foundations in the stores because most of the times they don´t give you samples or let you try the foundations in the stand (Sephora and MAC, for example)

I don’t return things often, so when I do, I don’t feel bad about it. I don’t make a lot of impulse purchases, and the ones I do make usually work out, because I know what sorts of products tend to work for me.

If you feel like you’re returning products too often, then maybe you are. 😉

I don’t feel guilty returning online orders or purchases made in Sephora stores. I do feel some guilt if I return to a counter SA so that’s why I try to test everything out, get samples, and really think before I buy. I usually only return in those cases if my skin has ha a reaction.

I can’t recall ever having returned a beauty product. I can actually count on one hand the number of times I’ve returned any product. If it’s something cheap, I give it to my younger sisters. Before I buy anything pricey, I try it first, sometimes going back to a store more than once to try testers and making sure I keep the swatch on for at least a few hours to test for reactions. If a brand/store doesn’t make something available to test, I won’t buy it if it’s over a certain price point.

If I buy something online, it’s either something I’ve been able to test before (via beauty sample services or whatnot). something I’ve purchased before and know it works or something like eyeshadow because I’ll wear any colour and can make pretty much any formula work with the right base and application.

I’d rather take the precautions than go through the hassle of returning, whether it’s driving to the store (I’m from a small town and it’s usually at least a 40 minute trip to get somewhere that sells brands I would consider worthy of returning), paying return postage (Shipping in Canada is stupid expensive) or whatever else.

Here in Australia you can’t return something unless it gave you a reaction. You can lie about it, of course. There’s three stores you can return anything within 90 days for credit: Mecca Maxima, Mecca Cosmetica and Kit (all the same company). They’re the closest thing we have to Sephora at the moment but are rather expensive (some brands are coming down – bareMinerals in particular isn’t too inflated).

I bought Well Rested by BM and it was $24.95. Not too much of a difference. Other brands, well, it’s $45 for a NARS blush and $55 for a bronzer.

i don’t usually return products but more so because i hate going to the mall, etc.
if something is bad enough for me to make a trip than i won’t feel guilty at all.. it is not my fault if a company makes something that is not what is advertised, etc.
that being said i usually research before buying (by coming to this blog for example) and it’s been a long long time since i returned anything

I buy a lot of items but return only a handful. I never return if it’s the wrong shade, I just toss it.
I returned a concealer to Sephora last year, because it was truly horrible. Having researched it thoroughly before I bought it I felt no guilt in returning that product. It was beyond horrible for me despite the wonderful reviews it got online and from beauty bloggers.
Returned a lip gloss that made my lips burn and sting. Body butter that I bought online that had turned. Rollerball perfume that didn’t roll (exchanged it for the spray version and ended up spending more!). Mascara that was like putting tar on my lashes.
My last return was not really a return. I bought a drugstore brand lip butter that was named Red Something Or Other. It was vivid fuschia on my lips. I called the company and they sent me a coupon greater than what I paid for the product to use on their brand.
So at age 53 and buying makeup for almost 40 years, I feel the cosmetic companies have made a wonderful profit from me. From now on I will not hesitate to try to return items.

I do feel guilty, but not because of some loyalty to the company or the counter people. I’m not suuuuuper duper green, but I do HATE the thought of waste. I do the proper research first, test it out in the store, then buy so that I don’t have to return.

Using it once and then having it returned to be destroyed makes me cringe :S I’m just that weird about waste, I guess.

In the UK you cannot return things. I think this policy should be everywhere. Yes i have wasted money on items that havent been great on me, but thats why i look up lots of reviews beforehand. Its very wasteful when people return as the product is then useless.

I do return things at times, honestly a majority of the things I returned are from impulse buys, I always feel pressured from the makeup artists to purchase things and I hate saying no. Being of a darker complexion its a little tough to find foundations that suit my undertone and my oily skin, so I shop a lot for foundations and at times I’m too embarrassed to ask for samples. So I will end up buying different foundations only to find that they dont work for me =/ some I end up returning, others I give to friends or swap away on makeup alley. I do feel bad because I don’t like the idea of the product being wasted and I also know that returning items might effect the makeup artist’s sales. Now that I have a few holy grail items I am just very careful in what I purchase now and make sure to do tons of research before hand and to do live swatches in stores.

We try to approve comments within 24 hours (and reply to them within 72 hours) but can sometimes get behind and appreciate your patience! 🙂 If you have general feedback, product review requests, off-topic questions, or need technical support, please contact us directly. Thank you for your patience!