Have you ever sold or traded makeup online?

Have you ever sold or traded makeup online? How did it go? Share!

I have, but it was about ten years ago? I think! I did it through Livejournal, which worked well, but it was soooo long ago!

Thanks to Nicole for today’s question! Do you have a question idea? Submit yours here.


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.
Maggie Avatar

Nope. I might do that in the future for items I’ve never used but selling or buying used makeup doesn’t sound sanitary to me. I donate that.

Mariella Avatar

Where I live, shelters and other programs for women in crisis won’t accept used/open cosmetics or toiletries. It seems reasonable – there’s no way of knowing if a product has been tampered with or could be carrying bacteria.

Christine Avatar

It is VERY hard to find a place that will take used/lightly tested. I know that Renee Rouleau (of the eponymous skin care range) has something set-up to accommodate lightly tested/used products (not all types but some) and you can mail them there as well.

I still donate primarily to the place I have always done, because they do take lightly tested (for me, that entails only things that can be sanitized, so not lipgloss or mascara), but locally, places require new only.

Maggie Avatar

Whoops, I see Amy’s confusion–I’m connecting three different topics together–all of which somewhat have to do with the question but not in a couple small sentences. This is what happens when I sleepily comment. So buying/selling makeup, donating, and being sanitary…

The business practice of buying/selling a used product that has an expiration date feels odd to me–bc regardless of whether it can be sanitized, its shelf life is already diminished and the seller can’t guarantee that product. I personally think sellers should be able to back products they sell. I personally want no part in used-makeup buying/selling but no judgement on others as long as there is full disclosure.

As far as being sanitary–used makeup is indeed used makeup. As soon at it’s used, its integrity is compromised. This is another reason why I have misgivings about involving money exchange for such products. However, I also realize that formulas (powder vs. cream vs. liquid) may or may not inherently be ideal bacterial growth mediums and that packaging (pot vs. tube vs. pump) can play a part in shelf life–which is why I’m sort of okay with others buying/selling makeup and am alright with friends coming over and using my lotions/shampoo/body wash, etc (but NOT okay with them using my mascara–I’ll give them a new tube).

As far as donating, my local women’s shelter will take lightly-used items from me and only certain items. I know several women personally who have been in a desperate situation with nothing but the clothes on their backs. In this scenario, I see it a bit like friends who need to “borrow” my stuff–except they’ll need to borrow permanently and with things that don’t work for me.

MissJae1908 Avatar

That’s how feel too. If the makeup is used, I usually pass it down to one of my little sisters. Giving it to a family member or friend is completely different then selling it to a complete stranger on the internet.

Stacey Avatar

I am always tempted to buy though. There is this almost daily blog that posts MUA bloggers’ makeup nail polish etc. more than an occasion, I want to buy, but I never had, though I have bought a Shu Uemura foundation brush from this blogger her keeps her makeup pristine. I feel that it is not hygenic to buy when I don’t know the sanity conditions of the seller.

BeautyCandie Avatar

I tried to buy used makeup from Glambot but it never made it to me and the customer service was atrocious. I wouldn’t be eager to try again after that experience!

Lauren Avatar

I do 🙂 I’ve sold and bought some things through a few exchange subreddits on reddit. I also recently joined some Facebook groups but honestly, I think Facebook users for these groups have really high expectations of what their makeup should sell for. I’m seeing used products (even though they’re sanitised) for close to the retail cost.

Jenny Avatar

What do you do with all the make up you have, i.e. the old stuff or the stuff you don’t love? Do you gift them or throw them out?

Anne Avatar

I usually only run into this with items from subscription boxes and such. I tend to gift them to friends or my sister, unless they’re total crap products or got broken in transit or something, in which case I bin them. My sister lives in the Bay Area and I’ve moved around a bit for the last 5 years, so I tend to have a little bin that I put things in for her, and when I get a large enough stash I FedEx them to her as I can’t really travel myself right now due to health stuff. If I were ever in a position where I was getting stuff sent to me (never going to happen) I would probably give some stuff away to friends/my sister and give the majority of stuff to a women’s shelter, as you’d be amazed how much a bit of makeup can make someone in a crappy situation feel better.

Alison Avatar

Actually, I haven’t! I have bought lipstick samples from eBay, but it didn’t work out too well – the little cap on the bottom was easy to take off, and I ended up being sold a full sized sample of the wrong shade. I only knew because I had the real article to compare it to!

Kelly Avatar

Ugh, that happened to me on eBay with a discontinued nail polish I really really wanted a back up bottle of (Big Bag Theory by Essie, if anyone has it, lol). Different, similar colour but not even close to the bottle I have…with the label conveniently missing. It was Essie however! 🙂
I’ve never used the imposter nail polish though, its ok but it makes mad still when I think of what it was supposed to be.

xamyx Avatar

After regretting not grabbing NARS Wishful Thinking when I had the chance, I found it on eBay for a great price. However, it ended up being Bad Behaviour, but was mislabeled… It was brand new, and I’m guessing the seller got it from a lot of mislabeled product (as s/he was selling severalnof them). From working in vintage resale clothing stores, I know it is a common practice to sell clothing with the wrong tags to resale shops, really cheap, and I would imagine the same is true of cosmetics. At the end of the day, I didn’t mind getting a backup of BB, as it was pretty inexpensive, and one I’ll actually get through. I also ended up finding WT dirt-cheap from a girl I think regretted her purchase (she was selling quite a bit of brand-new items).

Lotus Avatar

I’ve only traded over a decade ago back on MUA! It was a nice experience, everyone took care to be honest and wrap things special, always including surprises! I’ve looked into things similar but have only found Reddit and I don’t feel comfortable to try it yet. From my research, times have changed.. Not in a good way, regarding trading that is. From the horrors I’ve read, I will never trade again. Ever. Back in the day it was a pleasant experience, though. I’m glad I got to enjoy it then.

WARPAINTandUnicorns Avatar

I’m doing swapidu right now. Not the same, but it needs to build its community more. 😉 My first experience was horrible on there with a swaplifter, but the mod took charge of the swaplifter rather quickly because you put your address into the system rather than in a message.

She still got my stuff in the mail, but rather than being in the dark for months I was notified within days that her mailing address was flagged for swap lifting. I was more mad at myself that I didn’t wait till the weekend to ship. They also point you to where you can file a federal fraud complaint, She got over $200 worth of products I wasn’t going to let her slide. O__o Second time I got really skunked on a swap and I didn’t enforce my own rules on the new site…. lesson learned again.

Staci Avatar

Beauty swap box on the purse forum. I got a brand new NARS blush pallet out of it last go round and was able to trade my Stila eyes are the window to the body pallet for it. I got a couple other goodies out of it too.

xamyx Avatar

I’ve bought only new, unused makeup on eBay, but that’s pretty much the extent. Even then, I still sanitize it. I saw a news story a while back about sites like Makeup Alley, and if I were ever tempted, not after that… If I have something I don’t want anymore for whatever reason, I just give it to a friend, but even that’s rare, as I try to buy only things I actually like, which is also why I very rarely even return an item to a store.

Mariella Avatar

Nope, I’ve never done it nor would I be likely to. I’d trade/swap with someone I know but ordering from a stranger? Not willing to do that for several reasons, the least of which is that shipping and exchange for Canadians is pretty steep. Chances of being ripped off totally, being sold fake products, contaminated products….these are additional and even more off-putting reasons for me personally.

Sarah Avatar

Christine, I remember you from the mac cosmetics livejournal community. I’m pretty sure I bought pigments from you! It was definitely 10-12 years ago!

Kelly Avatar

I’ve toyed with the idea and looked at some FB groups but it just doesn’t seem worth the hassle. I’m also in Canada so way less people to trade with, int’l shipping would eat up any savings I might get. I’d rather just buy new and give away stuff I don’t use, like pretty much everything I get in my beauty boxes.

Beth Avatar

I have sold twice on Glambot. It’s easy to do, they have a foolproof procedure to follow, but you don’t get much for it. Their purchase price very low.

Natasha Avatar

I have through both Facebook groups and Glambot. Surprisingly I had absolutely no real issues on Facebook, once I paid for something through PayPal and it was never sent so of course I got myomeu back. Certain things I would buy if it’s been used like mascara or lipgloss because there’s no real way to disinfect. At least they aren’t as easy to clean like lipsticks or an eyeshadow palette.

Kai Avatar

I’ve sold a couple pieces in eBay, I haven’t had any issues, as long as you’re honest about the item and give a detailed description. You’re good to go. I buy a lot on eBay as well, but I do my research on the seller to make sure I don’t have issues with the product.

Anne Avatar

Nope. I wouldn’t sell stuff I’ve used (I do pass them on to my sister or a friend sometimes after I sanitize them but I feel like that’s a different thing). I don’t feel comfortable buying stuff or swapping stuff that’s been opened because of sanitary reasons. I also don’t buy stuff on ebay or anything even if it’s unopened as I hate how people buy a ton of MAC limited edition stuff only to sell them at crazy prices. I really wish they would limit the number of a single item you can buy when they have LE collections but I have a feeling they don’t care as scarcity breeds profit.

xamyx Avatar

The funny thing is, there is a limit to how many palette inserts of one type you can buy at one time, LOL! I was planning to buy 3 double-palettes, and needed 6 15-pan inserts, but I would have only been able to buy 3-4! Obviously, if I’m buying the 3 palettes, I need the inserts…

Susan Dowman Nevling Avatar

Once I bought a Tom Ford 4 color eye shadow palette that I couldn’t find anywhere else on eBay
The seller had very high recommendations and it was advertised as new and unopened. The product was a knock off because the product was as hard as a rock. I couldn’t even get it on a brush. It was used.

I won’t do it again bc I worry about knockoffs and contamination with toxins and bacteria & fungus.

Rachel R. Avatar

I’ve never traded makeup online. I’m very wary about it.

I just started selling some of my new products I won’t use and duplicate items on ebay last week, actually. I’ve sold two pairs of false eyelashes and a huge LE e.l.f. eye palette so far. I often get things in beauty boxes or free gifts that I already have or know I have a allergy issue with from previous experiences.

I’ve bought new makeup on ebay and amazon, but never used. I might consider a powder item if it had only been swatched and I could sanitize it.

Janie Avatar

I did buy a few discontinued eyeshadows by Stila and UD on ebay recently, but those were from sellers with 100% positive feedback who did not take returns and sold the items as new/unopened – which they were, thankfully, or I would have returned them. But that’s the only time in ages I’ve done that, and only because I couldn’t find those colors anywhere else.

Nicole Avatar

Such a mixed bag of responses! Im a bit weary about buying or selling for cash. For some reason,I saw the trade thred on Sephora and it seemed like trading seems more trustful.But,then I noticed some traders with many,many Tom Ford unused lipsticks. So, I then started wondering why are they unloading these? Are they real? If so, did they honestly acquire them. Ive never done it. I do know people who had success on Makeup alley when they did the trade thread. But,now fakes have evolved and people can be greedy. As my stash grows and I realize that I have some amazing products that i just dont use anymore- mostly because my skin favors a cream over a powder,etc. I would never try to trade off or take a gloss,cream product,mascara,or anything that couldn’t be sanitized. I pass what is not in condition to family and alot to my daughter for play / practice. Just something I had been thinking about doing to possibly help thin unused things and maybe knock down the wishlist a bit while im at it. Thanks for your input all! Thank you Christine for posting my question!:)

Brittany Avatar

I’ve contemplated purchasing items like nail polish but immediately came to the conclusion that I should start to use the bottles I currently own instead of purchasing new ones… I also recently came to find out that I am allergic to cats, after having adopted 3 with my family about 4 years ago. Given that I have never seen possible allergen disclaimers when blog sales are posted, I don’t want to have something go terribly wrong when I use the product even after I sanitize it to my best ability.

WARPAINTandUnicorns Avatar

I mostly swapped for makeup since 2009, It’s slowed down considerably the last few years. I also do a bulk blog sale to pass on items I still like but never use. I have limited storage space so when I get something new then I list something else I don’t use.

There are things like mascaras, liquid liner, or anything with wand applicator to don’t swap for and the items I do list with them, I’m careful to sanities and don’t apply directly on my person. (When I do gloss swatches I pick one to test the packaging than apply the rest onto a palette)

It’s why HATE NARS’s packaging on their concealer and eye primer. I do like the concealer but that packaging!

I I’ve used Beauty so Clean product, since they hit the market. 😉

Pamela Avatar

I swapped for ten years on MUA and now on Swapidu. I love it!! I got swaplifted about five times from 350 swaps–not that bad. A few rare times I got old things or items used more than stated by owner. But it’s a great way to source HTF, DC items. I especially love swapping to get perfume decants or mini bottles. If I actually bought my ALL my fave scents my family would be living in a tent. i haven’t had any sanitary issues (knock on wood). If done by honest, clean people, it is a wonderful way to recycle and try new cosmetics for cheap.

Jessika Avatar

I just bought a couple things on r/makeupexchange. One of the items was BNIB and fine, the others I’m waiting on. I’m hoping those are legitimate. I’ve sold like, one thing and it wasn’t for profit. Someone there wanted some LE products that she didn’t have access to in her country, so I bought them for her and shipped them out.

Marissa Avatar

I have swapped makeup often on MUA, when you were able to. All the people I traded with were nice, sanitary and kept be updated about shipping. I also bought off blog sales but only from 2 people whom I was watching their YouTube vids for years so I trusted them. Have yet to buy a lipstick or nail polish though. I am afraid of germs from lipstick and nail polishes crack easily when shipped.

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!