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What do you with products you don't like or don't use?

What do you with products you don’t like or don’t use? Do you pass them along to friends? Swap?

I donate as much as possible to local organizations (usually for victims of domestic violence), and what I can’t donate, I pass on to friends and family.

Thanks to Cheryl for today’s question! Got a question idea? Submit yours here.


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Mindy Avatar

I gave some away but I’m a hoarder and I tend to hang onto stuff just incase I like it one day. Even those crappy Revlon Sugar Sugar lip toppings that came out like 4 years ago. I have 5 different colours. They suck, dry the lips out, but maybe they will be good for something one day! Or I’m just nuts 😀

Hilana Avatar

I usually give them away to my co-workers, my mom or to my little niece who, at the tender age of four, loves herself some make-up! Which is great, of course. The magic of make-up has no age limit.

Shivani Avatar

Christine, is there a way I can donate make-up to such organizations? I have soo much make-up sitting around and I’d rather just donate it like you do. Which organization do you donate to?

Christine Avatar

There is a local legal aid organization I donate to. Have you checked your local shelters? I would first reach out to a shelter for women and children to find out what their needs are, and if they aren’t accepting, you can ask who they could refer you to!

You may also find that there are clubs or organizations for high school girls at prom/homecoming (kind of like programs that provide prom dresses).

Jennifer Avatar

Christine, may I ask what some local shelters around here (I actually live in Santa Clara) are? I used to donate my products, clothes, extra toiletries, etc. to a shelter I worked at in LA when I was there for school, but now that I’m home I’m looking for a new place to contribute. 🙂

Rosanna Avatar

I give it away to my similarly-aged cousins who always seem to take whatever I give them (they aren’t crazy about spending lots of money on makeup but they do wear it). In odd times they don’t take it, I’ll try to swap it, and if it’s too used then I’ll just toss away.

Andrea Nicole Avatar

That is awesome that you do that!

Currently, I give mine to family or friends. Most recently to my MUA friend who can use stuff on clients.

sri Avatar

Depend on, if it’s high-end facial brands, I’d like to keep it or use it for my legs
and feet..(Not my face anymore)
My lust is the drugstore/korean eyeshadows, I like their pretty colors but not as pigmented as Mac
Eyeshadow = for makeup practice, but if it’s hard to blend/hate the finish/made my eyelid itchy in 30minutes, I’d gave em to my housemaid/cousins
Blush = little cousins / threw away! (I’ve encountered acnes with unkowns drugstore brands)
Foundation = mix it with body lotion for my tinted body moisturizer
Korean brand face masks = threw skin hate em..acness 🙁

Aww here in my city is lot of unknown stuff, you’ll be amazed..
There’s a 0,35cents unknown chinese brands lipsticks, but it’ll made your lip itchy..

Julia Minamata Avatar

I also can’t bear to part with stuff because I keep thinking I’ll use it one day. Only thing I’ve ever tossed were these disgusting Blistex Fruit Smoothies lip balms that tasted like chemicals. Although I am thinking of dumping my Sephora Light Touch Highlighter because I can’t stand clicky-pen cosmetics. Will never get a Stila lip gloss for this reason.

I go one step further in that if I’m having trouble dispensing a product I’ll often cut it open and get the last little bits. This will soon happen to my UD Primer Potion. There is a ton in there still!

Julia Avatar

I agree about the UD potion primer. The curved bottle design doesn’t allow me to get that last bit of primer out and my pet peeve is wasted product due to bad design(especially when it is something that I love like this one!!) I love my Benefit bronzer and blushes but their box design drives me batty for the same reason. With products that I don’t like or didn’t use, my little sisters are quick to snatch them up and have ended up finding things they loved.

ShannoninBC Avatar

I have a teenage daughter, so she actually hovers around my bathroom asking if there is anything I’ve decided I don’t like anymore so she can have it LOL I also have a friend that often accepts items.

Meli Avatar

I use to give to my cousins but now that I live far away from them I’m not sure what I’ll do maybe send it by mail 😉 I think it is so awesome you donate!

monika-luiza Avatar

I pass to friends and family as I don’t by products I don’t actually use that often. I LOVE make-up but I’m not a collecter, so besides wrong colored foundation ( I sometimes experiment with drugstore stuff) and the occasional way-to-bright e/s I don’t really have products I don’t use

emily Avatar

if its anything other than mac ill give it to my sister or my mum! (my sister scored 5 brand new napoleon lip glosses), if its mac ill tend to just keep it! however a few impulse mac buys have gone back to mac for a new lippie 🙂

Heather Avatar

I really make an effort to RETURN anything that doesn’t work for me or that I know I won’t use. Even if the product was only $5 from Rite Aid, that’s still $5 and if I don’t like the product I will take it back. When I can’t return it, I will give it to my younger sister or throw it out.

But mostly I make an effort not to buy stuff unless I know I’m going to REALLY use it a lot and get my money’s worth from it. I hate having a bunch of unused stuff piling up and gathering dust.

chanel Avatar

I usually give my makeup to some of the girls that work for me. They are all now trying to venture into makeup since I’ve started. So I hand it down to them. Donating it to a local organization is a great ideal as well. I’m going to have to check into that and see what I have locally. Thanks for the idea

tg Avatar

I sometimes give to friends, but usually ship it to a charity called Best Face Forward, which gives the items to a women’s shelter. They accept lightly used products, so I send anything that can be sanitized.

I’m thinking my Sugarpill palette is going to go soon, because I just can’t pull off bright makeup. It pains me, because I love the packaging.

Christine, do you find you’re able to create wearable looks with Sugarpill?

Jessica FB Avatar

I usually figure out pretty quick if I want to keep something or not. If I don’t like it or don’t think I will use it I always return it.

Jaime Avatar

I give it away to my sister, my nieces and my co-workers. I go through my collection two or three times a year and usually come away with a big bag full of stuff that I’m not using.

Lea Avatar

It totally depends. Sometimes I give it to my little sister, sometimes I just toss it and other times I sell it. All depending on if or how much it is used and how old it is.

Other things I just force myself to use up or I try to use it in creative ways.

Manja Avatar

I usually either give them to friends or sometimes also sell them online. I am part of a beauty community where that’s possible and comes in really handy at times 🙂

Laura Avatar

That’s such a sweet thing you do Christine. I never knew you could donate makeup as well? Is there certain items you can or cannot donate? Or should I check with my local Woman shelter?

I usually give the unwanted items to my cousin, but I think this would be even better.

Christine Avatar

Sometimes the big hurdle is that everything has to be unused, but check with your local shelters. Sometimes they are willing to take tested/swatched once kind of products – and local high schools (work with student-run clubs or organizations) sometimes take it, too.

Ariel Avatar

I have swapped some things on MUA, but I’m sort of a germaphobe so I don’t really like swapping.

I have a bunch of lightly used products that I really want to find a home for but my friends don’t use makeup. I love simplifying and I hate having stuff around that I don’t use but I don’t want to just throw it out!

happybadfish Avatar

If I had extra, which I don’t, I would give it to a theatre company, like a lower budget one that can’t afford to hire makeup artists.

Cheryl Avatar

Yay, my question! 🙂 Thanks for the tip, Christine. I think I will look into donating some of my unused products to local organizations as well.

PS – Mindy, I feel the same way! I don’t wanna throw anything out! That’s why I asked this question. I still have this loose glitter that I never use by Tony & Tina (or something like that) that I bought from Sephora about 10 years ago. I don’t even think that brand exists anymore! LOL.

Carrie Ann Avatar

If I really dislike the product, I’ll return it. If I just never use it and think it’ll look good on someone else, I’ll give it to my mom or my sister-in-law.

Kat Avatar

I research products quite a bit before I buy, but if I do buy something I don’t like I try to return it if I can. If I can’t…then I try to find some use for it, but otherwise it tends to just sit unused. Thankfully my collection is small, so I don’t waste much. I actually have a question though; do MAC and Sephora take items back if they’ve been opened? I’ve never had to return anything there, but I’m wondering.

Phyrra Avatar

If they’re products from a company I abhor, such as Orglamix or Facefront, I’ll throw them away. If they’re products from a company and I just don’t care for them on me, I usually give them away. On rare occasions I’ve done blog sales.

Niki Avatar

I give the products I don’t like to friends and family and to the Battered Woman’s Shelter in my city where I conduct makeup classes on a bi-weekly basis so as to help the woman to feel beautiful from the outside in.

Dosha Avatar

I usually pass along products I no longer like or do not use to friends and/or co-workers. It doesn’t make sense to just throw them away when these items can be someone else’s treasure(s).

Lyss Avatar

If it’s an old product that I’ve had kicking around for years or something that can’t really be shared I’ll just throw it out. Otherwise, my mom gets first pick of anything I no longer want (and I get the same from her… we swap make up between the two of us fairly regularly) and if she doesn’t want it, I’ve recently started to pass it on to my younger cousin. She’s 14 and her parents believe in budget, conservative make up, while she lusts after my ever growing collection.

Jeanne Avatar

If something is not the right colour for me or if it’s a skincare/shampoo that doesn’t work with my skin type, I try to pass them along to friends who I think will be able to get use of them. I have accumulated a lot of things though that I am interested in donating, when I remember I’ll contact my local shelter!

Ann Avatar

I usually keep them so I dont make the same mistake and buy it again or something similar to it. Evenually, I may toss it out- a year or two later. lol

Emma Avatar

covergirl lashblast mascara, rimmel fix and perfect primer, and revlons just bitten lip stain in twilight ( the color is too dark, but i love the product.)

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