What will make you return a product? (Or would, if no return policy exists in your region!)

At this point, I very rarely return, so the only times I do are for: totally wrong color matches (for foundation/concealer) or faulty/broken packaging or product. If I was a normal consumer, I would return products that did not work for me, particularly when products were under-performing/poor quality. If I was a normal consumer, I would try to read more reviews/swatch in-store to minimize returning for things like a color or texture being unflattering.

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

We're here to help you make better beauty purchases that you'll enjoy and love! We recommend signing up to take advantage of personalized features like tracking products you own, viewing dupes that you already have, and more!

Here are some useful resources for you:

Compare Any Two

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


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

I return a product if I’ve tried it and it didn’t work the way I wanted it to. Most mascaras go back because I’m not keeping something that smudges.

As I almost always do a ton of research on a desired product before I buy it, this doesn’t happen very often. But an epic fail may lead to a return because the product was somehow faulty in batch, broken, melted, spoiled (yes, lipstick can spoil). Also, if it just didn’t work for me due to some unexpected surprise, ie; online only item looks wretched on me and is unworkable without herculean effort. Or I get it home and see it on myself in normal lighting and it looks nothing like it did at the store! Doesn’t match whatever it’s supposed to be matching!

I usually only return products I think have a terrible formula, like foundations that are extremely patchy or oxidize like crazy, and eyeshadows that don’t perform at all.
I don’t returns products when I bought something that does not suit my coloring, since I think that was my fault in the first place, and not the stores/brands mistake. The only exeption being once when I was professionally matched for a high-end foundation that didn’t match me in daylight at all.

I never trust anyone, no matter how professional, to match me or pick products for me, although I may listen to their recommendations. For me, the easiest way to give myself a good chance of loving a foundation is to bring, or grab in-store, a bottle of a foundation I already use that works and try to match that shade to bottles from other brands/lines. I also buy online, which can be a little harder, but again, I try and find a swatch online of something I already love and use it to compare with other products. I don’t generally want to interact with salespeople. who may be nice and talented, but whose job it is to sell things that I might not want.

1. The obvious. If a product actually damages your skin, irritates, causes allergies, etc.
2. Wrong shade for foundation (the lights in a store can be deceiving), concealer.
3. If a product does not work the way it should (like I had UD velvet eyeliner that literally crumbled on my lids)
4. If it is a really pricey product and, after trying very hard to find them, I do not see *any* qualities in it that would justify the high price tag.

Yes! Thank you, Natalia, for your #1 reason you listed, which I totally forgot about last night! Allergic reactions!!! That’s why I had to return my TF Chocolate Bar Palette.

I agree with all your reaons and Natalia’s too. But Nancy I also had a really bad allergic reaction to TF Chocolate Bar palatte. My eyes were itchy and swollen. I had raw eyelid skin after the swelling went down. Someone told me that it contains bismuth oxychloride.Now I know to keep away from this in eyeshadows.

Denise, my allergic reaction to it was because I have a serious sulfa allergy, and this as well as all TF food themed palettes contain sodium saccharin, which is a sulfa. But I never imagined that was something I needed to look for in eyeshadows?!? Very weird! Not sure why anyone needs artificially sweetened eyelids, LoL. Happened to me again with a Hawaiian lip balm, no idea it had that ingredient. Writing is super tiny, too. But after a few days of using it, my lips were peeling and painful!

Unfortunately we do not have any returns for cosmetics here. I’ve asked about it at my local Sephora and you can return things only if you get bad allergies from them. You buy on your own risk if a product turns out to be badly performing.
If returns were possible, I would be more trusting for buying HE products (now I get only the Temptalia A grades 🙂 ) and would return items which did not live up to their price mark.

If there’s a clear defect. If the color is totally off. If I get a bad reaction to it.

That said, there are no returns here once you’ve taken the product out of its packaging.

Usually only for under-performing products, in hopes that the company will notice and improve. If it’s an unsuitable color I try and pass the product on to friends or family. I hate the idea of wasting a product that works fine just because it doesn’t look good on me.

Definitely on board with the big three you already mentioned: anything where items shipped have been the wrong item, damaged or faulty items, base colours that will not work. The rest I take in stride since I have already researched and know the colour will most likely work. I am in a remote location so 99% of my purchases for makeup and clothing are placed on-line. After 10 years, I’m good at it. When I first started making on-line purchases years ago, I would never return items. I’ve gotten over that and specifically deal with companies that offer flexible return policies; many who offer pre-paid return labels in their initial shipments.

I return products for items that you already listed. Wrong shade, faulty packaging, sub-par quality, and items that don’t work well with my uber oily skin.

I rarely return anything either. If I purchase something like a moisturizer, foundation, etc I would also as for a sample. This way if I find that it doesn’t work for me , they wouldn’t have to trash an entire bottle. I would also return faulty and broken products. However, I can say that I don’t recall returning something that wasn’t pigmented enough or the right formula. Not sure why…

Damaged products in mail (shattered in transit). Products that have gone rancid (new liquid primer that was to close to light in display…. never again). Failure to preform/just does not work at all or as intended (patch lipstick, patch foundation, ) or product that damage your skin, (scratchy brushes and chemical burns).

I rarely return products anymore because I’ve learned to do my research/ask for samples. The last thing I exchanged was one Makeup Forever eye shadow pan because it was an odd texture-I think there was something wrong with it. I also sent back the new Urban Decay eyeshadow pan holder because it’s very poorly designed.
I’m curious-how long after purchasing can you return something defective at Sephora? I invested in the Karen Walker brush set after the holidays and the brushes are falling apart. I take really good care of my brushes. They were limited edition and they are long gone. I don’t have all of the packaging (I have the plastic part of the box, but I didn’t save the cardboard base of the box.

Sephora’s general return policy is 60 days in the U.S. That said, you have a defective product which may be different. I would suggest you call CS to discuss you problem and definitely get the reps name. I would offer to accept a gift card in exchange for the return if needed.

Bingo. That said, I need to exchange an S eyeshadow single, that fortunately, I did not open. Just pulled the one behind the tester, and it was neither the correct shade, nor the correct texture. Somebody had just popped it in the wrong slot. That’s what you get for tossing in the basket. But at least it is going back in saleable condition. One should own it, when a goof is one’s own fault, and gift it to someone it suits. Also returned the five duplicates of MUG shadow + blush from the recent sale. Doubt they’ll reimburse me, but they should. None had been removed from the sleeves. That goof was theirs. S.T. the tablet does not show certain things, like the place for the discount code. So I switched to the computer. The computer had one of each item in the basket, and that is what I confirmed. Clearly, their computer had 2 each, and I can see why. I emailed Nick, but don’t have a lot of faith. If it had been less-than-favorable colors, would have kept or gifted them. There are all sorts of swatches and reviews out there, so we need to be responsible consumers. That is the eternal debate: wait for you vs stalker FOMO.

Definitely if it was defective or damaged in transit. If it’s expensive and doesn’t perform, like eye shadows that crease or fade, will definitely return. Or a bad color match, as in foundation. But if it’s a cheap product, I might not bother returning if it’s a big hassle, like if I have to pay shipping costs or have to dig up receipts and hike to the store.

If my skin has an adverse reaction to a product, or if a product does not work with my skin care I will return it. Also if the product does not smell right such as a rancid smell on a lipstick. If I get the wrong product I will try to exchange it for the correct one.

I rarely return things, but I will if they’re really bad… I tried one of those 24/7 Waterline liners from UD and returned it after it totally failed to work in my waterline and didn’t even really work as a normal liner!

I don’t feel bad about returning things anymore so I return even when I only just like a product versus love. Someone told me that a lot of Sephora/Ulta returns get turned into testers in the store, which I think is a good use of returned product.

1. Products that are damaged/defective.

2. Color mismatches that are completely irredeemable.

3. Products that are unusable to me due to extreme poor quality. I generally swatch before I buy, so this hasn’t been necessary yet.

4. I’d return any product I didn’t order, and I’ve had to return products when I picked up the wrong shade/variety by mistake.

i only return things if they are the wrong color/shade, if they are a horrible formula or if it is already opened or broken.

I very rarely return anything – my makeup addiction started in France where you can’t return anything that’s been opened so I’m just not used to the idea.
I only return when something is really terrible and I can’t make it work no matter what I try, or when it’s completely different from what the brand claims (last product I returned was that green corrector from L’Oreal that turns orange upon application). I’ve returned a couple of high end products because they were extremely disappointing, and with the price tag I couldn’t justify keeping something I would never use (like the Burberry Lip & Cheek Bloom).

I only return if the product causes me some type of physical ailment or harm .. like an eye liner that irritates my eyes or a nose strip that peels the skin right off my nose (Boscia!) Otherwise, I’ll suck up the purchase if I don’t like the color after all or maybe I didn’t pay enough attention to the scent of a product and now I don’t like it .. etc.


I buy differently now so I don’t return much anymore, but I will return a product if:
* I had an adverse reaction to it after I began using it regularly (skin breaking out/too oily/too dry, nausea or allergies due to fragrance) – this is probably the only time it’s not a little awkward for me, I have no shame returning a product for this reason. I almost feel righteous about it and will tell the SA or MUA all of the ways I tried to use it before it came down to me realizing I just needed to return it.
* the product was damaged (in transit or after opening at home from buying at store) and is unusable. This is usually only for powder products if they are cracked or crumbled beyond being able to use, otherwise I will find a way to make it work.
* it is a poor performing product – I’m pretty good about finding a way to work with a so-so product (example: Charlotte Tilbury’s Eyes to Mesmerize Cream Eyeshadow creasing and longevity issues) but if it’s too much hassle then I will return it (example: Burberry’s Cream Eyeshadows – LOVED the colors but the color payoff was almost non-existent for me, there was no way to really build it up and I didn’t like what happened to the texture in the container after a few uses).

I used to over-buy and return quite a bit and I would feel so embarrassed and ashamed. It was so wasteful and reckless because I was buying to catch my stash up after years of neglect and had no idea what I wanted, how to use things, colors that suited me, etc. And I’m pretty sure the SAs had some idea of that when they had to process the returns for me. I could tell they were annoyed by the way they would sigh, the look on their face when they would pull the items out of the bag, the verbal eye-roll I would hear when they had to ask why I was returning an item, the way they would look at each other when I was at the counter, comments I would overhear from other SAs, not to mention that I was holding up the line and it always seemed like it took forever. I don’t blame them, I would have been annoyed with me as a customer too and I know it was a commission issue for some stores. This was 4 or 5 years ago and I hardly return anything now but I think it’s different when I return something these days – maybe technology has made it so returns are just easier to process, maybe company or store policy has changed, maybe it’s staff turnover and not many know that I was the Return R**ard (yes, I overheard that as a reference to me) or maybe it’s just that I’m only returning 1 thing a year vs. 10 things every other weekend – because it seems like returns are way more streamlined and the SAs don’t seem to be bothered by it. Probably a combination of all of that. I still don’t like returning something but when I do now, I don’t feel sheepish about it because I know it was something I intended to use and I tried to work with it but it just didn’t work out.

You shouldn’t have been treated that way, regardless of the amount of items returned. A truly good SA would never do that to a customer. The only exception, in my opinion, was if a customer was caught stealing. You weren’t doing that. They didn’t know your situation or your story. How rude of them!

Hey Dee! That’s nice of you to say. Yeah it was rude, but no less deserved, honestly. Maybe they could have hidden their disdain better, but they’re human. I’ll take my lumps on that one. I was a repeat offender and they would have been well within store policy or their right to limit my spending or refuse me access based on past transactions (if they do that sort of thing, “right to refuse service” and all that). It was a wake-up call for me and the shame and embarrassment heIped me snap out of it. I still return things (rarely), but it’s after I’ve done my due diligence and I can cite all that I’ve tried to do to make it work and the reasons why it doesn’t work for me. I wouldn’t put up with being treated that way now, because I wouldn’t deserve that treatment and I’d call them on it. But back then, I can understand. Honestly, I would have to be paid a lot, A LOT of money to be in customer service. I know some excellent SAs and MUAs and have heard some horror stories that wouldn’t even put me on the radar of a**holery. Anyway, thanks for the kind words. 🙂

I only return something if the packaging is damaged or if I have an allergic reaction (and even then; not always). When I first began wearing makeup, it was against the law to return any type of personal care item. Consequently, I earned early on to consider carefully what I purchase. I simply don’t get the attitude some people have that they can shop ’til they drop and then return half of it simply because they don’t like it or they changed their mind about it. That is horrendously wasteful since none of those products can be resold even if they are unopened. We all end up paying for that kind of foolishness.

I’m very VERY careful in what I order because lets face it, returning is a chore. I keep items on my wishlist for months, maybe even years if its super expensive, and read all the reviews I can. So when I do order it, I like it to be exactly like I imagined. If it turns out to be something that will just sit in my collection, even if its good quality but the color is not something I’ll wear, it goes back.

I don’t return products very often, but there are a few cases where I will: An allergic reaction, bad quality/doesn’t perform as promised, damaged product or packaging, strong perfumey or floral scents in face makeup/skincare, issues with oxidation, or bad color match on foundation due to the store’s lighting or an SA matching me wrong.

I return when necessary. Makeup is the one thing I buy a lot of because I know if it doesn’t work, I can return it. I rarely buy makeup from places I can’t return because to me, it’s the most unpredictable product to buy. I’d say I return whenever something isn’t what I spent the money for it to be. Considering the cost price versus selling price of makeup, if I’m spending $18 + (more plus than not) on makeup that cost less than half of that to produce just one or that I can find it cheaper but buying THAT one cause of the brand, I like knowing that I can send it back. It’s usually eye shadow palettes, with my dark skin, it’s hard to know what will look chalky or too shiny, etc. With lip products, it has to really be bad formula or broken. For skin care, that’s what I would say is returned the most because of my bad reactions to it. I used to feel bad to return but it’s my money…I want to know that I’m getting a good product.

Ugh, I don’t think I can return cosmetics here where I live, maybe some there are a handful of brands that accept returns but it’s not a common practice. I would love to return products with serious performance issues, like super streaky nail polish, really chalky eyeshadows and such.

I very rarely return. If I do return it is for an item that is a completely off color match, broken or a truly poor performer. I usually try to find and read lots of reviews from people I trust.

When something is damaged and When I have ordered several things to compare (then Return unused).
I would Love to be able to return Foundation if the shade does not match. Testers in the Shop Are not helpful because of the lightning and you cannot Test it on the whole face and for more than one day. Here in Germany it is not allowed that the store personal fills some foundation in a small bottle and you can take it and try at home.
Also returning Mascara would be helpful because you cannot Test it in store.

I have read a million reviews on a product I want to purchase and after I get it it is nothing like the reviews said. Most of the time it is the performing part, very disappointed in reviews.

I rarely return stuff because I forget. I will return anything that is full size that breaks me out or gives me a rash. I rarely return anything other than skincare and foundation though.

I return items if:
1) had a bad reaction to it – made me break out, irritated my eyes etc
2) it’s a bad color for me – this usually only happens with foundation/concealer and now I know to get samples beforehand (if I can) so this kind of return doesn’t happen much anymore
3) the product is bad – the product either doesn’t perform the way I want it to or it arrived broken/separated/spoiled/etc

I used to feel bad about returning things but now I just don’t really care as much because if a product didn’t work for me then there’s no point in keeping it! usually I’ll try to see if a friend wants it and it’s something I’ve used, but skincare is what usually ends up getting returned the most because my skin is very picky!

I returned a partially used product when the bottom crimping broke allowing bacteria to enter a pump delivery system. This was an eye cream and not worth the risks. In addition, I felt the manufacturer should be made aware of this defect and possible source of contamination.

I was in my neighborhood Sephora several weeks ago and spied a Becca blush that I had never noticed before and fell in love with it. Bought it and at home, I discovered that it was several shades darker than the display sample. Called the store to find out if I had grabbed the wrong shade. Nope. Come to realize that the Becca counter where the blush was on display happened to be in direct sunlight for who knows how many hours a day and it had ‘sun bleached’ the color. This was a no-thank-you and please-credit-my-account-pronto return. This is just an example of one of my returns. Each seems to have a story and I’m glad it doesn’t happen very often.

I would return a product if it was damaged or defective to the point of being unusable. I rarely return products, though. Items shipped to me have almost always been packaged well. In the event a product just doesn’t work for me, I gift it to a family member or friend.

if it doesn’t work like advertised, if it doesn’t work for me & i know i’ll never use it, broken/defective packaging…i hardly return things if i can help it.

My biggest peeve is broken or poor style packaging that interferes with the use of the product or makes it unusable. If I can I will return items that dont suit, depending on how expensive item was and policy of wear i Purchased. Also I shop mainly online as i live in rural are sephora is 3 hours away so I only return based on cost and useability, particularly cost of item. I recently purchased Cover FX blotting drops, excellent product but pump broke 3rd mtime i used it and it was $58 CAN

I rarely return makeup or skin products it would have to be broken or the wrong product. I usually ask certain stores to mail me some samples if it is foundation. Most stores don’t like to except for Saks Fifth Avenue in Greenwich CT or certain Nordstrom’s. Some stores will if you are making a purchase for something from their cosmetic line than they will send some foundation samples to you in the mail. Most of the time for foundation I will sample it in the store first before purchasing.

I never used to return products but if they’re expensive I do now. What are usually return is lipstick, if the formula doesn’t stay on, I don’t want it. This weekend I’m returning medieval red by Lipstick Queen, the gorgeous color only lasts about an hour. It was something like $26 but I’ll take and spend on a more lasting lipstick

Extremely rare that I will return a used makeup product. If the packaging Is not working correctly or the formula is absolutely terrible I might return. If I’m not crazy about the color, I did my research ahead, so “my bad;” I won’t return. I have never had an allergic reaction but that would be grounds to return. As for unused, unopened products I do not hesitate to return those if I change my mind. But opened ones I feel guilty about returning unless there’s a really compelling reason.

I used to never return items but then I got sick of holding on to products I never used (Tarte 2014 Bon Voyage set) that have poor quality and doesn’t deliver on its promise.

I’ll definitely return it if the color is off or if it’s damaged. Occasionally I’ll return something because I ordered it in a fit of temporary insanity and it’s completely unsuitable. I will also return an underperfoming product, like tinted moisturizer/foundation that doesn’t stay or a powder eyeshadow or blusher/contour/highlighter that takes a thousand layers to become visible (subtle is nice but I don’t have hours to put my makeup on).

– Bad formula that either I’m allergic to or it’s just not working for my skin
– I don’t like it that much and it was so pricey (for my budget) that I could use that money back
– Wrong color match on a face product (usually I’ll exchange instead of return for this issue)
– I got the wrong color or item (again, I’m likely to exchange)

If the item was pretty cheap, though, I’m likely to just say “screw it” and either keep the item or get rid of it/give to someone else.

My deal-breakers: If I have an allergic reaction; if a dispenser of some kind is broken (like a pump or spray); or discover a product is damaged or spoiled.

It is very difficult to return cosmetics here in Australia – but obviously if the packaging is damaged and/or the product has been comprised.
If the lipstick has broken or the product has broken I would return it.

I have only returned a few things and they all fell into 2 categories:

1) bought at recommendation of salesperson after makeover (I’m thinking of that time I walked out with $500 of Giorgio Armani makeup that didn’t actually match my skin tone outside the store).

2) bought online and didn’t work for me. Either I misjudged the colour or the colour on screen was misleading.

The wrong color foundation shade, or under tone, if it doesn’t improving your skin, it does the opposite, definitely bringing it back, if a mascara was dried up. If its just a color I don’t like, with a lipstick or blush, I would just give them to my family or friends.

Only three things: 1. Damaged when I open it.
2. A foundation or powder that is too pale – this will be just an exchange for a darker shade, unless none is available.
3. If I’m allergic – get hives from the product etc.

That’s pretty much it. I hate having to return stuff and very rarely do it, but I do have sensitive eyes and will return a mascara if I get hives and/or swollen eyes. If I just don’t like it, I give it away.

i never return cosmetics unless there is something wrong with the product. the last thing i had to return was a broken bottle of foundation.

only if it’s defective – I pretty much don’t buy online unless I’ve already had a sample and know I want it – I get samples and swatch things first, watch and read reviews – Temptalia always! is an awesome resource. If I decide later I don’t like it or want it I don’t return it, I pass it on to someone else – I end up “gifting” alot of stuff.

i rarely return as well but if it’s broken, makes me break out or is seriously the wrong color, i will. also with eyeshadow palettes, if it just doesn’t wow me, i’ll return it or see if a friend/family member would want it. i have too many palettes to just keep an okay one.

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!