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I typically only make returns when there’s something wrong with the product or I have been given the wrong product. I do A LOT of research and sampling before purchasing anything beauty related, so I haven’t found that I’ve needed to return many items. If I order things online, it’s usually because they aren’t locally available, and if for whatever reason I don’t love a particular product, I’m more likely to just give it away to someone who wants it rather than return the product.

I will return something if it is really poor quality or if it unexpectedly breaks me out or irritates my skin. I don’t have sensitive skin and will research products before I make a purchase normally. I don’t like to return products after they have been used without a good reason. I have also returned products unused and unopened if I recieved it as a gift and online swatches/review have lead me to believe the product is just not for me. I work in retail and hate it when people wear something and then return it when there is no defect with the item. It feels like they are cheating the company, ya know? So I try not to do it myself.

I most often have to return because a product causes an allergic reaction break out 🙁 If the color is just wrong because I’m too pale, I just give it to a friend or family member.

I usually return products if they are nt good quality. I used to return products if they make me breakout or the color is not right for me but now i try to do research or get samples first before i buy because returning cn sometimes be a hassle. I dont feel ashamed returning things if they dont work for me but it is time consuming esp. when the store is a bit far.

I don’t think we can return any makeup or skin products in London. at least not where i shop. 🙁

you can’t actually return beauty products where i live.. ony when it’s defective i quess. I just returned my Honey touch from rituals (it’s kinda like a body butter) cause when i opend it the colour was bright yellow while it’s supposed to be white.

so yeah only when it’s defective i quess.

Funny, I’m about to return a product to Sephora for the first time. Usually, I just can’t be bothered to return something so I give the product to my sister. Today, though, I’m going to return the YSL Glossy Lip Stain I bought because it makes my lips freak out and burn. 🙁 So I guess I return stuff when I’m allergic to it?

I return things if I don’t think that they’re working as advertised, the quality isn’t there, they don’t work for me – and I don’t think that they’ll work in my kit – and if it’s not worth the money that I’ve paid for it. I only work with companies who will give samples or who have good return policies. For MAC, I tend to exchange rather than return when I deal with the free-standing store. It makes for a more pleasant experience and they don’t ignore me if I walk in with a bag.

I’ll typically only return an item if it unused/unpened. I’ve only returned two products that were used due to a negative reaction. I bought the Sephora Moonbaked Eyeshadow pallette in In The Nude, and it irritated my eyes. I actually kept it, though, thinking maybe it was something else that was causing the reaction. Then I bought the pallette in In The Dark, and the same thing happened. I normally don’t have adverse reactions to eye products, and I use baked mineral shadows all the time, so I really don’t know what happened.

As for returning an item due to a lack of quality, I just bear with it and not purchase the brand unless I can test it in person. If it’s really horrible, I’ll call the company directly and let them know, and they’ll typically work something out. I doubt companies even notice if the reason for a return is due to quality; they may see it as someone just deciding they don’t like the color, or realize they can’t really afford it. The SAs really don’t care why it’s being returned, and they don’t usually say anything; management doesn’t typically care, either. It’s not like buying a dress that doesn’t fit, which the retailer can sell again; the makeup has to be thrown away, causing prices to go up. The MSRP is not randomly set by the product manufacturer; they make their profit once the retailers buy the product. They work out the MSRP based on the numbers provided to them by retailers. Although cost of manufacture hasn’t increased much, prices have; the cost of any loss has to be absorbed somewhere.

I’ve returned products if they turn out to be of very poor quality, or if they cause any sort of allergic reaction (which rarely happens).

I’ve also returned foundation a few times. After being colour-matched in the store, I’ve gone home and looked in the mirror only to realize the colour is WAY too dark/yellow (I have super pale skin).

If a product doesn’t perform up to standard, I would return it (though of the 2 things that let me down, in both cases, I think I kept them too long, thinking it was me and I “should” be able to make them work; when I realized they just weren’t good – at least not for me – I’d lost the receipts!). The only item I have actually returned in the past 5 or more years (rather than just wishing I’d returned it) was a Mac Paint Pot from the Cham-Pale collection because it was just too sheer but glitter-laden for me to be able to get any use out of it.

Well if it doesn’t work out for me, I return it. But I always get samples of things that I can sample like foundations, concealers, and skin care.

The last thing I returned was a loose powder. It just didn’t keep my oils at bay, and I’m not willing to deal with frequently touching up, foundation separation, nor oxidation since I do have very oily skin.

And while I try to look for absorbant ingredients in powders like silica abd Nylon-12. I also look for the absence of emollients and heavier binding agents like squalane, mineral oil, or various fatty acids. The ingredient lists only tell me what ingredients are present, not how much is present.

I will return things usually when they are defective (like my UD Eyelash Curler) or just such poor quality that I cannot work with them (like NYX lipsticks). I know lots of people like NYX lipsticks, but they just slip around too much for me! I have enough makeup at this point that I don’t need a lipstick lying around that gets no use because I dislike the formula. I’ve also returned Covergirl’s LipPerfection lipsticks because they did not stay on my lips, they stayed on my teeth =/.

For lip, eye and nail productI won’t return if I purchased it in person, knowing full well its colour and how it looks in real life, even when I come home and its not for me. I feel like I had every opertunity to see and its my mistake. I will return for crappy formula, or wrong colour (un-forseen), or in general crappy product (like a MU brush). side note: I rarely return anything that has samples.

I don’t feel obligated to keep items that I’m not happy with. This means both colors that don’t suit me and of course anything that causes a rash or negative reaction. I think the most returned item for me has been foundation. I’ve tried many drugstore brands and only found one color match. Even the match had to be returned because it broke me out. I’ve also returned a couple of HE foundations due to poor color matches. I’ve had associates at the department stores and Sephora sell me things they had no business selling me in the first place (this used to happen more when I was a newbie). I don’t feel bad about returning these items.

Generally I don’t return mascara, I’ll usually just use it for a little while then throw it out. I’ve never really found a mascara that I’ve hated enough that I feel it’s unusable except for a sample size of Bad Gal, which I threw away after 2 uses.

In general, I value my money and don’t think it should be wasted. I don’t want to give the impression that I try and return things, because I don’t. However, I feel as a customer, I should be satisfied with my purchases. I only shop at stores with generous return policies.

It shouldn’t be! Cosmetics have a RIDICULOUSLY high mark-up, and companies with return policies already figure out how to accommodate for returns without losing money when they initially set their prices. If companies really lost money because of return policies, we wouldn’t see so many generous ones — but what are the chances that you return one product only to buy something else? Or that because there’s a good return policy, you’re more apt to buy from that retailer or that brand?

So glad to see you make this comment – I was starting to feel bad reading some of the other comments in this thread. I shop for my make-up at places like Sephora and MAC because they have such great return policies. There are so many companies that don’t stand behind their products, and the quality of their products anymore. That drugstore lipstick marketed as ’24 hour’ that barely makes it to 15 minutes? If you bought it, that’s your problem now.

The reason I surrender $30 for a blush is because I expect a great blush. I could buy the CoverGirl blush at Shoppers Drug Mart for $5, but it might look chalky in sunlight, break me out and have a wear time that doesn’t make it past my morning coffee. If your $30 blush looks chalky, breaks me out and doesn’t last then you’re darn right I’m returning it. That extra $25 wasn’t just because I had a good day and felt like donating to your company. That extra $25 was (ostensibly) for a better quality products that had more R&D effort as well as to cover losses from product returns. If I find the product lacking in those areas, of course I’m going to take advantage of the return policy they themselves instituted.

Companies won’t hesitate to make logical, emotionless decisions regarding their bottom line, why should I?

P.S. If it sounds like I’m just a ruthless person, I should probably add that this rant is coming from a Canadian perspective. Despite dollar parity, cosmetics are marked up 10-40% here depending on brand, making going high end an even bigger commitment.

Brands are for-profit, so I definitely feel that’s their responsibility to ensure they have the right pricing, cost structure, policies, etc. to be a profitable business. If a brand is a quality brand, then they shouldn’t have so many returns that it would affect their bottom line. If it was a concern, brands could surely implement far more strategies than they do at present to lessen returns – how about real swatches? how about realistic claims (like hello, mascara claims?)? how about ingredient lists? how about real photos? how about better color descriptions?

Sure, there are always people who will abuse a generous policy, so you will have people who buy $200 of stuff and return it all and repeat. Most of us aren’t doing that. Maybe a color looks good in the store, but it doesn’t look good once you get home. Maybe the testers at the store are so gross you don’t dare try on a lipstick or lipgloss, but at home, you try it, and it’s something you’d never wear. Perhaps it’s scented (and many testers in-store lose their scent from being left open), perhaps it’s just so-so quality (maybe not awful, but not worth your $30).

I have heard so many estimates in the industry that leaves markup anywhere between 40-90% depending on the product and the brand. This, of course, doesn’t necessarily include costs like R&D and advertising. Many of the big cosmetic houses have been thriving for numerous years – I think they recognize a generous return policy enables customers to purchase shades they might not otherwise purchase (and inevitably, keep some, possibly return others, etc.) and feel better about purchasing sight unseen. I know I shop at stores with better return policies than ones that give me grief–which means they earn my business more often than some other retailer.

I really appreciate this discussion I actually just spoke to my local Sephora store manager about it and she was very generous with her samples and return policy – if you don’t like it, you don’t have to keep it and she has no problem with that.

I work in retail and I’m also studying business in school and really a customer should never feel badly about returning a product assuming they’re not abusing the policy. Like you Christine, I am far more loyal to companies and brands that have generous policies.

Besides I find I rarely do a straight return, typically I exchange the product for something else. Whenever I go into sephora to return I always end up exchanging because I always find there’s something else I need!

I agree; if a store has a return policy, one shouldn’t feel guilty utilizing it! And I’m sure you’re not the only one who goes in to return one thing and walks out with at least one more thing, LOL!

Exactly! I’m sure the mark-up is even higher on some products. The 10-40% was just referring to US$ to CDN$ mark-up… $33 Tarte blushes hurt my heart.

I’m pretty good about getting a sample first of most face products. Sometimes I feel like a pain in the butt, but I think most SAs understand when I tell them I’m so pale and rosacea-ey that I hate wasting things when they turn orange or itch. Otherwise, I mostly just return the occasional color that I couldn’t try in person, or products that were utterly made of fail, like the MUFE liquid liner that came off in pieces as I was applying it.

Mostly what I return is MAC, because their LE collections kind of force me to buy sight-unseen the second they go live online. However, thanks to your reviews it doesn’t happen as much as it could. 😉

I agree that if you don’t return, the manufacturer will never know about customer dissatisfaction. But I work for an off price retailer that sells some cosmetics/skincare and when these items are returned, we just trash them–they never get returned to the company. So it ends up just being wasted. I always recommend that the returning customer at least calls/emails the manufacturer so that they are aware of any product quality issues. For me, it really depends on the amount paid for the product and where it was purchased. A $10 item goes up for swapping or given to a friend/family member. A $50 item will go back to the store after I’ve called the company to report the issue. For example, when it comes to perfume, I see a few ladies return fragrances they dislike. Macy’s is within walking distance of my off price employer. I always suggest they sample first over there and then buy at my place to save a few $$$. But they’re often too lazy to do that, so we end up with bottles of perfume that are spritzed a few times (still good overall) but not re-sellable. Make me bonkers!

I usually write a note to the company and say that I’ve returned as well 🙂 One way or another, the company should see returns reflected somewhere in their financial data!

If I don’t like product, it’s the wrong color, bad quality, causes skin issues, I’ll take it back.

I have never returned a product. I think all the people who buy items before testing them or researching them & then return them cause they didn’t like them are one of the main reasons makeup is so expensive. I don’t think its fair that people buy things with the thought if they don’t like something they can just get their money back. IMO if I get something & don’t like it its my loss

That’s how I feel, too. I do so much research on products and price comparing that I feel that my final choice usually ends up being a wise one. As I said in my previous comment, there is so much wasted product at my store, it makes me wonder about the future pricing of similar product.

I really tend to disagree with this sentiment. I’m studying business in school and we talk about these issues a lot in my marketing class.

Pricing is determined by so many factors – from cost of production to product development, advertising, promotion, packaging, to less tangible things like consistency with the brand image, customer perception of value, to consistency with the other factors of the marketing mix – price, product, promotion and place. Makeup is expensive because it CAN be, there is someone willing to pay that price for the product. The cost of returns is NOT what drives up overall prices, and is a small factor.

“Wasted” non-resellable product with a generous return policy is par for the course and companies know this when they create these policies. Although the product is not resellable and there is a direct and immediate loss, customer satisfaction and brand loyalty are two major objectives of companies, especially when you consider that in marketing, there’s an oft repeated phrase: 20% of customers are buying 80% of the product. The immediate loss from the returned product is made up for by the lifelong loyalty of that customer who feels she can trust the brand. That 20% core customer base who buys the majority of product – if she is loyal to your brand and speaks well of it to her friends, the cost of a returned item is more than made up for.

Furthermore, consider the beauty industry and companies annual profits – Estee Lauder is a $6 billion dollar company. They can afford to eat the loss of your returned $30 blush, especially if it means lifelong loyalty.

Yes it is always wise to do a lot of research on your products, know your skin type and know the ingredients that do and don’t work for you. But don’t ever hesitate to return a product that doesn’t work for you, your dissatisfaction is not beneficial to the company nor one of their primary objectives.

Emi: Thank sooo much for sharing that! =)

Pamela: I agree with you in reducing waste (though not for the purposes of reducing future price mark-up’s–my reasons are more ecological footprint-related so I just shouldn’t be using cosmetics. The self-induced guilt I give myself as a beauty junkie can be weird ^_^). I get horrified when I imagine the sheer amount of returned cosmetics just being trashed or wasted! I used to refuse to return for that reason. Then I realized it’s just sitting there and eventually end up as trash anyway when I do my cleaning. So not only do I throw out trash, but money as well!

I don’t tend to swap bc it’s unsanitary and if the product doesn’t work well for me (like if it irritated my sensitive skin or changed colors as I was wearing it), I won’t pass on a possibly faulty product to a friend.

Anyway, it’s why I now will away the impulse to immediately buy something that catches my eye in store. I now take the time to write it down, research the product, and compare it to my existing collection. It seems like a lot of effort but it has helped me understand my needs/wants better. And if the product STILL doesn’t work, then I actually keep record of the ingredients and what went wrong. I feel I shop a little bit wiser and I feel a little better about returning–at least I did try to minimize waste.

One of the main reasons makeup is expensive is because we pay for it. If no one bought it at those price points then they wouldn’t be in business.

I return skin care products if they break me out, burn, or are total garbage. Makeup is a bit different, I try to swatch and read reviews before I purchase, but if a product creases, fades, or has no pigment, then I return it. I don’t return often, but if a product is not meant for me, then yes I will. I think this is the main reason why Sephora, Bloomies & Nordstrom have such great return policies. They want their customers to be happy & keep purchasing from them.

If it was cheap then I tend to only return it if I have a bad reaction to it. I feel kind of silly standing in line at customer service in a drug store if it’s under $10 so I only do it if it’s reeeeally bad. My expectations go up for more expensive products and they also tend to be easier to return. I can usually get samples but sometimes it takes more than a week to know a product doesn’t agree with my skin. I’ve also returned a few things that broke or had some defect – once with no receipt and no problems. I have one person at each counter that I deal with. We treat each other well.

I would return a product if the quality is poor and/or if the color isn’t what I thought it would be especially because not everything looks good on every skin color so I’m not going to spend my money on something I’m not going to use. I would return asap and either get something that I do like/want or just get my money back!

Not returning something is a waste

This hasn’t happened to me very often, but a couple of times aggressive salespeople pressured me into something and when I got home I realized it wasn’t what I wanted, so back it went.

I always return if I’m allergic. Can’t do anything about that and I shouldn’t be expected to keep something that I can’t wear at all.
Sometimes I will return them if I really need the money back and don’t love it, like if I’m running out of money for food. This doesn’t happen much, but it has happened before.

I’ll return just about anything if I don’t like it or it just simply doesn’t work for me. I could care less what anyone else thinks or says. It’s my money and if I purchase something whether it’s $10 or $100, if i’m not happy with it when I get home for whatever reason, I’ll take it back. Also, I won’t purchase products from online retailers that don’t list ingredients or don’t have a return/exchange policy. For that reason, I like shopping from Sephora and Nordstrom because of their return policies.

I think I’d only return something if it actually broke or if I found I couldn’t use it as intended. I check colours at the counter so it’d be my mistake if I got something I didn’t like. Price would be a factor too, I’d just feel too silly going up and haggling over something that only cost $5. The closest I’ve come to wanting to return an item was with Maybelline’s crummy mascaras, but I’d lost the receipt and it just seemed like too much fuss for something like that.

I rarely return cosmetics without doing an exchange. The last few items I returned were foundations that turned out to be either the wrong color or finish. I usually return and exchange face products for the above reasons or if I have a nasty reaction. For other products, I’ll give them to friends.

I just returned a product of Filorga.
After unpacking it, the seal was of and the jar was 3/4 full instead of the 100%(as they al do from Filorga) and it smelled nasty.
So i did get a new one :0))

I don’t know of anywhere in the UK that accepts returns of cosmetics unless they’re faulty. If I buy something and don’t like it then I have to either give it to a friend/family member, sell it on a blog sale, find a way to make it work for me, or bin it!

I return if I am not satisfied. I think stores have return policies for a reason, and I like to make use of the return policies.

I’m always amazed by this fabulous return policy in the US. You can just return anything, even if you just say, regret buying it.
Where I live that would be crazy. In Europe, you can only return something and get a refund if the product is defective/actually has a problem with it, not for any other reason.
I always think it’s especially crazy that you can open products that you have used, like what? Because then it can’t be resold so the store is making a loss. I think we can return things if you have broken the hygiene seal, but that’s all. And also clothes and stuff if the labels are still on.
I wish we had such a great return policy here!

I have no problem returning a product (used or unopened). Although I buy 95% of my cosmetics and skin care products at Sephora where pretty much everything has a tester, some things are difficult to test out in store. Especially mascara because if you even want to take the risk of getting someone else’s nasty eye infection by sticking the tester spooly brushes in the tube on the hope and a prayer that no one else has “double dipped”, to me the brush is the most important part of mascaras and you can’t really try that out. Also, a lot of skin care products need to be used over a period of weeks to see if you get the results that the brand claims. As for the 5% of my beauty purchases that I make at drugstores or big box stores (i.e. Walmart), I feel that since you cannot try the products until you buy them, bring them home, and open them, I have no qualms about returning for any reason whatsoever.

When I react or it’s such bad quality I can’t use it. And to the people saying they feel wasteful or whatever if done for that reason- most stores fill in a form of the problems, to send back to the distributor. So as Christine said, it helps them know.

defective, previously opened w/out knowing, poor quality & every time i feel like its not working on me! why waste my money? 😉

If the color doesn’t suit me AND it’s expensive. I won’t wait in line at Wal-Mart customer service to return a $7 lippie.

all of the above if I don’t like it. I think it’s great that ulta and sephora have such a great return policy even if you’ve opened the product. This has enabled me to discover so many excellent products that are keepers. Normally i wouldn’t risk purchasing an expensive product out of fear it would break me out or would be the wrong color and i would be stuck with it.

I recently exchanged something at MAC…I honestly changed my mind shortly after I bought it because by the time I got to the car I had racoon eyes. The girl gave me major attiitude…she said “next time make sure it’s what you want because these have to go in the trash now”…I didn’t even open them but she said it was their store policy. Whatever…if they don’t like people exchanging things maybe they should change their store policy. As much as I shop there I have the right to change my mind!!

@Vanessa MAC generally doesn’t like when people don’t fall to their knees and praise the products. I once had to return a concealer because it horribly irritated my skin, and the woman acted like I should’ve dealt with it because it was MAC.

@Esther I agree with that about MAC. I once politely asked them for the ingredients in their lipsticks because I had a horrible reaction and the saleswoman slammed a huge book on the table and said “Look in there.” I didn’t even ask to return the product and wasn’t rude or anything…was just curious as to what ingredient made my lips numb

oh and the only time I will return a product is if it was very pricey. I’ve bought my share of crap products…so long as they didn’t cost a lot I will figure out a way to use them another way or toss it

@Monica @Esther – i know how you girls feel! i get treated like shit at MAC every time i return or exchange something. These Mac employees are very rude, don’t let them intimidate you, return as much as you need to, its not their money, IT’S OUR MONEY.

@ Mary…that’s exactly the way I feel…it’s like why do you have a major attitude?? as far as I know it’s not coming out of your pocket…plus I was EXCHANGING it. Ugh…it’s so frustrating. All because we are MAC lovers that can’t stay away. Like I really believe they would simply trash a brand new product and brush…please!

Mac return policy does suck,I also noticed I once returned a lipstick I bought which I normally love anyways (st.Germaine) and once I got home & opened it,it was cut off had a hole it in. I was like wth! So upset,idk if it was a tester or a defect or what happened to it,it had looked like someone literally cut it off and when I went back to show them,they were so rude and acted like I did it,treated me like I was a dang criminal or something. Smh. that put me off for a bit,some of their employees are so rude. Xoxo

MAC doesn’t even have good quality make up, it just has a huge variety of colors and stuff. Other than that, it’s nothing special at all.

I’ve had nothing but good experiences when returning stuff to MAC, but that was all online. Looks like they need tot train their store people how not to be jerks.

The saleswoman at MAC inside Macy’s said that even when someone returns a brand new product they can’t resell it. It has to go in a returns bin and gets shipped to corporate. I asked her why and she said for liability reasons. Seems like such a waste if you ask me.

I just want to give props to the two MAC reps at my Macys in town. They were both so adorable and friendly …

I understand why they have to trash everything that gets returned, because you never know if someone surreptitiously messed with something and made it potentially dangerous to resell, but still, they allow returns, so people are going to make returns, and they shouldn’t make a big deal out of it.

Elizabeth Keen Fetter But better that than people who might lie and say they never opened it and they resell, right? If the brand wants to minimize waste, they can still recycle the packaging! 🙂

My MAC Girls are absolutely Lovely in my town! And I’ve never had a bad experience with returns there!

It is true that all returns & exchanges go back to corporate, when I worked for Clinique at Macy’s that is just policy. What if someone had pink-eye, tried the product, etc. It’s for you safety. With that being said, I really do feel that the SA’s do need to come off of their ivory tower, because…folks, your slinging lipstick just like the rest of us.

Ouch! I’ve never had anything but awesome experiences at my MAC counter, granted I don’t go there very often anymore they’re always really helpful. And I return something if the color is off, if I was pressured into buying it (this happens a lot at MAC), if it was too expensive or if I didn’t realize I had the same color/very similar color.

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