What To Do With Unused Beauty Products? Donate Them!

Donate beauty products

Earlier this week, I posted a picture on Instagram that this week is Declutter Week for me where I get rid of the physical and emotional clutter in my life. And let me tell you, it feels pretty damn awesome. I’ll talk about it more in another post but today, I’d like to talk about beauty products. Specifically, unused beauty products.

I love my job, I really do. I get to try a heap of new beauty products and write about them here without getting into debt (no joke, it can happen). I’m very lucky to be sent beauty products to try out and sometimes, I’m sent an entire colour range of a particular product e.g. foundation. Different bloggers do things differently; there’s no right or wrong. For me, I get an estimate of my shade on Findation.com before selecting the shade to use. I try my best not to open every single foundation to find out my shade because then they’re unsealed and I cannot give them away. These products end up wasting away in my beauty cupboard and in time, I begin to accumulate clutter.

This post was difficult to write because I don’t want to sound ungrateful and say that my beauty products have turned into clutter. It’s easy to come across as that because hey, I get sent stuff, what am I complaining about? I guess when your house becomes a bit of a fire hazard from having at least 10 cans of hairspray, many bottles of nail polish, lots of flammable products and you live in a tiny house with minimal storage space … at some point, a lot of those beauty products have to go. And I haven’t even began talking about the products I purchase and that’s a lot!

Sometimes I’m also sent products that I don’t use. These are often unsolicited and although I do appreciate them, they can sometimes be a waste on me because if I can’t use the products, I won’t write about them. For example, I don’t write about tanning products. I don’t review false eyelashes (mainly because I’m hopeless in applying them). I seldom use hairspray. These products accumulate and it’s such a first world problem to say that I’m drowning in them. But it’s true.

Mountain of beauty products

Most of my friends are bloggers, so I can’t give the products to them because chances are, they already have the same products. I cannot sell the products (huge no no! Don’t even think about selling press samples because you’ll be blacklisted quicker than Julian Assange). What I do is I donate them to charity organisations and people who need them more than I do. You might think these are frivolous products to give away but basic necessities like shampoo, soap, deodorant and so on are much needed products for those who have none. If a new lipstick can help brighten your day, it can also brighten another woman’s day.

Here are a few organisations you can donate your unopened beauty products to:

I’ve donated to some of the above organisations and I’m so happy to be able to help because finally, those beauty products are going to people who need them. As much as I love my beauty products, I don’t need 10 cans of hairspray and 20 bottles of foundation. I often read on forums about beauty bloggers wanting to find out more places to donate their unopened beauty products and it warms my heart.

If you’ve been sent a whole colour range of a foundation, please try not to open all of them just to figure out your shade. Check out Findation first for a rough estimate. If the foundation has already been launched in the market, swatch them in store to find your perfect shade and then open the one you’ve been given. The same goes for lip products. This is the reason I seldom swatch and review an entire colour range of lip products. I don’t need so many lipsticks and once I’ve opened and swatched them, I can’t give them away!

You can also donate old magazines to clinics, hospitals or even your local beauty salons rather than chucking them in the recycle bin. You’ve been to clinics; surely you’re also tired of reading that magazine from 2006. 🙂

I hope this post hasn’t come across as me bragging about my beauty products and showing off about my donating them because that really wasn’t the point. If you’re a beauty blogger and have more products than you need or you really have no room for them, please do consider donating to those who need them more than you do.

What do you do with unopened and unused beauty products? If you do donate them, are there any more organisations that you can add to the list above?

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25 comments… add one
  1. Joyce (bronzerbunny)

    oh good idea about the old magazines. I always feel really bad throwing them out! I think it is awesome that you are so conscious about not wasting products – yay.
    Joyce (bronzerbunny) recently posted..March EmptiesMy Profile

    1. Tine

      I used to hoard magazines and they took up so much space! There’s a hair salon very near my home and I just unload my old magazines there. The owner really appreciates it and I get to declutter. Win win 😀

  2. Kaye

    This is actually a brilliant idea! Beauty bloggers or not, I think most of us are guilty of product wastage. I find myself in the same boat with products I buy, there is only one other persons know (in the same city) who is as interested in beauty as I am. For everyone else they’re not really interested, so I have no one to pass things on to.

    This also reminds me a little of my mum and grandma, every time they fly home to the phillipines they bring so many suitcases full of new and unopened beauty products – just the basics that we take for granted – to give to those who have none 🙂

    1. Tine

      For me, I have too many people who are very interested in beauty products which is supposed to be a good thing but they’re also beauty bloggers which means they were sent the same stuff that I was or they bought the same stuff! 😛

      I usually save the really good stuff for my mum. She loves to boast to her friends “ooh I’m now using X brand. Oh it’s expensive? I have no idea (she does. Tsk tsk). Daughter gave it to me.” 😛

  3. Allison

    Because I don’t get sent an entire range of anything, lol, my problem is what to do with opened & swatched only stuff. What do you do with yours? It pains me to throw out stuff touched once for a photo
    Allison recently posted..Studio Gear Hydrating CC Cream “Linen”My Profile

    1. Tine

      Those are more difficult for me to give away. The ones that are sent to me cannot be sold so I can’t do preloved makeup blog sale on those. I’ll ask friends if they want the used-once products. Most of them do but for the ones that can’t be given away (e.g. lip products), I’m afraid I have to keep them and try to use them. More often than not, those end up chucked because I can’t keep them for long. Can’t donate them either because they’re already used. It’s a conundrum, that one.

  4. Victoria

    Love your idea about donating old magazines to clinics or hospitals because I never thought of that. Would definitely do this in the future with my stash 🙂

    1. Tine

      Thanks! Hospitals and clinics are terrible in offering reading material in the waiting room. They’ll be very happy to take your old mags. Trust me, your “old” mags will still be newer than what they have. 😉

  5. Fiona

    I used to work in a print publishing magazine specialising in automotive so all the leftover magazine will be sent to car showrooms. It’s a great way to get the magazine out to more readers thus creating more readership 🙂

    As for beauty products, I don’t give to my friends or relatives. I find them pestering for free products but in the end never used it after given to them. I just don’t like giving to people who don’t appreciate it. So what I do since 2 years ago is to curate a beauty box-alike gift to my close friends and readers during Valentine’s Day and Christmas Day. It is not an easy task to curate each box according to each individual like and dislike but it feels absolutely great to surprise them 🙂

    1. Tine

      Ah very clever way of using those leftover mags. 😉

      Ooooh what a fantastic idea to curate beauty box gifts! I love it! Thanks so much for the idea; I’m going to do that for my friends too 😀

  6. xin

    it’s cool that you can actually donate the beauty products to those places, i am not sure if there’s such thing in KL though.
    and YAY for you making the other women happy 😀
    xin recently posted..An Impromptu Trip Down South – of MBS, Pasarbella, Prada Double Bag and Hakuhodo Brushes!My Profile

    1. Tine

      I actually started donating old mags back in Malaysia. I’ll give away stacks of CLEO, Female, Her World, etc mags to my hair salon. They usually just have Chinese mags but not all of their clientele read Chinese so they have to stock English mags as well (which a lot of them don’t read). So my mags came just in time for them. 😀

  7. BebeTaian

    I think I might have suggested that maybe a year back? ^_^ I’m glad to see you donated the excess, though! I also swap some opened things with friends or family with the same skin tones or product likes (like eyeshadow colours, nail polishes). I only donate completely unused stuff, for obvious reasons.

    The one place I won’t donate to though is the Salvation Army. They’re pretty well-known in the States for being anti-gay and against anyone who isn’t Christian. Some shop runners are more adamant about that than others. They’ve even been known (as an organization) to throw away donations that they feel don’t fit their beliefs, like new toys. They don’t even return them to the people who donated; they throw them away. Some friends of my husband were even turned out of a store here in the States because they were gay. ::shakes head:: They won’t ever get a dime from me. There are lots and lots of other places to donate if you look around! Even in small towns, places like domestic violence shelters, women’s groups, hospital groups, trans support groups, etc. love getting nice things in! Especially for people who may have just lost everything.
    BebeTaian recently posted..Weekender 6: Stuff + ThingsMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Oh dear … that’s the first time I’ve heard of that of the Salvation Army. Will definitely need to read up on that. I wonder if that’s just in the States or it’s a worldwide thing. Will have to check out more articles on them because I wouldn’t want to donate to organisations that do those heinous acts.

  8. Tiffany

    I think its really great that you donate your unused items to the needy! If you ever need to get rid of your opened items head on over to http://www.reddit.com/r/AussieMakeupExchange/ 🙂

    1. Tine

      Ooooh thanks so much for the suggestion Tiffany! Opened items are often so difficult to offload. I’m bookmarking that site pronto! x

  9. Hilary

    You are lovely! 😀

    This made me feel all warm and fuzzy – its true when the chips are down and things are really really poop not being able to afford deodorant, shampoo, soap, or a lip stick might sound pretty trivial but it makes such a MASSIVE difference to day to day life being either just existing or actually living, so thank you SO much for doing this Tine 🙂

    And if you ever want to get rid of open stuff, I’m always available for pre-loved stuff (I like to do my bit as well you see :P)
    Hilary recently posted..Another teaching updateMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Aww thanks 😀 The first time I donated unopened shampoo, deodorant, etc to a charity group (they consolidate all products, repack them and send them to women’s shelters), I admit it was more of me wanting to declutter and to get rid of products that were taking up so much space in my house. When I heard back from someone in the charity group on how those simple products are so incredibly useful to women who have none (can you imagine when one can’t afford to even buy shampoo?), it completely changed my outlook of life and to never ever take simple things like that for granted. And to give however much I can.

      Hahaha I’m actually doing a blog sale soon. Lots and lots of preloved stuff! You’ll know more soon (100% of proceeds will go to one particular organisation I’m passionate about). 🙂

      1. Hilary

        I can indeed imagine it, as I’ve been there – it totally sucks and whilst I always used to think material things don’t matter, when you really don’t have any, or more specifically, know there isn’t any way of you being able to obtain any, it really is the pits and very demoralising.

        BLOG SALE?!! OMG! So so happy 😀 Totally up for supporting the very worthy BA fund :P:D
        Hilary recently posted..Life got busy…..Work updateMy Profile

  10. Beauty Box

    That’s a really nice gesture and I don’t think you are boasting or being ungrateful. Every woman, regardless of her economic situation, would love to enjoy taking a shower, smell nice, put on lipstick or mascara just to feel a little bit better and face the day.
    Beauty Box recently posted..March FavouritesMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Amen, sister. Amen indeed. 🙂

  11. Katrina

    Women’s shelters are my absolute favorite donation places. Nothing feels better than to help another woman who has the guts to walk away from a bad situation and start over. The shelters like to receive business attire since many of their ladies are looking for jobs. I never thought of unopened beauty products though. It makes sense that they would need a little “pick me up” like a new lipstick to ace a job interview. 🙂
    Now if I could find a use for all of the already opened stuff that I’ve only tried once. I hate to just throw some of this stuff out when some of it cost quite a lot. At least in the case of this blogger, she got most of hers for free.

    1. Tine

      I want to donate to women’s shelters too but they don’t reveal their locations (sometimes, no phone numbers either) so it’s difficult for me to drop the items off. Understandably so, of course. In the end, I donate to Fitted for Work, which is a charity organisation for women who have difficulties looking for employment.

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