Skip to main content

In today’s peer-to-peer sharing economy and second-hand retail market, nothing is off-limits, including cosmetics. In Japan, millennial makeup wearers have been known to buy and sell used makeup in the spirit of not letting something beautiful go to waste. It’s a frugal trend that’s happening in Canada, too, through online communities such as the Toronto Makeup Zone Facebook group, where members post photos of gently used products, such as an eye shadow palette that’s been used once with some shades untouched, in exchange for gift cards or other makeup. On American cosmetics resale website Glambot, makeup and its packaging are all professionally cleaned using heat, light therapy, product removal and alcohol before being mailed to the buyer.

As with any second-hand purchase, there are risks beyond any potential ick factor. Sharing makeup can spread infections such as conjunctivitis, an infection of the eye area. To minimize spread of bacteria, Glambot will not accept items with reusable applicators such as mascara or lip gloss, plus, each product must be at least three months before their expiry date. If you’re looking to rescue unwanted cosmetics but wary of sharing, try searching for items that are still sealed in their original packaging.

Open this photo in gallery:


Sephora Collection Clean Up Nice Antibacterial Spray, $19 at Sephora.

Live with style. We have a weekly Style newsletter on fashion and design trends, plus shopping tips and inspiration. Sign up today.

Interact with The Globe