How to Donate New & Used Makeup You No Longer Need


Do you have more makeup, nail polish, or other beauty products than you can actually use?

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Maybe you have a New Year’s resolution idea to declutter your home or maybe you’ve inherited a house full of stuff. Why not donate any new and gently used (yes, used!) makeup that you no longer need?

Various organizations can help others feel beautiful, prepared, and poised with your new and used makeup. Here are some steps you can take to donate any makeup that’s taking up space in your home.

5 Quick Tips for Donating Your Makeup

Before you donate your makeup, look it over to make sure it’s in its best possible shape for donation. Here are a few things you can do in a jiffy:

  • Clean the packaging. Your gently-used makeup will look even better if you remove dust from the exterior or loose powder from the interior of the compact. Wipe down your makeup container with a paper towel to make it look practically new.
  • Remove reusable applicators. Some organizations will take gently-used makeup but often request that you remove reusable applicators that you have used at least once. They can be a hygiene concern. 
  • Determine the shades if labels have faded. If you know that a particular shade is called Ruby Red but the sticker fell off the bottom of the lipstick, confirm the color online and add a sticky note with the correct shade.
  • Secure any loose lids and clasps. This is especially important if you mail in a donation. Use clear tape to secure anything that’s loose. No one wants to open a donation to find out that all of the eyeshadow, for example, has emptied completely into the package.
  • Put together an inventory. Once everything looks secure, divide your products into new products, nearly-new products, and well-loved products. Your chosen organization may only accept specific types of products so you may have to divide up what you donate.
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Where to Donate Used and New Makeup and Beauty Products

Here are some ways you can share your used and new makeup and beauty products.

1. National charity organizations like Beauty Bus

A few different national charities focus on getting unused cosmetics from individuals and distributing them in ways that empower others. 

Beauty Bus, for example, offers free haircuts, facials, manicures, pedicures, and more to individuals in hospitals across the country. Beauty Bus also offers a bag of new, donated cosmetics to each patient. Your new cosmetics and hair care products could really help someone who’s experiencing a difficult time with their health. 

Submit Beauty Bus’ online form and list the products you have. You’ll receive instructions via email about how to submit those items to the organization if they are a good fit for the program. 

A variety of other charities take donations via mail. You may be able to find a similar organization that offers hospital-based cosmetics distribution in your own area if you prefer not to mail your donations.

2. Local charities helping women dress for success

Many communities around the country have at least one organization that focuses on giving women the tools they need to acquire and retain a new job. Getting a professional wardrobe and beauty regimen can be expensive. 

Organizations like Dress for Success can help women leap over this hurdle. In many cases, getting and keeping a job that pays a reasonable wage can result in long-term stability for that woman and her family. Donating your makeup to an organization like this one could help an entire family’s economic future.

Dress for Success only accepts new, unopened cosmetics, beauty products, and perfumes. Other local organizations may have other parameters. Make sure your donation can be used.

» MORE: Honor those who served their country. Create a plan this Memorial Day.

3. Local women’s or family shelters

Women who spend time in shelters may have to give up or lose a lot of possessions — including makeup. 

You may be able to find a shelter that accepts used makeup. Consider using a directory site like to pinpoint an exact location. This website attempts to list shelters all around the United States. It’s best to call and see if they have an interest in your donation first. Many of these organizations aren’t large or equipped to handle donations that they cannot quickly use.

4. Online resale organizations like Glambot

Specific websites like Glambot specialize in makeup resale. They allow you to send in your makeup donation, which they evaluate and then offer an estimate. Imagine something like an online used bookstore, but for makeup. Most of these sites will only take makeup containers that are more than 50 percent full.

You may notice that many of these sites pay very little for used products. Even so, you’ll accomplish several things with your donation: You get to help others, clear clutter from your home, and you might even be able to get credit toward a future makeup purchase.

5. Facebook and Reddit groups for individual sales

One way to find a home for your makeup is to search through Facebook or Reddit groups that attempt to exchange or sell makeup. For example, r/makeupexchange is a well-moderated site where you can post the condition and type of makeup you have and find out whether anyone is interested in it.

In some cases, people choose to each pay postage and “swap” a collection of items with each other, which means you can try different products. This can be a great option for nearly-used-up products, since many exchangers want to test out a product and see if they like it before they invest in a new container. 

You may be concerned with potential hygiene issues once you move into the less-organized world of makeup exchanges. Recognize that you’re sharing makeup at your own risk but also remember that you’re finding a use for products that otherwise might have to be thrown away.

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6. Friends and family with teenage girls

It can be harder to find a good spot for your half-used or older products. One option is to clean them up and offer them to friends or family members, especially those with teenage girls. Anyone can enjoy experimenting with makeup to learn what kind of look they like. These well-loved makeup and beauty products save your friends or family members money that they’d otherwise spend on new products.

Simply ask your friend or family member what they might be interested in. Rather than making family members take your whole collection off your hands, offer them just the items they’d like to try. 

Consider having a group of your cousins, siblings, or friends over for a girls’ makeover night and let them take home anything they want.

Help Your Makeup Find a New Face

Are you cleaning out an elderly parent’s house? Remember, you can help people and clear out space, no matter whose makeup you donate. Why throw away a high-quality product when you can instead put it to good use?

You might be interested in building on this momentum and getting organized. Continue to be productive and start end-of-life planning. It’s easy to get started with Cake’s tools and resources.


  1. “What We Collect.” The Beauty Bank. Beauty Bank.
  2. “What to Donate.” Dress for Success Pittsburgh. Dress for Success.
  3. “r/makeupexchange Rules.” r/MakeupExchange. Reddit.
  4. “What We Do.” Cosmetics for a Cause. Cosmetics for a Cause.

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