The Cosmetics Scandal Surrounding Ulta Beauty

Are Popular Makeup Brand Ulta Beauty Reselling Used Makeup?

When you buy makeup, especially makeup from a well known beauty brand, you probably don’t even stop to think if it’s been used before. But given the recent news that Ulta Beauty could’ve been repackaging used makeup and reselling it to unsuspecting customers, we might all have to think again.

An ex-employee of the American based cosmetics company has taken to Twitter to expose the brands alleged unscrupulous practices, saying:

“Whenever a customer would return a product, we were told by managers to repackage / reseal the item and put it back on the shelf.”

She said she was warning customers about the potential safety aspects of the practice and also tweeted that it affected all beauty products, not just makeup. Haircare products, skincare, fragrance and hair tools were all subjected to the same treatment. Staff are allegedly asked to clean up products using cotton buds and alcohol to resell them. She’s had support form other Ulta employees, backing up her claims, but others have refuted them.

As have Ulta themselves, saying that they don’t allow the resale of used products and that staff are trained to properly dispose of them. They also said in a statement,

“We take any concern of this nature very seriously and if we find that there is any deviation from our policies, we will take appropriate actions to ensure we continue providing a consistently high-quality product.”

Repackaged makeup also includes unscrupulous traders buying cheaper brands and putting them into convincing high end packaging and selling them as big brands. Here’s our five top tips on spotting repackaged makeup:

  • Look for obvious signs of reuse such as broken security seals and tampered contents. Lipsticks should be smooth and look like they’ve been machine cut and mascaras should be free from dried liquid and lumps. Foundations should have clean nozzles and lids. Also, if it smells of alcohol or disinfectant, it could’ve been cleaned and repackaged.
  • Low volumes can be a sign too. If your new lipstick doesn’t reach the top of the barrel when its wound down fully, it could’ve been used before.
  • If it’s too good to be true, it probably is. Cheap ‘branded’ makeup on market stalls has almost definitely been repackaged from cheaper stock. Look for spelling mistakes on the packaging and materials that just don’t feel as high end as the real deal.
  • Ask for a tester if you’re not buying online. If the seller refuses, then walk away. Their products are probably noticeably inferior – a waterier consistency, not as vibrant in colour or having a chemically smell.
  • If you are buying online, read reviews. These can be a powerful tool in spotting fakes and repackaged makeup. If you read bad reviews, don’t be tempted by cheap online deals.

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