Is Buying Used Makeup a Safe and Low-Cost Way to Try High-End Products?
While buying makeup online is common, selling used makeup is not. However, a new startup company called Glambot is allowing its users to do just that—a concept that has been met with both praise and criticism.
Glambot allows users to sell unused or lightly used makeup and earn cash in the process. While critics deem the website's methods a health hazard, the site is a Godsend for some makeup lovers.
"I know what you're thinking, 'Gross!' But it's super legit. Everything is cleansed, sanitized and made sure it's authentic," stated April Morris, a makeup vlogger from Australia. "Everything I got almost looked brand new."
Since launching in May 2014, Glambot has become, "the online destination for the largest collection of rare, limited edition and discontinued items from highly sought after and coveted makeup brands," according to the company's website. The site sells high-end brands like MAC, Giorgio Armani, and Givenchy. If you're looking for drugstore brands like CoverGirl, Revlon, or Rimmel, you won't find them on Glambot.
While in some cases high-end, discontinued, or special edition products can cost around $45 on other websites, Glambot sells their products for a more reasonable price, explains YouTuber Nikki Zollman in her video.
"If there's a product you've missed out on, you're going to pay like $15, $16 for it. You're not going to pay $45," Zollman says.
The company promises users it cleans and sanitizes every makeup product that comes in the door. Nevertheless, some health experts remain skeptical.
"Used makeup, particularly eye makeup, can be dangerous since another person's germs may be hazardous to you," says Dr. Mark Jacquot, O.D., clinical director at LensCrafters. "The former user's health history and sanitation habits are also unknown when buying used makeup, putting you at greater risk if they used the makeup when they were sick or had an eye infection or did not wash their hands or brushes before applying the makeup."
Glambot accepts makeup with at least 50 percent of the product remaining. The products must also be clean and free from contaminants like dirt or mold, according to the company's website. The online retailer does not currently accept lip gloss, nail polish, mascara, or other items with a reusable applicator.
But buyers should proceed with caution, believes Dr. Gillian Palette, a board-certified adult nurse practitioner specializing in cosmetic dermatology and esthetics.
"There really is no way to completely sterilize old or previously used makeup. If actual sterilization was done, it would likely discolor, change the consistency, or melt the makeup and the container," Palette says.
Although the company also claims to accept only non-expired items, the FDA does not actually require cosmetics brands to print expiration dates (even though most do). As a result, health experts say there's no way to tell for sure if a product is expired or not.
"Using makeup which has been used by someone else is like applying makeup daily at the local department store cosmetics counter," says Dr. Marina Peredo, an associate clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. "There is simply no guarantee that the products are germ free, and who would want to risk that? Not sharing makeup is the number one rule to keeping your cosmetics safe."