Dumpster diving for cosmetics?!

I first read about this phenomenon on reddit a month ago and I debated whether to post a discussion about it on the blog.  But I just couldn’t stop thinking about it – I know about dumpster diving as an activity for people who are looking for furniture, household items and sometimes even unopened / unspoiled food.  However, I only learned about people dumpster diving for cosmetics when I read a PSA on reddit’s makeup exchange forum, warning of a seller who was a known dumpster diver.

These are photos of some of the items this person recovered while dumpster diving:


Is your jaw on the floor?

How does this work?  Essentially, the diver will wait around a drugstore, department or specialty beauty store at closing time and as soon as the store associates take out the garbage, will root through the dumpster in search of cosmetics products that have been thrown away.  Sometimes they’re unopened customer returns, sometimes testers, or perhaps expired or simply ‘old’ items.  It truly is incredible what some of these people find in the garbage.  You can read in more details about what dumpster divers have found here and here (the 2nd article follows the woman from the first article out on a night of dumpster diving for cosmetics).  There are even YouTube “haul” videos devoted to this: check (1) them (2) out (3)!  I do think what that reddit user was doing was deceitful – to not disclose where those ‘new / opened’ items came from and selling them for cash is quite scummy.


I don’t know what it is, but I’m fascinated by this whole underground world. Maybe I find the “sticking it to the man” aspect compelling – big corporations just tossing thousands of dollars of usable items in the trash.  Part of me thinks, yes this is a great way to score free unopened / new products and help save “garbage” from going into the landfill. Another part of me thinks: Eeeeewwww that’s disgusting!  As someone on a No-Buy, I could see how some people (especially those on a tight budget) would resort to alternative means of acquiring their makeup thrills!

I’m not saying I would go to the extent to dumpster dive for cosmetics, but it’s an interesting concept. I found a local Craigslist post seeking a friend to go dumpster diving for makeup with:  Should I respond? 😛

16 thoughts on “Dumpster diving for cosmetics?!

  1. I remember seeing all the posts about this on Reddit! I’m of the opinion that if people can find new makeup in garbage that’s not tainted, then that’s pretty cool; more power to you. But if you’re going to sell it, you’ve got to let people know where it came from so they can decide if they want to take that risk.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It IS intriguing! The idea that these unopened items are just tossed away. I imagine some homeless guy slathering on Chanel cream found behind the alley way. If I ever get my hands on a hazmat suit I’m going dumpster diving! 😛

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I am never, ever buying “new” makeup off eBay again. LOL. Whatever floats their boat, but I wouldn’t trust stuff in the garbage. It might be fine, but you never know. And if they don’t disclose its provenance when re-selling, that’s really low.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Umm, what?? I’m trying to gather all my thoughts on this. First of all, some of those products are clearly unopened which is kind of cool. Part of me thinks of the free makeup that would normally cost like $50 is excited. Another part of me would never want to try this myself. And yes, completely agree that selling the makeup without disclosing where it came from is completely scummy

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Your thoughts are the exact same ones that went through my head! I would be super stoked to find a Naked palette unopened in the dumpster! But yeah, to actually go do it myself… and it seems to be a bit of grey area in the eyes of the law too, various states in the US have different views on dumpster diving activities. Not sure about Canada though.


  4. Wow! I had no idea dumpster diving for cosmetics existed. I also didn’t know that stores just threw away UNOPENED returned makeup. What’s the sense in that? And selling the stuff you find in the garbage online is wrong, but what can you do? They aren’t going to advertise what they are selling as found from the dumpster!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah it’s just nuts. I’m not sure how prevalent this is and I’ve read elsewhere that big corporations are wising up to dumpster divers and they’re instructing associates to ACTIVELY destroy the new / unopened products to make them undesirable to dumpster divers. That, to me, is even WORSE. :/


Leave a Comment:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s