What Happens to Returned Makeup at Sephora or Ulta?

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While you might think that all of the products are discarded, it turns out there is a recycling program in place for certain items.

The most popular brands have an established recycling process and will take back their used packaging, without any questions asked.

They then recycle these items into new ones. Of course, this only applies to beauty goods from big name brands like Clinique and Estee Lauder.

Products from lesser known companies or those who do not participate in this program will be thrown away as normal waste; just another reason to stick with your favorites!

So, does it matter if you buy a lipstick from Sephora or Ulta?

Considering most brands have recycling programs in place, there is no difference between buying at one store or the other.

It may be interesting to note that Estee Lauder and Clinique are conveniently sold together since they are both owned by the same corporation. In fact, this may be a great way to maximize your recycling efforts in one shopping trip!

So next time you want to buy a new lipstick and have an old recently discontinued one at home, bring it back to the store for recycling. In the meantime, keep buying from your favorite brands and let everyone know how fabulous they are!

Through our research on this topic we found there is very little known about how the recycling process works.

When we reached out to Sephora, Ulta, and Estee Lauder they were unable to provide us with any information about this process.

However, one would think that if the largest beauty retailers have not followed through with creating a recycling program by now, it’s probably because of packaging laws (the FDA has certain regulations regarding the recycling of cosmetics).