How to Donate Your Gently-Used Beauty Products

Updated 9/7/14. We all have purchased various beauty products that we ended up not using, either because the product wasn’t a fit for the skin, we didn’t like the smell of it, or we just never got around to using it. It’s a shame to let these products go to waste, which is why I encourage people to donate their unused or gently-used beauty products (for skin, hair, body, makeup, or nails) to a local women’s shelter.

Women who have been affected by domestic violence, when they arrive to these shelters, most often come with just the clothes on their back, so they are in need of personal care items to get them looking and feeling their best while they are trying to build a life away from their abuser. I have personally been affected by domestic violence.

Read: Beauty is Truly More Than Skin Deep

It is important that when you donate beauty products you do your best to inspect and sterilize them so they are appropriate and in good shape to pass on.

Here are some quick guidelines to follow when donating your beauty products…


Toss all products that come in a jar. Even for products with a strong preservative system to keep the product sanitary, I personally don’t feel products (like a cream or mask) that you dip your fingers into should be shared with others. So I recommend products in jars not be passed on.

Donate any product that comes in a bottle or tube. Any products that come in a bottle, whether they have a screw cap or a pump, are perfectly okay to share, because your fingers have not been in there. This includes cleansers, toners, serums, lotions, and exfoliants.

Read: 3 Mistakes People Make When Determining Their Skin Type


Donate hair brushes and combs, but sterilize them first. It’s always best when passing on these items to be sure to clean them free of hair and then take them to your hair dresser and ask if he or she will sterilize your brushes for you before you donate them. Hair salons have all sorts of powerful sanitizing equipment for their own use, and I’m sure they’d be happy to help a good cause by getting your hair care tools clean and sterile.

Donate any product that comes in a bottle or tube. This would include most shampoos, conditioners, hair gels, pomades, or mousses that come in a tube or bottle, and since your fingers are not getting into the product, these should be perfectly appropriate to donate.

Read: Cleansing Wipes: Are They Good to Use On Your Skin?


Donate lipsticks, but sterilize them first. Lipsticks, even though they have been applied to your lips, which would seem unsanitary, can be sterilized in alcohol to get rid of any germs. I also recommend cutting the top of the lipstick (the pointed part) blunt, just to give it a better aesthetic look for donation.

Donate blushes and eye shadows. Bacteria can’t live in air, so as long as it’s not a cream shadow, regular powder shadows and blushes are safe to donate. I generally won’t donate any blush or shadow that is almost gone, where the bottom of the container is showing. I feel that it’s best to donate something that looks fresh and fairly new for these women in need, rather than something with barely any product left.

Toss mascaras. Mascara is a personal item, and for sanitary reasons, should not be shared.

Read: Could Your Mascara be Causing You Wrinkles?

Liquid foundations are optional to donate. As long as your fingers haven’t touched inside the bottle, liquid foundations are okay to donate.


Nail polish, nail polish remover, and hand creams are all safe to donate.

Read: Secrets to Beautiful, Younger-Looking Hands From a Hand Model


Most lotions come in bottles, so they are safe to donate. If a body cream comes in a jar, don’t donate it. I don’t recommend donating loofahs, a lot of time they can carry bacteria, and get grungy and old-looking really quickly.

You can really make a difference in the life of a woman when you pass on your beauty care items. I really encourage you to do so—just follow these simple steps to make sure your products are in a safe, useable condition.

At Renée Rouleau Skin Care Spas, helping women is near and dear to our heart. We offer our Cosmetic Donation Program where you’re invited to drop off or send your unused/gently used makeup, skin care or beauty products to our Plano, TX skin care spa and we will gladly donate them to The Family Place, a women’s shelter for those affected by domestic violence. It’s wonderful to know that you are helping to make a difference in another woman’s life. We accept donations year round. You can also contact your local shelter to see if they accept cosmetics and toiletries.

Which skin care products are best for you? See our nine skin types or take our Skin Type Quiz and get products recommended.

Need expert advice from a licensed esthetician? Schedule a virtual consultation to get customized advice in person, over the phone or online via Skype or Facetime.

For more expert advice check out the blog. Also sign up for our skin tip e-newsletter, follow Renée Rouleau on Twitter and Instagram and join the discussion on our Facebook page. You’ll be your own skin care expert in no time. Get the #ReneeRouleauGlow!

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  1. […] then came across this article on how to donate gently used items to the Renee Rouleau spa in Texas. They take in other people’s makeup and then donate them […]

    Posted By: Donating Half of My Makeup & Updated Makeup Collection  | 

  2. Is there a way I can get cosmetic donations in the mail. Im a single mother to an 8month oldl. I got laid off my job. And haven’t been able to buy shampoo let alone makeup. I’m looking for a job and need to look my best. Any advice?

    Posted By: destiny  | 

    • Renée Rouleau

      Any cosmetic donations we get we deliver directly to our local womens shelter so we don’t keep any items on hand. Can you contact your local shelter and see if they have any donations to spare? Or how about asking friends or neighbors if they have any items they are no longer using? Hope that helps.

      Posted By: Renée Rouleau  | 

  3. Destiny, I have some shampoo and conditioners that I have only used a few times, they are pantene pro v, I may also have some cosmetics too. I am doing some cleaning out of products in the next few days. Would you be interested in these items? Let me know.

    Posted By: Micah  | 

  4. I don’t live in the area, but I want to donate my gently-used beauty products. Would it be possible for me to mail them to your spa? Thanks.

    Posted By: Michelle  | 

    • Renée Rouleau

      Sure Michelle, you are more than welcome to send them to our Plano, Texas spa location.

      Posted By: Renée Rouleau  | 

  5. If I mail my gently-used makeup, how can I make sure it doesn’t melt on the way?

    Posted By: Jennifer Roberts  | 

  6. Are you still accepting donations? I have so many wonderful hair products and minimally used makeup that I would love to have go to someone who would appreciate it!

    Posted By: Lexi  | 

  7. Where could I send gently used makeup?

    Posted By: Susa stallings  | 

    • Renée Rouleau

      If you’d like to send them to us, package them carefully and mail to: Renee Rouleau Skin Care, Attn. Cosmetic donation program, 4025 Preston Road, Ste. 606, Plano, TX 75093. We will clean them up and donate them to The Family Place. We make deliveries once a month. Thank you!

      Posted By: Renée Rouleau  | 

  8. Do you provide receipts for donations for tax purposes?

    Posted By: MHarvey  | 

    • Renée Rouleau

      No, you would need to contact The Family Place in Dallas for a receipt.

      Posted By: Renée Rouleau  | 

  9. Hi do you still accept donations of gently-used makeup, and if so, which address do I mail them to?
    thanks so much!

    Posted By: PAVITHRA GEORGE  | 

  10. So where should I send it

    Posted By: Katy  | 

  11. Would you accept donations of perfume as well?

    Posted By: lisa  | 

  12. I just want to confirm that you’re still accepting used makeup donation as of Dec 2014 at your Plano location (before I box and mail). Thx

    Posted By: lara  | 

  13. do i have to pay for the shipping if i want to send some stuff to you?
    i have tons of products to donate but i don’t want to have to pay to donate

    Posted By: an  | 

    • Renée Rouleau

      Yes, you would have to pay to ship them to us. We are simply taking your items and donating them to our local shelter. Contact your local shelter to see if they accept donations.

      Posted By: Renée Rouleau  | 


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