How To Donate Your Gently Used Beauty Products

Updated 4/28/15. 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.


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.

Donate eyeliners and lip liners. Sharpen them well so it’s fresh and wipe them down with alcohol. Good as new!

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

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.


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 send your unused/gently used makeup, skin care or beauty products to The Family Place and they will gladly donate them to the women in need. It’s wonderful to know that you are helping to make a difference in another woman’s life. Mail your donations to The Family Place, P.O. Box 7999, Dallas, Texas, 75209. They accept donations year round. [NOTE: As of June 18, 2015, The Family Place in Dallas, TX no longer accepts gently used skin care, body or cosmetic products, only unused items. However, we encourage you to check with other shelters in your area to see if they will accept gently used donations.]

Looking for a place to donate in your area? I don’t personally know of any places other than The Family Place (however, I haven’t researched it) so you’ll have to call around and see who might offer a similar program. Thank you for your generosity!

Read: My Good (And Bad!) Skin Care Secrets
Read: 8 Tips To Prevent Chin And Jawline Breakouts
Read: My 3-Step Plan For Reducing Blackheads

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

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