What Should You Do With Unwanted Makeup?

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We received an email from a reader a few weeks ago asking what we imagine is now an age-old question: What should you do with makeup that's just not working for you? Maybe it's just not what you were expecting (is it even possible to pick the right shade when shopping at the drugstore?), or better yet, an impulse purchase that doesn't look so hot post-impulse. Either way, we applaud the reader (hey, Vanessa!) for seeking help—because just throwing it out isn't really satisfying for anyone. So we polled a few people around the office to crowdsource a feasible solution:

Emily Weiss: “I keep a bag in my closet with things that I don't like for some reason but are by no means 'bad.' For example, I recently went all Marie Kondo on my whole apartment and wound up realizing I had, like, 10 different body lotions— Santa Maria Novella, Byredo, weird awesome Korean finds—and I don't use body lotion. I realized that I wish I was the type of person who uses body lotion, but I'm just not, so those went in the giveaway bag for my friends who take better care of themselves than I do.”

Jen Steele: “Somehow, I've obtained a nice collection of YSL and Chanel lipsticks...some of the colors I'd never wear but also could never toss. The packaging is much too beautiful. So instead, I'll make great use of the colors but signing my name with the the lipsticks in letters and cards or even getting weird and creating small textured art projects with them.”

Claudia Marina: “I actually have a lot of unwanted makeup at home that I keep around to remind me not to buy anymore makeup. It's like the neglected succulent you don't have the heart to throw out, but there it is in the corner of the room reminding you of something you're just not cut out for. Bronzer? Won't try that again (or at least not for a couple of months). I like the idea of donating product to women who need it— Dress For Success accepts products to help women prepare for job interviews. If I'm feeling crafty, I'll repurpose old makeup. Lipsticks can be used as blushes, eyeshadow as cosmetic pigment, and eyeliner can be used as lip liner if you're going for non-traditional color. Don't use lip products on the eyes though—infections, people.”

Claire Knebl: “I send my unwanted makeup to my mom and sister back in Michigan! Because I acquire a lot of color makeup and don't wear much color, this ends up happening pretty often. The easiest way to handle it is to send everything via Shyp. Someone comes to your door to collect all your products, and it's not much pricier than going to the post office yourself....but it's worlds more convenient.”

So there you have it: a little experimentation and a whole lot of feigned generosity! It's never a bad time to fool your friends and family into thinking you want to shower them in gifts. We kid—sort of.

And while we're crowdsourcing, please drop your tips below. We're sure Vanessa and readers everywhere will appreciate it.

Photo by ITG. The perfect time to get rid of unwanted makeup is when you're organizing your stash. What better way to do it than with tips straight from ITG's beauty closet? And while you're at it, read all of ITG's best beauty tips here.