As seen on YouTube: Dumpster diving for makeup? 

Dumpster diving for beauty products seems to be a new trend in the YouTube community. Youtubers like Trina & Claire, Jessicasler, and Makeupjunkie 423 have gotten over 100k views on their dumpster diving videos. I randomly found out about this controversial trend while browsing through YouTube. I’m not going to lie after I watched one dumpster diving video, I was hooked. It’s not something I would try, but I don’t look down on people who do it! 

Trina & Claire: Dumpster diving haul which included barely used Too Faced Palettes

The most popular store for dumpster diving seems to be Ulta. When Ulta workers dispose of their products, they are told to damage them to discourage dumpster divers. They may scrape the products out of the pan, or throw a bunch of makeup in a plastic bag and pour lotion all over them. When they pour lotion or foundation all over the products, they call that souping them up. Apparently if the workers don’t destroy the products, they risk being fired.

Makeupjunkie423: Found a box of unused Loreal tester products while dumpster diving 

Some of the products are still salvageable, and some aren’t damaged by the workers. The dumpster divers take home the products that are in usable condition and clean/disinfect them. I’ve seen them walk away with barely used Too Faced or Naked palettes. Typically they save $100s of dollars, but rarely over $1000. The ones that I watched keep the products for themselves, or donate unopened products to women’s shelters.

Some of the divers go in the daylight, and some wait until the night. There is always the threat of getting caught. There are some situations where it can be considered trespassing, and other situations where it’s legal. The website below provides more information on the legality of dumpster diving.

Dumpster Diving and the Law 

So I want to talk about why this is such a controversial trend, besides the obvious. A lot of people are upset that you-tubers are filming their dumpster diving escapades, and making the hobby more mainstream. They are concerned that Ulta will become more serious about damaging their products. Another concern is that it will become too trendy, and there will be less to find. 

One thing I really don’t like is that some of the youtubers don’t wear gloves while dumpster diving. Although Ulta’s dumpsters mostly contain beauty products and are a little less gross then most…it’s still a dumpster. If someone with the flu touched a beauty product, the virus can survive on that product for days. You never really know what germs you’re exposing yourself to.

A big reason why Ulta destroys their products to ward off dumpster divers, is because dumpster diving is a health hazard. You could get injured while climbing into the dumpster, or by objects inside of the dumpster. You never know if there’s glass or other sharp objects in there. 

It’s not a trend I would try, but it’s really interesting to watch. Kind of in the way Extreme couponing shows are entertaining. You never know what products they will find! Like they say ” One mans trash is another mans treasure”. 

Thanks for reading! I would love to know your thoughts on this trend, or if it’s something you’ve tried! 


19 thoughts on “As seen on YouTube: Dumpster diving for makeup? 

  1. I worked for a retail home decor store back in the day, and we had to destroy ‘trashed’ items as well. We would cut big slits in pillows, wall art, furniture, intentionally break glass whenever possible, bash candles and cut the wicks, etc. And we STILL had people rootin around in our dumpsters. We had to call the police a few times.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. We definitely could have donated, but it was ‘store policy.’ I will say though, that when I was a manager there and an associate asked if they could keep a write-off, I would usually allow it if it was less than $10-15.Large chain retail stores can be very wasteful.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I think they do it because it’s the only legal(in most circumstances) way to get free makeup. Most of the products thrown out are returns or testers. The returns are basically new. I personally am nervous to try products used by others, let alone touching anything from a dumpster. To each his own. But then again their makeup collection is much more impressive then mine!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Interesting post. It seems such a shame that companies throw out usable products although I understand their motives. I wish there were a better way. I would have a bit of trouble wearing make-up unless I was sure it was in pristine condition. It would be just too easy to get an infection.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I did this with a friend in Colorado when I had visited this year. I knew this was a trend on youtube but I had never watched a video on it. We went one night and it was a pretty funny experience especially since it was my first time. There was another car that came by with girls and guys, literally a car full of people. I guess the guys had got down to do the digging and the security guy came and they fled. It was pretty funny since we were watching from the car. We hit up Ulta and we hit the jackpot, its really digusting but we don’t look in the dumpsters that share trash with other stores. I wish i still had the picture but there were so many wasted products that were still good. My friend had kept them all, I was too scarred to get pink eye lol! I told her she needed to really sanitize them.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. patringerzee

    That trend sounds very interesting. Imagine all that makeup for free? But what if the makeup is already contaminated? I don’t think sanitizing with alcohol would be enough. Its better safe than sorry. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow! This is the first time I have heard of this, however am not very surprised that this is an ongoing trend, especially on YouTube. On YouTube, everyone is competing to create content that is new and enticing, and dumpster diving has always been an interesting idea to wrap your head around. I think it’s compelling at how much these YouTubers are finding in the dumpsters outside these beauty stores, however feel as though it would be a waste of time to scavenge for products that may or may not be useable! I used to go recycle diving to obtain more coupons, and always got strange looks from people passing by! I would suggest instead of taking the time and risk of going through a dumpster, to start finding a way to save money on these products entirely. I know that most drugstore brands of makeup regularly have coupons, along with ulta coupons that can be used on the purchase along with a manufacturer coupon. On top of that, every purchase you make at Ulta you incur points, which you can use for money off a more expensive item!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for commenting! You’re right couponing can save you a lot of money on makeup. Well on anything really! My mother in law coupons and she has a mini store in her basement. It’s completely organized on racks and it saves me from buying a lot of things. Good idea!


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