Dumpster Diving at Sephora (Ultimate Guide)

Dumpster diving at Sephora is a practice that might sound unusual yet is gaining attention in certain frugal living or waste-reducing circles.

This involves individuals searching Sephora bins with the aim of unearthing discarded yet viable products. 

In this article, we will drive into the nuances of this practice, its associated controversies, and the socio-economic factors at play.

Dumpster Diving at Sephora

Dumpster Diving at Sephora

Sephora is a leading global beauty retailer with a strong presence across multiple continents. 

Known for its expansive and diverse selection of beauty products, Sephora offers a wide range of skincare, makeup, fragrance, body, haircare, and beauty accessory brands. 

The store also distinguishes itself by providing interactive shopping environments and innovative beauty services.

Every year, Sephora discards thousands of products due to damage, expiration, or simply updating their inventory. 

While the prospect of finding a $50 lipstick or a $100 facial serum in the trash might seem exciting.

Consider this: approximately 40% of the items found in dumpsters have already expired, and using such products can lead to severe skin conditions or infections. 

Is It Illegal To Dumpster Dive at Sephora?

While laws vary by location, dumpster diving is considered illegal in certain areas under trespassing statutes, and this includes dumpster diving at Sephora.

In the United States, for example, the Supreme Court case California v. Greenwood generally allows for dumpster diving as publicly discarded trash is fair game. 

However, if the dumpster is located on private property, such as within the premises of Sephora, diving could be considered trespassing and, therefore, illegal. 

However, Sephora typically destroys returned or damaged products to discourage dumpster diving, a practice known as ‘souping.’ 

Hence, for legal and safety reasons, dumpster diving at Sephora is generally discouraged. 

What Is The Best Time To Dumpster Dive at Sephora?

Dumpster diving at retailers like Sephora can be a hit-or-miss endeavour due to varying store policies and local legislation. 

However, based on anecdotal evidence from seasoned dumpster divers, the best time to dive is often an hour or two after the store closes. 

This can be around 9-10 PM, as most Sephora stores close at around 8 PM. 

This timing allows staff to clean the store and discard items without the interruption of customer traffic. 

What to Look for While Dumpster Diving at Sephora?

When it comes to dumpster diving at Sephora, there are a few key factors you need to consider.

First and foremost, safety should be your top priority. Look for sealed products as they have not been exposed to air or potential contaminants. 

Secondly, check the manufacturing dates or the Period After Opening (PAO) symbols on products. 

Avoid any cosmetics older than three years, as they can harbour harmful bacteria.

Research suggests that an average of 25% of dumpster-dived items are still safe for use, so be prepared that not everything you find will be a treasure. 

Furthermore, be on the lookout for high-value items. Sephora carries products ranging from $5 to over $400, with brands such as Pat McGrath Labs, La Mer, and Dior.

Finally, remember the ethics of dumpster diving. While it’s a great way to save money and reduce waste, it’s also important to respect others’ property and privacy.

So here is the list of things to look at while diving:

  • Perfume
  • Makeup and cosmetics
  • Hair care products
  • Skincare products
  • Beauty devices
  • Accessories

What Day Does Sephora Restock?

Sephora restocks its online inventory daily; however, the specific timing can vary based on the product and the brand.

Some popular items might be restocked more frequently, even multiple times a day. 

Physical store restocks typically vary store by store and depend largely on their shipment schedules. 

Most stores receive new shipments 1-2 times per week, often on weekdays

Therefore, it’s recommended that you check with your local Sephora store for their unique restock schedule.

However, Sephora’s customer service can provide updates on specific product restocking if you contact them directly. 

Remember, the best way to ensure you don’t miss out on a restock is to sign up for email notifications on the Sephora website for the product you’re interested in.

Does Sephora Throw Away Makeup?

Contrary to popular belief, Sephora does not typically throw away makeup. 

As one of the leading global beauty retailers, Sephora has a Waste Minimization initiative that aims to reduce waste in its operations. 

According to the company’s waste management protocol, only defective, damaged, or expired makeup products are disposed of. 

In fact, Sephora’s commitment to sustainability has led to a recycling rate of around 85% in their stores, drastically reducing their waste footprint. 

However, Sephora has a generous return policy that allows customers to return lightly used products, which are typically sanitized and reconditioned for use in in-store samples.

Does Sephora Destroy Returns?

Yes, Sephora, like many retail companies, has a policy of destroying returned products. 

This is largely due to health and safety regulations that prevent the resale of used cosmetics. 

According to a 2018 report from the Retail Equation, nearly $18.4 billion worth of merchandise returns were made in the United States alone. 

While it’s unclear what percentage of this figure applies to Sephora, it’s worth noting that the beauty industry has a relatively high return rate ranging from 15-30%. 

This means that potentially significant amounts of returned merchandise are being destroyed to ensure customer safety and maintain the integrity of the products sold.

How Much Money Can You Make From Dumpster Diving at Sephora?

While the idea of dumpster diving at Sephora may sound unconventional, some individuals have reportedly made a significant profit. 

These divers find discarded, often untouched, high-end cosmetic products and resell them online. 

For instance, a YouTuber named Shelbizleee claimed to have found over $2,000 worth of makeup in one dive. 

However, bear in mind that these figures significantly vary based on factors such as location, timing, and luck.

Also, it’s important to note that dumpster diving laws differ by jurisdiction, and selling used cosmetics can have health implications. 

Therefore, while it’s possible to make money through this method, it involves considerable risks and ethical considerations.

Safety Precautions For Dumpster Diving At Sephora 

Dumpster diving at places like Sephora is a trend that’s gained some traction over the years as individuals seek high-end beauty products without the high-end price tag. 

However, this practice comes with considerable risks.

Firstly, it’s crucial to understand that dumpster diving is illegal in certain regions, so it’s important to check local laws and regulations. 

Secondly, health and hygiene are major concerns. Discarded beauty products may be expired, contaminated, or damaged, leading to potential health hazards. 

The FDA states that expired cosmetics harbour bacteria, which can lead to skin irritations, eye infections, or more serious health problems.

Lastly, dumpsters pose physical safety hazards. Sharp objects, hazardous chemicals, and heavy dumpster lids can lead to injuries. 

For these reasons, it’s highly recommended to prioritize safety over potential finds. 

If you still choose to proceed, always wear protective gear (like gloves, long-sleeve shirts, and sturdy shoes), avoid diving alone, and never dive into a dumpster that is designed for compacting trash.

Remember, while a good deal is always appealing, your health and safety are priceless.

So, if you are planning to dumpster diving at Best Buy, Lululemon, Lowes, or Dicks Sporting; first you should check the state laws before going to your hunt.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top