Washington Square News

Daring To Go Dumpster Diving For Makeup

YouTubers+have+been+dumpster+diving+for+drugstore+and+high-end+makeup.+They+say+that+it+helps+save+some+money+and+is+more+environmentally+friendly+%E2%80%94+but+is+it+worth+the+health+risk%3F+
YouTubers have been dumpster diving for drugstore and high-end makeup. They say that it helps save some money and is more environmentally friendly — but is it worth the health risk?

YouTubers have been dumpster diving for drugstore and high-end makeup. They say that it helps save some money and is more environmentally friendly — but is it worth the health risk?

Julia Moses

Julia Moses

YouTubers have been dumpster diving for drugstore and high-end makeup. They say that it helps save some money and is more environmentally friendly — but is it worth the health risk?

By Sherah Ndjongo, Staff Writer

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






One person’s discarded makeup is another person’s new favorite product. Dumpster diving has been around for a couple decades now, but because of the Internet, it’s more popular than ever. Beauty vloggers are taking to the trash to find next-to-new makeup and cosmetic products.

Shelbi, a popular YouTuber known by her username Shelbizleee, is arguably the most well-known vlogger who constantly posts hauls of the beauty items she scores while dumpster diving in the trash cans of Sephora and Ulta. Her hauls have garnered millions of views, so clearly, there are many who are fascinated by her hobby. Shelbi always stresses that her practice helps save money. After all, if you could pick up a palette for free that usually costs around $40, why wouldn’t you?

However, for Shelbi and her fellow dumpster divers, the justification goes beyond just the matter of price. In her Twitter bio, Shelbi describes herself as an environmentalist — a primary reason why recycling makeup is important to her. Tested products and products that have been returned or barely used are often thrown away. As a result, some see dumpster diving as a beneficial way to combat the large amount of waste that is disposed of everyday.

On the other hand, dumpster diving for makeup doesn’t come without risks. When pocketing used makeup, the chances of contracting a skin condition such as a bacterial contamination, infection or general skin damage like inflamed skin, rashes or acne should be considered before applying the product. Shelbi encourages her followers to take precautions by teaching them how to spray alcohol on items they find — mostly powder-based products — to get rid of potential dirt and germs. She also mentions the importance of wearing gloves during the actual process of dumpster diving to keep safe.

Dumpster diving remains a controversial practice. It helps people save a couple of bucks and it’s undoubtedly environmentally friendly, but it can be argued that the major health risks that come with it are not worth the money it saves. Still, the dumpster diving makeup haul movement is continuing its upward trajectory for those with that acquired taste, while those more hesitant of the trend will stay within the confines of a store to buy their products. In the end, whether you support dumpster diving for cosmetics or not, we can all agree that it’s a hot topic worth debating.

A version of this article appeared in the Monday, April 24 print edition.

Email Sherah Ndjongo at [email protected]

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






About the Writer
Sherah Ndjongo, Social Media Editor
Sherah Ndjongo is the Social Media Editor for the Washington Square News. She’s currently a sophomore in Gallatin studying Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Creative Direction, The Sociology of Beauty and Fashion in Modern-Day Japan, and Eastern Philosophy. Originally from Southern California, she swears she’ll never get used to NYC weather but she hopes to live in...
Leave a Comment

Comments that are deemed spam or hate speech by the moderators will be deleted.

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.