UPDATED: 10 Stores You Can Return Used Makeup

10 stores you can return used makeup

Have you ever purchased a makeup item and then gotten home only to be disappointed the moment you tried it out? It just didn’t brighten and conceal those under eye areas like it promised. The color match was completely off and you look like a ghost. That mascara didn’t make your lashes longer, fuller and curlier than ever before. Or worst case scenario, your skin completely freaked out and now you are covered in spots.

Not only do you feel let down after the product doesn’t live up to its promises, but you are also frustrated because you have just wasted your money on a gimmick. Typically the failed product gets tossed in a basket, where all failed make up products go to die alone because you can’t stand to throw them in the trash and admit that you have wasted your money.

Cry no more my friends, did you know that you can return those failed products and get your money back in your pocket? Many retailers know that you are less likely to take a risk on a new product because you fear this exact scenario and they have created liberal return policies to help quell your fears.

Typically, I shop for make up based on price. I have my tried in true products that I know and love and I will pick those up wherever the price is right. But when I am looking to try something new, I make sure to pick it up at a store that allows me to return the product for a full refund (and I hang on to my receipt).

As with any refund, bringing the receipt, original payment method and product packaging is your best bet for no hassle process.

My favorite stores with no hassle makeup return policies:

These retailers offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee and easy return process on used products.


Full refund in store within 30 days of your purchase with the receipt (they also can look up your purchase in their system). After 30 days they will offer you a product exchange or merchandise credit. 


Full refund in store within 60 days of purchase with receipt and card used to make the purchase. Store credit is given to returns with receipt after 60 days. 


Nordstrom does not have a return policy, but they are well known for their customer service and they always provide full refunds for beauty products, opened or unopened, with the receipt.

“We stand behind our goods and services and want you to be satisfied with them. We’ll always do our best to take care of customers—our philosophy is to deal with you fairly and reasonably; we hope you will be fair and reasonable with us as well.”


Full refund anytime after purchase on new or gently used products. Must have receipt in order to be refunded in the original method of payment.


100% satisfaction guarantee on beauty purchases.
Be 100% happy or receive 100% money back on any beauty products. If you’re dissatisfied for any reason, you can return the beauty product (opened or unopened) along with your receipt or invoice to any CVS/pharmacy store. We’ll refund the full purchase price — no questions asked!

Rite Aid

The Rite Aid 100% Risk-Free Beauty Guarantee.
Any opened or used beauty product of any brand name can be returned for a full refund when accompanied by a register receipt. Beauty categories subject to the guarantee are skin care/depilatories, sun care, bath/soap, hair care (shampoo, conditioner, styling and professional), hair color, cosmetics, ethnic beauty aids, fragrances, cosmetic organizers and personal care appliances.


Products can be returned (used or unused) within 90 days of purchase, with the original receipt. 

Stores where you may have to plead your case:

These retailers are a little bit more fickle about returning used makeup, but I have found that while their official return policies may be a little tougher, you can usually return used products with no issues.


All products purchased from Walgreens.com may be returned either to a store or by mail within 30 days of purchase unless otherwise noted on product page. All returns should be accompanied by the original receipt included with the shipment.

Returns for cosmetics or electronics are handled at the discretion of the store manager, usually in the form of a Walgreens gift card.


Of course Target is the place where I make most of my impulse buys (damn you Target, you are killing my budget) and this usually includes makeup. Target’s official policy states “Items that are opened or damaged or do not have a packing slip or receipt may be denied a refund or exchange.”  I have never had an issue with returning a used product at Target, but technically it can be left up to the manager’s discretion so be aware that you may need to make your case on why they should accept the return.

Remember – you have 90 days for a return at Target and they always want to track your returns to your drivers license.


Now that you know you can get a full refund take a risk on that trendy lipstick color for fall, if you hate it after a few uses, return it! You have nothing to lose and you may just find your new favorite product in the process.

18 Comments on UPDATED: 10 Stores You Can Return Used Makeup

  1. Ryan
    October 28, 2014 at 6:15 pm (4 years ago)

    This is really awesome information, Bri! I had no idea! I’m a self-proclaimed makeupholic and I’ve purchased soooo many items from all of the above stores that I quickly found I did not love. In the past I’ve either pawned them off to friends and family or they’ve just been sitting in my vanity drawer collecting dust. I’ve never even thought about returning it because I just assumed once opened- not returnable. So glad to know thats not true!

    • BrianneDehlinger
      October 28, 2014 at 6:20 pm (4 years ago)

      Hooray! I am so glad that this post is useful! I used to do the same thing! I had a big basket of “this didn’t work for me, but maybe it will for you” stuff.

      The first time I returned something I was nervous, but now I don’t think twice. If the product sucked, I want my money back!

      • Candace
        June 19, 2016 at 1:15 am (2 years ago)

        Do you think I could still take back makeup from Walgreens and target without packaging 🙂

  2. Michelle
    October 28, 2014 at 9:32 pm (4 years ago)

    Bed Bath and Beyond will also take cosmetics back no hassle with receipt.

    • BrianneDehlinger
      October 29, 2014 at 3:19 pm (4 years ago)

      I always forget about BB&B’s cosmetics section! I need to check them out! Can you use their 20% coupon on cosmetics?

  3. jess
    March 1, 2015 at 6:53 pm (4 years ago)

    Beauty.com offers free returns including free shipping back!!! woah

  4. Jenn
    June 11, 2015 at 12:21 pm (4 years ago)

    I loved this Article! Like others
    I assumed a once used – Non returnable policy existed. It is for this reason that I have been very adamant to try new products. I recently decided to try wearing foundation again so I went to Ulta to try out a few products. The girl that helped me talked me into getting it cc cream. I have been nervous to try it because I’m worried it won’t look good on me and it was much more than I had planned on spending when I went in there. Now that I know I can return it if I don’t like it I’m super excited to try it out! Thank you for opening up my world to make-up!

  5. beth
    June 28, 2015 at 10:15 pm (3 years ago)

    I tried returning concealer to Walmart, and was told that because it was opened I could only exchange it for the correct shade. (How am I suppose to know what shade suited me!? They had NO TESTERS)
    Super disappointed, I think it depends on the employee because I have returned concealer before (different line+shade) and had no problem. If that happens, I suggest trying the next day and hopefully you get a different employee who lets your return it.

    • BrianneDehlinger
      April 25, 2016 at 8:39 pm (3 years ago)

      It definitely depends on the employee. I have heard lots of people say that some employees told them they couldn’t return open items, but that is not true. The website states a full refund within 90 days as long as it includes the original packaging. Don’t be afraid to ask to speak to their manager and advocate for yourself. Us beauty junkies gotta stick together 🙂

  6. Denise
    October 1, 2015 at 11:59 pm (3 years ago)

    You should update your assessment of Ulta.

    • BrianneDehlinger
      April 25, 2016 at 8:34 pm (3 years ago)

      Denise, Thanks for the feedback. They will give a full refund if the item is returned within 60 days. The website states: “A full refund will be issued on a return, providing the return is within 60 days of the original purchase date.” I know that sometimes employees may be misinformed, so make sure you show them the online statement if anyone refuses your full refund again.

  7. Trish
    May 22, 2016 at 9:47 pm (3 years ago)

    Lush you can return anything with the revisit even if it’s almost empty. Without the receipt it’s an exchange. I don’t know how many days you have though. I know they don’t have a huge make up selection, but it is skin care and that’s where good makeup starts!

    I recognize this is an old post but just wanted to share in case anyone stumbles across it like I did today!

  8. Emily
    May 29, 2016 at 8:56 pm (3 years ago)

    Sally Beauty Supply also lets you return any item even if you’ve tried it, just hang on to your receipt

  9. Candace
    June 19, 2016 at 1:06 am (2 years ago)

    At target I bought a elf powder that was said to be like $5.00 if I remember correctly then at the cashier it then was $8.00 but I bought it anyways. Then at Walgreens I bought a Maybelline primer that broke me out I have both the receipts but threw away both the packaging help me!! Email me if you have an answer 🙁

  10. dailyfitnesstips4u.com
    June 26, 2016 at 6:56 pm (2 years ago)

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  11. Marianna Richardson
    August 13, 2016 at 9:15 am (2 years ago)

    Thanks for the info! I usually never return makeup bit I bought this Buxom eyeshadow pallette at Ulta and I was really disappointed with it. I’m glad I’ll be able to return it without any issues

  12. Lisa
    January 1, 2017 at 11:58 pm (2 years ago)

    One thing, Mays new return policy is customers can return only if you haven’t used the item, at least in Texas. So, you may want to question them before going home with a makeup item you aren’t pretty sure you like. Apparently it’s a new policy since couple months ago. I didn’t realize until I went to return a clinique liquid lipstick product and the clinique employee told me.

  13. Alyssa Rodriguez
    March 2, 2017 at 8:10 pm (2 years ago)

    yesterday i bought this highlighter that was horrible i tried it out to see how it would look and it was chalky i was hoping i could return it and get my money back is there any requirements needed for me to fo that , like reciept ?


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