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  • Writer's pictureKaren Lee

Beauty resale: Is used products safe, best place to buy/sell makeup, skincare and all your questions answered

Updated: Jan 25

Assortment of foundations, cream blushes, lipsticks from brands rare beauty, merit, westman atelier, glossier, charlotte tilbury, hourglass, ilia, nudestix

There's no denying that there is a certain level of risk in buying pre-owned beauty products online, but as more people are choosing to shop secondhand before buying new, we felt it was important to build a platform that reduced the risks involved. There are many reasons that people choose to shop secondhand, but the top reasons are that it's better for the planet, and better for your wallet!

Glou Beauty specializes in beauty resale in the same way that StockX or GOAT specializes in sneaker resale or Autotrader specializes in used cars. Sure, you could technically sell it on a non-specialized marketplace like eBay, Poshmark, or Mercari, but specialty marketplaces know exactly what the watch-outs for each category are going to be. Glou uses both our industry expertise and AI-technology to address the nuances of the beauty category.

The rise in beauty resale on places like makeup buy/sell groups on Facebook, Reddit, Mercari, Poshmark, and DePop have probably led to you to ask... is this a thing? Is this safe? The Glou team has been watching this niche of resale come up over the last 5 years and I wanted to address all the most frequently asked questions in detail.

We've put a lot of thought into how to make every transaction faster, cheaper, and safer. Let's dig in!

Pre-owned? Secondhand? Thrifted? Does beauty resale mean used?!

Pre-owned doesn't necessarily mean used! In fact, majority of the products sold on Glou are brand new! However, depending on what the product is, we do allow some swatched (literally only tested once), or gently used items to be sold on Glou.

What beauty products are safe to be purchased swatched/used? (It depends...)

Our rule of thumb is anything a makeup artist would be able to safely use between clients is okay to be sold swatched or used. Things like, a blush, lipstick, or a bottle with a pump is usually okay. Think about what testers you would feel okay using at Sephora or at a beauty counter.

Things like, mascaras or lip glosses where the applicator is going back into the product should never be bought or sold used. If you have doubts on whether or not something is used, we recommend emptying the product and recycling the packaging. We also have this guide for being able to tell if something is actually new and information about beauty packaging recycling.

But when it comes to contamination risk, it also depends on the product and seller.

Can you sell a used face cream? Personally, I always scoop creams from the big jar into smaller jars to use and store all my products in a cool, dark space, keeping out only the portion I'm going to use for the next couple weeks. I'm very careful about contamination even with my own products.

If you have any specific questions about whether or not something is safe to buy/sell used, we are always happy to answer any questions you can't find the answer to in our Glou Guide or FAQ via our DMs, email, or via the chatbox.

How Glou saves you time:

Our AI-powered automated listing creation is AWESOME.

Not only did we want to lower the barriers to listing creation, but it is absolutely necessary when it comes to beauty resale.

Did you know the average beauty seller is listing 100 products? Manually creating one listing is a chore. Creating more than that is a full-time job!!

We make it SUPER fast to create listings. All you have to do is snap pics of everything you have to sell, upload it all at once, and tell us how much you want to sell each item for and the product condition. If something is not new, you will need to tell us more details in the description, but it's optional for new products.

We are even working on suggesting selling prices to make things even easier. (You will always have the final say in the pricing).

Beauty is at least 10 years behind where fashion resale is. But fast beauty is alive and booming, and churning out products like never before. And consumers are buying more beauty products than ever before. Which means that beauty lovers everywhere knows what it's like to have an entire drawer dedicated to abandoned products! It's wasteful and a waste of money! But like, we're not judging you either. At Glou, we're obsessed with beauty and love trying new products, so we designed Glou to make it easy to become a more conscious consumer when it comes to beauty.

How Glou saves you money:

Who hates fees? We do! But we also really like our jobs and need to charge fees. We promise to always make pricing as transparent as possible and whatever fees we do charge, we hope that you feel that we've earned it. Teamwork makes the dream work!

We take 10% commission on sales from sellers (easy math to do in your head) and don't make money on shipping. So many marketplaces and e-commerce are eeking money out of their customers in sneaky, sneaky ways like that.

We also make it super easy to compare prices on items within our product pages. You already know you want that Fenty primer or Tatcha Dewy Cream, which seller has the lowest price? Can you make the most of your shipping fee by buying more from a seller?

Our one-cart checkout helps you figure out how much everything is going to be by breaking things down by seller, shipping fees, and then you can play around with your cart total. A shopping cart designed by women based on how women actually shop and use online shopping carts!

And we can't emphasize this enough... we literally can't keep doing things this way without YOU. We would rather spend our marketing budget on YOU than running ads with big tech companies

- Keep sharing Glou with your friends!

- Use Glou as your first stop beauty shop!

- Refer friends/family from your account dashboard!

- Are you an influencer with an audience? Let's set you up as an affiliate!

- Do you have or are part of an online community? Let's talk about sponsoring a pinned post!

And all the things Glou is doing to make rehoming under-loved beauty products safer.

We cannot guarantee that beauty resale is 100% safe, but here are all the ways we have thought about reducing risk. Our goal is to do each of these things better than anyone else. And in combination? No one does it like Glou. And no one can do it at the scale that Glou can.

Even if you're used to shopping at Sephora, there's a chance something was returned used and put back on the shelf. They have processes to reduce the chance that this happens, but it does happen. I've seen customers open new products, test it, and put items back in the box and on the shelf.

Trusted Sellers

On Glou we put an emphasis on building trust between buyers and sellers. On every seller profile it is just as easy to find a seller's listings as it is to find reviews from buyers. And any product that is not new, we require further information to be disclosed in the product description.

If you're unsure of a whether a product is going to work out for you, always use the same hygiene practices a makeup artist would use to keep contamination to a minimum, that way you can always list it on Glou!

Payment protection:

For sellers, one of the biggest complaints about transacting on informal marketplaces like on social media (Facebook makeup buy/sell groups, Subreddits like r/makeupexchange, or on Instagram) is that buyers will ghost you when it comes to payment. The seller then misses out on a sale!

For buyers, what if someone sends you the wrong item, something that is clearly used when it was stated as new, or worse, nothing at all??

Paying using Paypal, Venmo, Cashapp are options, but even if they do offer buyer protection, it is a pain to file for claims. At Glou, you will always reach a real person when it comes to customer care. We believe in using AI to make your life easier (like with automation and authentication) not harder (like, chatbots 😒).

And we haven't even mentioned our 110% money-back guarantee! We don't want one bad experience to turn you off because 99.9% of the time, things go right! We will refund you, plus you'll get 10% store credit towards your next purchase.


Our C2C (consumer to consumer model) is intentional. Not only does it reduce overhead costs so that customers can save more, but it's another way we are able to reduce risk.

If anything goes wrong with a purchase we want to know exactly where the product came from and who the seller was.

We have an invite-only Fulfilled by Glou pilot program. For now this is only available to influencers and beauty industry insiders who have verified their identity and source of their products with us.

Our automated listing creation helps enable every day people to be able to rehome their underloved products. Professional resellers have taken over so many other platforms, which means these people don't know exactly where the product came from. It also increases the risk of counterfeits. This is also why we only accept listings where you have taken the picture yourself. It can't be an image pulled from Google or a screenshot. We put all listings under a pretty product page so you don't have to worry about taking the best picture. Buyers are mostly comparing prices and seller ratings when they're deciding who to buy from.

Blocking Bad Actors

Unlike other marketplaces that always side with the buyer, at Glou, we listen to both sides of the story.

Something that we are very transparent about is the fact that we will ban bad actors. Other platforms are wary about "firing customers"or are unable to prevent people from creating new accounts under a new name or email address. Whether they are a buyer or seller, anyone who compromises the trust of our platform will not only be removed from our platform but, prevented from being able to create a new account. This is just another way we use technology to reduce risk.

Optional receipt upload

We are working on making authentication as seamless as possible. We are building out specialized AI to make scanning receipts as easy as logging into your email... and well, that's it! We will create a digital inventory of beauty products you have purchased from an authorized retailer through email receipts. No e-receipt? No problem. You'll be able to upload a photo of your receipt (available now) or scan it using our app (coming soon).

Optional batch code verification (when possible):

We have databases of manufacturer batch codes so that you can see when something was made. We don't have any hard and fast rules about how old something can be because there are so many fringe cases when it comes to beauty products. We let the buyer determine whether or not they want to purchase a product. The batch code is just another piece of information to help the buyer make an informed decision.

Most beauty products do not have an expiration date. Expiration dates are typically only for items that have a shelf life of fewer than 30 months. (Expired items are never okay to sell!) Everything else has a "period after opening" date. That's how long a product is guaranteed to be good for after you first use it.

Whether or not something is still okay to use depends on so many things like storage conditions both in store and at home, and formulation (water content has a lot to do with it as well as preservatives). Most beauty products are shelf stable for at least 2 years.

But sometimes there's a limited edition palette, or discontinued product/formulation that's still in demand. Perfumes are a great example of a product category that is often in demand well past it's "best before" date. People even collect vintage perfumes.

If a product has changed in appearance or smell... it is time to let it go. Or at least stop using it. Check out this TikTok for an example of what expired concealer or foundation looks like.

Do you have questions about how it all works? Read our Glou Guide to learn more about how to resell your makeup, skincare, haircare, fragrance online, as well as how you shop authentic discounted beauty products on Glou's marketplace. We also post tips on our Instagram and TikTok about everything you need to get started in rehoming underloved beauty products as a seller and buyer.

If you are looking for something specific you can favorite that product over on Glou to get notifications for when new listings are up, or you can fill out our Product Request/ISO form.


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