In the US there are no federal laws affecting returns and refunds, so issuing them is at each store’s discretion. That is why stores like Ulta and Sephora are able to accept returns of even used makeup.

Looking from a consumer’s point of view, such store policies are really beneficial to them because if they find that some product doesn’t perform as well as they expected or they feel like certain colors don’t suit them, they can easily get their money back.

However, what people don’t think about is what happens with the products when they are returned. TikTok user bobbi_ann5 who works at Ulta showed that makeup that hasn’t even been used gets destroyed and thrown in the trash, which really doesn’t sound right.

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A TikToker who works at Ulta lets people know that their returned items with no seal are destroyed, broken and thrown away

Image credits: biancaann5

The TikToker’s real name is Bianca Ann Levinson and she worked for a while in an Ulta in Wichita Falls, Texas. She posted a video that went viral on TikTok with 4.6 million views in which she revealed where the makeup consumers return is put.

Turns out, all of the products that don’t have a seal on them anymore are destroyed and just thrown out in the bin. Ulta accepts product returns even if products are used as long as there is over 75% of it left. Bianca told BuzzFeed that she was shocked to learn how the returns are handled when she first came to work there, but eventually it didn’t bother her as much because it was to prevent cross contamination.

Even though the video was posted more than a year ago and Bianca doesn’t work there anymore, when Bored Panda reached out to her to ask some questions she said that she knows that the policy of handling returned products is still the same.

In the viral video Bianca can be seen scrapping eyeshadow with scissors and breaking a lip liner in half

Image credits: bobbi_ann5

Image credits: bobbi_ann5

In a follow-up video elaborating more on the topic, Bianca says that companies do not want their products that were returned to be donated. It is true as they enforce ‘damaging out’ for hygiene reasons. There is no actual law forbidding selling used makeup in the US, but there is a bigger chance to catch an infection or a disease. That is why it is not encouraged, fearing lawsuits from consumers.

Another reason behind the so-called ‘damaging out’ is making sure they prevent dumpster divers, because they have experience of witnessing people taking out the makeup from the dumpsters and coming to the store wanting to return the items or selling them to thrift stores, on Facebook and other places.

Employees can’t take the makeup home with them either and they are always checked before going home to make sure they didn’t take anything. It is most probably also because of hygiene reasons and to prevent them from selling used makeup and profiting from it.

She explains that it is done because of hygiene precautions and to prevent dumpster diving

Image credits: bobbi_ann5

Bianca told us that a lot of people are of the opinion that the returned products shouldn’t be disposed in the way they are but as she explained in the follow-up videos, there is logic behind it and she also adds, “We can’t donate them because what most people don’t understand is the company’s they get the products from have rules with certain things. Some company’s have Ulta send all returns back to them and some don’t.”

A solution for preventing people mindlessly buying products and then constantly returning them would be just not allow returns altogether, but Bianca thinks that this wouldn’t be fair for the customer, “Imagine if you bought something and ended up not liking it and couldn’t return it for your money back.

Image credits: bobbi_ann5

After people got really mad at Ulta, Bianca came to the store’s defense, saying that they are not the only ones doing it. She named Sephora, Bath and Body Works, Target, Walmart and others who also have the same policy.

She believes that these rules are in place for the consumer’s safety but in an interview with BuzzFeed, she does mention that if it was her call, she would find a way to sanitize the returned products and donate them to women’s and men’s shelters.

Bianca told us that even though people are mad, it is done for their own safety. She thinks of it this way, “Would you like to buy something that’s been unsealed even if it wasn’t used? You never know what someone could have done with it.

The products can’t be donated nor taken home by the employees, so the woman is urging people to think before buying and returning products

Image credits: bobbi_ann5

Image credits: bobbi_ann5

With this video, the Ulta employee wanted to show what consumers usually don’t see and make them aware of what consequences their actions have. Buying with the intention of returning an item if you don’t like it is a wasteful mindset because the used product is just thrown away unless it still has the seal on it. Maybe knowing what happens behind the scenes will encourage people to think more before purchasing products at stores like Ulta and consider whether the item really can’t be used before deciding to return it.

Image credits: bobbi_ann5

Here you can watch Bianca destroying makeup in action in the viral video

@bobbi_ann5How returns are handled at the best beauty store ever💕 (I love my Ulta fam) ##ultabeauty ##workdistractions ##fyp ##checkthisout ##foryoupage♬ original sound – BiancaAnn

People in the comments of the video were surprised that companies can be so wasteful and can’t think up any alternative solutions. Others were convinced that this is the right thing to do to prevent spreading infections and diseases.

What is your opinion after finding out that makeup products that are returned and look like they weren’t used but don’t have a seal on them are destroyed and thrown away? Did you know about that and will it make you think twice before buying or returning a product? Let us know in the comments!

Some people in the comments were really worried about the waste and others thought it is what has to be done in order to sell consumers only the best goods