Free designer makeup worth €5000 could be just a dumpster dive away


As women who regularly take trips to Brown Thomas, Boots and Superdrug to satiate our unquenchable thirst for the latest innovations in makeup and beauty, we're all too aware of the cost of keeping up with our favourite beauty trends.

So if you could get your hands on a couple of Urban Decay Naked palettes, some Anastasia Beverly Hills highlighting kits and anything from 10 to 30 designer lipsticks for absolutely free, what would you say?

Well the obvious answer is sign me up, but what if you knew that these items came from rummaging around in dumpsters in the dead of night? 


Wtf I can't believe I found like $400 worth of products from dumpster diving #ultadumpsterdiving #dumpsterdivinghaul

A photo posted by bai (◕‿◕✿) (@_baichan) on

There are few things we wouldn't do to get the latest designer beauty bits into our already over crowded makeup bags, but dumpster diving might be where we draw the line.

However, not everyone shares the same snobby sentiments, as dumpster diving, or "skip raiding" as it is also known, is a thriving community. 

YouTube is awash with videos showcasing mega hauls pulled out of bins behind major department stores, with some hauls being worth up to €5000.


A photo posted by dumpster diving (@dumpsterhaulics) on

The items are then either kept by the owners to use, or in most cases, cleaned up and sold in online buy and sell groups on Facebook.

With the increased visibility through Facebook groups and with more people posting their own dives to YouTube, the beauty bin bonanzas are taking over the internet.

Some YouTube videos have millions of views, showing off hundreds of free, unopened products.

Products that are used as testers in store and products which have been returned due to fault or damage are often thrown away.

Some stores choose not to use the testers provided from makeup companies, and these are thrown out, still sealed and unopened.

Damaged items can have minor faults, from a crack in an eye shadow pan to the cap of a perfume bottle falling off.

High end electrical items like hairdryers, GHDs and Clarisonics are usually returned to the manufacturer if they have been returned on the basis of fault or damage.  

American stores like Ulta, Bath and Bodyworks and major department stores like Bloomingdales are all targets for expert divers. 

The legality of skip raiding is a bit of a grey area in Ireland, as taking things out of bins could theoretically be considered theft as it is still the property of the owner until it is removed by the refuse companies.

According to the Theft and Fraud section of the Criminal Offences Act 2001, "a person is guilty of theft if he or she dishonestly appropriates property without the consent of its owner and with the intention of depriving its owner of it." 

There is also the issue of trespassing and picking locks on padlocked bins. 

Stores have instructions to destroy products before dumping them, a process known in the dumpster diving community as "souping.'

The shops will open unwanted foundations and nail varnishes and pour them all over the rest of the soon-to-be dumped products, essentially destroying them and preventing them from futher resale, while also making it more difficult for divers to discover the products in the bins.

"As a beauty professional, I wouldn't recommend diving for makeup UNLESS stuff is still sealed," wrote one Reddit user, in a thread dedicated to beauty bin dumpster diving. 

"Sealed stuff? Go for it. Perfume (testers or still in box)? Go for it! Hair products (testers or no)? Have fun!"

One Youtuber, Lillian Kay, publishes videos showcasing her expansive hauls, while also giving tips on how to make the products hygienic to use. 


A photo posted by dumpster diving (@dumpsterhaulics) on

"I sanitise everything that I find with rubbing alcohol, and rubbing alcohol evaporates, so it doesn't damage the products whatsoever," says Lillian. 

"Even if you find a cracked eye shadow or a cracked powder, you just pour rubbing alcohol into it, re-compact it, and it will be good as new." 

While the beauty raiding community is thriving online, it does have its haters. 

Beauty forum Lipstick Alley has an entire thread dedicated to slating the method; "Sorry but that is just nasty," said one user.

"If you can't afford some of these products then you don't need them because resorting to diving in a dumpster to find all these so called treasures of make up is just down right disgusting."

"This is something you don't tell anybody about," said another. 

Despite the online trolling these dumpster divers receive, it's not enough to put them off the thought of thousands of euro worth of free makeup.