photo: Glassdoor

One store's trash is another person's treasure...right?

Imagine waiting for your favorite palette to be released at Ulta or Sephora, going to the store location nearest you, and then walking up to its doors only to circle around the back and dive into the garbage for it.

This process is a reality for dumpster divers who go sorting through literal garbage from beauty and department stores for free makeup. 

Before we go any further learning about this "trend," here's why you definitely shouldn't try it at home: Dumpster diving can be illegal if the dumpster in question has the correct signage surrounding it. Not to mention the harm that comes from using potentially expired or tainted products that have been sitting in a germ-infested garbage can.

YouTuber Destinee, aka Miss Skelliton, found "over $6,700 worth of makeup" in a January 2017 dumpster dive at Ulta.

photo: Giphy

Included in this lineup of dumpster finds are palettes by cult-favorite brands such as Urban Decay, NYX Cosmetics, Tarte, and more.

In February, Destinee proved that the Ulta dumpster stays LIT pretty much all the time.


Some of the products she grabs from the trash are testers like these blushes by Benefit Cosmetics.

photo: Giphy

Benefit's blushes ($29, Ulta) can be as cheap as $15 if you buy the miniature versions. 

"They're cute, just not cute enough for me to buy them — you know what I mean?" Destinee said during her dumpster haul video

But a lot of them are old yet unused products that have likely been thrown away for a multitude of reasons.

photo: Giphy

"I don't know how much that's worth, but it looks huge," dumpster diver Lillian Kay said as she pulled a limited-edition e.l.f. Studio 144-Piece Ultimate Eyeshadow Palette ($99, eBay) right of out a dumpster pile. 

That palette was released years ago and has been discontinued since. But this video was recorded in 2017 — how the heck did it even get in there? Regardless of how it ended up there, that palette is MAD expired and probably not safe to use.

Divers also find trendy items such as Too Faced's drool-worthy chocolate palettes.

photo: Youtube

Yeah, Lillian found not one but TWO Too Faced Chocolate Bar palettes ($49, Ulta) just chilling in a dumpster "in perfect condition."

Unsurprisingly, retailers aren't keen on people wading through their trash. Some apparently put spray paint or rotting food on top of their usual trash to ward off scavengers — but it isn't 100% effective.

photo: Giphy

Lillian encountered this when diving for the the Too Faced palettes, which you can tell were only slightly paint spattered.

What does one wear for a dumpster dive? Surely a full-blown plastic suit with a helmet to ward off dumpster germs, right?

photo: Giphy

Nope. From the dive videos I've watched, most of the beauty divers don't even wear gloves. T-shirts and jeans seem to suffice — few cover up their hair, if anything.

Free makeup is cool and all, but no amount of free products is worth a health risk or breaking the law.

photo: Giphy

So I will not be heading to my local Ulta and digging around in the dumpster, because hello: creepy crawlies, raccoons, mystery liquids, AND cold weather? No thanks.

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