Used cosmetics, the second hand trend also affects beauty

Cused osmetics, yes or no? A usually unthinkable question is starting to have a positive answer: the trend of second hand is in fact starting to involve the beauty sector as well. In recent years, in fact, there have been several platforms that deal with second-hand cosmetics sold at half the price. The boom of this new trend is especially in Japan and is spreading like wildfire. With a big question: what about hygiene?

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New or used cosmetics, the birth of a new trend

Regarding second-hand cosmetics, one fact above all explains the phenomenon very well: by 2031, the market will grow 126% in the United States aloneaccording to annual report of Mercaria global marketplace dedicated to second hand. In other words, if now the thought of buying a cosmetic used by a stranger can make your nose wrinklein the near future this will no longer be the case.

A phenomenon, that of the second hand cosmetic, which has its roots in Japan. In the country of the Rising Sun the practice is quite widespread, also thanks to the desire to combat waste, a concept inherent in Japanese culture so much so that it has a very specific term that identifies it, mottainai. It is on this wave that they were born specialized platformslike the aforementioned Mercari, specialized in the sale of make-up from luxury brands, and Glambot, where you can also find skincare and above all where you can not only buy but also sell to other users.

Why is there a need for used cosmetics?

But how did this phenomenon arise? The reasons are different. The first is the diffusion of many micro-trends: every week a new trend arises on social media and it becomes complex as well as expensive to keep up. In this sense, the birth of a second-hand cosmetics market is of great help, especially to younger people.


In other cases, the second hand represents the only valid alternative especially when it comes to limited editions or products that are no longer on the market; not only that but it has also become a way to “empty the drawers” and make space. Especially when the purchase turns out to be unsuitable or the beauty gift was not appreciated, or even for the influencers themselves, this type of market is a valid alternative.

Other times they are the brands themselves that fuel this type of market: when a cosmetic is going out of production or not all the stocks have been soldthese platforms also prove useful for brands.

And hygiene?

So everything is pink and flowers? Not exactly, the first problem of this type of market is hygiene. Exposure of the product to germs and bacteria is of greatest concern.

Indeed, once opened, all products are exposed to the air or come into contact with the skin, therefore developing the risk of being contaminated by fungi and bacteria which proliferate over time. This is why I am there are many dermatologists who do not support this type of market.

Added to this is the deadline. Even if the product is brand new, it may still be expired and its formulations have changed especially if poorly preserved. The result is therefore a product that no longer reacts as it should, irritating the skin and no longer being effective.

The rules for “second hand” cosmetics

For this reason, rules have been adopted by the various platforms. For example, up Glambot can only sell certain products with particular requirements: they must not be expired and their use must be minimal.

Other sites have them inside specialized machinery for disinfection of the products themselves or, as in the case of Glambot, of some products such as lipsticks, eye pencils, are cut the tips so as to eliminate the used partwhile the creams with their packaging are sterilized with light therapy which kills all bacteria.

On You from Me, however, the products are subjected to macrobiotic tests and if the result is positive, they are immediately disposed of.

How does retail respond?

At the moment the big brands seem to be watching how the phenomenon will develop in the near future. What is certain, however, is that this new alternative could be very valid not only on an economic but also environmental levelavoiding waste in cosmetics.