Millennials have started buying used beauty products in an effort to save money and reduce waste. A trend worth embracing or just downright unhygienic?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for the current sharing economy and am more than happy to ditch fast fashion in favour of clothes swaps and vintage stores, but is purchasing pre-owned makeup maybe taking it a step too far?
According to BoF, the second-hand beauty market is taking off in Japan, a country with a reputation for cleanliness. Becoming increasingly popular among a ‘small but growing segment’ of the country’s money-conscious millennials, it’s certainly a rather out-there way to be frugal.
‘I thought it was very weird for people to use used makeup products,’ said Mo Miura, who lives in Tokyo and despite selling her own makeup, refuses to buy used cosmetics for hygienic reasons. ‘However recently,’ she says, ‘Japan has a trend of sharing and I feel like people’s consciousness towards [extreme] cleanliness has been changing,’
I’m not sure about you, but no matter how broke or eco-conscious I am, it’s a concept I’m definitely struggling to get on board with.
Yes, the wider conversation about plastic waste has called into question the beauty industry’s environmental impact over the last few years and there is no denying that something needs to change, but this new trend comes with a lot of risks.
Director of cosmetic and clinical research at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, Joshua Zeichner says that ‘even if you throw away the applicator, if it previously was stepped into the product the whole makeup may be contaminated. You have no way of knowing if the previous user had any skin infections, sharing makeup is extremely unhygienic.’
It’s a phenomenon I never really saw coming to be honest, but when it comes down do it, are we really that surprised? In the midst of panicking about our climate situation, perhaps – if done the right way – this could actually help a little.
I mean, when purchasing used cosmetics it’s obviously better to be cautious about your health, and I don’t think it’s (I hope it’s not) a thing to host garage sales for your old mascara and the lipstick you found hiding under the bed five years after losing it, but I think online communities such as Glambot and Poshmark might have the right idea.