IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Ulta Beauty accused of reselling used makeup products

But the company said its policies don't match up with what people are saying online.
ULTA Beauty Opens First Store In Philadelphia
An Ulta Beauty store in Philadelphia. Some social media users say store managers encourage employees to resell used makeup, but the brand says its policy is to discard used items.Gilbert Carrasquillo / FilmMagic
/ Source: TODAY

Here's a reason to take an extra close look the next time you buy makeup.

A Twitter user who said she used to work for Ulta Beauty posted a series of tweets alleging that her managers at the retailer instructed her to clean used makeup products so they could be repackaged and sold again.

"Managers would get pissed if they saw items in the damage bin that looked resell able," a Twitter user named @fatinamxo wrote.

She described employees using Q-tips to make used foundations look new again, and a manager saying she would clean a used lipstick with alcohol before putting it back on shelves.

She said she shared her stories because she thought "makeup lovers should know what's going on behind closed doors."

But Ulta Beauty said its policies don't match up with what people are saying on social media. The company told TODAY Style in a statement that used products are supposed to be thrown away, not resold.

"We do not allow the resale of used or damaged products," an Ulta Beauty spokesperson said. "Our store associates are trained to catalogue and then properly dispose of any used or damaged items. If associates have concerns that this or any Ulta Beauty policy is not being followed, they can anonymously report it through our third-party hotline. Our policies, training and procedures are aimed at ensuring that only the highest-quality products are sold in our stores and online.

"We take any concern of this nature very seriously and if we find that there is any deviation from our policies, we will take appropriate actions to ensure we continue providing a consistently high quality product," the statement continued. "The health and safety of Ulta Beauty guests is a top priority and we strive to deliver an optimal experience every time they shop with us."

The Twitter user @fatinamxo has not yet responded to TODAY Style's request for further comment about her allegations. But her post appears to have struck a nerve online, with many other social media users claiming to be current or former Ulta employees sharing similar stories, and warning potential customers.

"I was in management at Ulta for 3 years and yes, it happened routinely at my store," one woman wrote.

Yet others who said they've worked for Ulta claimed entirely different experiences. "I've worked for Ulta for years and not once have we done this at my store," another woman wrote.

Ulta Beauty has reached out to many of the Twitter users for more information.

Either way, it's a good reminder to customers to be vigilant when buying makeup in stores. Make sure the items look clean and unused, and when possible, buy products that are sealed. Customers should also be careful with makeup testers in stores. Last November, a woman filed suit against Sephora, claiming that a lipstick sample she used there gave her oral herpes. A Rossen Reports investigation uncovered that many makeup samples contain harmful bacteria.