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The ULTA Beauty Scandal: Was Used Makeup Sold?

Who here doesn’t love shopping for beauty products?


I’m sure most of us have shopped at Ulta Beauty before.



Analytics company 1010data found that Ulta had higher customer loyalty than Sephora – 98 percent of Ulta’s shoppers didn’t shop at Sephora in 2017.


However, in early January, former Ulta employee @fatinamxo tweeted that she was asked to repackage and reshelve returned merchandise, ranging from makeup to hair tools, for new customers to buy.


The Twitter thread went viral as past and present Ulta employees voiced that they were asked to do the same thing by their managers.



Ulta’s Response 

Ulta quickly denied the allegations.


Credit: Ulta Beauty/Twitter




A spokesperson for Ulta Beauty gave Revelist this response (which I’ve shortened):


“The health and safety of our guests is a top priority for Ulta Beauty and we take these matters very seriously…The actions described appear to be inconsistent with our practices and we are currently looking into this matter.”


From a PR standpoint, it’s questionable when the company and the employees are sharing different stories!


A few weeks later, the company announced their new Diamond Rewards Program – you have to spend $1,200 to qualify for points, free shipping, and access to special events.


I’m wondering if this announcement was already scheduled for this timeframe OR moved up to lessen the blow of the scandal?


Will Ulta’s Reputation Be Tarnished? 

A federal class-action lawsuit has been filed in a Chicago court.


Many Ulta customers wonder if they unintentionally purchased used products.


However, some Ulta employees and customers have spoken out in support of the company.


One employee told


I believe that thread may be true, but that is completely that particular management’s fault. It saddens me because those managers choosing to be careless are obviously creating a negative name for our business.


Two questions: How did this happen, and why were only some managers allegedly instructed to sell used makeup?


There seems to be a lot of inconsistency between different store locations.


For now, the news seems to have blown over, which makes me wonder if that’s what Ulta wanted all along…



Final Thoughts

When we purchase cosmetics, the last thing we want to have to worry about is an eye infection, breakouts, a staph infection, or even herpes.


That’s why the news of this scandal was so unsettling!


However, it does give us a reminder to keep our own makeup sanitary and to never share it with others.


For us consumers, listening to different sides of the story got confusing.


Do we believe Ulta’s PR team, the employees that spoke out, or the employees that say they were never instructed to repackage used makeup?


I, personally, don’t want to ignore the number of employees that came forward, and I would like to know what Ulta found after “looking into” the problem.


If you’re cautious about shopping at Ulta, you can swatch or request a sample of the product you want in-store, then buy it online.


Employees agreed that this guarantees the product is coming directly from Ulta’s stock warehouse and has never been opened/used.


The bottom line: Check your makeup before buying!


Beauties, I’m eager to hear your opinion on this situation! Do you think employees were really instructed to clean up returned makeup? Will you continue to shop at Ulta? 


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6 thoughts on “The ULTA Beauty Scandal: Was Used Makeup Sold?

  • Jessie

    I just googled this today. Because yesterday I didn’t feel like going to the mall and stopping by my local Sephora so I came in to ulta. A . They didn’t even Carry the brands I was looking for B. I bought a concealer and theirs finger prints on it ! So now I find out this is a normal thing for ulta. Never shopping there again. I’ve never had this issue in any Sephora

  • Luz

    I stopped shopping at ultra because several times I have purchased different products only to get home and realize that the products have been used . A few times I purchased eye liners and inside the box was an eyeliner that had a tester sticker on it or smeared tips . I have given up on ultra because of this happening one too many times .

  • Carol Aguirre

    I got a ULTA Beauty Box f9r Christmas and I didn’t use it until January. It was the WORST mistake of my life
    I now have an eye infection on my left eye that hasn’t gone away. I had 20/20 vision and because of the infection I need to use glasses. DO NOT BUY ULTA BEAUTY. IT RUINED MY LIFE.

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