Beauty Store Employee Shows Us The Reality Of Returned Products In Viral Video

Have you ever returned a beauty product you didn't like? What do you think happened to it?

Like many, I assumed beauty returns got sent back to their manufacturer. However, thanks to Ulta employee and TikTok user Bianca Ann, we now know the truth — and it's depressing.

Bianca works at an Ulta in Wichita Falls, Texas.

Bianca told Buzzfeed that she spends much of her day doing returns.

"When I work the register, I can honestly say about 45% of the people who come in that day are returning things," she revealed.

Most of those returns end up like this:

Yup. That's a Madison Reed Root-Touch up compact, which retails for $30 and was completely unused. In the video, Bianca takes a pair of scissors to the compact and scrapes the powder out, destroying the product.

Next, she pulled out a bottle of conditioner.

She opened up a bottle of Redken's High Volume Conditioner and squeezed it out into a trash can.

"So that people can't dumpster dive and steal it," she explained in the TikTok.

This one hurt me.

Bianca then revealed an unused Kylie Lip Kit. She opened it, pulled the lid off the liquid lipstick, and threw it in the trash. She also snapped the lip liner in half to make it unusable.

So, why does Ulta make their employees do this?

Another Ulta employee explained in Bianca's comments that they have to do it for customer safety. If a product's seal is opened, there's a chance it's been contaminated. No one wants pink eye from used eyeshadow.

Some commenters said they'd just take the product home.

That's also a no-no. Ulta employees are required to only use clear bags for their personal items when they're working. That way, security can spot a stolen product from a mile away.

Some former employees said it was kind of fun.

I mean, if you HAVE to do it, why not enjoy it?

I bet there's something deeply satisfying about destroying a pristine eyeshadow pan, or getting some frustration out by squeezing a bottle as hard as you can.

There IS a silver lining, however.

This doesn't happen to every single return. If the product is still sealed, Ulta will accept the return and pop the item back on the shelf for resale.

When Bianca first started, she was shocked at how returns were handled.

Unsplash | Pesce Huang

"As time went on, I learned why it had to be done and it didn’t bother me as much," she said.

It's hard to argue with cleanliness, especially after experiencing a global pandemic.

The product's seal is key.

Unsplash | freestocks

"If a seal is broken, even if it is unused, we have to either destroy it, send it back to the vendor, or send [it] to DC where it can properly be discarded."

However, we have to stop treating everything like it's disposable.

Commenters were quick to understand that Bianca's message was about waste on both ends of the retail spectrum. While companies have a lot of work to do, individuals can help by not being so casual with their purchases.

Bianca said most returns aren't able to be re-shelved, though.

Unsplash | Element5 Digital

"About 30% of the product returns are able to be put back on the shelf and the other 70% have to be damaged out and properly taken care of," she told Buzzfeed.

It's not just Ulta, either.

Now HANG ON. Makeup, I understand. But Bath and Body Works? What, like a candle can get contaminated? I don't like that at all. Their skincare stuff is a different story, so don't @ me!

Moral of the story?

Unsplash | Raphael Lovaski

If you don't like a product, see if a friend or family member is interested in taking it off your hands. Otherwise, it's going right into a landfill.

h/t Buzzfeed