On Resale Apps, Expensive Beauty Products Sell for Cheap. Is

Since the beginning of the pandemic, dedicated peer-to-peer resale apps have emerged as popular destinations to buy and sell pretty much anything. While some apps focus on primarily luxury brands, others run the gamut, and have expanded to include categories like pets, home, electronics, and – of course – beauty. Poshmark claims 80 million users across the United States, Canada, and Australia, with a sale happening every second in the U.S. alone. Gen-Z favorite Depop, acquired by Etsy for $1.6 billion in 2021, claims 30 million registered users, with approximately 90% of users under the age of 26. 

With tens of millions of users flocking to these apps to buy, sell, and even trade, one has to wonder: what’s going on with beauty and resale?

Who buys beauty resale? 

Kate Minina, a 29-year-old software engineer based in Maryland, turned to retail apps when she began buying more luxury makeup products. “I realized buying a $90 eyeshadow quad was ridiculous,” she tells Allure. “After some reviews, I decided to check out these resale apps, and they were like twice as cheap. I got super into the brand Tom Ford and I’ve bought multiple quads on resale apps. For an $88, $90 quad, I would pay $35 to $50, so a pretty good deal.” 

Behnaz B., a 35-year-old who asked that her last name not be used, recently bought a travel-sized, unopened Olaplex shampoo and conditioner on Poshmark to prepare for a trip to Madrid. “If someone is trying to get rid of something, and I need that something, why not?” she asks. “As a consumer, I’m trying to be greener. It seems like a better, more ethical decision.” But she still has limits: “I probably would never ever in a million years buy, like, a deodorant, or something that has been used on [someone else’s] body.”

The “used on the body” factor is a line that several buyers seem to reflect on, at times trying to understand their own aversion or comfort with specific items in the beauty category.

For Melissa Lim, a 32-year-old product manager from London, it’s important that she purchase unused products on resale apps, “because it’s such a personal item.” And then there are the beauty-fashion hybrid items that make more sense to buy, like hair accessories. “Simone Roche, one of my favorite designers, collaborated with H&M… she had these beautiful flower hair clips. I couldn’t get my hands on them when the sale launched so I ended up finding them on Depop and I bought a couple there for my friend as well,” Lim adds.