First up, check to see if they've expired - every product has its own type of expiry date (look for the little pot symbol on the packaging and it will give you a number), so check through everything you'd like to get rid of and see if there's anything that needs to go in the bin. If it's changed texture, smells a bit funny or doesn't quite look right, throw it away regardless of the expiry date.
Contact your local women's shelter or homeless charity - if you have new or nearly new products (something you'd pass along to a friend and be happy for them to use) then chances are they can go to a new home with someone who is in need. Speak to your local homeless shelter or women’s refuge over the phone to see if they’d be happy to receive donations of products. Many people arrive at these centres with literally nothing, so it’s a great way to help if they have the capacity to receive them. Give & Makeup is a fantastic organisation to start with if you’re not sure who to contact – they help centres in different locations across the UK.
Think up a new use for them – that conditioner that turned out to be rubbish? Try using it as shaving cream. The mascara you hated? Rinse off the wand and use it as a lash separator. There are loads of different ways to use products you might not necessarily have thought of, so a non-performer doesn’t always have to go straight in the bin!
Return those empty pots! – companies like MAC and LUSH reward customers with free products every time they return a set number of empty containers, so if you’re having a clear out, make sure you check to see if there’s anything worth keeping that can be traded in.
Sell them/Pass them on to friends – for unwanted gifts and brand new products, places like eBay and Depop are a good place to start. There are also lots of groups on Facebook that deal with beauty swaps, which are well worth joining if you’d consider trading your unwanted products instead of looking for cash. Spring and summer are also a great time for local boot sales. I try to time a massive declutter of my house in time for one of these – it’s a great way to get rid of unwanted clothes, books, nail polish etc, just be prepared to sell them for quite small amounts. And don't forget friends and family - I always keep a box of goodies aside that I think they'll enjoy, ready to pass on next time I see them.
What do you normally do with your unwanted products?