Dolla Dolla Balms Y'all
November 15, 2017 2:55 PM   Subscribe

I am breaking up with my lip balm collection, which is approximately 100 pieces strong. Are there places that will take these as donations?

Right, so, at 40 I've finally admitted my powerlessness over my Lip Smackers collection. I've purchased most of these in the last year so there are no issues with putrid or expired sticks. They're all scented and some are flavored (oh my god i have such a problem) and I don't want to just toss them in the trash if I don't have to.

In the past I've attempted to take lotions to Goodwill but have been barred from leaving them. While I'd love for some kids who are sick to be able to use them, I doubt the hospital is going to welcome with open arms several dozen slightly-used lip glosses and then let the immunosuppressed kids go to town with them.

Do you think a shelter will take them in this condition (which, btw is treated like royalty with prime real estate in my top desk drawer and a coded system so i can cycle through them on the regular)? Are there organizations I didn't find that would take them? Dress for Success would be great, but I doubt their recipients need my SunSmacker SPF 24 Calypso Berry Beat gloss with Sebastian the Crab on it.

Keep Balm and Carry On.

(credit: question title stolen from a page on the lip smackers website)
posted by ovenmitt to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (19 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Nope. They are pretty much in a biohazard category due to contact with potential bacterial or viral infection. You might not have herpes, or gonorrhea, but there’s no way to test these lip balms to be sure they haven’t been exposed.

There is a company that recycles hotel soaps but I don’t think anyone recycled lip balm. That would be your search term though. Recycle.
posted by bilabial at 3:01 PM on November 15, 2017 [13 favorites]

I don't think any official places can take these, but you could try posting on Freecycle or the free section on Craigslist.
posted by pinochiette at 3:02 PM on November 15, 2017 [6 favorites]

This seems very unlikely. Perhaps you could experiment with turning them into candles?
posted by turbid dahlia at 3:06 PM on November 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

I'm a big fan of regifting and far from a germaphobe, but I would never accept used lipbalms. I don't think I'd take one from a friend, let alone a stranger. Try Freecycle, but no shelter/Goodwill etc. would accept them. I like the idea of seeing if you can turn them into candles, though!
posted by widdershins at 3:14 PM on November 15, 2017 [29 favorites]

My neighborhood's "Buy Nothing" Facebook group is full of this sort of thing. Not just offers -- people want the opened lotion, the expired chewing gum, the grated cheese. Try yours.
posted by The corpse in the library at 3:15 PM on November 15, 2017 [5 favorites]

You might be able to melt the wax and make firestarters, if you have a use for such things.
posted by The corpse in the library at 3:16 PM on November 15, 2017

If they aren't sealed in original packaging, no charitable organization is going to take them. You're not going to find many organizations interested in tubes of used lip balm of various indeterminate ages.
posted by erst at 3:27 PM on November 15, 2017 [2 favorites]

I agree you could try Freecycle, but definitely no legitimate charity is going to take opened/partially used products. There's just too much liability if you happened to spread a disease that way. If you know teenagers personally, you could try them...but I think a lot of people would not want opened lip balms even if they knew the person it was coming from...they're just not expensive enough to make it worth it.
posted by rainbowbrite at 3:30 PM on November 15, 2017

It looks like Project Beauty Share will take them.
posted by alygator at 3:41 PM on November 15, 2017 [3 favorites]

If they're used (even once) i'd be hesitant to offer them to any organization. But you could definitely put them in a box outside your door or a more public location (if you don't live in a city) with a FREE sign and I imagine someone will take them because hey, free stuff.
posted by Mchelly at 3:57 PM on November 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

Used lip balm? Toss in the garbage.
posted by AppleTurnover at 4:48 PM on November 15, 2017 [25 favorites]

sounds like a neat collection! maybe take pictures or document them in some fun way (post pix and review them if you didn't already?), and then toss in trash.
posted by ghostbikes at 5:25 PM on November 15, 2017 [8 favorites]

Makeup Alley used to have a swap section where members were cool with trading sterilized used makeup, including lip products. They've been directing people who are still interested in swapping to Swapidu, maybe you'll find someone interested in your collection and get something more useful to you in return.
posted by yeahlikethat at 5:47 PM on November 15, 2017 [2 favorites]

Lipsmackers are a cheap product and I'm sorry but trying to give away used cheap lip balm strikes me as about as charitable as giving away used underwear. I could maybe understand a Chanel lipstick, but lip smackers cost maybe $1/piece new, and... ugh.
posted by fingersandtoes at 8:10 PM on November 15, 2017 [19 favorites]

Take a photo of the whole collection, and post on Craigslist and a makeup swapping site. People use pre-used lipstick all the time- that's what drugstore testers are. It just takes a dip in rubbing alcohol and a good swipe with a tissue to "sterilize" them to the level of what any professional makeup artist would use on a movie star. So yeah, someone might take them. (It wouldn't be me, but) I bet they'll find a home.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 8:42 PM on November 15, 2017 [2 favorites]

Do you know tween girls who might like them?
posted by brujita at 4:08 AM on November 16, 2017

The only way I could see you MAYBE being able to recycle/sell them is if you got rid of all the used lipsmackers, cleaned them really well, and then have them available to refill with new homemade chapsticks...? You can buy empty chap stick tubes, so maybe in that way someone else could use yours?

But really, no one in their right might is ever going to accept USED lip balms. Would YOU accept a used lip balm from a stranger? I sure as hell wouldn't.
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 6:54 AM on November 16, 2017

Wow, I am extremely germ-indifferent and frugal, to the point of people making fun of me, and no way would I use a stranger's used lip balm. I really doubt I would even for a friend. Maybe from a sibling or very close friend if it was super high end stuff (like at least 10-20x the cost of lip smackers) and I knew they didn't get cold sores, weren't sick, etc. But probably still no.

And that's just the question of "would anyone want it" not "would a responsible organization take it". The shelters around here don't even take opened boxes of things like individually wrapped tampons, which aren't gross at all. They're never going to take something that's an actual biohazard safety risk for their clients, and they'd be incredibly irresponsible if they did.

It's a nice idea to not waste it but I'm sorry to say even people who can't afford their own lip balm (and I've been there) don't want a random stranger's used lip balm.
posted by randomnity at 9:15 AM on November 16, 2017

thanks, everyone! two neighborhood moms offered to the collection, which, frankly, based on everyone's responses here, terrifies and delights me. germs be damned! communicable diseases be damned! i don't have to spend $2.50 a pop for lip balms for my kid? I'LL TAKE IT.

and in their defense, they got to see them (cause i spent last night going around like a dealer pushing them out of the tote bag i was carrying around) and can see that the ones i'm peddling had been applied maybe two or three times, so they're letter-of-the-law-used but in-spirit-like-new, but still... i was expecting more shock and horror and i got shock and awe.
posted by ovenmitt at 9:18 AM on November 16, 2017 [4 favorites]

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