How to Ship Makeup and Cosmetics

Learn about the cheapest ways to ship makeup
Learn about the cheapest ways to ship makeup
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In a time when business is booming for online makeup and cosmetic sellers, it’s important to make sure you’re shipping out efficiently to provide the best customer experience possible. Or, maybe you have to mail your sister the eyeshadow palette you “borrowed” from her last summer. Either way, this guide will show you the ropes.

Pick the Best Carrier and Shipping Service

USPS is the absolute best service to use when you’re shipping makeup and cosmetics. The reason is that your shipments will almost always be smaller and lighter. Unless you’re shipping 50 pounds of blush, you’ll be set with the Postal Service.

The shipping service you choose will of course depend on what you’re shipping out. Here’s a quick little cheat sheet:

  • Lipstick, foundation, powder, etc – anything weighing less than 1 pound can go through First Class Package Service
  • Anything weighing more than 1 pound that can fit in a Priority Mail Small Flat Rate box should ship with that service.
  • Perfume, lotion, etc – anything too large for the Small Flat Rate box and more than 1 pound should go with Priority Mail Cubic or Weight-based Priority Mail. Box-in-a-bag shipping is a great option to consider here.
  • Anything toxic, hazardous, or flammable should go through Parcel Select Ground.

Pro Tip: Insure your shipments. This will protect you against financial losses from any damage to your items (Jeffree Star forbid) that might happen in transit.

Check for Hazardous and Restricted Ingredients

You definitely don’t want to have a shipment returned back to you because of hazardous content… Awkward. Shipping makeup can get a little tricky here, just because there are so many ingredients that go into the final product. So, we suggest double-checking the ingredients in all of your products to make sure there’s nothing hazardous in there. Common types of hazardous materials include ethanol and isopropyl alcohol, which are often found in cosmetic items like nail polish and perfume.

Basically, don’t ship out anything that USPS prohibits, and make sure to follow directions closely on how you’re shipping restricted and hazardous items. We have a great Shipping School guide to sending out hazardous items, including special labels, shipping services, and packaging materials you might need to use.

Some Examples of Hazardous Materials in Makeup and Cosmetics

Here are some types of common cosmetic products that contain hazardous materials, and the proper way to ship them with USPS.

  • Nail Polish
    • If individual containers are less than 1 oz (30 ml), you can use any domestic USPS service as long as you affix this sticker to your shipment and label it “Class 3”
    • If individual containers are over 1 oz (30 ml), then you must use Parcel Select/Retail Ground
    • You can’t ship nail polish internationally
  • Perfumes
    • The same rules as shipping nail polish apply

Most hazardous ingredients for makeup and cosmetics will fall into Hazard Class 3: Flammable and Combustible Liquids. For more detailed info on what ingredients USPS considers hazardous, check out Hazard Class 3 on their website.

Package Your Items Carefully

Packaging items doesn’t have to be overly complicated, just make sure to be aware of what your shipment might run into on its journey.

If you’re shipping out eyeshadow, blush, or any kind of pressed powder, consider putting a thin sheet of bubble wrap inside the actual palette to keep the product secure. Anything fragile should get a good amount of padding with bubble wrap as well, to prevent any external movement. You can also always opt for a Fragile sticker to slap (or gently place) on your shipment, just for extra measure.

If you’re shipping out lipstick or any makeup that might melt, be sure your items go into leak-proof packaging to avoid a mess if anything melts down. Adding an ice-pack and using Priority Mail Express wouldn’t hurt either, since no one wants goopy, misshapen lipstick. If you’re super worried about shipping out meltable items, thermal bubble wrap might be of interest to you.

Similar to heat-sensitive items, any liquid or gel should hang out in leak-proof packaging. Just so you can sleep at night, using water-proof tape around the lids of containers will also help prevent leaks and spills.

Smaller and more durable makeup and cosmetics can ship out in bubble mailers, no problem. If anything is even slightly delicate, we’d recommend that you wrap them with bubble wrap and put them in a cardboard box. The good news here is that the services we suggest above work with plain boxes. Always give your shipments a good shake once they’ve been packed up! If they don’t jostle around or hit the sides of your packages, that’s a job well done.

Pro Tip: If you’re shipping out anything that is moisture sensitive, consider throwing in some silica packets to protect your product.

Use Online Shipping Software to Save Cash

The Postal Service is already a great way to save money as you ship out makeup and cosmetics, but you don’t need to stop there. Online shipping software will definitely be the way to go, so you can access the deepest commercial discounts available through USPS. This way, you can ship out for even cheaper and save some extra cash to add to your makeup brush drawer (you can never have too many). If you’re using an eCommerce platform like Etsy, you can also speed up the shipping progress with shipping software that integrates with your store.

Not only will you save money by using online shipping software, but you will also be staying safe. In times like these, the ability to schedule pickups, ship contactless, and avoid the Post Office are crucial. These are all features available through online shipping software, so that’s definitely the way to go as you’re shipping out during this pandemic.

Final Touches

Always, always, always take your time and make sure that you’re shipping your makeup and cosmetics out efficiently. You never want to lose out on money because of damaged products, so it’s always worth it to take the extra time to package your items carefully, pop on some extra insurance, and finish the look with the right shipping service.

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  1. Jaff Parker

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