Selling USED products online...

I just found a shaving product company that has their own brand of shaving soaps and shaving cream but they also sell USED products as well such as a container of shaving cream with "55%-65%" remaining.  They show pictures of the products which are both known brands as well as "artisan" products!  It is not uncommon in the shaving message boards for guys to put up their USED products for sale but this is a company that is doing the same thing and has quite a few offerings!  Is this legal?  What about the F.D.A.?  Eager for your input!  Thanks!  David


  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    What they are doing is probably not legal.

    I'll preface this by saying I'm not a lawyer & this is my non-legal opinion. I suppose if they got the product and then did stability testing and microbial challenge testing to demonstrate safety, they could probably defend themselves in court. They would probably lose but at least they would have an argument. 

    I don't believe the FDA would approve of this sales technique because safety cannot adequately be proven.
  • Yeah legal or not that's a definite Yikes. It's sad because I know there are charities that try to use the same concept to provide women in shelters access to cosmetics, but really the sterilization /safety is too difficult I think. Next best thing is just returning the packaging and getting it refilled
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    Interestingly, at the company I worked we would have a lot of QA/QC samples that were taken off the production line. They would be opened and a sample was taken out to run QC checks. Those practically full bottles were then gathered in a bin and ultimately destroyed (or taken home by R&D chemists). 

    Someone once made the suggestion to donate those products to shelters or charities and our legal department said we couldn't do it for liability reasons.
  • Interesting. 

    How would the compliance of the manufacturer to cGMP and FDA regulation be ensured in this case? Especially for the resale of "artisanal" products. I guess most of them in the shaving category would be shaving soaps, but what about shaving balms, aftershaves, etc...? 

    What's the practice in this case? How does one report these kind of things to the authorities? I know it's possible to report reactions to food/drugs/cosmetics, and it's possible to tip FDA about unsanitary practices in the food industry. But what about a business with potentially regulatory issues visible from far away? 
  • David08848David08848 Member
    edited March 2020
    Perry et al, Thanks for answering and for sharing your opinions and knowledge.  Perry, I am not surprised at your answer and what you shared is what I was thinking was so about this issue.  Shaving Message Boards often enable sharing used items and frankly, from the beginning I found the idea rather disgusting.  Since there are questions about what it sold, I will post a link to the site for you to see for yourself.  Perry, if you have any issues with the link please feel free to remove it.  I think it is a good idea to see what is going on in today's market which is why I asked and why I am posting it.  
  • I am not in favor of this practice, but it makes you wonder. 

    When you go to a barbershop, the barber uses the same tin of shaving soap for all his clients. Maybe that's the logic that site is using. If a barber can use a soap on many clients, it is be safe to be sold used for someone else to enjoy.

  • Luis,  You brought up an interesting point.  I remember seeing a machine that "created" shaving cream back in the late 1960's in my barber shop.  In that instance there wouldn't be any contact from one client to the next but with a hard soap there would be.  I would think that there are rules, from state to state that regulated usage of shaving soap, cream, shaving brushes and, of course, razors.  Razors can easily be cleaned and disinfected and I remember "Fitzi", our barber, cleaning and honing the single edge razor before using it to shave my neck at the end of the haircut.  It would be interesting to know what the rules are and why some of these guys feel it is OK to "share" their used products with other people!  With what is going on right now in our world, I would hope that "sharing" these kinds of things will end!  Thanks again for your input and putting this aspect out there so we can see what "logic" they may have been using to come to the idea that this is an "OK" thing to do when in reality someone could possible lose their life from "sharing" something like this!
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