6 Tips to Help You Pack and Ship Makeup and Cosmetics

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DTC makeup and other types of beauty products are taking over the globe. In fact, 52% of online shoppers said they have purchased a beauty product from a direct-to-consumer (DTC) brand in the past. This goes to show there is high demand for independent online beauty brands. But even with so much opportunity, there are challenges — especially when it comes to shipping delicate makeup products. 

In this article, we’ll go over the challenges and best practices of shipping makeup. 

Shipping makeup has its challenges

Cosmetics come in both liquid and solid form, as well as different types of containers from plastic to glass. Depending on the type of makeup and the container it comes in, some makeup products are more challenging to ship than other less breakable items. Here are three reasons why makeup can be difficult to ship. 

Shelf life

Contrary to popular belief, makeup can expire. Although makeup doesn’t always come with a “best by” date, they do expire at some point. Unopened, foundations and mascara last up to three years and lipsticks can last up to five. From ingredients to environment, there are so many different factors that determine the shelf life of makeup products. One important factor to keep in mind is if you’re selling organic or natural makeup products, the shelf life is significantly shorter. 


Whether it’s the makeup itself (e.g., powders) or the container (e.g., glass or easily broken plastics), makeup products tend to be extremely fragile shipments. Some makeup products even come with small, delicate pieces like applicators that can easily break. Before you ship a product, consider ways to provide extra protection. A little bit of tape to keep makeup containers sealed shut or an applicator in place goes a long way. 

Shipping internationally

Many DTC makeup brands have found success by going global. If you’re looking to ship cosmetics internationally, be aware of any limitations. For instance, alcohol-based fragrances are considered hazardous materials and cannot be shipped by air without certification.

Certain makeup ingredients may also be banned in certain locations around the world. ShipBob has fulfilment centres in multiple countries and can help with international fulfilment

6 tips when shipping makeup

Nothing is worse than receiving an order in the mail that you’re excited about only to find that it’s been damaged. Here are six tips on how to ship makeup orders to your customers safely. 

1. Wrap it!

Pack makeup in dunnage, bubble wrap, a shipping box, or other leak-proof packaging material to protect it from any shock damage while it’s being shipped. For more fragile items like pressed powders or eyeshadows, make sure to wrap it at least four times — the more padding the better!

2. Stick with high-quality warehousing

A high-quality, well-organised warehouse will ensure your products are stored in a safe and secure place. Many tech-enabled third-party logistics (3PL) companies offer multiple warehousing locations so you can store your inventory closest to your customers, also known as distributed inventory. That way, an order can reach its destination faster, which lowers the chance of any damage during shipping. 

3. Opt for insurance

From loose pigments to small pieces like eyeshadow palette applicators, makeup is highly prone to shipping damage. Even if you prepare the order properly before shipping, anything can happen while it’s being shipped via truck, rail, or air — especially if it has a long way to go before it reaches its destination. Most of the time it is out of your control, so opting in for shipping insurance to protect your shipments is worth the extra cost.  

4. Add package fillers

Adding extra dunnage can help keep your product in place, especially if it’s a fairly small makeup item. Kraft paper is a cheap, eco-friendly option and can help protect your package from movement. You can also consider packing peanuts. For makeup products that come in liquid form or loose pigments, and you’re hearing customers complain about damaged shipments, it may be beneficial to wrap your products in a small plastic bag to avoid it from spilling. This will also add extra protection from humidity or moisture. 

5. Know the ingredients of your product

Understanding what ingredients are in your product will help you decipher if it will ship safely and comply with carrier regulations. By knowing what your makeup products are made of, you’ll avoid the possibility of your products melting in a hot warehouse or finding out it’s not allowed to ship to certain locations, especially internationally (e.g., makeup with CBD or alcohol-based products). 

6. Understand different carrier rules

Major shipping couriers including USPS, FedEx, UPS, and DHL have their own set of rules when it comes to shipping makeup, especially any that may contain flammable liquids. Be sure to read through your shipping carrier’s rules and guidelines beforehand to ensure your products ship on time without any issues. 

How a 3PL can help you scale your online makeup brand

Shipping makeup can be a challenge and it can take up a lot of your time as you build your business. Fortunately, you don’t have to figure it all out on your own. Partnering with a 3PL can help ensure your products are fulfilled and shipped properly while saving you time and money. 

“Utilising ShipBob to get my time back meant that I could focus on all the other aspects of my business that actually drive sales, like marketing and product development. That’s a huge part of how I was able to build a six-figure revenue business within 11 months.”

Teri Miyahira, Founder of Teri Miyahira Beauty

Here are just a few of the benefits of partnering with a 3PL, like ShipBob, to fulfil and ship cosmetic products: 

Industry-standard warehousing

When it comes to delicate products like makeup, not all warehouses are created equal. ShipBob offers a robust fulfilment centre network that is powered by our proprietary technology and managed by retail fulfilment experts.

ShipBob works with you to store your products according to their needs. That way, you can spend less time worrying if your inventory is stored properly and if orders are being packed safely before shipping. 

Personalised packaging

Once a customer places an order, the customer experience doesn’t stop there. One way to make your online makeup brand standout is through branded, custom packaging.

ShipBob allows merchants to maintain high brand quality with the freedom to use their own branded boxes along with marketing flyers and inserts (or you can use our plain packaging at no additional cost). Our software also helps you effortlessly bundle products, mark them as fragile, and tell us if you prefer each item be shipped out in a box or poly mailer

2-day shipping

The online cosmetics industry is booming, which means competition is at an all-time high. Offering affordable, 2-day shipping options for your customers can give you a competitive edge, and ultimately improve conversion rates and increase average order value.

ShipBob allows you to split inventory across multiple fulfilment centres to offer affordable 2-day shipping via ground. For guaranteed 100% coverage, ShipBob offers a 2-Day Express Shipping Program that enables 2-day shipping for all customers in the continental US across all of your ecommerce platforms. By leveraging ground shipping services along with UPS 2-day air, you can now offer 2-day shipping at prices lower than expedited shipping to all postcodes in the continental US. This program has been proven to reduce cart abandonment

Subscription orders

Online makeup brands can benefit highly from a subscription box or recurring orders model. Based on when your customers run out of their favorite products, you can automatically ship more products to them on a regular, predetermined basis.

ShipBob offers easy integrations that connect your online store with our technology to use subscription apps such as ReCharge and Bold Subscriptions. We also offer a robust Developer API to integrate your tech stack with ours, build a custom experience, and create a seamless subscription fulfilment process.

“Our business is almost all subscriptions, and ShipBob helps us offer reliable, affordable shipping that shows up at the same time each month.”

Oded Harth, CEO & Co-Founder of MDacne

International shipping

Whether you’re based in the United States, or from another country and want to save on US shipping costs, ShipBob has the ability to ship orders to all countries where the major shipping couriers can deliver to. We also negotiate bulk discount carrier rates, so you can ship internationally at a lower cost.

How beauty brand FlutterHabit found success with ShipBob

Before partnering with ShipBob, cosmetics brand FlutterHabit was growing fast, but having trouble managing fulfilment on their own. As they dealt with address kickbacks, a high error rate, and other pitfalls, they knew they needed a more scalable warehouse management system (WMS) before they scaled anymore.

They decided to leverage ShipBob’s WMS to power fulfilment in their own warehouses, and it was a game-changer. FlutterHabit now has a system that is easy to use, provides real-time fulfilment data and insights, and improves their inventory tracking across all their entire fulfilment network.

“With ShipBob’s WMS, we have better information at our fingertips.

Before, we had to do a lot of manual sorting through spreadsheets and emails just to get just to feel like we had all of our information in one place.

Now, we can instantly look up how many orders we need to ship out each day, and tell if we’re behind just by glancing at the ShipBob dashboard.”

Bethany Peterson, COO of FlutterHabit

Scale your brand faster with ShipBob

Building a successful DTC makeup brand is thrilling, but it does come with some challenges. Understanding shipping best practices will not only save you time and money, but it will also help build customer loyalty along the way. With so much competition, your logistics strategy can provide a competitive advantage and allow you to scale your online makeup business faster. 

By partnering with ShipBob, you’re able to tap into our strong network of fulfilment centre locations, technology, and expertise to help you grow your ecommerce business.

To learn more about how ShipBob can help scale your online makeup brand, click below to speak with a fulfilment expert today. 

Shipping cosmetics & makeup FAQs

Here are the answers to the most popular questions about how to ship cosmetics and makeup.

What is the best way to ship cosmetics for ecommerce?

help ensure your makeup and other beauty products are adequately shipped while saving you valuable time and money.

How to safely ship makeup?

To ship makeup safely, you need to ensure that it’s properly packaged, stored in a secure warehouse, and insured. We recommend wrapping the products in leak-proof material if there’s a possibility of leakage, and some form of bubble wrap or other protective material to keep items from being damaged in transit.

How long does makeup take to ship?

Your shipping time can vary on several factors, including which shipping carrier you use, the speed or type of shipping option you select with that carrier, and where you’re shipping to. With the help of ShipBob and our 2-day shipping options, ecommerce brands selling cosmetics can ensure that their customers get their makeup as fast as possible.

Order fulfillment services

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Warehouse management

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Global scalability

Grow into new geographies with ShipBob's international presence in the US, UK, EU, Canada, and Australia.

Written By:

Shannon Callarman is a Content Marketing Specialist at ShipBob. She researches and writes everything you need to know about the latest trends and best practices in ecommerce.

Read all posts written by Shannon Callarman