As a mom, I find myself often unable to take in many of the indulgences that I did in my youth. There is not enough time, not enough money, or just plain not enough motivation to keep up many of the things I did in my teens and twenties. One thing that has made the cut through the years is my love of makeup. I love all kinds of makeup but I’m always left wondering…what do I do with old makeup that I no longer use? The bad news is that it can actually do damage to the environment when not handled properly. The good news is that there are tons of way to recycle old makeup to keep that from happening!
Why is it Bad to Just Throw Away Old Makeup?
Women on average use about 12 different products on their face daily. This could be anything from foundations to lipsticks and even mascara. Each of these products typically come in plastic packaging that piles up quickly when sent to landfills from our garbage cans. All of this plastic adds up to greatly contribute to the amount of waste created. In addition, as it decomposes it can let off toxic chemicals that are dangerous to the land, animals, water, and many other things near those landfills.
Even if we take the plastic containers out the equation the makeup products themselves are full of all kinds of petrochemicals, toxins, and even lead that can be just as dangerous to the wildlife and environment around those landfills.
This makes finding a safe way to recycle old makeup an important topic in a society that has a growing concern for taking care of the planet and its inhabitants of all kinds.
Dangers of Using Old Makeup
As many makeup users know there is an expiration date on nearly every product that you use. If not, there are still safety guidelines that should be followed to make sure you are using your products properly. Due to these expiration dates we often find ourselves having to dispose of makeup before we’ve even had a chance to use it all.
Naturally, there can be a desire to want to use makeup after the expiration date. This is particularly true if you are frugal, like me, and hate to throw anything away that you can still make use of.
Using old makeup, however, can be dangerous because of the bacteria that it can harbor. This bacteria can cause damage to the skin, eyes, and more. It can also potentially make you very sick if you apply it to broken skin because this gives it an opportunity to enter the body.
When to Dispose of Old Makeup:
- Lipstick should be tossed after one year.
- Foundations, primers, and other face products should be tossed two years after the date they are opened.
- Powdered products such as eyeshadow and blush should be tossed after two years.
- LIquid eyeliner should be tossed after three months. Pencil eyeliner can last up to a year.
- Mascara should be tossed after three months.
How to Recycle Old Makeup
From rewards programs to repurposing there are tons of great ways to recycle old makeup to ensure that it stays out of the landfills and that you are contributing to the waste problem currently impacting our environment.
Return to Sender
Some specialty makeup stores and other businesses will give you rewards points and other perks for returning your old makeup containers to them. This can be a great way to earn free new makeup as well as a variety of other rewards for helping the Earth.
Makeup Brands Currently Offering a Recycling Program:
- Bare Minerals offers points towards any purchase when you return your containers to them.
- Lush offers a program that allows you to bring five empty pots back for a free face mask.
- Aveda accepts products from any makeup brand as part of its recycling program.
- MAC offers customers a free lipstick with the return of primary packaging from six of their products.
- L’Occitaine offers 10% off with the return of any makeup or skincare brand empties.
Companies that Accept Beauty Products
- TerraCycle has partnered with Garnier to give points for every 10lbs of beauty waste donated.
How to Repurpose Old Makeup
Even though it may be a bad idea to use makeup as, well, makeup past its expiration date there are still tons of other ways you can put it to use. Some include using containers in new and fun ways. Others make use of the makeup itself as it takes on a new life.
Using Old Makeup Containers
Many makeup containers such as face creams, lip gloss pots, and others can be cleaned out and re-used for a variety of things.
- Clean out old lip gloss containers to hold DIY cosmetics.
- Old face cream pots and larger containers can be washed and reused to hold succulents, cacti, and other small plants. You can paint them or even just leave them in their original condition to add a fun touch to your makeup vanity.
Using Old Makeup for New Things
We now know that it is best to not use old makeup on your face. However, there are tons of other ways that you can put it to use in crafts and even new DIY makeup.
- If you use up all but a little lipstick before the expiration date you can combine your colors by melting them down to combine into a whole new signature shade of your own.
- Looking for a fun new nail color? Add a little of an old eye shadow to clear nail polish to create a new shade in a pinch.
- Throw a little old pressed powder into your facial moisturizer in the morning to stretch a little more life out of that old compact and give yourself a unique new shade of tinted moisturizer.
- Add old eye shadow to clear glue to create a fun new shimmer paint to use in your next craft project.
- Old nail polish bottles that are a little too clumpy to use on the nails can be thinned out with a touch of rubbing alcohol and used to paint a variety of crafts.
- Have a broken compact or eyeshadow? Grab a drop of rubbing alcohol there too to help fix it in a pinch.
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