Monday, May 19, 2014

Ask Kaylin: How to Dispose of Old Makeup

Fresh products tend to have shorter
shelf lives.
You might know it's time to dump that dried-out mascara, but is the trash the best option? Whether your makeup is the wrong shade, expired, or simply not to your taste, there are plenty of ways to dispose of it mindfully. Read on to find out how.

I have a bunch of makeup I need to get rid of. Do I just toss it in the trash?

There are several different options for disposal of unwanted makeup.
  • Re-purpose the product. If a product isn't expired but isn't to your liking, see if you can use it another way. How about using that not-quite-perfect foundation shade as an eye shadow primer? Or using that shimmery eye shadow as a highlighter? Re-purpose pink eye shadows for blushes, or dark eyebrow pencils for eye liner. Lipstick can even be used as cream blush.
  • Give them away to friends and/or family. This typically works better with unopened products, but you can give them away one by one, assemble them into a beauty box or basket, or even use them as stocking stuffers. If you are close with your friends and family, you can ask them about using opened products, but reviewing my brush cleaning tips and my post on makeup sanitization first. Remember, NEVER share opened mascara. (Pros can use the same mascara tube because they apply with a fresh disposable wand each time).
  • Return what you can. If you bought a product recently, you can often return it with a receipt. Most stores will accept unopened merchandise within a certain window, and a few accept opened products as well.
  • Give unopened products away to charities. Homeless shelters, womens' shelters, and even some food pantries are always looking for body care items such as soap and shampoo. If you have a stockpile of animal-tested hotel shampoos that are unopened, this is the perfect outlet. Some may accept makeup as well (such as unexpired samples). 
  • Dispose of them mindfully. If you can't bear to use it, can't find a good home, or have expired products, it might be time to let it go. Trash or wash out any unused product and look for recycling symbols. If none are available, take the packaging to an Origins store or counter for recycling. A few other cosmetic companies may accept used packaging as well for recycling, and some will reward you for your efforts with discounts on new products.
How do you know when it's time to dump your makeup? Check out this post on makeup expiration dates.

  • Try out makeup in stores on the back of your hand (not on your face). If you can't test makeup in person, buy trial sizes or purchase from a store that allows returns of opened products.
  • Handmade and fresh products tend to expire faster, so look for longer-lasting products when buying in bulk.
  • Keep expiration dates in mind when making purchases; sometimes a trial size is all you need.
  • Look for products with pump dispensers and use clean brushes to keep cosmetics fresher longer.
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