Recycled Beauty: How to Responsibly Dump Your Used Makeup



Finished a beauty product? We know—it’s a rarity in our world. We’ve only reached the elusive empty pan so many times in our lives, so it’s difficult to imagine the life cycle of a product after you’ve actually used it up! But an empty bottle isn’t an excuse to toss the remains in the trash, and a product junkie doesn’t have to forsake eco-responsibility in the name of beauty. In honor of Earth Day, let’s rethink the afterlife of used makeup merchandise.


Garden-grown beauty? That's a concept we love to see bloom! Brands like Pangea Organics and Cargo's Plant Love line wrap their products in compost-able, seed-embedded packaging that you can actually plant in your backyard. Simply place the paper in soil as you would a packet of seeds, water over time, and let the flora blossom! Be sure to look out for beauty products that naturally decompose over time as well. We’ve been brushing our chompers with VITACARE’s 100% biodegradable, nylon-bristled toothbrush!


If you've got the urge to purge, some beauty brands will do the heavy lifting for you. MAC's famous Back 2 MAC program encourages recycling at the source. If you bring back six empty plastic containers to your local counter, they'll take the goods and gift you a lipstick of your choice! How's that for eco-incentive? For any other products, Garnier has teamed up with TerraCycle to responsibly dispose of makeup, skin care, and hair care bottles you don’t know what to do with. They send you a prepaid mailer, and you send them your stash!


You'll be happy to know most beauty products and packaging are recyclable—just look for the arrow sign on the box. Try to choose glass- or paper-based products, which are easier to reuse and recycle. Wash the the bottles thoroughly and toss in the bin.


Sometimes product packaging is just too pretty to trash. Give your empty containers a second life with reuse. A beautiful, unoccupied powder compact can become your next credit card or change holder, and foundation jars make for beautiful single-stem vases atop your workspace.

What other steps do you take to keep your beauty routine as earth-friendly as possible?

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