• Sadie Daffer

Done with... Make-up?

I knew the make-up industry was big, but until I watched the Netflix series Broken: Makeup Mayhem, I had no idea truly how big. Billions of dollars are poured into purchasing different make-up items each year. That means billions of products are being thrown away each year as well.


I remember working as a bartender and buying five tubes of mascara at a time, and running though one every 1-2 months. That’s just one product! I bought countless liquid lipsticks, eye shadow pallets and eyebrow pencils, my collection was massive.


After moving to PDX, with a change of job and social scene, I started wearing less and less make-up. I still have a shoebox full of various products I use occasionally, but day to day I generally stick to an eye brow pencil and mascara.


When I was sorting out my make-up to get rid of I gifted a huge box on to my little sister, and chunked the older stuff right in the trash, I did not think at all about salvageable parts or if I could recycle the containers. After doing some research I learned there are a few way to save your old make-up from going directly into the bin!


Following the Hierarchy of Disposal for Household Items:


1. Repair – You can fix eye shadows that have crumbled by mixing them with alcohol and repressing them into form. Other tips can be found here.


2. Repurpose - There are a lot of cool ideas to change make-up and use it for different purposes, like adding shadow to lip gloss to make new shades, and foundation to moisturizer to make a tinted BB cream! You can use old make-up tins to store small items, or make your own lip balm to refill an old one! More tips here.


3. Sell – There are specific apps/sites that allow you to sell used make-up like Mercari and Glambot. Check their requirements before trying to sell items. I have successfully bought items off both sites that were used once or twice, and had zero issues.


4. Gift – Make sure you ask before you dump a bunch of used make-up on someone, but this could be a good option to give your make-up a new home!


5. Donate – Make sure you check specifics with the location, before you donate make-up, for example Goodwill only accepts make-up in the original packaging that is completely sealed. Women’s shelters, would also be a great option for donating. In PDX, Rose Haven accepts new and gently used products, and in OKC the YWCA Santa Store is accepting new makeup donations.


6. Recovery – Different companies will accept returned empty make-up containers (like these), and Terracycle offers a free program to ship empty make-up containers from any brand. I just got signed up and am excited to try them out!


7. Landfill – Some parts of makeup containers have to be disposed in a landfill, like the inner compartment of a mascara tube, but that is less space in a landfill compared to the entire product.



All in all make-up is not going away, if you want to reduce the amount of make-up you own read the tips below for creating a minimal collection.


Reduction Methods:


1. Rethink - It's easy to go into a beauty store and purchase a bunch of makeup items, they have beautiful packaging, glitter and promise the world in results. But, most people use the same items every single day! If you find something that works, generally you stick with it! I would suggest by setting out the items you use the most frequently, and putting the rest in an area that isn't close by, or even cover them up. Try doing your make-up with your most used items for a week or longer, and see if there is anything you need to add or take away. After you find your "holy grail" items then you can work on reducing your collection.


2. Reduce - Yes I know, make-up is expensive and it feels like a waste of money if you decide to get rid of an item, but purchasing an item just for it to sit and become expired, is just as wasteful. So after you have found your main products, then you should go through and see if you have any duplicate makeup items, and set those aside. Make sure you swatch them if they are similar! I've done a few make-up reductions, but two weeks ago when I went through and swatched my liquid lip sticks and I found three nearly identical shades!


Also, set aside make-up you do not frequently use. I keep a box/bag of items I plan to donate by my door at all times, after deciding I no longer want/need an item, it will go into the box for a couple weeks until I finally make a drop off. This is a great time to really see if you miss the items you are giving away. As you repeat this process a few times you will be able to slowly reduce your collection, and be more accostomed to replacing your holy grail products instead of always reaching for something new in the store.


Let me know if you found this helpful, have any places to donate used make up, or the ways you reduced your make up-collection! Thank you :D

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