Spilled and broken cosmetics photo from Free Creative Stuff

Cosmetics Creative Reuse

Most makeup comes in plastic containers. A lot of makeup contains toxic chemicals. Even non-toxic makeup expires in a short time. For these reasons, it is important to creatively reuse cosmetics and packaging.

You can listen to my podcast episode on creative reuse of cosmetics in this YouTube video. It originally aired in May 2019.

Cosmetics Without Plastic Packaging

Terracycle and Garnier have a program to recycle plastic packaging, as do many brands such as Aveda, Origin and MAC Cosmetics.

Does your Makeup Contain Toxic Chemicals?

Check with the Think Dirty app.

Is your Makeup Expired?

Period After Opening Symbol - how many months to keep cosmetics after opening the package

Look for the Period After Opening symbol which shows how many months you should keep a cosmetic after opening the package.

How many months do you typically keep open cosmetics safely?

  • Blush, eye shadow – 2 years
  • Lipstick – 1 year
  • Eye liner and mascara – 3 months

Where to Donate Unopened Cosmetics

How to Repair Broken Cosmetics

How to Creatively Reuse Expired Cosmetics

Ameenah Begum makes watercolor paint palettes from expired or overstock eye shadow and sells them under the brand Cos

The blog “blah to TADA,” mixed crushed-up eye shadow with white glue to make sparkly glue that they could use in craft projects

Nail Polish and Remover

Tips on the least toxic nail polish and removers

Acquarella – one of the least toxic brands of nail polish and removers

Mascara Wands for Wildlife Rescues

Organizations who gather mascara wands to help clean wildlife are:

DIY Non-Toxic Makeup

Get inspired by learning about how Bea Johnson manages her cosmetics. She wrote the book Zero Waste Home. She uses organic cocoa powder for blush!

There are many tutorials on how to make non-toxic cosmetics.

Artists Who Make Art with Cosmetics

Red Hong Yi makes paintings from mascara wands, shavings from eyeliner pencils, false eyelashes, eye shadow, lipstick and nail polish

Honors art students from Asheville High School in North Carolina made a very cool mosaic mural of an owl from mascara wands at the Asheville Museum of Science.

Laurel Roth Hope made sculptures of peacocks and other birds using fake plastic nails and nail polish

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