I’m, by nature, a fairly green person. I dislike waste. I never throw out food unless I have to. I reuse and repurpose glass jars of spaghetti sauce, olives, whatever. I’ll always reuse a sheet of paper to print on the back of it. And anything I no longer want that can’t go into the recycling bin goes to Goodwill, whatever its condition. (Hey, if they can’t use it, at least they’ll recycle it.)
Call it growing up a child of the Korean War generation. My dad would save paper ads and promos that would come in the mail so that we could draw on them. My mom religiously reuses jars and bottles and tubs to hold cereal, crackers, whatever. When my grandmother passed away, we found piles and piles of tissue and paper napkins under her bed, all hoarded by someone who grew up without the luxury of having free access to tissue boxes and toilet paper stacked in the cupboard.
Now that may be a little extreme, but these days, my waste-not ways have become rather trendy — a conscientious way to save our Earth. After all, every little bit counts.
So when I come across some new ideas on how to repurpose beauty products and packaging, I get super excited. Here, some of my favorite tips.
1. Upcycle bottles and cream pots as vases, jewelry holders, even as an herb garden. Primary Raw’s glass containers are especially made with reuse in mind. They keep the graphics on the container as minimal as possible, and the lines are sleek enough to use as a bud vase or to hold odds and ends. And luxe bath and body line Sabon uses recycled glass for their elegant glass bottles, so I’m doing doubly well by repurposing their bottles.
I also like to use the nicer secondary packaging (the boxes products come in) to organize my makeup and skin care in my bathroom drawers. (It’s a veritable Tetris layout in there.) I even use them to organize jewelry in my dresser. 3Lab and La Mer have particularly nice ones, and see that silver “vase” in the photo below? That’s the packaging of a La Prairie serum, which I’ve repurposed as a vase.
2. Don’t like that blush on you? Reuse it as a lip color. Just mix with RMS Mix Master to give it a shimmery finish or a lip balm like Laura Mercier Flawless Skin Infusion de Rose Nourishing Lip Balm or even Aquaphor.
3. This idea from YouTube beauty vlogger Maggie Stepien of A Simple Hedonist is genius: Cut lipstick boxes in half and tape them together in a row; use them to organize your lipsticks and keep them in place. You can see how she does it, as well as lust over how organized everything is, in her video here (around 1:47).
4. Half empty facial cleansers don’t have to languish in your bathroom. Repurpose them to clean your makeup brushes or even as a body or hand wash. Indie Lee’s natural Brightening Cleanser is specifically made to function as a facial wash and a brush cleanser.
5. M·A·C has a great Back to MAC program where they’ll accept returns of its primary packaging. Return six and you’ll get a free M·A·C lipstick of your choice. How cool is that?
6. Extend the life of your favorite cream by adding a drop of oil each time. It lets you use less cream, and you get the added benefits of a nourishing, antioxidant-rich oil.
7. Clean and reuse mascara wands after the formula’s dried out to use as spoolies for brows and as lash separators.
So feed my obsession! Tell me your favorite upcycling, repurposing or other eco-friendly beauty tips!