The Ideal Disposal Method for Makeup? Use It Up
Cosmetics tend to contain a lot of chemicals, so it’s better to use them up than to send them to landfills. If you do need to throw your makeup out, it’s important to keep chemicals out of waterways, so do not dump it down the drain or flush it down the toilet.
Alternative Ways to Recycle
Recycle at Nordstrom
Nordstrom and TerraCycle have teamed up to help you recycle your cosmetics. Save all your cosmetic bottles and containers and bring them to a Nordstroms location for recycling. All brands accepted. Find a location.
Personal Care and Beauty Recycling Program
Recycle hair care, skin care and cosmetic product packaging through this free mail-in program by TerraCycle and Garnier. Accepted items include lipstick cases, lip gloss tubes, mascara tubes, eye shadow cases, foundation packaging, eyeliner pencils and more. Find program information and a full list of accepted items here.
Back to MAC Program
Through the Back to MAC program, MAC accepts the return of its primary packaging containers. When you return six containers to a MAC counter or ship them back, you’ll get a free lipstick.
Return to Origins Program
Bring your empty cosmetic tubes, bottles and jars — regardless of brand — to an Origins retail store or department store counter, and they will recycle it all for you, for free. Find out more.
Kiehl's Recycle & Be Rewarded Program
Bring your empty Kiehl’s bottles back to a store, and earn rewards for complimentary products. Find out more.
Aveda's Full Circle Recycling Program
Any Aveda packaging not accepted curbside, such as makeup brushes and various bottles, jars, tubes and pumps, can be brought into any Aveda Experience Center retail store in the United States and placed in the Full Circle recycling bin. Find an Aveda location or learn more about Aveda’s commitment to responsible packaging.
Burt's Bees Recycle On Us
You can send in Burt’s Bees-branded personal care, lip care, and beauty care packaging to the Burt’s Bees Recycle On Us program, which is a free recycling program through TerraCycle. Find out how to mail in this product packaging.
Lush's Pot Return Program
Bring five empty black or clear Lush pots to any of their shops, and they will give you a free fresh face mask. Lush sends your old pots to their supplier to regrind and remold them into a whole new batch of pots. Find out more.
Ways to Reduce
Choose Eco-Friendly Makeup Brands
Some cosmetics brands are more earth-friendly than others. They use recycled packaging, soy-based inks, and operate on the basis of sustainability. Some green beauty brands include Josie Maran cosmetics, Stella McCartney’s Care, Physicians Formula Organic Wear, and Go Natural.
Ways to Reuse
Use Eye and Lip Pencils as Regular Pencils
Old eye and lip pencils make great regular pencils for sketching or for marking things if you’re doing home renovations.
Reuse the Mascara Spoolie as a Brush
Wash off the spoolie of an expired mascara with dish soap and turn it into a brow or lash brush.
Use a Makeup Compact for Storage
An old makeup compact doesn’t need to be thrown out. It’s perfect for storing earrings, coins, mints, and other small items.
Turn Dry Eyeshadow Into Nail Polish
You might not be able to put it on your eyelids anymore, but dry, flaky eyeshadow can be mixed with clear nail polish to create a new nail color.