Over the past few years I’ve gained a new attitude towards the beauty industry. With the nonstop launches set up to keep us placing orders, I realized how much I own and how little I can actually put on my face. As I’m sure we have all felt throughout the past year, wearing makeup less often can be kind of nice! I love giving my skin a chance to breathe and having no chance of makeup on my mask. This means I’m using way less product and going through product way slower than I used to.
I have a drawer full of all my makeup, along with a large makeup bag for every day. A few years ago, having this many beauty products really excited me but when I open up this drawer now, I get a little pang of guilt and sadness. I have spent hundreds on makeup products that now sit in my drawer expired, unloved, and barely used. There’s a lot of reasons that this realization came about: I can’t possibly use all these products as much as I want to, environmental concerns, and thinking about lost $$$.
In my collection there’s more foundations than I can count on one hand, several eyeshadow palettes, and 3! of the exact same eyebrow pencil all still in their boxes while I finish a 4th up. There’s only so much makeup that I can put on my face every day. Often I can’t choose between products and just want to use them all, all the time! But there’s also the mistake purchases that I haven’t touched in months or even years that I feel bad tossing. Thinking back on all the products I wish I could use more has been a huge help in trying to consider what I have and what I need.
My main source of clutter recently has been buying a replacement for a product before the old one runs out. I have 2-3 of a product at a time, even 5 cleansers open right now. It causes the same issue: I always want to use the new version, leaving the mostly empty one in the cabinet. I end up buying these duplicates and replacements so early because of small discounts like the 15% off Sephora. But when things expire and don’t get used up, I’m really not saving any money. I’ve been taking a peek into my collection and trying my hardest to exercise restraint on buying replacements until the product is actually in the recycling bin!
Recycling My Products Better
It’s not well-known in the beauty industry that many beauty product packaging is nonrecyclable. Often, beauty products need to be recycled through specific programs like TerraCycle or brand take-back programs. Ilia will take any brand makeup products even if not completely empty for free! Most of the time, you can’t just toss an empty product into the recycling bin because they are often not made out of widely-recycled plastics. If you’ve never thought about it before, this is your sign to check the back of your bottles, compacts, and tubes for that little recycle (or Terracycle) symbol. Odds are: you won’t find it. This is mainly because of the nonrecyclable materials and combination of materials in a single component (metal pan and plastic package).
I’ve started a bag in my closet of empties to send out to Ilia and Terracycle once I get enough. This way, I’ll know they’re being recycled responsibly and kept out of landfills! Many clean brands also focus on using recyclable packaging, which is something I’m trying to be more conscious of.
Improving on Conscious Buying
Realizing how much money waste is involved with the over-consumption of beauty products has been another reason that I’m trying to cut back. Throwing away a full, empty foundation just looks like money in the trash and it’s really sad! I obviously love trying new beauty products but I’m learning that there are things I’d rather spend my money on lately while I use up all the amazing products that I already have.
If you’re also getting this kind of icky feeling at overconsumption in the beauty industry, taking a look at what you have, like to purchase, and really need will help keep things going in and out of your collection at a better rate. Having fewer items will help me ditch the sad feeling that I can’t use all my faves all the time. Thinking about what I actually wanted to use my spending money on really helped me revisit my buying habits and take a better look at the way I was throwing money in the trash. Also, if you’d like to declutter more responsibly, look into some of the awesome recycling programs specifically made for beauty products so everything is taken care of after it leaves your hands.
Have you ever felt like this about over purchasing?