Updated: Apr 11, 2019
Are you trying to reduce your environmental impact and transition to a vegan and cruelty-free lifestyle? Often your makeup bag is a tough switch to make, but do not let that stop you from trying.
Here's a couple of steps to get you started:
Sort through your makeup.
I mean, all of it. Take it out of your drawer/make-up bag, gather every single piece you own and collect it in one place. Then sort it in categories, and get rid of any makeup that cannot be used. If the makeup is expired, try to find locations to recycle it. Unfortunately, most cosmetic products cannot be recycled due to the complexity of the packaging, but I'm going to give you suggestions on how to fix that problem later on. If the makeup is old, you could still get some use out of it, but make sure it won't cause an allergic reaction. I've had makeup for over 5 years, and it's still fine! If the product is broken, try fixing it. A simple google search should help you fix the problem. If a powder is broken, you can transfer it to a small, travel-sized container so you can get the most out of it. If there are some items that you don't think you'll use, donate them! Find local shelters near you that take make-up or just give them to someone that wants them, may that be a friend or family member.
Figure out your preferences and adjust.
Recognize what percentage of your current makeup is vegan/cruelty-free and see what the areas you can improve are. If your favorite mascara is not cruelty-free, what is the next best alternative? Again, you can search for duplicates on the internet, and you'll most likely find something.
Use up what you have.
PLEASE do not throw away your old makeup. The point of becoming more sustainable means reducing your waste. And by throwing out your old make-up not only will it create waste, but you will have to buy new make-up sooner, thus creating more waste. So use up what you already have. Maybe, you can even try using up the non-cruelty free ones first.
Reduce your makeup usage.
This is something that my skin appreciated greatly. For the past 8 years, I have been very insecure about my natural eyebrows, and I have been using products on them ever since. Now looking back at it, I can't believe it how long it has been since I've gone ALL natural. But, I have learned through this process of makeup cleansing to appreciate my "flaws". And my "flaws" are something that I seem to be the only one that notices. And even if they do so, WHO CARES? If they can't accept me for my non-existent blonde ass eyebrows, then they are not worth being in my life. If you want to make permanent changes, you can always get a permanent tattoo (like micro-blading your eyebrows). ANYWAY... by reducing your makeup usage you need less makeup, fewer makeup removers, etc. and eventually, you save money, resources and time.
Where to dispose of your makeup.
Here's a list of brands that accept ALL makeup (including other brands'): Happy Skincare, Origins (not cruelty free) and Bare Minerals (but I could not find the link to their program). Here's a list of brands that accept their own products only: Kiehl's (not cruelty free), Lush and MAC (not cruelty free), and Aveda
Additionally, Terracycle recycling receptors can be found all over the US and the UK. If you would like, you can browse through the respective website and see where you can recycle near you!
These are some of the options available, and if you find out more, please feel free to let me know. As I research, I will continue adding on to this list. Depending on the region you live in, there might be a difference in how these programs work. However, you can hold on to your make-up empties until you find a proper way to recycle them. I just put them under my kitchen sink, that way they don't take up much space.
Sustainability is not about recycling. In fact, recycling is not that effective at all. There is currently a huge problem with the global recycling industry, and we should keep that in mind. Even though recycling programs are great, we should not rely on them. We should first reduce our consumption. But, if you still want to wear some makeup, maybe on special occasions, here are my suggestions for you Zao Makeup and Elate Cosmetics offer refillable products that come in bamboo cases. Basically, you have to make a one time purchase of the cases, and then you just buy the refills whenever you need them. Both of these companies are cruelty-free and have vegan options.
There's also the fantastic Aether Beauty eyeshadow pallet is 100% recyclable, actually the first in the industry.
Find cruelty-free and vegan companies.
If the above sustainable options are not available to you, you can check out Cruelty-Free Kitty and Ethical Elephant for a thorough list on every single company, whether they're cruelty-free or not, and their vegan-friendly products. Also, please try to buy makeup from countries as close to you as possible, so that you reduce your carbon footprint.
If you're don't like online shopping, you can use The Pure Panda website and find cruelty free cosmetics stores near you.
When you're buying your next product, please make sure it's from an all-around ethical company. A vegan, sustainable and cruelty-free company that takes care of their employees and gives back. Try to reduce your consumption, and if you need any help with research, do let me know either on Instagram (@learntoloveourearth) or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org