10 Ways to Reuse Your Cosmetic Containers

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We’re all trying to be a little more conscious of our carbon footprint, but we tend to overlook the little things. If you’re not ready to commit to a makeupless life or change brands to an environmentally friendly option, you can start with one simple change in your morning beauty routine: Don’t toss those old makeup compacts in the garbage.

Keep your makeup out of a landfill by repurposing those plastic cosmetic containers into something you can use. Maybe you’re thinking this might be a little too crafty for you, but these upcycled makeup compacts are a cinch whatever your skill level.

Photo by Flickr/lilivanili

10 Uses for Old Makeup Containers

1. Store solid perfume. Turn those old makeup compacts into a solid perfume container. It’s as easy as melting some beeswax or coconut oil and adding your favorite essential oil or fragrance. Just make sure you clean out all of the makeup residue and then pour your custom perfume into the old makeup compact where it will solidify as it cools. Now you’ve got yourself an easy-to-carry perfume and you won’t have to worry about spilling it in your purse.

2. Cut the clutter. So you’ve decided to clean out your purse and now you have a pile of tiny odds and ends that you don’t want to sink back into the abyss at the bottom of your bag. Well, repurpose an old makeup compact to store everything from paperclips to earring backs. You could also keep other small items including mints, pills, coins, or an extra set of nails. You could even use them at the office to organize your desk drawers too.

3. Make your own makeup. The best way to save money while being environmentally conscious is to make your own makeup. Use an old makeup compact to carry homemade lip tint or lip balm. Simply melt together some beeswax and coconut oil, adding a natural tint like beet juice if desired, and pour it into the clean compact.

4. Be a smart consumer. Some makeup companies already have a recycling program in place that allows you to send back used compacts and makeup containers for recycling. You might even earn a freebie like with the Back to MAC program. A few companies providing recycling programs include beautyblender, MAC, and Origins. Other makeup companies provide the option for purchasing a refill instead of having to buy another bottle including Chanel and Burberry. If you have a favorite product that does not have a recycling program, let them know. It never hurts to send a letter or email expressing your concerns.

5. Keepsake or keep organized. Upcycle those old makeup compacts into a mini-photo album or notepad. Just place a stack of mini-sticky notes in the clean compact and use them to jot down your to-do list or important numbers in case you loose your cell. You can make a simple accordion type photo album by cutting the pictures to fit in the makeup compact and connecting them with ribbon and glue.

6. Emergency sewing kit. It happens, maybe you loose a button or the hem on your dress comes loose. Why not be prepared? Just glue a small piece of sponge or felt into your old compact to hold needles, throw in some thread and a button or two and you have a ready made sewing kit for quick fixes on the go.

7. Travel paint pallet. Use your old compact to make a mini pallet for painting while you travel. Put a little liquid watercolor, primary colors are best, in the clean compact, let it dry and use an old makeup brush for a paintbrush. You could even cut small pieces of watercolor paper to store in your upcycled compact and with a little water you’ll be painting wherever you are.

8. Stocking stuffer for kids. Turn a used compact into a memory game by using slips of paper with different images or family photos. You could also make a faux makeup kit by filling an empty compact with nail polish or acrylic paint. Cut out small paper dolls and store them in the empty compact, or make a miniature doll and bed inside.

9. Mod podge makeup compact. Decoupage is one craft anyone can do. Find some images you like and decorate an old makeup compact to use as a money clip or glue a magnet to the back and you have a unique work of art for your refrigerator.

10. Upcycled wall art. If nothing less, make wall art from your old makeup compacts. You can separate the mirrors and cluster them on the wall or use them as mini picture frames for favorite family photos.

Whether you decide to recycle or upcycle your old makeup compacts, you should never toss them just because they cracked. There’s an easy fix for broken powder, just mix it with a bit of rubbing alcohol, put it back in the compact and let it dry out again. Good as new without the waste of a new purchase.

Kate Hunter is an upcycling guru and an expert on natural beauty as well as organic gardening and sustainable farming. When she’s not working on the family’s organic farm, Hunter Farm, she makes and sells natural products and upcycled clothing on her Etsy shop Turnip Mims. Kate enjoys whole food cooking and following up on politics and the latest health food news. Kate is a mother of three, speaks sarcasm, some Spanish, but mostly English and spends her time baking, taking pictures, canning, growing and drying herbs, raising heritage breed chickens, reading, writing, and checking food labels, of course.

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