Sustainability: Beauty Spring Cleaning

Sustainability: Beauty Spring Cleaning

Before the fun of spring cleaning starts (did I just use spring cleaning and fun in the same sentence?) we need to talk about clearing out some of our older beauty products.

In my previous post I talked about the realities of this COVID-19 pandemic crisis we are currently in. My sincerest hope is you have all taken this seriously, yet remained calm. Since being on lock down, I've taken to looking around the house and seeing what needs to go on my spring cleaning list. I've also taken stock of some of the ways my family and I can go green in the process.

The word sustainability gets thrown around a lot these days. So much information coming at us, it's kind of hard to know where to start and if I'm being totally honest, it's hard not to feel defeated before even starting. I mentioned earlier this year I'd be sharing some of the changes my family and I have made to live more sustainable lives. Nothing I share is going to be earth shattering and there will of course never be any judgement. I saw this saying earlier when I felt like doing anything was hopeless and it really clicked with me...

So let's be part of the imperfect team! A few little changes and we can know that we're doing our part. Over the next few months I'll share a variety of different earth friendly changes my family and I are making. Today we're going to start with beauty products.

Did you know that all beauty products expire? It's true. They each have a shelf life and most items will show that on the side of the bottle. It generally looks like a little jar and it will have a number on it.

That number followed by M is how many months your product is good for after you open it.

You might be wondering what happens if you use a product for longer than the expiry date. Not only will the product lose its potency and become less effective (especially true for moisturizer and anti-aging products) but you also risk irritation and possible bacterial infection from using a product past the expiry date. Gross. Reading all of this I decided to see on average how long beauty products last and I found this great infographic from Real Simple

Opening my bathroom beauty drawer and I was blinded by 1. a mess and 2. a lot of expired product.

I have to admit I didn't realize that so much of this stuff expires so quickly! Eyeliner and mascara in 3 months and concealer in a year?!?

beauty expiration date

That means that all of the products you see above had expired. And many were nowhere near being finished. So that tells me that I am buying too much of the wrong product (another issue is that since I love talking about all things beauty, companies send me a lot of freebies. I have now asked them to remove me from those PR lists) 

So we're going through our beauty drawers and shelves and we've got a pile of expired or even product that we just don't want. You might be wondering where the sustainability element is. Well, do not throw that pile of product in the trash. You need to contact your area's household-hazardous waste program for specific directions on disposing leftover cosmetics (here's the info for Waterloo Region residents). 

There are some pretty harmful chemicals in those bottles (I'm looking at you nail polish!) and you don't want that to just end up in your landfill. You also don't want to dispose of that down your drain which could contaminate your water. 

expired beauty

Now I have a pretty full bag all ready for the waste management site to reopen (they have closed due to COVID-19) 

There, we did some good. We cleaned our bathroom out of old and no longer needed product and we're doing it safely. 

It's also a good way to gauge what you're really using and what you can probably go without. For me, I noticed that even though I had three bottles of concealer on the go, I don't really wear it. Actually, I would prefer not to! So while I'm getting rid of a lot of product, I won't be adding any unnecessary ones back in. That has to get us some sustainability points right there, right? I know it will save us all money in the long run and that's always a good thing!