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makeup photoBy Siobhan O’Connor for NoMoreDirtyLooks.com

We get asked a lot what you should do with your cosmetics when you’re making the switch to clean and find yourself with a bathroom full of crap. The honest answer is: There is no easy solution.

When we were writing the book, we entertained, shocked, and made each other giggle with snaps of our stockpiled crap. They were funny and a little sad, mainly because…

and I have said this before, but we reeeeeally didn’t think we were product hoarders or especially girlie girls before we wrote this book. I have since accepted that I was (am) patently both, all things considered, and when I was swapping out dirty for clean, I had a boat load of garbage to get rid of. We both did.

But what to do with it? To be honest, we have skirted this question because it leads to some unsatisfying options. Such as:

1. You can use it up, exposing yourself to the unmentionables in the bottle, which, truth be told, will not kill you but which you probably do not want to use anymore now that you know what you know. That’s the problem, if we want to get deep for a second: With cosmetics—AS WITH EVERYTHING IN LIFE—once you see something you didn’t see before, you cannot then un-see it unless you do drugs or drink too much. It sucks, but it’s part of an evolution toward the good… So you’ve got that going for you. Which is nice.

2. You can flush it down the can, which may or may not poison the water and the coral reefs and the fish who call it home, because a lot of these things, especially hormone disruptors, don’t come out when water is purified by your local sanitation department—but at least you get to recycle the bottle, which isn’t nothing.

3. You can toss it, and have it end up in a landfill.

4. You can donate it, but then you have problem number 1 (and, potentially, 2 and 3), only it’s outsourced to someone you don’t know. The little I know about karma tells me this is probably the least-good solution.

Me, I abandoned this problem a while ago, but I still use, finish, sample, and occasionally discard products without finishing them—which leads me with stuff that I need to do something with.

Keep reading for the five ways Siobhan handles this problem now…