Action 340: Manage your make-up responsibly

Make up Date: 06 December
Action: 340
Cost of taking action: NIL


From our guest writer Lakshika in the USA

Cosmetics can be very damaging to the environment, but you can help to prevent this

Manage your makeup in an environmentally responsible way.

Many of us use some sort of makeup or cosmetic product in our daily routine, especially us women.

The waterproof, long-lasting, sparkly products make us look beautiful, but that’s not all they do.

I hadn’t realised until recently how those chemicals and tiny particles in my makeup products can be harmful for the environment. But unfortunately, they can. When toxic ingredients are washed down the drain, they ends up in the ocean and damage the eco system and aquatic life. So, whenever we buy a new makeup product next time, we should focus on how to reduce its impact on the environment.


Most of our beauty products comes in a mix of plastic, glass, and cardboard packaging.

For example, a typical eyeshadow palette is made of plastic and with a glass mirror and is packed in a cardboard box which makes it confusing and tricky to recycle. Most of the time, in fact, this plastic packaging is non-recyclable. Even if the packaging is recyclable, recycling is not always the best solution in waste reduction practices. So, it is very important to look for less packaging and refillable products when buying your makeup to reduce the waste going to landfilling.

Terracycle provides some options for properly discarding makeup products and packaging. Their drop-off locations accept beauty care supplies including lipstick, chapstick tubes, mascara tubes, eye shadow, liner cases, pencils, shampoo conditioner bottles, hair gel tubes and jars, deodorant sticks, body wash, soap, and lotion containers, and lip liner pencils.

Make upIngredients

Consider beauty products made with 100% natural sustainable ingredients.

To understand this better, we can check for the ingredients in the label, looking for natural oils and extracts from plants.

We should, however, avoid products containing palm oil; the process of palm oil production is very bad for the environment, causing major deforestation.

Take care about microplastics and chemicals. The use of plastic microbeads and toxic chemical in cosmetic products are banned in some countries, but not all, and there’s a huge negative impact from these to the environment.

As we learn more about the impact of these harmful ingredients it is our responsibility avoid them as much as we can.

Take action on your makeup

There are some common-sense actions we can all take if we buy cosmetics:

  • Choose products with less packaging materials
  • Choose products with recyclable packaging
  • Use facilities such as Terracycle – check for drop-off locations near you
  • Avoid products with plastic microbeads – these tiny plastic particles pollute the waterways and our oceans
  • Avoid products with palm oil – palm oil production causes deforestation
  • Look for ingredients derived from natural resources, natural ingredients, rather than chemicals
  • Avoid shiny glitter products – these are mostly made of microplastics!
  • Consider products which offer refill packages, or minimal, plastic free packaging
  • In general terms, think twice – about the product and the environment – before you buy!

Why is this important?

Cosmetics ultimately get washed away! We should take responsibility for what we flush down our toilets and drain through our sinks as part of our efforts to live sustainably. If all of us adopt these actions and take on responsibility for managing our makeup products, the results will keep the earth prettier and us all happier.

This article has been contributed by
Lakshika Nishadhi

Insta: @waste.reduction
Twitter: @lakshikansh