Clo.Chat: Towards a Sustainable and Natural Cosmetics Kit

Get a cup of coffee or tea or whatever it is that you prefer. Settle down and read on.... this one's a long post.

Today evening I lined up all the cosmetics/personal care products I own. Then I counted them all. The count? More than 60 products! Can you believe it? I sure as hell can't. I never thought I owned these many especially since I use about 10 of these regularly and maybe 10 more occasionally. That's about 20 products, which means I own about 40 more products I don't really use.

How did I end up with so many?
  • Bought a bunch of products to try for hair/face to find "the one" (rendering the ones that are not, useless)
  • Freebies/Samples (Who doesn't love free stuff?)
  • Impulse purchases (Oooh, look that shade matches the dress I'm wearing tonight; ka-ching)
  • Very old stuff still lurking around eating up space (For supposed future use; useless hope!)
I'm curious though, is it me or do you also find yourself surrounded by so much stuff you don't use!?

These are all the reasons I could come up with to make my cosmetics/personal care products kit more sustainable:
  1. In this post, I found that my leading brand hair care product has high hazard toxins it. Applying that same calculation to the my entire collection means x50 the chemicals I'm inputting into my system!  
  2. Cosmetics and personal care products have a shelf life and it is really not a good idea to use them beyond that period. Read more here.
  3. I live in a 400sft apartment with my husband. I really don't have the luxury of space to keep the stuff I don't use.
  4. I'm moving towards using only natural and vegan products; So cleaning up and getting rid of all the synthetic and chemical products means I can add natural products to my portfolio as needed.
Now all of this is nice and dandy. Here is my question: How to apply the three R's (Reduce, Reuse and Recycle) to the cosmetics/personal care products? I've jotted down what I came up with below. I'd appreciate your ideas/suggestions/advice.

Step 1: Put a breaker on the buying for a while. Fix the current mess, then you can do some need-based shopping
Step 2: Reuse, reuse, reuse. I read somewhere that someone mixed blush to white paint to give it that faint pink color - some innovation huh!
  • Use old shampoos and conditioners to clean up combs and brushes. Apparently, conditioner makes for a great shaving cream! More tips here
  • Look at the number of nail polishes I own! I'm seriously planning to setup a Nail polish swap:  A group of friends get together, buy natural, chemical free polishes in different colors and exchange them! You get to try different colors and  it will cost less. Interested friends in NYC, ping me!
  • Still trying to come up with good reuse for hair styling products (curl products) - Any ideas??
Step 3: Recycle the empty bottles. Many times you can recycle cosmetic packaging curbside but a lot of this packaging is made up of plastic#5 which is often left out of curbside recycling initiatives. Fret not, many companies have come up with cosmetic packing recycling initiatives such as Origins (accepts all types of packing irrespective of brand), Back to M.A.C (accepts only MAC products) etc.
Step 4: Buy Less!!!
Step 5: Buy natural and organic products. Safe for the body and the earth (couldn't resist the cliche)

In summary,

So I'm going to clean up my kit and will keep you posted on the updates.

...and now friend, if you have read through this entire post, I owe you a brownie to go with that coffee or tea or whatever that is that you are drinking.

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