How to save money and cut down on beauty waste




Hey! I’m Bronni, and I’m a blogger and personal finance writer. Kara asked me to write a guest post around beauty and saving money, I always love her tips, so here are some of mine! 

Lately, I’ve been really into trying to reduce the single-use plastics I throw away every day. I’m also attempting to make a little bit of extra effort to recycle the waste plastics I can’t avoid throwing away.

Pay attention to expiry dates

The number one way to throw away less makeup is to use up what you already have before you buy even more. By law, all beauty products should have a label that tells you how long your item should last once you open it. 

It looks like a little open cap with a number inside – like this. 


Beauty Best Before logo

By law, all beauty products should have a label that tells you how long your item should last once you open it. It looks like a little open cap with a number inside – like this.


Some makeup can last an incredibly long time, but the things you need to keep an eye on (get it?) are things like mascaras and eyeliners. Often they only have a six-month shelf life, and using expired products around your eyes can lead to severe reactions. It isn’t pretty! 

In my opinion, there’s very little reason to have more than one mascara open at once. Use them up before they expire, and only then you can start using a shiny new one! 

Have a hard time remembering just how long you’ve had certain products?


Write open dates on your beauty products to make them last

Write open dates on your beauty products to make them last

Switch to flannels or muslin cloths

Face wipes are really good for convenience, but not for much else. They clog the sewers, they aren’t recyclable and they dried my skin out while I was using them. 

Making an easy swap to using a cleanser with a flannel or muslin cloth will save you throwing out hundreds of wipes a year. 

Read the 4 practical swaps I made to cut down on single-use plastic at home. 

Use store specific recycling schemes and claim freebies

This is a really good tip if you like freebies! There are a few big names in makeup and skincare that not only will recycle your old packaging for you, but they’ll give you something free in return. 

At the moment, MAC, Lush and The Body Shop all offer a nice bonus for giving them five or six bits of old packaging. For more information and to find out if any more brands decide to offer this perk check my post about getting free beauty products by recycling.


The Body Shop is one of the retailers that rewards you for recycling your product


Use TerraCycle for beauty packaging that isn’t normally recyclable

Even if you try hard to recycle your beauty products at home, you might still be left with items you can’t get rid of without sending them to landfill. 

This is where TerraCycle comes in. They’re able to recycle many materials your local council won’t. The most relevant scheme is run by Garnier, but you can use it to hand in any brand of packaging. What matters is the type of product it is. You can see what this TerraCycle scheme accepts in this image or read more on their site


The TerraCycle scheme accepts these brands



It’s important you use normal kerbside recycling for what you can, i.e in that image, you can recycle the cardboard hair dye box at home, but the metal tube, gloves and lids are what TerraCycle will accept. They have a programme for oral care packaging too.

You can look on the TerraCycle site for public drop off points. Often they’ll be situated in related businesses (many dentists have collection bins for oral care), community centres or the brand’s own stores – you can drop off old L’Occitane products at L’Occitane, for example. 

However, a great way to send off many different types of packaging at once is to find a local collector. These dedicated volunteers collect all sorts of things and send them off to make money for charity. One of the biggest networks I know about is Kicks Count, it’s a great pregnancy charity and there are TerraCycle collectors all over the UK. Check the Kicks Count blog for a collector map.



Buy tester sizes and use up samples 

If you’re anything like me, then you collect free makeup samples when you’re out and about, then just throw them in a drawer never to be used again.

For shampoo sachets, these are great for the gym, it’s less to carry and it’ll save you money. Some samples are actually pretty generous, I’ve had tiny mascaras last me a whole six months until they need binning – why would you buy full size?

It’s always worth asking at counters to try something out before you buy, most places will be willing to hand some over. Finding out something doesn’t suit you before you splash out on it is going to save you loads in the long run. 


Always consider samples, as they can last surprisingly long


Enjoyed this post? You can see more of my makeup and skincare money-saving hacks and freebies at Beauty Markdown, and more general blogging at     

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