Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Makeup Your Mind

Ed. Note: Meet -- re-meet actually -- my darling Marsi of Luxebytes who will, in her own words, be helping entertain you "from time to time" (Marsi doesn't like pressure. . .) while I work on my book. She is a wonderful writer and is an extraordinarily discerning product junkie. She has led me to some real bijoux. I've found I always have something to learn from her. Today is no exception. I think you'll agree.

When Shakespeare's Juliet uttered those immortal words "Parting is such sweet sorrow," I have a feeling that the lovestruck ingenue wasn't thinking about five pounds of lipstick gone wrong -- but I sure was, earlier today, as I went through my guilty, filthy stash of makeup mistakes.

What brought on this uncharacteristic urgency to finally -- once and for all -- offload all of my nubby lipsticks, crumbly shadows, and foundations so ancient they'd separated into equal parts oily and orange? Even though they were so old and inadequate that this exercise really should've been a no-brainer, some of my goods gone bad were also expensive. Chanel. Dior. Guerlain. Bobbi Brown. Tarte. To throw away something expensive is, after all, to acknowledge that one has made a boo-boo, and a costly one at that.

But over the last five years or so, I've committed to whittling down my wardrobe and housewares to just those items I need, I use, and/or I love, and have done my best to give the old heave-ho to the rest. Why should my toiletries be any different? 

This thought had been bubbling away on my back burner lately, and I just needed the extra little push to cull my cosmetics. Momentum came today when I happened upon the Cosmetics Calculator, a website dedicated to telling you, in no uncertain terms, that it's time to drop the gloss and back away slowly. 

We've all heard that the shelf life for mascara is six months at the most, a year for foundation, and a couple of years for lipstick. But it's so easy to think something's newer and fresher than it actually is (especially if you spent foolishly on it and avoid facing that fact). The Cosmetics Calculator clarifies all that by using the manufacturer and batch code to tell you how long ago you should've disposed of your little science experiment. A batch code appears on most cosmetics and toiletries, either embossed on the label or stamped somewhere on the tube.

Those numbers can be tiny. Thank goodness for progressive lenses!
Here's just a portion of the five pounds of expired cosmetics and toiletries I rendered unto the trash bin this morning. Realizing that my Chanel Coromandel Red lipstick actually expired last century sure made it a lot easier to bid it adieu. 

I ran this photo through a vintage filter on Instagram to make this stuff look as old as it is. I refrained from doing so to my head shot above -- but trust me, I could have.

Now, if you want to feel even more virtuous, drop off your load at the closest Origins store or counter, where they'll dispose of your castoffs in an ecologically sane manner through their Return to Origins Recycling Program. Origins accepts all brands and will reward you for your donation with a free sample of your choice. But, if you have six items from MAC, the company's Back to MAC Programallows you to cash them in for a new lipstick. (I earned one!) Isn't that beautiful? 

So there you go. It was sort of fun to carbon-date my biohazard and give it the proper burial it's been waiting for. Now, everything that remains in my stash meets my criteria: I need it, I use it, and/or I love it. Best of all, I no longer have to worry that it's out to kill me. 


editors@BrightCopperKettles said...

Very good, Marci! It's so difficult to let go of things that have earned our hard-earned money and then not followed through. (And I didn't know about Back to MAC - so cool!)

Lost in Provence said...

I'll definitely be looking forward to Marci's future posts. This was right up my alley although I am not petrified to even open up my makeup cabinet. There are some ancient artifacts in there! :O

Joni said...

Loved the post, Marsi! I had totally forgotten that Origins had that program. Thank you for the reminder!

Elizabeth Eiffel said...

I too recently cleaned out my bathroom cabinet. $ signs were flashing before my eyes as I purged my make up stash, some of which was almost prehistoric. Unfortunately I didn't have Marci's skill for recounting this event.........Looking forward to reading more of her take on life.

Pam @ over50feeling40 said...

It is so hard to think of the wasted money...but we have to clean out this stuff!! Great reminder! Also, this morning there was a news article about Loreal and Maybelline Lipsticks with lead in them...those probably need to be tossed as well!!

déjà pseu said...

Good to know! I tend to accumulate lipsticks mostly, and shudder to think of how much wasted $$ is stashed in my bathroom drawer at any given time...

Karena said...

I am a lip gloss hoarder. Now I know that i must face my fears and toss many!


Art by Karena

sanda said...

This really hits home! I have this bad habit of starting a new bag of the stuff I use and leaving the products I don't use anymore in the old bag and holding on to it instead of trashing it. But you have inspired me to toss stuff! Great post; look forward to more!

hopflower said...

Oh yes; I earned a MAC lipstick once, too. I don't wear a lot of their products so it took ages, but they certainly were glad to take back the old cases and tubes, etc. I did not know Origins did this, so I will check what I have and take a bit down there. I am sure I have something!

hostess of the humble bungalow said...

Hi Marci,

You look lovely in that photo and I must say I have been hoping for some posts from you.

I used to keep lots of cosmetics around and now I have pared mine down to a few at a time.

I got a nasty eye infection years ago which was caused by germ-y mascara and I learned that lesson the hard way as I had to dispose of ALL my eye products to avoid recontamination.

The Origins program sounds fabulous. It's nice to see that we have an ethical option for disposal.

Good work on the make up de-cluttering!

Marsha said...

It is always inspirational to see other women facing their mistakes and tossing them (we all need that, I suspect, in more than one aspect of our lives!). But my suspicious nature is aroused when I observe that the toss-by dates are set by the manufacturers, who can only benefit from persuading us to dump things and buy more. For example, I use foundation very rarely; I have a bottle of very expensive foundation that is at least 12 years old. It has separated - horrors! So I shake it up and find that it is perfectly usable. Of course, the maker would rather I spent more money buying more makeup, but why should I? I would like to know a bit more of the chemistry behind the notion of makeup "going bad" than in readily available on the internet (which is full of homey reasoning that, upon examination, doesn't really say much). I'm not sure that I buy the idea of bacteria thriving in every bottle that has ever been opened, or that water or plant extracts make a product less long-lived - what is going on at a chemical level that means I should dump the product? Does anyone know of a fairly technical and detailed site what could help me learn?

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