cosmetics consumption and conflict

There was a time in my life when I wasn’t a terribly conscious consumer. I would compulsively buy things like inexpensive clothing and makeup without really thinking about where it came from or what it was made of. Those days have long since passed, but I still hold onto some small reminders of that less mindful time. What were these little reminders? A crapload of makeup sitting in bags in my closet.

I don’t even really wear makeup. Maybe a little mascara every once in a blue moon. That’s about it. So why was I still holding onto these whispers of habits past collecting dust, taking up physical and mental space? Because I simply didn’t know what to do with them. I have a really hard time throwing things out that will just end up in a landfill.

Until… I got a tip-off from a fellow twitterer (thanks, Melissa!) about a place I could recycle these wastes of space.

An Origins store.

So inspired was I by this news (and by the book I’m currently reading Throw Out 50 Things – more on that in a later post) that I collected all of this old makeup and brought it to the Origins store on West Broadway and Spring Street. Before I made my way over there, I had to clean out all of the lipstick tubes, eyeshadow palettes, and blush compacts. When I was through, my hands were covered in nasty makeup and the trash can looked like a fairy threw up into it – all pastel and glittery.

When I got to the store, the sales woman was so enthusiastic about my decision to turn in these old conveyances. She rewarded me with the news that this weekend, the store was holding an Earth Day event offering free mini facials to its customers. She also gave me a couple of samples of products from their Perfect World line.

I didn’t think much about the exchange, other than feeling good about ridding myself of that old makeup and not having to resort to just tossing it all in the trash.

When I sat back down in front of my computer however, I had to look up the new samples I had acquired to see what their contents really held (ingredients lists don’t fit on those tiny tubes of product). Much to my dismay, they’re full of all the no-nos in beauty products today: parabens, petroleum, and some other nasty fillers. Check out the full list of what Origins uses at Not such a Perfect World after all.

So I’m left with mixed feelings. I’m glad that Origins accepted all of my old cosmetics vessels for recycling, but can’t really support their products because of the dubious contents. I’ve even taken down the banner I used to have promoting them (in the right-hand column).

What are your thoughts on this beauty product paradox?

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