Of course we’re all guilty of becoming addicted to a fantastic hero product. We justify the price for its efficacy, but its shelf appeal is what brings a sparkle to our eye each morning and evening. Heavy ceramic jars, beautifully frosted bottles, or deep blue-black glass droppers make us feel, if even for a moment, like the goddess we truly are. You know, before donning our stretchy pants and answering those 200 emails, or changing the diaper of a wailing baby, or scrubbing the toilet. Let us have it.
However, the last morsel of product from these fit-for-a-queen containers is made all the more painful by having to toss them out. Such quality and consideration should not be laid to waste. First and foremost, we really shouldn’t be tossing any of our product containers directly into the garbage.
Almost all materials that skincare and beauty products are packaged in are recyclable, so just take a sec to rinse them out before adding them to the proper bin. And, in many cases, we don’t have to part with our lovely vessels at all. We can upcycle lots of product packaging so that it serves us in more ways than one.
Dropper bottles are great to keep around because they are small and easy to store, and can be reused to make DIY herbal tinctures, culinary oil infusions for easy food garnishing, or your own oil blends. Buy organic, cold-pressed jojoba oil from your local health food market, and blend with an essential oil of choice for a naturally scented and effective emollient for cuticles, body, face, or hair to put in these repurposed droppers. Get creative—they make great gifts this way.
Glass and ceramic candles are typically meant to be enjoyed as a fixture among our personal decor as is. When the wax runs dry and all we’re left with is a sad little nub of a wick, clean it out with hot water and reuse. If it’s a larger candle or comes with a lid, it can be used to store dry goods in the kitchen like spices, herbs, or DIY loose-leaf tea blends. Smaller jars can be used to hold Q-tips, bobby pins, makeup brushes, pens, matches, or palo santo for our moment of zen in the Under $50: Bathroom Updates while we apply our other favorite products.
Peel off labels and use Goo Gone to remove sticky residue, or if product info seems printed on, a little acetone from nail polish remover typically does the trick. Once the bottle is clear and blank, repurpose it for a flower from the garden on the bathroom counter. You’d be surprised what fresh flowers in the bathroom can do for such an ordinary space.
Candles, jars of body cream or scrub, bottles, and much more can come doubly packaged in boxes that are usually designed with rich, quality paper stock and lovely texture. It might even be the reason we reached for them in-store in the first place. Reuse these boxes to wrap gifts in, just make sure to cover the box sides individually so the receiver doesn’t think we’re gifting the original product. Or, use the shorter, more squat boxes in bathroom drawers as effective dividers to keep everything organized. Because we all know how things can get ugly quick when crammed in the same drawer.
After deep cleaning these out with a little pipe cleaner brush, soapy hot water, and maybe even some alcohol, these can be used again. Make sure the wand is spotless too—it might take a little elbow grease. Once sparkling, drop in some organic and cold-pressed castor oil (from one of our recycled droppers!) for a natural lash-lengthening treatment. Make sure to do a test patch if you’re not sure how sensitive you are to castor oil.
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