On Throwing Away My Toxic Makeup

This week was emotional.

At first it was sad, but then it was freeing.


So, so freeing.

I felt like I was basically waiting for graduation to really take a moment and pull my life together. I finished my last final, and I thought, OK. Let’s do this. 

The first step to pulling everything together was some major spring cleaning. Fun fact about me: I’m kind of a hoarder. Not a real hoarder, but I have A LOT of belongings. Random, useless belongings. I save things unnecessarily. I have too many clothing items, too much makeup, too many books… just too many random things. Because I have so much, my space has been very cluttered. I just kind of stuff things in empty spaces and tell myself I’ll deal with it later, when I have time. Well, now’s that time.

I was really looking forward to a big spring cleaning because I knew I would feel so much relief if I could just get rid of all of the useless things I was hanging onto. I’ve found that when my space is cluttered, so is my brain. It’s like the more things there are around me, the busier my head gets. I honestly just couldn’t take it anymore.

However, I also was dreading cleaning things out, for a few reason. First of all, I have this weird attachment to everything I own. Things I haven’t used in years, I think I need to hang onto “just in case.” I can always come up with a ridiculous reason for keeping something. So irrational. Or I feel some sentimental value to it. Or I feel guilty giving it away because someone gave it to me. It’s also just a lot of work to sit down and go through everything you own. I’m really good at organizing other people’s lives, but not so good at my own.

Buuuut I sat down and did it. If I didn’t do it now, I was never going to. I went through my clothes. I went through my books. I went through my desk. I went through my pills. My tea. My shoes. My bags. My jewelry. All of that was pretty simple. The category that I was a little nervous about, though….beauty products.

Using non-toxic beauty products is something I’ve been very passionate about for awhile. It’s an extension of how much I care about the food I put in my body. So many personal care items are laced with carcinogens and hormone disruptors, and these are things we put on our bodies every day. Our skin is our largest organ. Eating healthy food is a big part of the equation, but the personal care products is another huge part of the equation that so many people forget about. I wrote a post awhile back explaining exactly why I switched to safer beauty products, which is also why I became a Beautycounter consultant. You can read that here if you want to learn more about how the products I was using were seriously harming my health.

Since then, I use clean beauty products 95% of the time. Mainly Beautycounter, and then other brands that I’ve found along the way. Even though I’ve been doing that for months, I never bothered to get rid of my old makeup.

I kept it for a few reasons. First of all, because I have a lot of it. My makeup collection is something that has taken me pretty much my whole life to build up. I planned on being a makeup artist for a long time, so I started building my collection early in high school. I made it my mission to try every product I could get my hands on and collect as many as I could. You know, build that arsenal of beauty weapons. I had to leave half of it behind when I went to college, but I still brought a lot with me when I went away to college. Second of all, it’s worth a lot of money! Do you know how expensive high end makeup is?! I have spent thousands of dollars on makeup throughout my life, and it’s not something I can easily throw in the trash. Also, most of it is still in excellent condition. It’s not like I’ve hit pan on a lot of things or broken them. Most of them look brand new. Plus, there are definitely times when I still use those products. Once in a blue moon when I have an event, or my friend needs me to do her makeup, they come in handy. I like having a wide range of products to pick from, and I can count on those products to perform because I’ve been testing them for years.

As silly as it might sound, my makeup products were always part of my identity. I fell in love with makeup when I was five and my aunt taught me how to do a smokey eye. I clung to makeup in high school as a way to mask my insecurities about my skin. I fell in love with it as a form of art, and I spent most of my free time practicing different looks, doing my friends’ makeup, and watching YouTube beauty videos. For a long time, I was the type to do my makeup all-out every single day. Smokey eye, winged liner, full face of foundation, contour, highlight, lipstick. Every. Day. I loved it. I would do my makeup even when no one was going to see me that day – it was just fun. My form of creativity.

When I got sick a few years ago, I realized how precious time was to me. My relationship with makeup changed, a lot. My friends noticed. I stopped putting on a full face of makeup every day. I stopped buying as much of it, stopped watching as many YouTube videos, stopped practicing looks for fun. I had a lot of other things on my mind, and I had to prioritize. It was no longer a priority for me.

That was at the same time as when I really started writing on my blog regularly, and I found myself a little confused. When I launched my blog, I thought it was going to be a beauty blog. Completely. It became hard for me to keep blogging solely about beauty when I had so much else on my mind that was so much more important to me, like health topics, and when I wasn’t as passionate about wearing makeup fit for the prom every day of my life. There was nothing wrong with that, but my interests changed.

I still love and adore makeup. It will always be “my thing.” I know a lot about beauty – makeup, skincare, etc., and it will always be a passion of mine. My friends know there is nothing I love more than an excuse to go out and do my makeup, or theirs. However, I’m never going to be that girl again who wears a smokey eye, contour, and a bold lip every single day. Just not my thing. I also am not the person going out to parties anymore or going to prom or going to any other event where I need to get all glammed up. It happens every so often, but not every weekend like it used to.

That being said, going through all o amy makeup was strange for me. I couldn’t remember the last time I had used most of it, and realizing that felt like an identity crisis. I am such a different person now. So much has happened. Those beauty products felt like they belonged to a different girl, not me. I wanted so badly just to dump it all in a bin because I know it’s bad for my health, and logically, I really don’t use it anymore. However, throwing it away felt like throwing away an entire part of my life. It was letting go of a girl who I used to be, I girl who I have slowly but surely lost touch with in the past two years. That’s a fact that I’ve known in the back of my head for some time, but something I wasn’t ready to face.

I’m very proud and happy of the person I’ve become. I wouldn’t change her for anything. But part of me does feel slightly guilty for leaving that girl behind, and for really having no qualms about it. I don’t like to think about the way things were before, because I was not happy then. I felt very out of place, and very alone. And that was something I didn’t fully face until I started going through all of my things, now. 

Beyond that, obviously it’s really hard to just get rid of thousands of dollars of high-end makeup, that really does perform like a dream and is in great condition, and that took me my whole life to acquire. Half of my makeup was presents from other people, and there’s always something hard for me about getting rid of things that other people gave to me.

That being said, I did it. I realized how much I just didn’t want it anymore. Like, it started to repulse me, and it got easier to get rid of products as I threw more and more of them into a bag. It was symbolic for me, because although I have so many amazing memories tied to those products, I also have bad ones. Those products belonged to a girl who I don’t recognize anymore. A girl who didn’t care about her health, physical or emotional, and that is not who I am anymore. I’m ready to get rid of that.

I did keep a few of my favorite palettes, and a few select products that have insane lasting power and might come in handy if I ever have a huge event I need ironclad makeup for. I put these things in a small drawer, away from the things I use every day. They’re there, just in case, but in the back of my mind I know I’ll throw them away soon. I’m going to realize in a few weeks that I don’t want those anymore, either.

I got rid of 8 trash bags worth of makeup. I feel like I finally have space to breathe. I didn’t realize how much it was holding me back to hang onto all of those products. Now I have space for new things in my life, physically and metaphorically. I’m excited because I get to take up my old hobby in a new context. I’m on the hunt again to find the best makeup products out there, but this time, with non-toxic, safe ingredients. I’ve been doing it for awhile, but I was really only halfway in. The toxic things in my life were in my way. Now, I can dive headfirst into my new little “project,” and I can’t wait to share what I find with you guys.

It might seem like a simple change, to throw away old beauty products. But it really symbolizes a lot more than that. It means I’m finally saying, 100% – F YOU to all of these companies who are poisoning us every day with the toxic chemicals they put in their products. From here on out, I’m only supporting companies who respect my health. It means I’m really just done with other people ruining my health and me feeling like I’m a victim. It means taking control. It also means accepting change and growing up. It means being okay with the fact that I’m not who I used to be a few years ago, and that that past doesn’t define who I am now. It means my brain is clear because the space around me is much more open. It means an opening for new possibilities. All of that.

Plus, my room is really clean now. I feel free.