10 Ways to Repurpose Cosmetic Containers

It’s no secret how we’ve been head over heels in love with everything make up, cruelty-free, organic, and natural! Unfortunately, while most of us seek to reduce our carbon footprint, we tend to neglect the fancy containers that came with our stash.

If you’re a makeup junkie like us, you know how easy it is to accumulate a mountain of makeup bottles and bric a brac. But finding new uses doesn’t just save you money, it saves the environment too! Here’s how to repurpose your old makeup containers.

10 Ways to Repurpose Cosmetic Containers 

#1: Store Bobby Pins in Old Lip Balm Containers

Recycling old makeup containers, cosmetic containers, and other types of receptacles is a piece of cake. Got old lip balm containers? How about bobby pins that seem to disappear the moment you buy them? Then an old lip balm tube can do the trick. Simply slip in and store.

#2: Store Hair Elastics, Earnings, and Other Jewelry in Compact Containers That Have a Mirror

Think empty compacts are hard to recycle? Think again! One way to repurpose this makeup container is by using it to store hair elastics, earrings, and other jewelry. Its small enough to slip into your purse for a girls’ night out yet big enough to contain the tiny essentials for travel.

#3: Turn Perfume Bottles into Vases

We tend to accumulate empty perfume bottles simply because they’re too cute (and too pricey) to part with! So why throw them away? Repurpose these old cosmetic containers into vases and it becomes an elegant piece of home décor.

repurpose beauty containers

#4: Make Travel-Sized Containers

Lessen your trips to the dollar store by repurposing cosmetic containers into travel-sized receptacles. An old face powder pot can carry three oz. of moisturizer.

#5: Turn Shampoo Bottles into a Brush Holder

Shampoo bottles are the most versatile of containers. It can lengthen short faucets or be reincarnated as a scoop. Our favorite reincarnation is as brush holder. Cut an empty shampoo bottle a few inches from the bottom. Dull the cut edges, and voila! A holder for makeup brushes!

#6: Turn Any Old Compact Containers into a Perfume Holder

Go retro and store a solid perfume disc in an empty compact. Or you can make your own with this recipe:

  • 1 TBSP carrier oil (around 14.5 grams)
  • 2 tsp beeswax pellets (6 grams)
  • 35-40 drops essential oil
  1. Place the carrier oil and beeswax on a glass bowl over a small saucepan filled with water. Allow to fully melt.

  2. Pour the liquified oil into a clean, empty compact and let cool for two minutes.

  3. Gently stir the essential oil into the liquified carrier oil and beeswax mixture.

As the perfume matures, the scent intensifies. To apply, rub a clean finger across the solid perfume and apply to wrists. Perfume will keep for 12 months.

#7: Use Larger Makeup Containers to Put Together a D.I.Y. Sewing Kit

Our favorite hotel freebies are those nifty sewing kits that seem to contain everything! Make your own with repurposed makeup containers! Loose powder receptacles or even large eye makeup containers can hold sewing essentials such as tiny scissors, a few pins, safety pins, needles and a variety of different colored threads.

repurposed beauty containers

#8: Keep Pills in Old Lipsticks

Like how? Simply scrape out remaining lipstick debris and pop in your dose for the day. Old lipsticks make gorgeous repurposed makeup containers and are great substitutes for those boring and bulky pillboxes.

#9: Turn Jars into Beautiful "Pots" for Your Plants

Tiny plant jars are making a come back. Makeup containers as tiny as ink jars or even egg shells are perfect. Simply fill with potting mix, moss, miniature forget-me-nots or violas. Opt for plants with tiny roots and water regularly. Who would’ve thought that little pot of gel liner could be so versatile!

#10: Use Old Domestic Containers for Your D.I.Y. Skincare Creations

Taking your recycling efforts to the next level? Forget pricey receptacles. Use what you got. If you make your own skin care cleansers (ex: homemade apple cider toners, DIY facial wash, and facial oil moisturizers), up the recycling ante by using your empty gorgeous makeup containers.

repurpose beauty containers

Don’t Want to Repurpose? Recycle!

Strictly speaking, Repurposing (adapting for a different purpose) isn’t for everything and everyone. Some containers (such as those for nail polish) are not easy to repurpose because of nail enamel’s toxic qualities and harmful chemicals.

Which leaves us to recycling… recycling is the process of converting whatever waste into reusable material.

What are the benefits of recycling? We know the drill… it reduces the waste sent to landfills, saves energy, conserves natural resources, and prevents pollution by reducing the need for new raw materials… it’s a herculean effort that needs everyone’s collaboration.

Fortunately, some of the world’s best-known brands have thought this through. Here are brands that have taken their recycling efforts several notches higher:

  1. AVEDA – Aveda in collaboration with recycling company, g2 Revolution, allows customers to bring in Aveda packaging and accessories to stores. At least 85% of Aveda’s hair care PET bottles and jars contain fully (post-consumer) recycled materials.
  2. LE LABO FRAGRANCES – Customers are given 20% off if they return for a refill.
  3. MAC – MAC accepts their primary packaging through the Back-to-M.A.C. Program. When you return 6 MAC primary packaging containers to any MAC counter or MAC Cosmetics online, you get a free MAC lipstick of your choice.
  4. GARNIER – With TerraCycle as partner, Garnier accepts Garnier empties (bottles, bottle caps, hair gel tubes, hairspray triggers) with free shipping.
  5. TENOVERTEN – This nail salon has partnered with Chemwise who then recycles leftover nailpolish bottles, as well as components such as the plastic cap and brushes.
  6. CÔTE – This Los Angeles-based salon has partnered with an environmental services company to recycle nail polish bottles. Customers receive 10% off on their next purchase.
  7. LILAH B – This minimalist make up brand offers a prepaid shipping label with every package. This allows customers to send back old beauty product of any brand, free of charge.

Tips on Recycling Cosmetic & Makeup Containers

Repurposing makeup containers, as well as recycling cosmetic containers, are now made easier by many concerned companies and organizations. Penny & Pine, for instance, is an eco-friendly and sustainable company. Together with the world’s best brands, our advocacies go beyond the product. Do your other favorite brands share the same values?

Here’s how to find out if your favorite brands support your advocacy:

Tip #1: Check and see if the container's company has a recycling program!

A good number of the world’s most known (and expensive) brands offer free shipping and freebies. Check out their product packaging and website for programs, partners, and details.

Tip #2: Recycle those caps

Hard plastic caps used on bottles and skin care products are more difficult to recycle – which is why very few offer programs that accept plastic caps. If the company doesn’t accept plastic caps, go the extra mile be sending yours to a cap recycling company such as Gimme 5 Caps Recycling or

Tip #3: Clean those containers before throwing them in the recycling bin

Cleaning out containers before throwing them into the recycling bin can be the most generous gesture you could do. It is this extra step that makes a world of a difference.

repurpose beauty containers

Tip #4: Contact your recycling company and ask about what you can recycle 

What you CAN recycle can astound you! Do ask around. As technology improves, many recycling programs are finding more ways to reduce landfill waste. All it takes is a call or a quick Google search. 

The pursuit of beauty doesn’t have to be destructive to the environment. Repurpose makeup containers and give them a new lease on life or walk that extra mile and get those receptacles into a recycling station!

It’s a great gift we can give to ourselves and to the environment!

Got some tips that fellow make-up aficionados and earth warriors could use? Leave us a comment below!


1 comment


  • Brigette

    Reduce REUSE recycle. In that order. Great ideas of reusing. I am kind of obsessed with Jars that food come in. We use them for drinking glasses, for storing extra smoothies, for freezing bone broth, etc. My grandmother filled every size jar imaginable with Jelly. One of my favorite memories is when she would let us go pick a few jars to take home.


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