How Can I Tell If The Packaging Of My Cosmetic Products Can Be Recycled?

recycling symbols cosmetic packaging

When it comes to beauty shopping, does packaging influence your decision? I’m a sucker for pretty packaging and, when I was younger, I bought my fair share of products because they looked so irresistible. But as I’m getting older, I’m becoming less interested in how pretty a bottle is and more concerned about whether it can be recycled or not.

Separate waste disposal has now become mandatory in many places, but there are some materials that just cannot be recycled, or others that are often refused by recycling plants because they are difficult, and therefore expensive, to recycle. That’s why it is important to choose, whenever you can, products that come in eco-friendly packaging.

But how to recognise them? Here’s a quick guide to help you:

plastic recycling symbols

Deciphering plastic recycling symbols

Plastic packaging can contain a weird symbol. It’s a triangle made of three arrows surrounding a number that ranges from 1 to 7. This number identifies the type of plastic the container is made of. The name of said plastic can also be found, shortened (example: PET stands for Polyethylene Terephthalate), below the symbol. These are useless, though, if you don’t know what they mean, so here’s a quick guide:

#1 Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET or PETE)
Inexpensive, lightweight and easy to recycle, this type of plastic is used mostly in containers for mouthwashes, water, soft drinks, and body oils. It can be recycled into, among other things, food and drink containers, carpets, tote bags and furniture.

#2 High Density Polyethylene (HDPE)
A versatile and recyclable type of plastic, HDPE is used in bottles that house shampoos, detergents, cereal boxes and shopping bags. It can be recycled into recycling bins, household cleaning containers, benches, pens and many other things.

#3 Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)
A tough type of plastic that’s used for containers that house shampoos, detergents, cooking oils and can be used in windows, medical equipments and railing. It can be recycled, but because it contains chlorine, which releases toxins when burned, the recycling process is difficult.

#4 Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE)
A flexible and versatile plastic, LDPE is used to make squeezable bottles, toys, furniture and clothing. It can be recycled into shipping envelops, furniture, floor tiles and many other things.

#5 Polypropylene (PP)
Because PP has a high melting point, it is used for containers that house hot liquids and foods, such as take-outs, but it can also be found in medicine bottles, straws and syrup bottles. This too can be recycled. It can then be used for many things, including storage bins, brushes, ice scrapers, and trays.

#6 Polystyrene (PS)
When PS is made into foam products, it is called Styrofoam. It is used in egg cartons, disposable plates, furniture and packaging for electronics. It is very difficult to recycle, so many recycling plants don’t accept it. When they do, they can reuse it for light switch plates, foam packaging, and rulers.

#7 Other
This number is used for all the other types of plastic resins. They can be found in sunglasses, DVDs, water bottles, and some food containers. They aren’t always recycled, but when they do, then are turned into plastic lumber and bottles.

recycling symbols

Other symbols

The type of plastic used to make a bottle, a jar or a tube, isn’t always stated on the label. Sometimes, the packaging contains only generic symbols. These are the most common:

Mobius Loop
This means that an object can be recycled, but not that it will be accepted by all recycling plants. When the symbol includes a %, followed by a number, in the middle, it means that the packaging contains only that percentage of recycled material.

Tidyman
This symbol doesn’t tell you if a container can be recycled, but only that you should dispose of it carefully and thoughtfully.

The Green Dot
This symbol can be seen on the packaging of products sold in European countries and signifies that the producers and suppliers have made a financial contribution towards the recycling of packaging. But it doesn’t mean that the container itself is made of recycled material or that it can be recycled.

Not every containers feature a recycling symbol

As I was writing this post, I went through my stash to see how many of my products are made with recyclable materials, and I was astonished, and disappointed, to discover that most of them do not contain any symbols at all. Not even a tiny useless tidyman (ok, the tidyman is not entirely useless, but it just reminds us of something that we should practice anyway). This makes it difficult for consumers to make an informed choice and the most eco-conscious of them will simply leave these products on the shelves.

The Bottom Line

Next time you go shopping, pay attention to the label and opt, whenever possible, for products housed in recyclable containers. And if a container can’t be recycled, why not use it for something else? An empty jar can house your homemade concoctions or all kinds of small things like pins and buttons. Or you could use empty containers for you craft projects. Use your imagination, and try to minimize waste as much as possible. The environment will thank you!

Do you prefer to purchase products with an eco-friendly packaging, and don’t you care if it can be recycled?

Are You Making This Mistake When Applying Foundation?

apply foundation with downward strokes

When you apply your foundation, do you use upward or downward strokes?

When I first starting wearing it, all those years ago, I used both. I thought that, as long as the colour is applied evenly, who cares in which direction you sweep your brush. How wrong I was!

Sometimes, my foundation would look smooth and flawless, while at other times, a bit messy and not that seamless. I couldn’t figure out why. It was so frustrating! Then, the answer hit me.

Peach fuzz. I know, ladies. We all want to pretend that doesn’t exist, but the ugly truth is that we all have it, especially on the sides of our cheeks. Usually, this is invisible to the naked eye. Unless you apply foundation in the wrong way. Then, it suddenly becomes noticeable.

Peach fuzz usually grows downwards. So, when you apply your foundation with upwards strokes, the hairs stand up, becoming more noticeable and making your foundation look less smooth than it should. The same happens when you use swirly motions. So don’t. Use downward strokes instead.

Unless you’re one of the few people on whom peach fuzz grows upwards. In this case, you should use upwards motions too. In other words, when you apply foundation, sweep your brush in the same direction your peach fuzz grows. That way, you’ll always look flawless.

How do you apply your foundation?

How To Easily Remove Glitter Nail Polishes

how to remove glitter nail polish

Glitter nail polishes are a must during the holidays. They jazz up your nails and make them sparkle and shine. Once they’re on, you don’t want to take them off anymore. And not only because they look so pretty. Glitter nail polishes are a pain to remove!

That’s because of their texture, which is rich in glitter particles and poor in actual lacquer. But don’t fret. There’s a way to make removal quick and effortless. You’ll only need a cotton pad, your usual nail polish remover and tin foil. Oh, and a hand cream. It’ll come in handy afterwards.

Here’s how to use them:

1. Soak (and I literally mean soak) a cotton pad in nail polish remover. Don’t skimp on it or it won’t work as well
2. Place the cotton pad on your nail, and wrap the tin foil tightly around it. Do the same on every nail (one hand at a time).
3. Wait about 5 minutes to give the nail polish remover time to dissolve the glitters and lacquers.
4. Slide off the tin and cotton at the same time. I do this by applying a slight pressure on the nails, and gently twist the wrap back and forth. This will remove most of the glitters.
5. If some glitters are still on your nails, simply take them off with a cotton pad and nail polish remover. They’ll come away really easily now.
6. Your nails will feel dry now, so moisturize them with a good hand cream. They will thank you for it.

Do you wear glitter nail polish during the holidays? If so, how do you take it off?

How To Apply Fake Tan On Your Face

apply fake tan on face

I now love my pasty white skin, but it wasn’t always like this. There were times when I would have loved a nice, sunkissed tan all year round. Some of you may still do. The safest way to achieve that is to use a self-tanner.

Yet, applying it on the face can be quite daunting. If you make any mistakes, and end up with a streaky or patchy face, everyone will notice! So, here are a few tips for an even, streak-free application:

1. Exfoliate
Start by exfoliating your face with a peel or a scrub. This will remove all the dead cells that are accumulating on the top of your skin, providing an even and smooth surface that will allow the fake tan to go on without looking patchy.

2. Lightly moisturize
To avoid streaks, apply a lightweight oil-free moisturizer on the drier areas of your face.

3. Choose the right shade
Pick a shade that is slightly lighter than the rest of your body. The skin on your body is a bit different than that on your face, so if you apply the exact shade all over, you will just look fake and unnatural.

4. Now, apply!
With clean hands, apply a small amount of self-tanner on the chin, the apples of your cheeks, your forehead and the tip of your nose. Then, blend outwards (but avoid the eye area). Make sure everything is blended evenly. For best results, use a gradual self-tanner.

5. Wash your hands
After application, wash your hands immediately to prevent them from becoming too dark and tanned too.

Do you have any more tips on how to apply fake tan on your face?

7 Tips For An Effortless Smokey Eye

smokey eye tips

Timeless, sexy, classic and fun. It’s the smokey eye look. It suits every woman and never goes out of style. And with the right tricks and tools, it is a lot easier to create than you think. Here’s how:

1. The right tools

Without the right tools, it’s impossible to achieve a flawless look. So, grab a few eyeshadows in the same colour family. It can be any colour. Black, purple, green… Just as long as you choose shades in that family that allow you to create a seamless gradient, from darkest to lightest. So, for example, for a classic black smokey eye, you’d need a dark black shade, a light black shade, a grey shade and a white shade.

Next, you need some good eye brushes. A flat one to apply colour on the lid, a stiff dome brush to work in the crease, a fluffy brush to blend out the edges in the crease and apply highlighter on the browbone, and a pencil brush for the lashline.

2. Eyes first

Most women apply makeup on their faces first, and then proceed to do their eye makeup. But when you do a smokey eye, it’s best to do the opposite. Some fallout is bound to occur and it’s a lot easier to clean up the mess if you’ve haven’t applied anything on your face yet.

3. Prime time

Before you start to apply your eyeshadows, prep your lids with an eyeshadow primer (my favourite is Too Faced Shadow Insurance). This won’t just ensure your look will stay put for the whole day, but will also create a smooth and even canvas for the eyeshadows, which will make it easier to blend them properly and effortlessly.

4. Blend, blend, and blend some more

The key to the perfect smokey eye is proper blending. You want to create a nice gradient where the colours blend seamlessly into one another, so you’ll have to blend out any harsh lines with the help of a fluffy brush. For best results, use circular motions when blending out the colours in the crease.

5. Highlight it!

Smokey eyes, especially darker ones, can look quite heavy. To brighten up the look, apply a touch of shimmering white, gold, light pink or any other very sheer shade in the same colour family you used for your smokey eye, on the browbone and the tearduct.

6. Accessorize it!

The perfect accessories for a smokey eye? Eyeliner and lots of mascara. Line your upper and lower lashlines, and your waterline, with either a pencil or gel eyeliner that’s easy to smudge (I love to use Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencils for this type of look) and blend them out into your eyeshadows. Then, apply mascara on your lashes. If you want a more intense look, you can also apply it on your lower lashes (just make sure you use a waterproof mascara to avoid ugly smudges under your eyes) and false lashes.

7. Keep the rest of the face toned down

When you do a smokey eye, the focus is clearly on the eyes. So, keep the rest of the face neutral. Soft pink, beige pink and nude shades work well both for the cheeks and lips.

Do you like smokey eyes? Do you have any tips on how to create them?

5 Best Lip Balms

best lip balms

It’s no secret that I’m a lip balm addict. It’s the one product I can’t live without. I always have one on my night stand, one on my desk, one in my bag, not to mention the many disseminated all around my house… I need to have one with me at all times, just in case I need it, you know?

I’ve tried lots of lip balms throughout the years and, even when I think I’ve found one worthy of HG status, I’ll still keep looking for something new. But, in the end, I always come back to a few favourites. Here they are (in no particular order):

1. PeaceKeeper Cause-Metics Perfect As Is Balm: this lip balm will make you feel good both on the inside and out. Infused with a divine sweet rose scent and natural oils, including palm oil, olive oil, jojoba oil and coconut oil, this lip balm leaves lips soft, smooth and moisturized for hours. Plus, the brand donates all their after-tax profits to women’s health advocacy and urgent human rights issues, so, by buying it, you’ll be helping a good cause. Available at iampeacekeeper.com.

2. Labello Fruity Shine Cherry Tinted Lip Balm: Labello makes a ton of different lip balms in any flavour you can think of, but this one is my favourite. Infused with a sweet and delicious candy cherry scent, this lip balm has a moisturizing texture that leaves lips soft and smooth for about 3 hours and tints them with a subtle red hue. Plus, it also contains SPF 10 to keep your pout protected from UV rays. Available at amazon.com.

3. Haus Of Gloi Lip Balm: I have this in Gingersnap, which has been discontinued. But all the other delicious flavours have the same wonderful moisturizing formula, so whichever one you try, you’re bound to like it. The lip balms contains coconut oil, jojoba oil, pomegranate oil and shea butter, all of which are very moisturizing, making your lips soft and smooth, and protecting them against the upcoming harsh winter weather. Available at hausofgloi.com.

4. Alba Botanica Very Emollient Sunscreen Lip Care SPF 25: this lip balm contains a blend of oils, including sunflower oil, olive oil, castor oil and jojoba oil, that keeps your lips moisturized, while providing an antioxidant action. But that’s not all. It also protects your lips from the harmful UV rays thanks to a bunch of chemical UV filters and Zinc Oxide. Available at albabotanica.com.

5. I Provenzali Stick Labbra al Karitè: one of the most moisturizing and longlasting lip balms I’ve ever tried, it keeps lips soft and smooth for hours thanks to castor oil and shea butter. Unfortunately, it’s not easily available outside of Italy, but if you happen to come across it, do give it a try.

Have you tried any of these lip balms? What is your favourite lip balm?

5 Best Eye-Makeup Removers

best eye makeup removers

Applying makeup is fun, but taking it off at the end of the day feels like such a chore! Yet, it must be done to keep your eyes clean and healthy. But finding a good makeup remover is no easy task. Some are so gentle they don’t remove anything unless you tug and pull at the delicate eye area which is a no-no. That can cause wrinkles, and who wants that? Others are so harsh, instead, that they irritate the eyes and blur the vision.

After trying lots of them during the years, and being disappointed more times than I can count, I managed to find a few gems. Here they are:

1. Clinique Take The Day Off Makeup Remover for Lids, Lashes & Lips: this dual-phase remover takes off everything, including longwearing lipsticks and waterproof mascaras, in just a couple of swipes. It’s also quite gentle so it doesn’t irritate the eyes, nor strips away too much of the natural oils that keep your skin moisturized. Available at Sephora and Boots.

2. Paula’s Choice Gentle Touch Makeup Remover: this makeup remover can be used all over the face, and is suitable for the eyes too. It removes all traces of foundation, longwearing and waterproof makeup without irritating the eyes. It also leaves skin very soft and smooth. Available at paulaschoice.com.

3. Helena Rubinstein All Mascaras! Complete Eye Make-up Remover: if money is not a concern, I highly recommend this bilayer eye-makeup remover. It really removes all mascaras, including waterproof ones, and the rest of your makeup quickly and effectively without irritating the eyes nor clouding your vision. Available at amazon.

4. Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser: this is a lot more than just an eye-makeup remover! The creamy cleanser can be used in the morning to remove all impurities before applying your makeup and at night to take it all off. Very effective and very gentle, you can use it all over the face, eyes included. It leaves skin clean, soft and, with the help of the muslin cloth it comes with, also performs a gentle exfoliating action. Available at uk.lizearle.com.

5. Extra Virgin Olive Oil: this oil is not just for cooking. It’s also an effective makeup remover that takes every trace of mascara, eyeliner and eyeshadow off while nourishing the delicate eye area at the same time. EVOO can be used alone or with water. Simply pour in a bottle 1/3 olive oil and 2/3 water, and remember to shake it well before each use, otherwise the two liquids just won’t mix. The best part? It’s very cheap and chances are, you probably already have it in your kitchen.

What’s your favourite eye-makeup remover?

6 Tips On How To Buy Makeup From Blog Sales

giveaway 2

When a beauty blogger has been blogging for some time, chances are she has accumulated more products that she’ll ever be able to use in a lifetime. Keeping them in a drawer gathering dust would be a waste, so she decides to hold a blog sale. That way, she gets rids of something that she doesn’t use, and someone else will be able to snap up a product they’ve been lusting after for some time.

Blog sales are a great way to get your hands on LE products you might have missed or on items that aren’t available in your country, and at an affordable price too! It’s a win-win situation. But that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be careful. There is always the chance, albeit small, that something could go wrong. Here are a few tips on how to avoid any problems and make sure you’re getting a good deal:

1. Find a blog sale

If you follow lots of blogs, you’ll surely come across a few sales every now and then. But there are a couple of ways of finding blogs sales held by bloggers you don’t know yet. You can subscribe to MUA Blog Sales, a blog that lists blog sales held my Make Up Alley members. This is a great option for those who feel uneasy about purchasing products from a stranger as you can check out the seller’s feedback on MUA and find out how reliable and trustworthy they are (or aren’t). Another useful tool to find blog sales is Twitter. Simply check out the #blogsale hashtag for a list of bloggers who are holding one. You can’t check out feedback this way, but if the seller has an established blog, chances are she won’t do anything to ruin her reputation.

2. Read the terms and conditions carefully

Blog sales work on a first come first served basis, so it may be tempting to order the items you’re interested in straight away for fear someone else may snap them up if you’re not quick enough. But before contacting the seller, you should always read the terms and conditions carefully. Will the seller hold an item for you if you can’t pay straight away? Do they offer refunds if you should be unhappy with your purchase? How will they ship your order and how do they want to be paid? And if you have any questions the blogger hasn’t answered in the post, email them and ask them. Knowing the terms and conditions in advance will guarantee a smooth transaction and avoid problems in the future.

3. Double check the prices

When the prices are low, it’s easy to get carried away and order quite a lot of stuff. But just because something is cheap, it doesn’t mean that it is a good deal. Remember that you’ll also have to pay for shipping costs so you need to factor them in when you intend to make a purchase or you may end up paying a lot more than you initially thought. Also, be aware of the prices of LE edition products. When these become rare, the blogger may be tempted to charge outrageously high prices for it, and it’s just not worth it. You should never pay more than a product costs, especially if it has been used, or even just swatched.

4. Don’t buy unsanitized products

A lot of people prefer not to buy used makeup because they are afraid of getting an infection. But that happens only when a product hasn’t been properly sanitized. How else could makeup artists safely use the same product on hundreds of people? So, if you’re planning to buy an used item, make sure the seller knows how to sanitize it and, once you receive it, give it another cleaning yourself. I do this whenever I purchase something from a blog sales and have never experienced any problems. However, not everything can be sanitized. I’m talking about mascaras, liquid eyeliners and lipglosses. Unless you know the blogger has always used a disposable wand and never double dipped, it’s wise to stay away from these products. I admit that I have bought a couple of used lipglosses in the past because I really loved the shades (and thank goodness nothing bad happened), but I’d never consider using an used mascara or eyeliner. It’s just not worth the risk.

5. Always used registered post

Registered post may be more expensive, but it will also give you peace of mind. You’ll be able to track your parcel online, so you’ll always know where it is and when to expect it. Also, if you’re not at home often, you may want to have the package delivered at your work address. That way, your it won’t be left lying in front of your doorstep for hours, during which time it could be damaged or stolen.

6. Pay with Paypal (but no “gift” payment)

I always pay with paypal whenever I buy something online. Not only it is quick and convenient, but you can also get a refund if something goes wrong. Unless you send the money as a gift, that is. Some sellers will ask you to do that to avoid paying fees, and while this may seem a harmless request, you should comply with it only if you know the blogger well and trust her. Although most bloggers are trustworthy, you may want to make sure you can get a refund, just in case. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Do you like blog sales? Have you ever purchased anything from them?