How to Detox Your Cosmetics: Getting Rid of What You Have


So you’re ready to ditch your conventional cosmetics, toiletries and body care products. Maybe you’re sick of the eczema, or allergies, or headaches that many people get from products with synthetic fragrances. Or maybe you want to stop contributing to water pollution. Perhaps you are now aware of the carcinogens and hormone disruptors in every-day products. Whatever your reason, you’ve made the choice to detox your toiletries.

Great, you say. Now what?

I hear lots of people who want to make the switch, but then get stuck on making the first step. Often, it’s because you’ve got a closet and make-up bag full of products that you don’t want to use any more, and throwing them all in the trash just doesn’t sit right with you.

Here’s your guide to ditching your conventional toiletries.

How to Get Rid of Toiletries You Don’t Want

You’ve got several options depending on how you feel and what you want to achieve. Here are the common scenarios, and how you can get rid of your toiletries accordingly.

1. Finish using the products you already have

While it’s been shown that the low concentrations of certain toxins in our personal care products are enough to cause harm, finishing up that bottle of face cream or shampoo likely isn’t going to set your health back.

If you want to start reducing your exposure to the ingredients, you can transfer the product amounts to travel-size containers for infrequent use (i.e. when travelling, going to the gym, office drawer, etc.). Your decision to replace the potentially harmful ingredients means that you won’t be exposing yourself (or the water supply) to them over the long term, and that’s something to be proud of.

2. Donate or Re-Gift

If you have brand new bottles that haven’t been opened and can’t be returned, consider donating them to a shelter. I know this doesn’t exactly solve the problem of keeping the chemicals out of the water supply and it’s passing the exposure on to other people, but there are many folks who would greatly appreciate the gift of basic personal hygiene products.

You’d be helping them get back on their feet when they need that kind of support the most.

If you’ve got a family member who you know isn’t going to listen to your advice to stop using these products, you can also re-gift them.

3. Sent Them Back

Another option is to go all activist and mail back the products with a letter to the company explaining why you’re no longer using them. This likely doesn’t avoid sending them to landfill, but it lets the company know what you think of their products.

4. Properly Dispose of Them

If none of these seem appealing to you, then you can just get rid of them. Find out from your municipality how to dispose of the product itself and the packaging. You might be surprised to learn that several personal care products are also considered household hazardous waste and shouldn’t be put in the regular garbage collection!


No matter what your strategy, don’t let disposal paralysis get in the way of making the move to healthier toiletries. If you’re still working on finding some healthy replacements for your conventional toiletries, you can find my clean brands list and learn how to read labels in my Guide to Choosing Healthy Personal Care and Cleaning Products.

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