A Journey to Zero Waste Living

Zero Waste Tips for Fixing Cosmetics
& A Look Inside Jane’s Make-up Bag


Above: My minimalist make-up routine. On an average day, I don’t wear make-up. But these are my cosmetic staples for when I do!


This post is not sponsored or affiliated with any of the mentioned, pictured, or linked brands. All opinions are my own.


Recently, I was flying from Dallas to D.C. after a week of traveling for work. I always pack light: a small carry-on suitcase and a purse. This saves me $ and eliminates the landfill-bound checked bag stickers. When I arrived at the gate for my flight, the airline agent told me that I had to check my bag. She said they were out of overhead bin space on the plane, and I had a nosebleed seat in the very, very, very, VERY  back of the plane.

So, I reluctantly gave up my bag, which they checked for free. When I boarded the plane, there was plenty of overhead bin space available. I was a bit salty about that for a few seconds, until I fell asleep before the plane even took off. Fast-forward a few days. I opened up my toiletries bag to put on make-up, and my pressed foundation powder was completely shattered. I had forgotten to remove my make-up from the suitcase before checking it at the gate, and now my brand new make-up was destroyed. OR WAS IT?

I crowd-sourced on Instagram, as I love to do, and followers recommended I use alcohol to re-form the shattered powder into a pressed powder. “To the secret lab!” (Emperor’s New Groove, anyone??) The experimenting paid off. I was able to repair my compact (originally $28 USD) with supplies I had at home. No extra money spent. So, if you have a broken foundation, blush, eye-shadow compact…here’s how to fix using 1 ingredient.



Pressed Powders



  • Small Bowl
  • Metal Spoon
  • Metal Knife
  • Mortar and Pestle (optional)
  • Isopropyl Alcohol (50% – 70%)
  • Scrap Piece of Untextured Fabric



  1. Empty all of the cracked/ shattered make-up into a small, shallow bowl.
  2. Clean the empty make-up plate with water and sanitize it with alcohol. Set aside.
  3. Using the back of a spoon (or a mortar and pestle), crush the broken make-up into a fine powder.


At this point, you can simply transfer the make-up into a jar or container of your choosing and apply the foundation, blush, or eye shadow as a powder. But if you prefer pressed make-up, carry on.


  1. Once the make-up has no clumps and is a fine powder, slowly add the alcohol to the powder and begin making a paste. For a full-sized plate of pressed foundation, I used 3 teaspoons (~15ml) of alcohol to make a smooth, spreadable paste. I added the alcohol 0.5 teaspoon (~2.5ml) at a time.
  2. Once the make-up is smooth and spreadable (you don’t want the mixture to be powdery or a liquid…think: thick, creamy peanut butter), transfer it from the bowl into the original make-up plate.
  3. Use a metal knife to spread the make-up evenly into the plate.
  4. Allow the make-up to dry for 1 hour; then, press a piece of fabric directly onto the make-up (a square of cotton fabric from an old t-shirt or sheet is best!) to absorb excess alcohol. This prevents the make-up from cracking during the drying process.
  5. Allow the make-up to dry for 24 hours. Small little cracks may form, but if you absorb all of the excess alcohol during step 7, this shouldn’t be an issue. You can see in the picture below that my foundation did crack a bit because I didn’t absorb enough of the alcohol after the first hour.
  6. After 24 hours, use your make-up as normal. The alcohol will have evaporated, so your newly repaired make-up won’t dry out your face when you apply it.
  7. Enjoy your make-up, and the feeling of repairing an item instead of simply replacing it! This experiment saved me $28 plus shipping + handling. Amen to that!



Lipstick + Chapstick


While I am on the subject of fixing make-up products, I thought I’d share tips on how to fix a broken lipstick or chapstick.



  • Small Glass or Metal Bowl*
  • Small Pot
  • Pointy Object (paperclip, bobby pin, etc.)
  • Metal Spoon or Whisk
  • Metal or Glass Container with Lid
  • Cardboard Push-Up Tube (optional)

*You will be creating a double boiler with the bowl and pot, so make sure the bowl fits snugly on top of the pot, like so.



  1. Fill a small pot with 1-2 inches (3-5 cm) of water and bring to a simmer on the stove.
  2. While the water is heating up, place broken pieces of lipstick in bowl.
  3. Use a narrow, pointy object of your choice to scrape out all of the lipstick remaining inside of the retractable container and add it to the bowl.
  4. As the water begins to simmer, place the bowl on top of the pot. When you place the bowl with the lipstick on top of the pot, the water shouldn’t touch the bottom of the bowl.
  5. Keep the heat on low-medium, allowing the lipstick to slowly melt. Stir continually with spoon or whisk. Don’t boil the lipstick.
  6. Yes, you can microwave the lipstick into a liquid instead of using the stove, but every microwave is different. Reduce the heat setting to ~ 10-20% and heat the lipstick in 10 second spurts.
  7. Once you have a smooth, warm liquid, remove the glass bowl from heat.
  8. Pour liquid lipstick into a small jar with a lid or a cardboard push-up tube. Do not pour the liquid back into the original container, it will get stuck and not twist up!
  9. Place the sealed jar or tube in the fridge until the lipstick re-hardens.
  10. Ta-Da!




Jane’s Low Waste Cosmetic Picks


In case you are curious: I choose to purchase my make-up vs. making it at home using food items such as cocoa powder, burnt almonds, arrow root powder, etc. I have incredibly sensitive skin and have suffered from acne my whole life. I stick with safe, simple, vegan products made with naturally derived ingredients. I like to support small and/or local cosmetic businesses whenever I can!

I spend around $100 – $120 total per year on cosmetics or $8 – 10 a month. I probably only wear make-up 2-3 times a week, so it lasts me a very long time. Here’s the line-up. Blush Brush: Aveda; Foundation Brush: Aveda; Mascara ($16 USD): Gabriel Cosmetics; Pressed Powder ($28 USD) + Blush ($22 USD): Elate Cosmetics; Lip Tint ($12): URB APOTHECARY; Lip Salve ($5 USD): Los Pablanos; Tinted Moisturizer ($18 USD): Batty’s Bath

I saved up for a while to buy Aveda’s vegan make-up brushes because the company uses sustainable materials and offers a brush recycling program when they wear out. I have had them for almost 4 years and they look like new! I hope to have these brushes for the rest of my life. For mascara, I want to save up and try Ilia next, which comes in a metal tube that is 100% recyclable. Gabriel Cosmetics does offer a cosmetic packaging recycling program, so I will mail this plastic mascara tube back to the company when it is empty. I also own a plate of cake mascara from Keeping It Natural cosmetics (not pictured). I use it as a liquid eyeliner 2-3x a year. I don’t use it as a mascara anymore because my eyelashes are super long and application was incredibly tedious + time consuming…which is a very good problem to have and now I sound snobby! I am usually putting on makeup in the car or in the bathroom at my office, and cake mascara is hard to apply on the go. I highly recommend Keeping It Natural if you want to test out cake mascara or if you want to buy the ONLY zero waste mascara option I’ve found! The quality is high and I love that it can also be an eyeliner. I’m all about multipurpose products. Elate’s bamboo compacts are durable and refillable, and I plan to keep them forever. I will recycle the metal plates from the foundation + blush at a local scrap metal recycling center. I will wash and re-use the metal container from Los Poblanos’ lip salve and the glass jar from Batty’s Bath’s tinted moisturizer. I love the Los Pablanos lip salve (the only non-vegan item I use, it contains beeswax). I found it at a gift shop in an airport. I probably wont buy it again because coconut is oil is cheaper and I would be paying to ship one product all the way from Arizona to Washington, D.C. I give the tinted moisturizer 5-stars, but I am looking for an alternative because Batty’s Bath uses palm oil (it is certified as sustainably sourced) and the shipping materials include a lot of plastic. (I am going to continue e-mailing them about making changes!) And the lip tint tube from URB APOTHECARY will be composted!

What are your favorite ethical, sustainable and low waste make-up brands?  Make-up or no make-up, you are beautiful as you are.




4 comments so far.

4 responses to “Zero Waste Tips for Fixing Cosmetics
& A Look Inside Jane’s Make-up Bag”

  1. Sylvia says:

    Love your posts! I really appreciate that they are so detailed 🙂

    • janefrancescrosby says:

      Thank you, Sylvia! Im so glad you enjoy reading and that the posts are helpful to you. 🙂 Feel free to let me know if you ever have questions or there’s a post topic you’re interested in. Best way to get ahold of me is IG or email! <3

  2. Samantha says:

    I love all of the Elate cosmetics I’ve tried. I have their full tint foundation and love it. I worried it’d be too full coverage but I’d describe it as medium. Doesn’t cover my freckles which I like. I didn’t love the Illia mascara. I use Besame’s cake mascara instead using an old mascara wand from a precious mascara tube.

    • janefrancescrosby says:

      I have been so impressed with Elate and I’ve been thinking about trying one of their foundations. Which did you buy? Good to know their full coverage option is more of a medium coverage! I don’t like feeling cake-y or like plastic when it comes to makeup coverage. I like light and simple, so my blemishes and skin can still breathe while not being bright red/ uneven. I have yet to try Ilia, but glad to hear an honest review of it. I have used Keeping It Natural’s cake mascara in the past and I wasnt a fan of cake mascara vs. tube in terms of buildability and application. But I have heard good things about Besame, so I want to research that as a possible next mascara when this tube runs out! Thanks for the tips/ feedback!

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