How to bag FREE make-up and skincare rewards for recycling

Most of us are keen to do our bit to help the planet, but make-up and skincare products often come in packaging that isn't really recycled. But you might not know a few of the big brands will actually reward you with FREEBIES if you take back your empty containers...

Recently, we’ve all become more aware of plastic waste and research suggests only 14% of plastics are recycled worldwide. So here’s a way for you to up your recycling of make-up and skincare AND be rewarded for your efforts with fantastic freebies from popular brands Lush, MAC and Kiehl’s.


If you’ve not heard of Lush, it’s an ethical company that sells vegan and vegetarian make-up and skincare products either ‘naked’ (oo-err missus – this just means without packaging), or in recycled and recyclable pots.

If you save up five of its black, recyclable pots you can bring them in store to exchange them for a free fresh face mask – normally £7.50, so it's well worth keeping the pots. Lush says they must be used and clean when you return them, and you can read more about Lush's commitment to recycling on its website.


Interesting fact… MAC is an acronym for Makeup Art Cosmetics, and MAC is another company that offers a free product if you help it recycle its packaging.

To get a free lipstick of your choice (excluding Viva Glam lipsticks), simply return six used MAC containers to a MAC counter or send in the post to MAC.

Its lipsticks are normally £17.50 each, so if you’re a loyal fan of MAC and have six products on the go, be sure to keep the containers when you finish them. You can read more about the ‘Back to MAC’ program on its website.


If you’ve not heard of Kiehl’s, it started as an apothecary (old-timey pharmacy) in New York and is now a skincare specialist.

It offers a stamp-card based scheme where you can bring in an empty Kiehl’s full-sized or travel-sized product to any Kiehl’s standalone store and receive one stamp per item.

When you have 10 stamps, you’ll get a free travel-sized product of your choice up to the value of £9. There’s an example of Kiehl’s ‘Recycle and be Rewarded’ stamp card and more information on its website.

What if I don’t use these brands and still want to recycle?

While these three brands currently have the best make-up and skincare recycling schemes we’ve seen, you can also recycle a few things with Garnier’s partnership with a brand called ‘Terracycle’. You can sign up and print a free label to send in various items that aren’t normally recycled in kerbside collections, such as face mask packaging and aluminium hair dye tubes.

You’ll not get money off directly, but you can accrue ‘points’ which you can exchange for a donation to charity, and you’ll also get a warm fuzzy feeling from knowing a bit more of the packaging waste in your bathroom is being recycled – priceless.

Has this inspired you to declutter your make-up and get recycling? Do you recycle any other make-up and skincare products? Let us know in the comments below, on Twitter, or Facebook.