Meet Stowaway Cosmetics, the Brand That Reduces Makeup Waste With ‘Right-Size' Products

When was the last time you actually finished a makeup product? Never? A lot of us have never gotten to the end of that bottle of foundation or scraped out every last bit of lipstick from a tube. If you did, it probably took you years which meant you were using expired makeup for a long time. There is a lot of waste and a lot of issues with using old makeup. Stowaway Cosmetics helps solves these problems with their “right-sized” products. (Note: It isn’t the same as travel size.) The brand specializes in portable products that you can finish before they expire. We talked to founders Julie Fredrickson and Chelsa Crowley about the concept and why it’s important not to use makeup you’ve had in your makeup bag for-ev-er.

(Related: Is $33 Dior Addict Lip Glow Lip Balm Really Worth The Hype?)

Read on to find out more about the brand:

Q. What are some of the issues of wearing expired makeup?

A. Old products break down in how they wear and perform, which is the smallest problem. The real issue is the harmful bacteria that begin to fester inside the products, especially eye products. Using old, expired makeup can cause dermatitis, rashes, breakouts, and conjunctivitis, just to name a few. They also start to smell, which is never pleasant.

Q. What exactly does “right-size” means? 

A. We use the term right-sized because these were designed to be finished before the expiration date. The size allows us to create a better product in that we don’t need to add questionable chemicals or shelf-life stabilizers, so they don’t spoil. We are saying right-sized because we believe the beauty industry has it wrong. Think about it, when was the last time you were able to finish a lipstick? Most women say “never,” but for the rare occasion, we hear someone got through a tube. It took them years and way past the expiry date.

Q. How did you come up with the right size for each product? 

A. For the most part, we knew most products needed to be about half the size of what was considered standard in the industry. We wanted to create a premium product that was half the size and half the price. We think that everyone that wants quality products should be able to afford it and use what they pay for.

Q. Was figuring out the right size for some products more difficult than others?

A. It was kind of like finding the Goldilocks of beauty–nothing too small or too large. Eye products expire faster than other products and are the most dangerous to use when they’ve gone bad. We wanted our customers to get through the products within the 3-month time frame so they can replenish and always have fresh, unspoiled eye products.

Q. How long does a Stowaway product typically last?

A. Depending on how often the product is used, it ranges from 3-6 months. We tend to see our customers going through their eye and complexion products quicker if used every day. Since our main goal is to make women’s lives easier, we recently launched a subscription replenishment service for convenience. She can now set up what products she wants and when she wants them and never has to worry about it; we’ll take care of the rest.

Q. If a customer was only going to buy one product in the right size, what would you suggest? Why?

A. That’s a difficult question for us since we would suggest all products be purchased in the right size. All products break down inconsistency, how they wear/perform, and can start festering harmful bacteria, which can cause dermatitis, rashes, breakouts, and conjunctivitis, just to name a few. I suppose if you had to choose just one product, at least choose all eye and complexion categories in right-sized since those are the most harmful and expire the quickest.

Q. What are some of the other benefits to Stowaway’s right size?

A. We call them right-sized because the size allows women to carry the products with them. Makeup hasn’t changed since the 1950s, but women’s lives have dramatically changed since then. We know that if she is on the move, and her makeup is too. It should fit into her lifestyle from portability to safety. We think of the term right size as having a few different pillars–size, great ingredients, and designed to be finished before the product expires.

(Photos: Stowaway Cosmetics)

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