During my New Year Marie Kondo-phase, I was horrified at how much makeup I owned. In my mind, I’m “not a makeup person”. My best friend is regularly horrified by the contents of my makeup bag. She brought a whole suitcase of make up to my wedding as she didn’t trust me to bring anything decent. She audibly gasped when I pulled out a newly-purchased rip-off version of the Naked 2 palette for the occasion. To this day, I am unsure if this was the shock that I had bought an entire pallet of eye-shadow, or horror that it was a fake. I made it through university with one stick of blusher/lipstick/eye shadow in barely visible baby pink, a mini mascara I’d gotten free with an issue of Glamour and a couple of sticks of Rimmel concealer, so she had a point. So it came as a shock as I pulled out two whole wash bags I didn’t even remember owning. One was full of nail varnishes and fake eyelashes I’d accumulated in Christmas gift sets, and the other was bottles of foundations, bronzers, and eyeshadows. I have flashbacks to odd moments in Boots when I was buying shampoo where I’d thought that maybe it was time to learn and embrace makeup and bought the nearest jar/bottle/stick of something. I’d get it home and realise it was three shades too dark or that purple glitter made me look like I should have my own show on Broadway. In my guilt and shame of wasting money and failing in what should probably be a simple task of buying appropriate cosmetics, I’d stashed the stuff away and clearly wiped it from my memory.

I couldn’t bear just throwing away what was a significant amount of money in cosmetics so I looked for a way to do something better. A quick google found Give and Makeup. This was the perfect way of killing two happiness birds with one stone. Not only are you channelling everyone’s favourite declutterer, but also experiencing the joy of helping others.

Give and Makeup is a non-profit initiative, founded in October 2010. They work as an outreach programme, providing everyday essentials to women and children in need. Their work supports Refuge and Women’s Aid in London and Cardiff. Refuge is a charity that aids women and children escaping domestic violence, and the founder of Give and Makeup, Catherine Hirons, was inspired after learning that:

  • Each week two women in the United Kingdom are murdered by a partner or ex-partner.
  • One woman in four experiences domestic violence in their lifetime.
  • The average woman experiences domestic violence 35 times before she calls the police.

I went through every single item. Everything that was unopened, or mostly unused within the 24-month use by date was recruited to the cause. I rattled through every cupboard and drawer to find anything else that lives in bought-but-never-used limbo, ill-fitting clothes, gifted perfumes, and even bras! Doesn’t every woman have a small collection of bras that no longer fit but you feel guilty throwing away because bras are just so damn expensive!?

Give and Makeup is one of the few places that will take cosmetics, but it also appreciates donations of:

  • underwear – new/nearly new – and most definitely cleaned
  • bras
  • vests (for the children)
  • pyjamas
  • trousers
  • skirts
  • tights
  • socks
  • shoes
  • coats
  • toothbrushes
  • toothpaste
  • nappies
  • tampons
  • sanitary towels
  • baby bathing products
  • shower gel
  • deodorant
  • body lotion
  • makeup – all forms of makeup (no nail polish)
  • all suitable toys for children including books, colouring pads and crayons, puzzles, games, DVDs and dolls.
  • Absolutely no religious material, imitation guns/weapons or inappropriate films with violent or sexual scenes

Where to send your donations:

Give and MakeUp
Neptune Point
Unit 1 Vanguard Way
CF24 5PG

Note: It is vital to ensure correct postage is provided on the parcel should you wish to donate.

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