LIMERICK — Most women who use mascara regularly know that the lash-enhancing makeup has a fairly short shelf life. And it’s a safe bet that many women try to extend that shelf life as long as possible.
That’s a bad idea, according to Erin Rhoads, a stylist at Salon Evolve, located at 214 West Ridge Pike, in Limerick.
“Every time you open up your mascara you let air in, and every time you allow air in, you’re allowing bacteria to get in,” Rhoads explained.
Experts recommend keeping mascara no longer than three to six months, in order to protect your eyes from possible contaminants.
That’s one of the reasons why Rhoads was so excited when her co-worker, salon assistant April Taylor, showed her a screenshot of a Facebook post about Wands for Wildlife.
Wands for Wildlife is an initiative of the Appalachian Wildlife Rescue, which uses recycled mascara wands to aid rescued animals. The wands are the perfect size for removing fly eggs from fur or feathers, examine for injuries and clean syringes used for feeding animals.
Rhoads and Taylor knew it was a cause that fit perfectly with Salon Evolve’s model of being environmentally conscientious while promoting good beauty hygiene. So they presented the post to salon owner Kim McQuillan, who was eager to incorporate Wands for Wildlife into the salon.
Upon Rhoads’ recommendation, the salon has launched a promotion throughout the month of April that encourages people to donate their old mascara wands. Anyone who brings in a used mascara wand can purchase a new Salon Evolve mascara at a 25 percent discount.
“We want to encourage people to change their mascara regularly, because it’s really important,” said Rhoads.
Equally important to the Salon Evolve team is the environmental aspect of Wands for Wildlife. Last year, Evolve became a Green Circle certified salon — an initiative that aims to significantly reduce the environmental impact of salons by collecting and recycling hair care and other beauty products.
Since joining the Green Circle program last June, McQuillan said the salon has collected and recycled 69 large boxes containing hair clippings, extensions, excess color and developer, papers and plastics, foils, aerosol cans and color tubes, among other things.
Wands for Wildlife adds a new dimension to Salon Evolve’s environmental focus. Appalachian Wildlife Refuge expects to rescue 2,000 animals this year, and the organization has found that mascara wands work well for cleaning fur.
“They work great because the bristles are close together and gentle to use on the injured and orphaned wildlife receiving care,” reads a flyer advertising the Salon Evolve Wands for Wildlife promotion.
Rhoads likes the fact that the Appalachian Wildlife Refuge in western North Carolina has opted to collect used mascara wands.
“They don’t want new,” she said. “They want people to recycle.”
Women who wish to donate their wands don’t have to clean them. The salon has set up a glass container at the reception desk, where clients can easily drop their old tubes of mascara. The stylists will remove the wands and clean them before shipping them to the Appalachian Wildlife Refuge at the end of April.
If the promotion is successful, McQuillan hopes to continue collecting old mascara throughout the year. And, in addition to taking in other peoples’ wands, the salon will also be mindful of recycling its own used wands.
“We do a lot of makeup applications,” McQuillan noted. “It’s nice to know we don’t have to throw (the wands) out.”
McQuillan feels strongly about taking care of the environment, particularly since salons tend to use toxic chemicals and create a lot of waste.
“We all have children,” she said of her team. “We don’t want them to have to deal with that.”
But she also feels strongly about taking care of her clients.
McQuillan has been in business for 16 years, and she has 21 employees. She believes in keeping up with trends and strives to use products that are nourishing, rather than damaging to hair. Since 2007, she has been using and selling her own line of Salon Evolve hair products that are salt and sulfate-free.
She began using products without salt or sulfates after learning that both those ingredients are harsh on hair and scalps.
“Once you know something like that, you can’t recommend it anymore,” McQuillan said.
She felt the same about learning that many of the beauty products they use can be recycled.
“Once we saw it online, we knew it wasn’t an option. We had to do it,” she said.
As McQuillan sees it, donating old mascara to Wands for Wildlife enables women to take care of the environment while also nurturing themselves.
“It’s all about taking care of yourself,” she said. “Using old mascara is not really good for your eyes. We want to raise awareness about that.”
For more information about Salon Evolve visit https://salonevolve.com/
For more information about Appalachian Wildlife Rescue and its Wands for Wildlife initiative visit https://www.appalachianwild.org/