Pucker up your lips and kiss that lip gloss goodbye. That’s precisely what I thought after reaching for my CoverGirl NatureLuxe Gloss Balm to moisten my mouth.

The hell?


After fully extending my lip balm, the costly stuff was still trapped deep inside the packaging! Go ahead and compare the ‘used tube’ to a brand new model — It’s like I’m being mocked since I can see my wasted wares staring back at me.

product waste

Dear CoverGirl: How can I become easy, breezy, beautiful if your lip smacker packaging isn’t easy (or breezy) to bust into? How the frick am I supposed to use this stuff? It’s trapped!

Anyhoo, slightly amused but mostly ticked (hey, I have a bad case of chapped lips), I decided to get scientific with my new-found obsession: Product waste due to problematic packaging.

In true retentive Squawkfox fashion (minus a painted pout) I measured, weighed, and calculated the cost of trapped lip gloss thanks to the bonehead package designers (who are probably all men) at CoverGirl headquarters.

The Promise: CoverGirl’s NatureLuxe Gloss Balm promises consumers 1.9g of product at a $7.81 price tag, including tax.

Enter the ‘Scales of Justice’, which are borrowed from my German father-in-law — a retired gold-weighing dentist.


Yes people, I really weighed my wasted lip balm.

The Truth: Consumers should bank on using only 1.4g, or 74%, of CoverGirl lippy since 0.5g remains stuck deep inside the tube.

There’s a ‘lipstick on a pig’ joke in there somewhere.

packaging waste

Bottom Line: My lips are not sealed. Spend $7.81 on CoverGirl lip balm and kiss goodbye to $2.03 since 26% of the promised product is impossible to use. Yes, I’m gob smacked that my lips benefit from only 74% of what I paid for.

Frugalists unite, I have stealth ways of recovering my smacker.

covergirl lipstick

CoverGirl should only sell their cosmetics with the mandatory tools required to free the stuff — a Swiss Army pocket knife, a lip brush, and a few Q-tips for good measure.

Smart Consumer Spending
Beware of shrinking products with increasing price tags

Become a smarter consumer! Use these tactics to combat micronized products and save yourself a lot of money.

The Case of Problematic Packaging

I’m not alone when it comes to annoyance with product waste. After skulking around the interwebs, I found that Consumer Reports did a series of pumping, pouring, and squeezing tests on 22 various packaged products to determine levels of wastefulness. It turns out skin lotion, liquid detergent, and toothpaste are among the most wasteful product packages on the market.

Consumer Reports results:

  • Pump Lotions: 22% wasted
  • Push Button Liquid Detergents: 15% wasted
  • Plastic Squeeze Tube Toothpaste: 10% wasted

Source: Consumer Reports Quantifies Waste Due To Stupid Packaging [The Consumerist]

Glass cleaner sprayers proved to be the least wasteful, with nearly all of the product being spritzed without challenge.

What can you do about flawed packaging?

Lick your lips and don’t be afraid to say something to big brands and corporations who sell wares in over-stuffed and poorly designed containers that lead to product waste. Letting companies know you want access to 100% of your product doesn’t seem like a lot to ask for.

Choosing to spend your hard-earned cash on products that are useable is not a bad idea either.

Question for you guys: Which products are the worst offenders when it comes to waste? What do you do about it?