Upcycling Makeup For The Dearly Departed

Note: This article includes references to death that may be traumatising or triggering to some audiences.

As we go through the various stages of life, it is inevitable that we have attended the funerals of a loved one and as we often want to see them looking as good as possible even in death. That is where the skill of the embalmer comes in, as they use various cosmetics to let the dearly departed look natural on their last journey and leave a comforting last impression on their loved ones.

Interestingly enough, many of us do throw away many makeup products due to neglect – especially over the past couple of years as many of us did not need to wear any makeup during the lockdown. However, all these makeup products can actually be repurposed for the face and body restoration of the departed.

Hence, Casket Fairprice, a homegrown funeral services provider and undertaker has launched a new initiative entitled “Dignity for the Departed” that aims at giving unused makeup a new lease at life by beautifying the recently departed. Running from 16 Dec 2022 to 17 Jan 2023, the campaign hopes to add sustainability to the embalming process by calling for the public to donate their unused cosmetics to be upcycled and reused for makeup restoration.

Dignifying the departed, comforting the bereaved

Often overlooked, makeup plays a crucial part in the embalming process. Serving as an effective way to cover up the natural effects of decomposition on the body, makeup helps embalmers maintain the appearance of a recently passed loved on, helping them look as close to how they were before their passing.

Constantly in a race against time, embalmers face challenges at every stage of the embalming process. As the typical funeral wake in Singapore is mostly held at the void decks of HDBs and can last between three to five days, with some even stretching to seven, the heat and humidity present very serious challenges that embalmers have to keep in mind, requiring adequate makeup to ensure that their restoration can last throughout the wake.

Embalming represents a pleasant final farewell for many and is a crucial service to society. They work tirelessly behind the curtains of the embalming facility, all with the aim to give the departed a dignified send-off. This is especially so for unnatural deaths such as accidents, where wounds need to be covered up so as to alleviate any traumatic feelings from the departed’s cause of death.

Lead Embalmer at Casket Fairprice, John Soh expressed, “Treating those who have passed with the utmost respect and dignity is part and parcel of my work. I hope that the work I do here can serve to help the bereaved family find closure and solace in their dearly departed’s final farewell.”

Contributing to a legacy of sustainability

“Launching ‘Dignity for the Departed’ represents a significant step for us towards adopting more sustainability minded practices in our day to day work. In the coming months we aim to kickstart a sustainability programme full of various carbon offset initiatives such as an eco-friendly funeral package and a commemorative tree planting initiative in support of tree planting companies around the globe,” said Rachael Tay, Corporate Development Manager at Casket Fairprice.

As part of a wider sustainability programme that Casket Fairprice is doing, the company hopes that Dignity for the Departed will become an ongoing initiative where people can continue contributing makeup. They’re also planning on launching a eco-friendly/green funeral package for customers who are environmentally conscious and wish to lessen their carbon footprint for their descendents and the environment in which they live.

Additionally, Casket Fairprice aims to support charities that promote sustainability by committing towards planting one tree for every few funerals that they organise. This will be done on behalf of the families that they serve, in memory of their departed loved ones.

How to donate

The types of makeup products most commonly used by embalmers are:

  • Concealer
  • High coverage foundation
  • Eyebrow pencil
  • Lipstick
  • Blusher
  • Setting powder and spray

As such, if you’ve got any of the above in shades where you do not think are suitable for yourself, why not donate them? You can mail or drop off your makeup products to Casket Fairprice at:

37 Sin Min Drive
Singapore 575711

Please time your drop off at the following times: Sun-Fri, 8.30am to 4.30pm or Sat, 8.30am to 1pm.

Rest assured that their team will first filter the items received to ensure that they’re still in proper and good condition to be used on the dearly departed and if they receive more makeup than needed, they will share with other embalmers in their industry.


For more information on the Dignity for the Departed or on Casket Fairprice, kindly visit their website http://casketfairprice.com/embalming.

Images: Casket Fairprice and Envato

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