The Secret To Never Wasting Money On A Beauty Product Again

Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
We’ve all been there: You take your hard-earned paycheck to Sephora, excited to splurge on a fancy new moisturizer that promises to rejuvenate your skin or an expensive lipstick that looks gorgeous in the tube. Then, you get home, and — the horror! — it’s all wrong. Sometimes, your new purchase (and optimism) doesn’t even make it that far. You try it on as soon as you get in the car, and your heart falls as you check yourself out in the rearview mirror.
What do you do with this beauty dud now? Unless you bought it from the drugstore, you'll likely be unable to return it. You could always give it to your mom or a friend, but, deep down, you know it’s just going to gather dust on your vanity. What a waste of money and product, right?
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But, it doesn’t have to be that way. Check out our favorite suggestions for repurposing your cosmetics, along with other beauty products that have extra uses that may surprise you. That $40 foundation will never languish in the back of your vanity drawer ever again.
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Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
If your moisturizer is causing you to break out or makes your face shiny and greasy all day long, then it’s probably too heavy for your skin. Fortunately, your visage isn’t the only part of you that needs hydration. A really rich facial lotion can be repurposed as an eye cream. (Just make sure the product is approved for use around the eye area first!)

Dry digits and ragged cuticles? Use this product as a hand cream every night, and rub the excess on your knees and elbows while you’re at it. And, finally, many people forget the neck requires moisturizer, too. Slather it on, and don’t forget the SPF!
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Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
Some lipsticks look beautiful in their packaging but can fall flat once they’re on your lips. You know what we're talking about — perhaps you have one that washes you out, fights with your natural lip pigment, or makes your teeth look yellow.

But, don’t throw it away. It could turn out to be an amazing cream blush. Of course, this may not work for dark reds and purples, but some pinks and corals may look 10 times better on your cheeks than on your pout. Dab the lip color on your fingers first, and then blend it onto your cheeks. Now, smile, because that Tom Ford lipstick was a good idea after all.
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Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
The only thing more frustrating than an eyeshadow that fails to please is a great shadow that falls on the floor and breaks into a million crumbly pieces. For either problem, luckily, there’s a really cool solution: Turn it into a nail polish. All you have to do is mix the ground-up eyeshadow with a clear topcoat and — bam! — you have a brand-new nail-lacquer shade. (Find a more detailed tutorial here!) We bet you’re scoping out all of the new, exciting possibilities sitting in your forgotten eyeshadow palette right now.
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Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
Pale girls know this problem all too well. Time and time again, the lightest shade of foundation is more Oompa Loompa than ivory. The good news is that a foundation a shade or two darker than your natural skin color can sometimes come in handy — specifically for contouring. By dabbing a few dots of the too-dark foundation under your cheekbones and blending well with a kabuki brush, you can give yourself accentuated cheekbones that even a Kardashian would envy. You can also use it to contour along your jawline, at the sides of your nose, and along your temples.
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Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
Conversely, there isn't nearly enough makeup out there that truly suits women with darker skin tones. If you’ve brought home concealer that’s a shade or two lighter than it needs to be to blend in naturally with your skin, consider using it in a way that stands out instead. Highlighting is just as important as contouring and can make a huge difference if you do it right. Your skin will appear to glow from the inside as the angles of your face catch the light — and who wouldn't want that?

To achieve this effect, simply take the too-bright concealer and apply it to your cheekbones, the inner corners of your eyes, your upper lip, and above your brows. You can also dab some on your chin and along the bridge of your nose. Use a light touch and blend well, and you will look naturally awake and radiant.
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Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
If you have sensitive skin, it's recommended that you steer clear of putting anything with fragrance on your face. Unfortunately, it can be hard to find unscented makeup-remover wipes these days. If you accidentally brought home face wipes that are making your skin red and irritated, toss them in your gym bag instead of your trash can. You can use them to give the rest of your body a quick wipe down after a workout if you don’t have time to shower before heading back to the office. In this case, the fragrance is actually a much-needed bonus!
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Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
Only those with dry, damaged hair need extremely thick conditioners. If your locks are fine and easily weighed down by conditioner that’s too greasy, you might want to try this popular life-hack: Use it for shaving instead. Its hydrating properties will soften your hair before shaving, and it will leave your skin soft and silky afterward as well. True, it doesn’t lather up the way shaving cream does, but it gets the job done — and you don’t have to waste an entire bottle of conditioner. Bonus!
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Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
Sometimes, those flimsy oil-blotting sheets just aren’t cutting it when it comes to battling mid-afternoon shine. By all means, go find better ones. (Apparently, Starbucks napkins are surprisingly effective.) But, don’t throw out your old sheets. Instead, use them on your lips. If your lipstick keeps sliding around your mouth and onto everything your pout touches, use an oil-blotting sheet to soak up the excess moisture. Since these are designed to do exactly that, it will work better than blotting with a tissue. Your lipstick will be transformed into a longer-lasting stain just like that.
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Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
It’s important to exfoliate your face, but it’s just as important to avoid anything too harsh that will tear at sensitive facial skin. If you’re noticing irritated skin after using an exfoliator, it might be time to put down the scrub and back away. A warm washcloth or silicone scrubbing pad can cleanse your pores without tearing your skin. Plus, in the meantime, you can find lots of other ways to utilize that exfoliating scrub. Use it on your legs before shaving to reduce ingrown hairs, and then spend some time on your feet to get them ready for sandal season. The skin there can handle tough love much better than your face, so go to town.
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Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
If you’ve ever purchased a clear lip balm that just doesn’t seem to help your chapped lips, use it to keep your brows in place instead. Waxy balms that have petroleum or beeswax in them can feel annoying on your mouth, but they're simply perfect for unruly eyebrows. The stickiness will keep your brow strands firmly in place all day. Simply dab a small amount of clear lip balm on a clean toothbrush, and, angling upward slightly, brush the balm evenly onto your brows. Do this after lightly filling in your brows with powder or a gel, and you’ll have an instant Lily Collins look.
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