As beauty lovers, we know the heartbreak that commences when it's time to part ways with an ancient eyeshadow palette or an expired tube of mascara. But in the case for beauty products that have more to give and aren't past their shelf life, we're always trying to find ways to reap more out of them. Not to mention, there's something oddly satisfying about knowing you got every possible last drop out of every tube, pot, container you own.
So, the next time you're about to give up on a broken lipstick or toss a broken eyeshadow, we urge you to think twice—there's always a way to get more out of your products. To learn some insider tricks on how to make our beauty products last longer (and therefore get more bang for your buck), we tapped two industry professionals: Robert Sesnek and AJ Crimson.
Meet the Expert
Keep scrolling for some genius ways on how to stretch your makeup.
Use a Q-Tip To Collect the Last of Your Lipstick
Fun fact: lipstick can be used up to two years—so as long as it doesn't smell funky. So when you've finally reached the very bottom of your favorite tube, don't toss it out. Instead, Crimson suggests breaking a Q-tip in half and using the end without the cotton to scoop the product out of its tube. Then, put it into a small sealable sample container. You could also use a makeup spatula for this step, such as these Beauty Spatulas ($8) from S&T Inc.
Feeling like playing beauty mixologist? Try mixing different shades of lipstick in your container to make your own custom shade.
Dilute Foundation With Face Oil
Sesnek is a fan of this trick for two reasons. For one, it extends the life of your foundation (which means you won't have to purchase refills as frequently). It also offers a sheered down, more skin-like appearance. "When using this hack make sure your oil and foundation are compatible," he notes. "I like to use luminous foundations with oil, as they work together and don’t cancel each other out." His dynamic duo of choice for this hack? The Catrice Cosmetics True Skin Foundation ($11) mixed with the Glow Beautifying Face Oil ($10).
Harden Melted Lipstick in the Refrigerator
We've all had a case of melted lipstick on our hands, but don't take this to mean you should throw away your precious tube. "If your favorite lipstick has melted or has changed in texture due to sun or heat, they can be hardened up again in the refrigerator and returned to their shape," says Sesnek. The only caveat? Different types of lipstick will be more of a challenge to return to original texture due to heat. For example, metallic or glittery lipsticks that have micro-particles "can settle at the bottom of the tube and therefore won't necessarily have the same effect or spreadability—even if placed in the refrigerator," explains Sesnek.
Remove Plastic Stopper From Concealer
Here's a makeup saving hack that will blow your mind. You'll be shocked—and we mean shocked—when you see how much more concealer is in your tube when you remove the plastic stopper (aka the ring of plastic you typically see at the opening of the product). When you're nearing the end of the product, use a pair of pliers to gently wiggle and pull the plastic stopper. Keep wiggling and pulling until the stopper slides out and voilà! You've instantly got more concealer in the in the tube (just beware that the product may be messier to use since you've removed its stopper).
Use Tweezers to Remove Old Lash Glue From False Lashes
Surprisingly, removing lash glue from your favorite pair of falsies is easy—and it'll ensure you can reuse them in the future. Sesnek recommends using a pair of slanted tweezers for this hack. "Gently hold the false lash at the hairs, then take your slanted tweezers and lightly pull and remove any remaining lash glue."
Being gentle is the goal here, as you don’t want to alter the shape or integrity of the false lash (or crush the hairs). Be sure to use a pair of slanted tweezers for this hack—it'll minimize the risk of damage to your falsies.
Loosen Dried Mascara With Saline Solution
According to Sesnek, you can add one to three drops of saline solution to dried mascara to loosen it up. "I would start with one drop and swirl the wand into the tube until the consistency is reached, only adding another drop as needed," he says, as overdoing it can alter the entire formula.
Store Crumbled Blushes in a Covered Container
Pressed face powder will normally last for one year or longer, so if your favorite blush has broken in your purse, don't think to toss it. While you could use rubbing alcohol to press it back to life, we love taking advantage of crumbled up blushes by using it as a loose blush for that au naturel look.
Revive Dried Up Gel Eyeliner With Hot Water
You're committed to a cat eye, but your dried up gel eyeliner says otherwise. What's the fix? Hot water. Simply heat up water until it's barely hot (not scalding), pour it into a cup, and dump your pot of gel eyeliner in for about one minute. Your gel eyeliner will be as creamy and buttery as new.
Fix Broken Eyeshadow With Rubbing Alcohol
You've likely heard of using rubbing alcohol to mend a broken eyeshadow, and that's because it works. However, Sesnek says that there are several factors to be aware of. "Rubbing alcohol can change the entire formula of the eyeshadow, and adding too much alcohol can create a film over the pan, making it challenging to blend or apply," he warns. "If you choose to repress a broken eyeshadow, here's how to do it: collect all the broken pieces, mash the powder eyeshadow into a powder, add rubbing alcohol drop by drop, and mix it to a thick, paste-like consistency. After several minutes, use a paper towel to gently press the powder back into the pan. Let it dry overnight to ensure it's completely dry."
Use Setting Spray For Dried Up Cream Eyeshadow
According to Crimson, water and setting sprays can bring dried out products back to life, and this goes for your dried up cream eyeshadows, too. Just apply some cream eyeshadow to the back of your hand, spritz some setting spray on it, and apply to your lids.
Remove Hard Film on Pressed Powder With a Butter Knife
Ever dig up an old pressed powder only to find it's laden with a hard film on top, rendering it pretty much useless? Crimson has the fix: "I use a butter knife to scrape the hard film on powder products and it’s like new again," he says.
Cut Open Plastic Tubes
There's a world of product sitting in your plastic tubes, even when you think you've squeezed out every last drop. Take a pair of scissors to the center of your plastic foundation, moisturizer, and concealer tubes to really finish it off.
Add a Bobby Pin to Your Powder Brush
Here's a hack Sesnek recommends for getting the most of your brushes: Add a bobby pin to the base of your powder brush to give it a fan shape. "Now you have a fan brush for highlighting, contouring, applying bronzer, and cleaning eyeshadow fallout," he says. Genius.
Avoid Pumping Your Mascara Wand
If there's one cardinal rule to follow when it comes to makeup, resisting the urge to pump your mascara want is one of them. "Pumping just adds more air to the tube and will dry out the product quicker," warns Sesnek. "Instead, swirl the brush back and forth clockwise and counterclockwise in the tube several times without pumping up and down on the mascara wand—this ensures your wand is picking up the product minus the air."
DIY Your Leftover Lipgloss
There isn't a great way to scrape and conserve lip gloss (sorry), but if you're running out, you can actually use the leftover to make your own shade. First, take a clean, empty lip gloss pot, add a little vaseline, and then add some of the leftover lipstick that you've managed to get out of the tube.