Experts offer money-saving advice on how to get the most from your makeup favorites

There’s no reason to send a broken lipstick or cracked eye shadow into the garbage.

“Think twice about tossing broken or worn-down beauty products,” says Lisa Lee Freeman, editor-in-chief of ShopSmart, from Consumer Reports.  “In many cases, there are simple tricks that professional makeup artists swear by.”

To help prolong the life of pricey beauty products and repair those that have broken, ShopSmart pulled together expert tips and advice on how to keep cosmetics, hair tools and makeup applicators from meeting an untimely end.

Budget fixes to make makeup last longer

Money-saving beauty fixes to make makeup last longer

Below are a few of the common makeup mishaps, and some possible solutions.


Beauty blah: Broken lipstick.

Budget fix: Take a cigarette lighter and run it quickly (and carefully) over the surface of the bottom piece, where the break happened. Put the lipstick back onto the other half and seal the parts together. Then put it in the refrigerator for a full day, which should complete the fix.


Beauty blah: Cracked shadows & compacts.

Budget fix: Leave the powder in its pan and spritz with a small amount of rubbing alcohol. Then, press the powder back into its original shape gently with your finger.

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Bonus tip: To make eye shadow last longer, always use a brush (not a finger) to apply.


Beauty blah: Tossing out false eyelashes after one use.

Budget fix: Remove false strip lashes and soak them in a dish of warm water with a small amount of soap for 10 to 15 minutes, which should remove the excess glue. Take them out of the water, rinse gently, then let the eyelashes air dry. Use a clean mascara wand to separate the lashes.


Beauty blah: Nail polish is getting too thick.

Budget fix: Pour a small amount of nail-polish remover in the bottle, then roll the closed bottle it between both of palms. This will break up the product and give a thinner coat.


Beauty blah: Hair spray nozzle clog.

Budget fix: Remove the top of the aerosol hair spray and run it through warm water, using a thumb to remove any buildup from the sprayer. Let it soak in warm water for about a half-hour, then remove it and rinse under cool running water. Dry the top thoroughly and replace.

Ten more ways to make your makeup (and cosmetic budget) last

Myria offers these 10 tips on how to extend the life of your makeup:

  1. Save the last bits of your lipstick, then melt them (5 to 10 seconds in the microwave) and put them in a new container, like one of these little cosmetic pots. You could also try using an empty contact lens case (which will never be used again for lenses) or another tiny box or bottle. Just use a lipstick brush to apply the lipcolor.
  2. Don’t spend money on expensive blotting papers — just use a clean commercial (“First pull up, then pull down”) toilet seat cover cut up into pieces.
  3. If your mascara is drying out, try warming the tube in hot water or heating the closed tube with a blow dryer for a short amount of time. This might help the mascara get back into a liquid state.
  4. Mascara still dried up? Throw it away — because you should never add saliva or water to remoisten it. If you use saliva, the bacteria from your mouth could grow in the mascara and cause an eye infection. And water is a problem, too, because it could add bacteria from the container to the mascara, plus it will dilute the makeup’s preservative that is intended to protect against microbial growth.
  5. Don’t store your makeup at temperatures above 85 degrees F. Cosmetics kept for long periods in hot cars, for example, or on a sunny window ledge, are more likely to deteriorate, separate, or to change color.
  6. Remember that preservative-free or “natural” makeup won’t last as long as their typical counterparts, so check that expiration date.
  7. Almost at the end of your perfume bottle? Make the use of all of your fragrance by adding distilled water to the last bit in the bottle, and using it as a body spray.
  8. Don’t allow your makeup containers get dusty or dirty — keep them clean to avoid making them a home to bacteria or fungi.
  9. Don’t share your makeup, because someone else’s bacteria may be bad for you. (Example: You could get pink eye.)
  10. Salvage broken eyeshadows by crushing them into powder and applying them out of a cosmetic pot or jar instead.

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