Tricks for Making Your Products Last
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Going the Distance1 of 9
By Brienne Walsh
Like most things in life, beauty products don't last forever. Most of what's in your cosmetic bag needs to be tossed after a year or two, because of bacteria or just general wear and tear. There are ways, however, to get a little more mileage out of your favorites. We've compiled a list of expert tips to help you out.
Natural Brushes2 of 9
Makeup brushes are big culprits for spreading bacteria, so it's important to clean them at least once a week. "I spray mine with a brush cleaner, and then wipe them back and forth on a paper towel," says New York City make-up artist and Pre-Dame founder Stefanie Syat. "Once a month, I shampoo and condition them and then lay them flat for a day to dry."
Eye Shadow3 of 9
While it's possible to reconstruct a broken eye shadow using a little bit of alcohol, a piece of fabric and a lot of patience, Syat prefers to salvage them in a different way: "Break up what remains of the shadow, and put it in a little container. Then, pat it on top of a cream base with a brush to create a super pigmented eye." (Look for stacking pillboxes, like these from The Container Store, to hold all your "leftovers.")
Mascara4 of 9
The biggest mistake you can make is pumping your mascara wand during use. The movement causes air pockets that make the product clumpy, and allows room for bacteria to grow. Instead, wipe your wands once a week with tissue, to clean off excess buildup. But whatever you do, never clean them with water or alcohol. "You'll burn your eyes and change the chemical makeup of the mascara," says Syat.
Lipstick5 of 9
If your favorite lipstick is down to the dispenser, then Syat recommends that you use what's left to make a palette. "Just scoop all the lipstick left into a little container, and then blow dry it until it melts," she says. "When it settles, put it in the freezer for an hour, and voilà—a palette that you can mix and match with other colors."
Nail Polish6 of 9
A few drops of nail polish thinner helps to remove clumps from aging nail polish. Just drop them in, shake and you've got plenty of manis left in that bottle yet.
Eye Pencils7 of 9
Makeup pencils seem almost indestructible, but wooden ones can crack and become impossible to sharpen. To prevent splintering and cut down on bacteria, Syat says to keep the caps on when pencils aren't being used. "And if you're traveling with them, keep them tied together with a rubber band," she adds. "It's harder to break them if they're in a thick bundle."
Moisturizer8 of 9
It's one of the greatest conundrums of beauty products—how do you use the last of the lotion in a bottle? One way is to slice open the container with a box cutter, but we prefer this less treacherous option: "I lay the bottle on its side," says Syat. "Then, when the product settles toward the top, I scoop it out with a cotton swab and put it in a flat, sealed container."
Tweezers9 of 9
Keeping your brows expertly groomed requires a quality pair of tweezers. "The biggest mistake people make is taking the elastic band or tip off a tweezer when they're not using it," says Syat. "If a tweezer is kept open, it loses some of the tightness and makes it impossible to get to small, fine hairs." If you opt for pluckers by Tweezerman, then you're in luck—the brand offers free sharpening for life!