Makeup can get expensive – especially if you shop at department stores instead of drugstores. If you are anything like me, you can't stomach throwing out even those little bits of makeup left in the bottom of the container. Now you don't have to! I discovered a variety of ways to make the most out of your leftover cosmetics.




Make a new product

I like to find ways to make new products out of the bits of makeup I have left. For example, I make my own lip gloss by scraping out the bottom of a lipstick tube and mixing it with a bit of petroleum jelly. If you find it hard to stir, just microwave it for a couple of seconds. You can put the homemade gloss in an empty eye shadow or lipstick pot.

Repackage it

Rather than throw out your cosmetic leftovers (and buy new ones), scrape them out and repackage them in plastic pill box sets — you know, those kind labeled with each day of the week. I get them from the Dollar Tree. This can extend the life of your products by several weeks. You can also use travel-size containers or small storage cups. I do this with almost any leftover makeup – lipstick, concealer, foundation, pressed powder and blush. Just be sure to crush any pressed powder and blush in a small zip bag until they reach a loose-powder consistency. This will make them easier to store and apply.

Remake your cosmetics

Did you know that you can re-mold your favorite lipsticks? Check Amazon for lipstick molds like this. Just microwave leftover bits of lipstick in a cup for 45 seconds (you can even customize your own shade by mixing several different colors of leftover lipstick), pour the melted lipstick into the mold and freeze. A tube of new lipstick can cost $12 or more. You can make three lipsticks using a reusable mold and bits of lipstick from old tubes for that same price.

Recycle old cosmetics

Some companies like Origins, MAC, Tarte and Kiehl's have recycling programs. Just return your empty cosmetic containers to their stores. Some stores even offer incentives for recycling. For example, if you return three empty containers to Kiehl's, you get a free lip balm. Return 10 and you get a full-sized product. Check your favorite store to see if they have a similar program.

Find creative ways to use up the leftovers

If you don't want to use those leftover bits of makeup on your face, use them in other places!

  • Coat the bottom of your shaving cream cans with those leftover bits of clear nail polish. The nail polish forms a layer that prevents rust from forming on the bottom of your shaving cream can and staining your tub.
  • Have flyway hairs on your head or eyebrows? Use a dab of leftover lip balm to tame that mane.
  • Use expired or leftover waterproof mascara to cover up scuffs on your favorite boots or high heels.
  • You can also mix a bit of leftover lip balm into your favorite makeup products (like eye shadow or powder blush) to make longer-lasting cream versions.

Caution: If your makeup has expired or been exposed to bacteria, throw it out. These tips are intended for makeup that is still safe to use. If you’re not sure how long it’s safe to use your makeup, check out this article about makeup expiration dates.


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12 thoughts on “What to Do with Leftover Bits of Makeup”

This is a bit too much. I mean really, how cheap can one be?? just throw it out and buy fresh makeup. Who has time to be molding and crushing and microwaving makeup…not me. and I’m sure neither is the vast majority of women.


Not everyone has money to throw, and there are a lot of women (people) who are looking to save money anywhere they can. This isn’t “cheap”, its money savvy, and thrifty and I commend people who have this mentality. If you can’t keep your negative comments to yourself in regards to ideas that may help others, then why even comment.

I buy medicated makeup for my skin condition and it’s a bit pricey. It kills me to throw any away, so kudos to all the internet ideas out there for reusing and recycling.


We want to make it clear that we’re not advocating finding ways to use cosmetics after they are no longer safe. These tips are for cosmetics that are still perfectly good, just used to the point that they are no longer as convenient to use in their original packaging. There’s no reason to let perfectly good makeup go to waste, but if it is expired or has been exposed to bacteria, throw it out!


KCL, I love your articles and your website. Thanks so much for your effort!!
I hv a problem searching for past articles. I read once on how to clean DVDs. I can’t seem to find the article on your site now. How do I search for past articles. Thanks.


To clean your DVD or any Cd you can just use the inside of a banana peel. Rub it on the DVD then wipe it clean. The inside of the banana peel basically fills in any scratches that may prevent the DVD or Cd from playing properly. HTH!


Thank you Taitainia for your suggestion!!


Banana peels can also be amazing for polishing shoes. A wonderful trick I learned from my grandfather. The man who never used anything for one purpose. 🙂


just throw them out to be on the safe side. good grief.


PLEASE never use any thing that has been in on your mouth around your eyes. If you happen to get cold sores which many people do you could end up with herpes in your eyes.


eeewww, really?? gross!


These are all excellent ideas, but please DO NOT forget that cosmetics actually expire and should be changed fairly regularly! Also, change your cosmetics following any instances of staph or skin infections to prevent reinfection!