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.

What to Do with Leftover Bits of Makeup