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polish & prime: what to do with broken products


I’m going to hazard a guess and say everyone reading this has at least one make-up product in their collection that is either broken or completely wrong for them. Perhaps you were a bit gung-ho when you twisted your lipstick and it broke at the base. Or maybe you received a liquid foundation as a free gift with purchase and it’s two shades too dark. Products like these generally hang out at the back of our make-up drawer, and every time we see them we begrudgingly think we should throw them out.  But, as I’ve recently discovered, if you’re willing to spend a bit of time and get a little creative, some of these products can be saved.


Breaking a lipstick at the base is such a source of frustration but is something quite easily fixed.

  • Wave a match or lighter at the broken part on the base so it softens (some people say hairdryer, but in my experience all this does is burn my hand).
  • Position the top part of the lipstick on the base so they meld together.
  • Place the lipstick upright in the fridge for about half an hour so that the pieces set.
  • Voila! Lipstick is saved and once more can be easily applied.

But what about when you reach what seems to be the end of your lipstick? There’s always that irritating little stub that promises you colour but is difficult to apply. If you have a few of these lipsticks, it’s an idea to buy a weekly pill-box. Then, using an old eyeshadow applicator, scrape out the remainder of the lipstick and put it in one of the compartments. Once you have followed this procedure with all of your mostly-used lipsticks, microwave the box for roughly 20 seconds (keep your eye on it, you just need to melt the lipstick so they fill the compartments smoothly and evenly). Once this is done you have three options:

  1. If you want to keep the traditional look of your lipstick, put them in the fridge to set for about half an hour.
  2. If you would prefer a glossier look (and there is space in the compartment) mix the lipstick with a little Vaseline, then leave in the fridge to set.
  3. If you want to get even more adventurous, you can mix colours together in any extra compartments (and you guessed it, leave it in the fridge to set).
These now work like a lip palette and can be applied with a lip brush. While it’s not as obviously as convenient as a lipstick, it still gives you the ability to get a little more use.

Liquid Foundation

If you ever end up with a liquid foundation that’s darker than one you normally use (such as a giveaway, gift with purchase or a bad buy) it can be worth hanging onto it. Before each application, you can mix a little with sunscreen or a day moisturizer to get your perfect tone. This is a particularly handy thing to do if you tend to tan easily during summer or if you are prone to using fake tans as you can colour match as your tan deepens and fades.


Most of us have had that horrible moment when we drop a blush and it explodes in multiple pieces. Even if you try and put the pieces back in the compact, it can be difficult to apply evenly. A way around this is to turn your powder brush into a cream blush. Using a small container, mix your powder blush with an even amount of face moisturiser (the thicker the better).  It won’t have the same look as before – it’ll be more subtle and dewy – but it won’t be going to waste.

You can also mix blush with Vaseline to make a light lipgloss.

Nail Polish

You know how over time nail polish gets gluggy and thick? You can occasionally save them by mixing a drop or two of nail polish remover through the bottle and shaking for a couple minutes. Keep in mind though this is only a temporary fix and will likely only get you a one or two more rounds of the polish.

There’s plenty of other ways you can make the most out of your beauty products. When applied with a wet eyeliner brush, eye-shadow can be used as liquid eyeliner. If you thoroughly clean an old mascara wand, you can spray this with a small amount of hairspray and use to groom your eyebrows. If you are out of blusher, you can use lipstick – place a few dots on the apples of your cheeks and blend, blend, blend in an upwards motion.

If you have any tricks for saving products, please let us know in the comments!

3 thoughts on “polish & prime: what to do with broken products

  1. Awesome! Had no idea about most of these…I’m especially looking forward to the blush one, as I have a blush that just broke a few weeks ago!

    The only tip that’s missing is a way to make foundation darker! I always end up with a shade or two too light! Us poor dark skinned girls…

  2. Ah, I’m sorry for that Lex! I haven’t tried it before, but I’m thinking if you have some loose bronzer, you could mix that through? It’ll probably add a lovely glow as well!

  3. That blush idea is genius Freya! I was devastated when I broke my new blush.

    I use too light foundation for highlighting my face in a subtle, non-sparkly way. You can use too dark foundation for contouring (not that I’ve ever been in this situation haha).

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