1. Mascara wands make the best eyebrow brushes.
When it’s time to toss your latest tube of mascara, save the wand. Wash it clean with soap and water and, voila, free brow spoolie. (Tip: use it to put a little lip balm in your brows as a flexible-hold brow gel!)
2. Turn any eyeshadow into a long-lasting eyeliner with a drop of saline solution.
I learned this trick decades ago from Carmindy, the resident makeup artist on the TLC classic What Not to Wear. Wet an eyeliner brush with a drop or two of saline solution (the same stuff you use to clean your contact lenses). Then dip the brush into a powder eyeshadow and apply it like a liquid liner. When it dries, it’s sweat and smudge proof and lasts all day.
3. Clean stained fingernails with a whitening toothpaste.
Even with a base coat, dark and bright polishes can stain your nails. Use an acetone polish remover, then give your nails a good scrub with a nail brush and whitening toothpaste to help minimize discoloration.
Another tip for removing dark polish: before you go in with acetone, use a cotton swab to apply a thick hand cream all around your cuticles and fingertips. This helps everything come off in one clean swipe, without staining your skin and cuticles!
4. Beat dry, peeling lips overnight with Aquaphor.
Cover chapped lips with a generous dab of Aquaphor right before bed. In the morning, remove it with a warm wet wash cloth and gently exfoliate. Lips are left soft and hydrated with minimum effort and cost. You can buy a big tube on Amazon for $9.
5. Out of eye makeup remover? A little coconut oil works in a pinch.
Gently massage a small amount onto lashes and lids to dissolve mascara, liner and eyeshadow. Then remove it with a warm wash cloth or cotton pad. Just be sure to rinse really well afterwards, because coconut oil is comedogenic and can cause breakouts.
This L’Oreal bi-phase remover is the best budget-friendly drugstore option I’ve found!
6. Freshen up unwashed hair with cornstarch.
Corn starch helps absorb oil and odor from your scalp, and is cheaper than dry shampoo. Sprinkle a tiny amount on your roots — you can always add more as needed — then brush it through with a boar bristle brush until it’s no longer visible.
7. Store a couple spoons + an eye cream in the fridge.
On the mornings after a night of too much sodium or alcohol — or during allergy season — this cooling combo will help you relax and de-puff. Gently tap the cold cream around your eyes with a ring finger. Then place the cold spoons under your eyes for 60 seconds. This will restrict the blood vessels to reduce puffiness, and soothe itchiness and inflammation. (Plus it just feels really nice!)
8. Dry nail polish in a snap with ice water.
Since I started using Essie’s Good to Go and Seche Vite quick-dry topcoat, I haven’t had to use this trick, but it’s a good one. Fill a bowl with ice water, then carefully dip your drying nails in for about a minute. If they’re still tacky, dunk them again.
9. Clean makeup brushes with castile soap.
For $24, you can get an 8 oz bottle of brush cleaner from Sephora. But for a few dollars less, a 32 oz. bottle of unscented multi-tasking Dr. Bronner’s pure castile soap will do the same job for much more value. This natural and vegan mild cleanser removes every trace of makeup from synthetic brushes, even dissolving long wear foundation and concealers.
10. Grab a stack of napkins on your next Starbucks trip.
This one is weird, but true. The coffee powerhouse’s unbleached recycled napkins make excellent blotting papers. So when you stop in for your latte fix grab a few extra napkins and stash them in your purse for a quick skin touch-up on the go!
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This post originally appeared on the blog on 2013 and is one of the most viewed posts in the archives; I thought it deserved a revival with some updates.