How To: Multi-Use Your Makeup Products

by Sarah

Did you know, you can create a full eye look only using eye pencils; or turn your powder products into delicious cream versions?

Thinking outside the box can open many new doors when it comes to getting the most out of your makeup products; and even discover new application techniques.

Today, we break all the rules and discover how to turn everyday makeup products into multi-use favorites…

Ho to multi-use your makeup products

Photo: Tamara Williams Photography (@tamarawilliams1) / Makeup: Jose Corella (@josecorella) / Model: Bridgette Sattarlee

I come from an era of professional makeup artists where we didn’t have the luxury of endless variety of products and formulas like we do today. So we had to get creative, especially for editorial shoots.

And with that, came the ability to improvise and stretch the use of products we had to the max, without compromising on the creative process.

Although we’re spoilt for choice in today’s market, making the most out of our makeup products, discovering their versatility and saving some dollars wherever possible is always a bonus.

So, here are ‘some’ of many ways you can multi-use your everyday makeup and beauty products:

Turn Skincare into Primers

Lets begin with the canvas: using our skincare as primers.

Priming our skin before makeup application is essentially “prepping” it.

The cleaner, plumper and more hydrated the skin is, the better and more long-wearing the makeup application will be.

So, unless you have a specific primer that changed your world, feel free to skip the primer and make cleansing and moisturising an essential step before applying your makeup. This goes for the eye area too.

TIP: Serums work particularly well under makeup, as they absorb into the skin faster than traditional lotion/cream based moisturisers.

Pic Cred: Estee Lauder

Turn Eye Primer into Oil Control for the T-zone

If you have a really oily T-zone, and your mattifying/oil balancing skincare doesn’t help, you can apply a translucent eye primer (such as Urban Decay Eye Primer) specifically on the oily areas.

Eye primers have setting agents which help makeup bind to the skin, preventing it from moving.

If your foundation, concealer and powder melt off or break apart, you can extend their longevity by using your eye primer to control the oil.

Pic Cred: Unknown; please contact me with credit details if you know

Turn Foundation into Dewy/Illuminating Finish

As formulas improve and trends change, we go back and forth between different foundation finishes. This applies to seasonal makeup as well – with most skin types needing heavier coverage during winter months, versus lighter, more luminous finish during summer months.

If you have a cult favorite foundation that’s matte or satin finish, and you’d like to alter it so it provides a lighter, more natural/dewy finish, all you need to do is dilute it with your moisturizer or serum.

For that additional dewy shimmer, mix it with a drop of your favorite liquid highlighter.

I love mixing my Fenty Beauty Pro Flit’r foundation (which is a satin/matte finish) with a drop of Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector liquid highlighter in Opal. The finish is absolute perfection!

Pic Cred: Nikki Wolff – Pro Makeup Artist (@Nikki_Makeup)

Turn Concealer into Tinted Moisturizer (or even Foundation)

Concealers contain high levels of pigment which make them opaque and hence provide heavier coverage than traditional foundations.

You can dilute your concealers by mixing them with your daily moisturiser or serums and apply it all over the face as either tinted moisturisers or foundations.

You can adjust the level of coverage by reducing or increasing the concealer to moisturizer ratio, depending on your preference.

TIP: For this trick, make sure the concealer is the same color as your skin.

Pic Cred: Allure Magazine

Turn Concealer into Eye Primer

The skin around the eye are is really thin and delicate.

This causes every vein, redness and discoloration to show through; affecting the application and end result of your eyeshadows.

In order to cancel out all the discoloration and have a clear canvas, applying a small amount of concealer over the eyelids (and setting with a veil of translucent powder) will give you an even canvas ready to showcase the true colors of the eyeshadows you apply on top.

I find lighter coverage liquid concealers to work best as eye primers. It doesn’t leave a cakey layer on the eyelids like some heavy coverage concealers do – which can dry out the skin and enhance fine lines and wrinkles.

Pic Cred: Unknown; please contact me with credit details if you know

Turn Bronzers, Blush and Highlighters into Eyeshadows

Although limited in color variety (compared to traditional eyeshadows), you can use your bronzer, blushes and highlighters as eyeshadows to create super simple yet modern monochromatic looks.

Bronzers in particular look gorgeous as crease colors which add a natural depth to the eyes, complimenting the skin tone in general. You can even create soft smoky eyes with bronzers.

Same goes for blushes, especially during spring/summer months when you can carry the soft rosy, coral, pink hues from the cheeks to the eyes.

Highlighters are great to add a pop of shimmer to the center of the lids, inner corners of the eyes and the brow bone; as well as using it all over the eyelid to create that super sparkling night look.

Pic Cred: Charlotte Tilbury

Turn Powder Bronzers, Blush and Highlighters into Cream Products

On days where you prefer a natural, glowing finish on your skin, but you don’t have cream products to achieve that look, you can turn your powder bronzers, blush and highlighters into cream products.

All you need to do is scrape some of your preferred powder product onto a plate and mix it with a small drop of your daily moisturizer or serum until you have a smooth consistency in the desired color.

Best way to apply this mixture is by dabbing it into the skin with your fingers. I find water based gel moisturisers work best for this trick as they don’t contain any oil and help the color set better over the skin.

You can also use the same technique by mixing your blush and highlighter with your favorite lip balm or even Aquaphor to create a lip tint/color/shimmer.

You can adjust the intensity of color by decreasing or increasing the ratio of powder against the balm.

Pic Cred: NARS Orgasm Liquid Blush

Turn Lipsticks into Blushes

This is probably the most known product trick as applying a dab of lipstick over the cheeks adds a pop of color to the face.

Whether you use traditional lipstick bullets, or the long wearing liquid lipsticks, dabbing a few dots of your favorite lipstick over your cheeks will create a uniform look by tying in your lip and cheek color in an instant.

Note: I see some influencers use lipsticks as eye color and I do not condone this. Lipsticks usually have a completely different (more often emollient) formula which is not safe to use around the eye area.

Furthermore, red pigments which are typically found in more vibrant colored lipstikcs are also not safe for the eye area, so please refrain from using lip products on the eyes.

Pic Cred: Danessa Myricks – Pro Makeup Artist (@danessamyricks)

Turn Eyeliners into Eyeshadows

Quality of eyeliners have improved immensely over the years, with most brands offering smooth, blendable and long wearing formulas in a huge variety of colors.

If you have a specific favorite eyeliner color (that you wish came in an eyeshadow version),  you can actually apply eyeliners all over the eyelids, or even in the crease of the eye and blend it to achieve a full eye look – no eyeshadow needed.

Layering even one single color eyeliner in a gradient gives the look of a professional application. This goes for both pencil and cream liners. *Just do a wear test of the formula before you commit to a full application to make sure you’re happy with the  finish and longevity of it.

Check out an eye makeup tutorial I did here using only eye pencils.

Note: The only disadvantage of using eyeliners as eyeshadows is that they set pretty quickly but you can eliminate this problem by working and layering in sections. 

Pic Cred: Dose Of Colors

Turn Shimmer/Metallic Pigments into Body Illuminators

The body illuminators that are currently taking the beauty world by storm typically contain a blend of shimmer pigment and moisturizer/oil.
*Check out my previous post on my top body illuminators here

Pro makeup stores and even online makeup ingredient stores sell loose shimmer/metallic pigments at a fraction of the cost of pre-packaged brands. You can purchase colors ranging from soft champagnes and golds to peach, rose gold and bronze to duo chrome which shift and change colors in different lighting.

You can mix these pigments into your favourite body lotion or oils and turn them into glistening body illuminators. Best part: you get to create your custom color and of course the intensity.

Pic Cred: Fenty Beauty Body Lava

Turn Shimmer/Metallic Pigments into Illuminating Sprays

Same technique as the previous trick can be used for body and face mists.

Whether you like a binding spray such as MAC Fix+ or a setting spray such as Urban Decay All Nighter, you can add your favourite shimmer/metallic pigment into your favorite spray to create a dewy finish over the skin.

Mists can be used both on the face and the body and provide a refreshing feel with that touch of shimmer especially in the summer months.

And again, the best part of customizing your own product is that you have full control over color and intensity of shimmer.

TRICK: for body mists, you can add a few drops of your favorite essential oils to give your custom mix a delicious scent too. Tropical coconut anyone??

Pic Cred: Anastasia Beverly Hills

Makeup Brushes 

Makeup brushes are another batch that get thrown into boxed-ideals. Reality is, as long as it helps achieve the look you’re going for, it really doesn’t matter which brush you use for what application.

Slanted eyebrow bushes as lip brushes: The really flat and precise bristles of eyebrow brushes make for great lipstick application. You can really get into the corners of the mouth and draw razor sharp lines with full control. Works great with those hard-to-get-right red lipsticks.

Fluffy eyeshadow blending brushes as concealer brushes: I love using eyeshadow blending brushes to apply my concealer – especially under the eyes. As the name suggests, a blending brush is designed to distribute and buff in products as evenly as possible. This type of brush does an amazing job in achieving a soft blurred look under the eyes and gives the user full control when it comes to coverage.

Blush/Powder Brushes as Contour brush: You can turn any of your fluffy blush or powder brushes into a flat contour brush by squeezing the bristles between your fingers.

This trick helps apply the contour products in precise areas of the face and you can release the bristles and use the original fluffy version to blend out the product seamlessly.

I hope you all enjoyed this “tips and tricks” post; which showcases some of the many different ways you can use your makeup products than intended.

The idea is to break the rules that we’re conditioned to abide by and instead making your products work for you.

Do you have any product tips and tricks you’d like to share? Leave them in the comments section below

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1 comment

Kiara October 16, 2019 - 11:58 am

This post is crazy good!!!! I’m gonna try making my own body highlighter. I love the idea of turning powder blush into cream blush too. So creative! Thanks Sarah


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