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New Uses for Common Toiletries

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Instead of chucking products that don’t work quite like you had hoped, find out what else they can do for you. These tips, culled from blog confessions, expert advice, and our own experiments, will have you reusing your common toiletries in no time, not to mention save you money and get you out of emergencies.

Petroleum Jelly = Furniture Fixer
You may have used Vaseline Pure Petroleum Jelly as lip balm, moisturizer, lash definer, or makeup remover, but did you know it also camouflages light scratches in wood furniture? The Beauty Brains bloggers love this tip: Just dab it on and buff. You can also make light bulbs easier to unscrew by spreading a little around the thread of a new bulb before screwing it in.

Baby Powder = Floor Fixer
Baby powder, or most any body powder, can be used for a number of things like temporarily deodorizing shoes and armpits, but it can also silence little squeaks in wood floors. Just sprinkle it over the offending cracks and use a small paintbrush or broom to sweep it in. Wait a day or two for the powder to work its way in and voila! Silence. (Note: Larger squeaks may call for more drastic measures.)

Conditioner = Shaving Cream
When traveling or just in a pinch, use the same trick employed by stars like Natalie Portman: Shave your legs with hair conditioner. It provides the same slickness as your shaving cream does, allowing your razor to slide over your legs and condition your skin without nicks and razor burn.

Rubbing Alcohol and Hairspray = Stain Remover
To remove home hair color stains on your skin, sink or even carpet, sponge it with an alcohol-soaked cotton ball or rag. Just be sure to apply with a cotton ball soon after you see the stain. If you wait too long, the stain gets harder to remove. If you don’t have alcohol handy and the stain is on fabric, try this tip backed by Good Housekeeping: Saturate it with hairspray, which contains alcohol and can help loosen the stain. Then soak and launder as soon as possible.

Clear Nail Polish = Screw Fixer and Rust Fighter
Author and fix-it whiz Joey Green claims painting a bit of nail polish on screw threads and nuts before inserting them will help keep them in tight. You can also apply clear polish to new toilet seat screws to keep them from rusting too quickly. And for yet another household use, paint the bottom of your shaving cream cans to keep them from rusting in the shower.

Cleanser or Moisturizer = Skin Soothing Treatment
Refrigerate cleansers or moisturizers in lotion or gel form and use them as a post-extraction soothing treatment or refreshing makeup remover for dry skin types. You can also do this with eye cream to give tired eyes a cooling, soothing effect.

Lip Balm =  Cuticle Conditioner or Makeup Remover
When you’re done applying your lip balm, don’t just wipe off that leftover product on your finger. Rub it into your cuticles for a nice conditioning treatment. (Note: You can also do this with any room-temperature oil or butter you get on your hands while cooking.) Another tip for lip balm: Like petroleum jelly, it makes a great on-the-go makeup remover for that little eye makeup stain you get after washing your face. Just make sure you’re not using peppermint or menthol lip balm as it could sting your eyes.

Oil-Free Moisturizer = Frizz Tamer
Skin Rhythm blogger Jen confesses using a less-than-pea-sized amount of Juice Beauty Oil-Free Moisturizer as a smoothing cream for her very fine hair: “It smoothed and sealed my dry ends and added a bit of shine. It even added a bit of definition to my layers without weighing down my hair or causing it to look [flat and] oily, even hours later.” You can use most any face moisturizer, lip balm, or body lotion to smooth frizzy flyaways. Start by rubbing just a drop of the product together between hands, then smoothing over hair or along hair ends to tame frizz. (Curly hair tip: To help define curls, wrap one-inch pieces of hair around your finger.) Add more product if necessary, but use sparingly to avoid a greasy look.

Eye Shadow = Highlighter, Contour Creator, Eyeliner, and Brow Filler
Neutral metallic or white eye shadow can easily double as a highlighter, while matte eye shadow that’s a few shades darker than your skin tone can be used to contour features. You can also use eye shadow as eyeliner by wetting an eyeliner brush, dipping it into the shadow and dragging it along your lash line. For brow filler, dab dry shadow on an angled dry eyeliner or brow brush and use a very light hand to fill in your brows.

Foundation = Tinted Moisturizer/Concealer
Want lighter coverage than say, Nars Balanced Foundation, without getting a new foundation? Create tinted moisturizer by mixing your current foundation (you can even do this with stick foundation) with a little moisturizer. Do this on the back of your hand—not in the bottles—and experiment with the consistency and coverage until you get what you want. Apply with a fingers or a brush (a sponge may soak up too much product) and blend well. Don’t forget to set with powder to make the coverage last longer.

Bonus tip: If you need a concealer when you’ve run out, dab on a bit of the foundation that has caked into its cap. The moisture there has evaporated a bit more, leaving your foundation with a thicker consistency. Blend outward with fingers or a concealer brush.

Lipstick = Blush
You may have learned this one from your mother. To give your cheeks a healthy glow, start by dabbing lipstick on the apples of your cheeks. Blend outward, building the color to your liking. (A word of caution: Lipstick is usually a lot more heavily pigmented than blush, so use a light touch.)

Body Scrub = Pre- or Post-Shaving Body Lotion
When shaving any body part, clean and rinse the area, then apply a gentle exfoliating body scrub. This will get rid of leftover dead skin cells, moisturize your skin and fend off razor bumps. Look for a product that contains essential oils or smooth exfoliators like jojoba beads (vs. rough walnut shells), which will slide off easily without clogging your razor or leaving micro-tears your skin. If you’re shaving with the scrub, rinse your razor often to keep it unclogged. After you’re done, rinse the scrub off with lukewarm water and enjoy smooth skin afterward—no lotion necessary.

Gel = Root Volumizer
If you don’t have a root volumizer handy, try this quick fix from hairstylist Marco Pelusi: Rub a tiny, pea-sized amount of gel between your hands, making sure to get it on your fingertips too. Work the gel through damp roots in areas where you need a lift. Blow-dry hair upside down, or for more control, while holding strands up vertically with your hands.

Read more beauty tips, check out TotalBeauty


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