5 Makeup Products That Have More Uses Than You Think

Gone are the days of Instagram-beat, 16 layers of contour, powder, and concealer with a full coverage foundation (unless, of course, you’re into that). For many of us, the name of the game for 2017 and beyond is all about minimalistic beauty, multipurpose product, and user-friendliness to get a girl on the go out the door with enough time to stop for coffee and a croissant.

With the case for going micro being strong, it’s just not practical to carry an entire make up bag around anymore, especially not with the risk of product explosion. Makeup is just too expensive for a millennial freelancer like me to invest single-use products. Here are some of my must-have products and their multiple uses for easy, breezy beauty in minutes.

1. Balm For Everything

I’m going to start out easy here. You’ve been carrying lip balm in your pocket since Sandy A. drew the attention of your entire fourth-grade class to your very chapped lips. But are you making the most of this little investment while you lug its weight around?

You can literally use balm for anything in your beauty routine. Dry ends? Split ends? Untamed flyaways? Unkempt eyebrows? Grab your balm. Browsing Instagram on your commute only to become smitten by the glossy eyelid trend? Grab your balm. Highlight not where you want it to be? Grab your balm. Uses are endless. Use them.

Don’t have a balm already? My recommendations:

2. Lipstick as blush, eyeshadow

I remember kicking and screaming in potential embarrassment in the glam room before my first dance recital. My mother couldn’t locate the blush for my stage makeup and in a pinch took the lipstick she had in her purse and applied it directly and liberally to the apples of my cheeks as I shrieked. Twenty years later and, of course, I now know she had the right idea.

Lipstick, like balm, is your second most versatile product. For a quick composed look, dab a little lipstick on your cheeks and eyes and blend it out. Effortless.

My recommendations:

  • Sugar Pill Trinket ($34)
  • Lipstick Queen Frog Prince ($25)
  • Rimmel Lasting Finish By Kate Moss in 05 ($4.97)

3. No Brushes, Only Beauty Blenders

Spending $20 a pop, every six months or so, for the iconic Beauty Blender is one of the most important cosmetic investments of a makeup wearer’s enlightened life. If you have one, you know it’s worth it.

I’m here to tell you…it’s even more worth it than you know. Glossier girls may do their make up with their fingers, but when you’re as messy as me or just plain interested in a blended look, use your Beauty Blender for your entire routine. From skincare to make up removal, your Beauty Blender can and will do it all (except maybe mascara)

Don’t want to spend $20 on a Beauty Blender?

4. Powder As Dry Shampoo

Powder has its place — in beauty history and in our cabinets. You know how to use it on your face, but your hubris may be too strong to anticipate your hair’s next-day grease after going out, and I’m telling you now it also works wonders on your hair. Sprinkle a bit on your roots, finger comb, and go. No one else will know — they probably just did the same thing.

My recommendations:


5. Loose pigment for eyeliner, eyebrows, mascara

Once again, you’ve decided to go through your makeup kit and you have another uncomfortable run-in with the MAC holiday set of loose pigments your well-meaning aunt gave you before 2008. You think you’ll toss them finally, but they’re too full and they’re so pretty and you swear if you just learn how to use them, you’ll redeem yourself as a grateful niece.

Possible hours of makeup tutorials and too many mishaps later, loose pigment may plausibly be your enemy. But if you use just a little bit, mixed with your favorite rosewater, oil, or a professional mixing medium, it’s your entire make up kit for free.

Lipstick. Blush. Eyeshadow. Put on a spoolie brush (or even just your fingers), it’ll plump your lashes. Highlight. Eyeliner.

Don’t have a 2008 holiday collection to reach into?

My recommendations:  

Ally is a Leo sun, Aries moon, Cap rising with way too much to Tweet, so she started a career.

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  • Duskpunk

    For the loose powder, you could also take empty pans or even the cases the powders came in and set them into cakes. Mix the powder with rubbing alcohol until it’s a paste, smooth or pack it down into the case or pan, and leave it to dry – voilà! Pressed powder makeup! (Yes, this is exactly the same as what you do to fix broken pans of makeup.)

    Also, disinfect your powder products regularly with a listing of rubbing alcohol at least every 6 months – more if you share brushes or products. Eyeshadow can be a major culprit in eye infections.

  • Vivian

    I enjoyed this list!

    I guess I am in the minority, though, regarding the adoption/worship of beauty sponges. I have both the beauty blender and the real techniques sponge and I just do not see the value in them. I prefer a stippling brush to blending my liquid foundation. Because the sponge is so porous, you must be super diligent in washing/sanitizing and not to mention replacing it regularly. Makeup brushes are the way to go! Taken care of properly, they can last a lifetime – compared with spending $20 every few months. Yikes!

  • penguin

    Face powder as dry shampoo may work as a hair hack, but not as a money hack! All of my loose powders are way more expensive than my powder dry shampoo, in particular that Laura Mercier one! It may be worth remembering the tip for travel so I don’t have to take both, but will not be using that on the daily.

    • Vicky J

      I was gonna comment this! Laura ain’t goin in my hair!