There’s been some buzz on beauty blogs recently about a totally new and surprising use for red lipstick. Swipe it under eyes and it instantly neutralizes dark circles! We tested the lipstick hack, and sure enough, a drugstore tube of red did more to help under-eye darkness than many pricey eye creams. It got us thinking — what other clever beauty solutions might be hiding out at the bottom of our makeup bags? We asked four top makeup pros to divulge the beauty hacks they swear by. Next time you’re in a pinch (or just want to experiment), test out these insider tricks for yourself!
1. Make a DIY “brow kit.” If you don’t want to shell out $50 for the latest brow-grooming kit, Traci Fine of Fine Makeup Art & Associates Chicago says you can fill in brows with a shadow that matches your brow color. “Brow shadow is eye shadow in a different package, and an added expense,” Fine says. You can also use the same eye shadow as a longwearing liner by applying with a wet eyeliner brush.
2. Mix up some BB cream. So-called BB creams (short for beauty or blemish cream) are essentially tinted moisturizers. Fine says it’s easy to make your own whenever you need it. “Mix your full-coverage foundation with a lightweight moisturizer with sunscreen and voilà, you have made your own BB cream!” she says. “You can control how much coverage you need, or how sheer you would like it to be.”
3. An unexpected way to soak up excess oil. The fix for oily skin may be hiding in your medicine cabinet. Fine says milk of magnesia, often used as a laxative, acts as a primer and oil absorber when applied in a thin layer on the face. While you’re at it, dab blemishes with tea tree oil, which Fine says has natural antiseptic properties.
4. Keep mascara on lashes. Fine says you can use a spoon to keep excess mascara from ending up under your eyes or on eyelids.
5. Lip balm does double duty. Elise Brill of Leesi B Cosmetics (a MIB Best Of 2015 winner) stumbled on a new use for her Leesi B Vibran C Lip Treatment when she forgot to pack her eye cream for vacation. “I swiped it under my eyes, and in an instant, added a hint of shine, moisture and the benefit of SPF 15,” Brill says. “It rescued me from the strong sunrays.” Now she regularly advises clients to apply Vibran C to their eyes as well as their lips.
6. Clean brushes on the fly. Brill says ideally you should cleanse beauty tools with a product like her professional brush cleaner. But, if you’re in a pinch, mix up two tablespoons of antibacterial dishwashing liquid and half a tablespoon of olive oil. Wipe brushes in the solution and rinse with warm water until water runs clear. Let brushes dry overnight, and then spritz with a solution of three parts water and one part rubbing alcohol.
7. Banish puffy eyes for pennies. You definitely shouldn’t forgo your normal skin care routine, but Kate Johnson, celebrity makeup artist and ambassador to LimeLight by Alcone, says you can use a slightly warm tea bag when puffy eyes need some extra help. “The caffeine in this will depuff your eyes and pull out any gunk,” she says. “You must be careful because the skin around your eyes is very delicate.”
8. Raid the pantry for silky skin. Coconut oil gets a lot of attention these days, but Johnson says your trusty old olive oil is actually a better natural cure for dry skin. Coconut oil simply coats the skin, while olive oil will penetrate the surface. Fine says EVOO is also an excellent conditioner for hair and nails. While you’re in the pantry, grab some honey and apply a thin layer to your clean face and let sit for 15 minutes. “Honey is a natural humectant, which attracts moisture, and a great hydrating mask for your skin,” Fine says.
9. Don’t leave home without your flat iron. Sure, it straightens locks, but did you know you also can use your flat iron to create waves and curls? Or to iron wrinkled shirtsleeves or hems? “It’s a great tool to travel with because it serves so many purposes in one,” says Mal Strong, co-founder of Chicago’s blowout bar and makeup lounge Goldplaited. “We teach these tips in all of our Curling Iron 101 classes and our students are wowed.”
10. Eye shadow to the rescue. You’re giving yourself a final once-over before dashing out the door — and you spot a few pesky grays or a thin patch of hair. Strong says you can troubleshoot by applying a bit of matte eye shadow to your hairline. Is there anything eye shadow can’t do?
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