Uses For Old Cosmetics and Makeup

Written by: Emily Cordz

Cosmetics are one of those things that pile up in our bathrooms, sometimes to extreme levels. You buy something and it just isn’t quite right. You use one product for a while, but when the season changes you switch to a new product.

You buy a certain amount at a department store and get a free beauty bag with things you don’t really use, but it is free so you take it.

All of this translates to drawer fulls of potentially expired or never used cosmetics that you neither need nor want. It feels wasteful to just throw them away, so there they sit.

Below are some ideas on what to do with old cosmetics and make-up, so you can empty out your makeup drawer without feeling wasteful.

Used Powders

This includes any powder based cosmetic such as eye shadow, blush and bronzer.

You can use some powders to create tinted lip balms. All you need to do is choose a color, or combination of colors, that you would like as your tint.

Heat some petroleum jelly, or aquafor, over the stove on low heat until it is melted. Crush the powder and add it to the melted jelly, stirring until they mix smoothly together. Pour hot mixture into small storage containers. When it cools you’ll have some unique tinted lip balm.

If you have some home painting coming up, use your powders to create new shades of paint for different areas. Crush your powder and mix into the paint until smooth. Then paint as usual. This will create a soft, subtle hue of color in your paint that adds a nice bit of warmth to the room.

If you know a kid that wants to be a detective, give them some of your loose, or crushed, powder to use to hunt for fingerprints. It might cause a bit of a dusty mess, but encourage them to do it outside or over a tiled area that is easy to clean up.

Lipsticks, pencils and creams

This includes things like eyebrow pencils, lip liner and cream blush.

Contact your local handyman or contractor. They use lipstick to mark up things they are building. Some might be willing to take cosmetic pencils as well for detailed marking.

Have a creative art day. Makeup creams make great finger paints, while cosmetic pencils are fabulous for drawing pictures. Lipstick can be a little messy, but also quite fun to draw with.


Mascara is one of those things that should never be shared and when it is old should really be thrown out. It gathers bacteria relatively easily, which then grows in the tube and can spread to other people.

While you can’t really reuse the makeup, you can reuse the applicator brush. Wash the brush thoroughly to remove any trace mascara and kill any bacteria. When it is dry you can use the applicator as an eye brow brush.

What to do With Empty Makeup Containers?

When you have empty makeup containers there are a few things you can do.

Save compacts with mirrors to use as a portable mirror and a clever place to store emergency money.

Use loose powder containers to hold and apply glitter. If you clean out the container real well you can also use it for storing colored decorating sugar to use with cookies or cakes.

Stay organized by placing small items such as buttons or stud earrings into the compartments of eye shadow cases.

Contact your local pharmacy or makeup supply store to see if they have a recycling program for empty cosmetic cases. Many times they do, some even offer incentive deals to encourage customers to recycle more.

Now you know several uses for old cosmetics and can clear out your makeup drawer with a clear conscious.

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Author Info
I have two goals every day, learn something new and write. If I have done that much, then it has been a good day. I have been a fitness instructor for 12 years and enjoy helping others discover the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. I like to learn at least a little about everything with my current focus being on wild foods, crafting, yoga and travel.