There’s nothing worse than when a tube of mascara goes dry.
Especially if you spend a lot of money on your makeup, you’re relying on it to last a long time and look as good as it did in the beginning. Even just forgetting to make sure the cap is screwed on tight can make mascara start drying out, and that can be frustrating.
However, all you need to save your mascara is a couple of drops of saline solution. This is a common household item used to rinse sanitized contacts and combat dry eye. Most people probably already have a bottle of it in their medicine cabinet. If not, you can find it at any grocery or drugstore for just a couple of dollars.
Just squeeze gently to drop a small amount of the liquid into your mascara tube. Three to five drops will do. Stir with your mascara wand and keep adding saline until it seems like your mascara has lost its clumpiness and reached a normal consistency.
That’s not the only way people have saved their favorite makeup products.
You also can salvage a clumpy tube of mascara by putting the whole tube in a cup of hot water for a few minutes. After it’s done soaking, give it a stir and reapply.
The same trick works for lip gloss that is almost empty. If it’s starting to stick to the sides of the container, applying some heat will make the last bits fall down around the wand.
There are ways to save your powdery products, too.
For cracking or dissolving powder foundation, blush, or eyeshadow, crush the whole product up with a spoon, then add a little bit of rubbing alcohol. Mix it around to get the liquid all through the powder. Then, leave it exposed overnight to let it dry out and return to its powder form.
“The most amazing thing about the rubbing alcohol is it doesn’t change the consistency of your product, so it’s literally going to be the exact same product,” said YouTube beauty guru AlexandrasGirlyTalk. “You’ll see that it just evaporates.”
What about your all-important liquid foundation?
If it’s starting to go dry, add some skin moisturizer. This will get it creamy and smooth again. What’s more, your skin will get a little bit of extra love from the nutrients in the moisturizer.
If you’re frustrated about wasting those last few drops of liquid foundation, try using a stirrer from a coffee shop. You’ll be able to scoop all the makeup out, so you don’t need to waste anything — and there’s no need to invest in an expensive makeup spatula.
So, where’s the line with salvaging ruined makeup?
These tips are handy, but it’s important to remember that they shouldn’t be used to save makeup that’s past its expiration date. If you use a tube of mascara regularly, experts say you should toss it after about three months.
Much longer than that, and it will start to harbor bacteria that can cause eye infections or other problems. Even if you don’t use a particular mascara frequently, it should only stay in your makeup drawer for up to six months.
“Like the food in your fridge, the makeup in your makeup case does expire,” said BellSugar editor Maria Del Russo. “And like food, it can harbor bacteria if it has expired. So, from a beauty standpoint, you don’t really want to be applying bacteria directly to your skin, especially your face, ‘cause you can cause breakouts, infection, irritation, just a whole host of messy, disgusting problems.”
Using makeup products for too long can have unpleasant effects.
It’s especially important to make sure you throw away and replace your makeup regularly if you have sensitive skin. Makeup might not carry printed expiration dates, but it’s still not a good idea to use it for long periods.
Any makeup that goes on or around your eyes has the shortest shelf life. This is because it can easily transfer bacteria to and from your eyes. Pumping a mascara wand up and down in the tube is a good way to increase bacteria growth, so try to avoid that. The same goes for liquid eyeliner.
Both products should be thrown away after a few months — or earlier if you notice they smell or are causing eye irritation. Expired liquid eye makeup can give you conjunctivitis, an irritating eye infection.
But don’t worry — you don’t have to replace everything every three months.
Most other makeup has a much longer shelf life. Powder-based blushes, foundations, and eyeshadows can last between 12 and 24 months. Liquid makeup needs to be replaced more often because it’s an ideal environment for bacteria growth. For example, lip gloss should be tossed after about six months.
Another effective way to avoid bacteria growth in makeup is to make sure you always use applicators, not your fingers. This can extend the shelf life of your makeup significantly, even for liquid products, like foundation.
But these DIY tips are perfect for makeup within its shelf life.
As long as your makeup hasn’t expired, there’s no reason why you can’t try to extend its life. Makeup is expensive, so make sure you’re getting your money’s worth.
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