Think Outside the Bottle: Alternative Uses for Beauty Products

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If you’re only using shampoo to wash your hair, it’s time to think outside the box (or should we say bottle). The truth is your beauty products have all kinds of hidden talents, and with this list of simple life hacks, you can put them to work solving everyday problems. So what are you waiting for? Unleash your inner MacGyver!

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Do you have a zipper that just won’t budge? Have your makeup brushes seen better days? Are you dying for a relaxing bubble bath? Shampoo can help with that.

For a stuck zipper: simply rub a small amount of shampoo along its teeth, and it will slide with ease.

For makeup brushes: fill your bathroom sink with a mixture of shampoo and water. Dump the brushes in, swirl them around, rinse and let dry.

For an impromptu bubble bath: let some shampoo mix with your bath water, and enjoy your soak.

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Photo courtesy of Ouidad.


Whether you’ve run out of shaving cream, fabric softener or WD-40, there’s no need for a trip to the store. A trip to the shower will do.

For shaving cream: apply conditioner in its place. The two products perform many of the same functions, like softening hair and providing a protective barrier between the blade and your skin.

For fabric softener: rub some conditioner on a washcloth and throw it in the dryer. It will work just like your usual dryer sheets.

For squeaky hinges: smear on a dab of conditioner and enjoy the sweet sound of silence. 

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When your skin, hair or accessories are in danger, it’s lotion to the rescue.

For a fresh face: the fact that you’ve run out of makeup remover is no excuse to neglect your pores. Rub a generous amount of lotion on your face, then wipe it away with a wash cloth to reveal a clean complexion.

For frizz: don’t let humidity get you down. Fight fly-aways by rubbing lotion on your hands and running your hands over your hair.

For belts, shoes and purses: use lotion to remove stains from your favorite leather accessories. Simply rub it in, and then use a dry cloth to wipe it off.

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Photo courtesy of Jin Soon.

Nail Polish

Keep a bottle of nail polish handy, and you can transform into a domestic goddess, mechanic or first aide work at the drop of a clear coat.

For rust prevention: if you’re tired of your soap dish leaving rust marks in your shower, swipe some nail polish over the bottom to act as a sealant. You can go clear or add a stylish pop of color to the underside of your shower accessories.

For a chipped paint job: when your car has seen its share of dings and scratches, cover every nick with a matching shade of polish.

For the lightheaded: revive a person who faints with a whiff of nail polish. It works just like smelling salts. 

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Photo courtesy of Jane Iredale.

Lip Balm

If razor nicks, bushy eyebrows or runny hair dye are making life difficult, give it some lip – lip balm that is. 

For razor nicks: stop the pain and bleeding instantly by swiping lip balm over the cut.

For unruly eyebrows: smooth on some lip balm to keep them in line.

For home hair dye: run a little lip balm over your hairline to stop the color from running down your face. 

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Photo courtesy of Alterna.


Don’t let the name fool you. Hairspray isn’t just for hair; it can save your pantyhose, your clothes and your nails.

For a run in your pantyhose: spritz on you favorite hairspray to stop the sucker in its tracks, or spray a new pair to prevent runs from the start.

For that stain on your favorite shirt: well, they don’t call it styling spray for nothing. Save your style by applying liberally to the stained area, then rinsing thoroughly.

For freshly polished nails: lightly dust with hairspray to create your own quick-dry finish.  


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Photo courtesy of DryBar.


When you’re looking for warm and cozy, the hairdryer is your secret weapon.

For cold winter nights: use your hairdryer to warm your socks or your bed sheets.

For perfect nails: if you don’t have hairspray handy, blow-dry your nails for another quick finish.

For a candle catastrophe: when wax overflows onto your furniture, there’s no need to panic. Melt it with the heat from your hairdryer and wipe it away. 

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Photo courtesy of Goody.

Bobby Pins 

The timeless multi-purpose beauty tool, is there anything the bobby pin can’t do?

For cherries and olives: remove the pits by placing the ends of your bobby pin on either side of the pit, then push the pin through the fruit.

For hemming pants: a bobby pin makes a great stand in for a straight pin. Simply clip the hem in place and sew.

For bookworms: use a bobby pin to mark your page, and you’ll never want to buy a bookmark again. 

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Photo courtesy of Skintimates.

Shaving Cream

That lather isn’t just good for your legs. Use this domestic double-agent to clean any mess.

For messy hands: shaving cream makes a good stand in for hand sanitizer. Put a dollop on your palm and rub it in. No water required.

For a messy rug: lather your shaving cream over a carpet stain and blot it away.

For a foggy mirror: spread shaving cream over the mirror and wipe it way with a dry cloth. Enjoy fog-free showers for up to three weeks.
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Photo courtesy of LaVanila.


Turns out it’s good for whatever ails you.

For foot odor: deodorant isn’t just for armpits anymore. Rub this odor neutralizer on your feet to take care of all your body’s odors.

For blisters: stop them before they start by applying deodorant to your ankles, toes or wherever shoes are rubbing.

For bug bites: rubbing on a little deodorant can stop the itch. 

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Whether it’s your smile, your nails or your jewelry, toothpaste will make you shine.

For over-polished nails: if you’ve removed your manicure to find a yellow tinge, scrub on some toothpaste, let it sit a few minutes and wipe it off to reveal clean, clear nails.

For shiny silver: polish your jewelry by scrubbing on toothpaste with an old toothbrush, then scrubbing it off with water. Dry thoroughly.

For watermarks: eliminate unsightly rings from wooden furniture by applying toothpaste with a dry cloth. Wax on. Wax off. 

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Photos courtesy of Sephora, Jane Iredale and Make Up For Ever.

Best of the Rest

When you get creative, it turns out many of your household beauty products have a helpful alter ego. Here are a few more of our favorites.

For a dusty keyboard: use a makeup brush to get into those tight spaces.

For an oily scalp: dust on some finishing powder, and it will work just like a dry shampoo.

For bug spray: Jane Iredale makes a brush cleaner, Botanical Brush Spray, containing witch hazel, grapefruit oil and seaweed extracts. These natural ingredients also help ward off insects. 

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