15 Cheap and Effective Makeup Hacks to Save You Time and Money

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Buying and applying makeup can be an expensive and time-consuming business. Even those of us who wear very little can end up paying a fair chunk of change to keep ourselves in mascara and foundation. When it comes to paying for the whole package, chances are it will set you back a LOT. It can also have you spending many hours a week at your bathroom mirror. Here are 15 cheap and effective makeup hacks to save you time and money.

#1 – Clean Your Favorite Mascara Wand

When your favorite mascara runs out, stop throwing out the brush. We all find a brush that we like more than others, so keep hold of it. Clean up the brush in a bit of dish soap and warm water, and it’ll be looking good as new in no time at all. Now you can use it again for other mascara, or even to apply your brow powder or gel. That’s a cheap and effective makeup hack that will save you tons over the long term.

Here’s a bonus tip: most of us have some old mascara tubes lurking around in the darkest corners of our bathrooms. Instead of throwing these out, pop them into a cup of warm water before you use them. You’ll soon find they work just as well as before. This can be a good way to fix dry mascara without eye drops. Also, if you have an extra, spare wand, you can also use it to apply olive oil to your lashes a few times a week. This can help make them stronger and make them look longer and more lustrous.

#2 – Use White Eyeliner as a Base for Your Eye Shadow

Many of us opt for expensive eye shadow because we think it’ll give us a better color. This can be a pretty expensive business, but you don’t have to spend a lot of money on a new palette to get the right look. Use a primer on your lids and then fill in the area with a white shadow or eyeliner. This provides the perfect base for adding eye shadow, and you’ll soon see just how much more your eye color pops with this little trick.

#3 – Turn Old Eye Shadow Into Lip Gloss

If you have old eye shadow pots or palettes – particularly if they’re in colors you won’t use on your eyes – turn them into gloss. Cheap and effective makeup hacks don’t get simpler than that! Get a small plastic tub, like the ones you use for travel, and scrape your eye shadow into it. The wooden end of a makeup brush is good for this. After you have as much as you need, add a blob of Vaseline and mix well with a toothpick or the end of the brush.  This gives you a lovely, vibrant new gloss and lets you use all those colors in your palette you would normally avoid. It’s a great budget makeup hack and an easy way to save money on those expensive lip glosses.

#4 – Concealer for Matte Lips

Matte lipsticks are big business these days, but you don’t have to shell out a ton of money for one. If you like keeping up to date with the latest beauty trends, try using your concealer to achieve the look. Pop some concealer on your beauty blender, or use your finger, and dab it across your lips. Apply your lipstick as normal and then blot with a tissue. The concealer underneath gives you a great matte finish, and you’ll save money on makeup for very little effort. Boom, another cheap and effective makeup hack!

#5 – Use Toilet Seat Covers Instead of Blotting Sheets

Don’t get freaked out by the title of this cheap and effective makeup hack – it really is safe and effective! Instead of wasting money on expensive blotting sheets to keep your mid-afternoon shine in check, try an inexpensive alternative. Toilet seat covers – as odd as it may sound – are a brilliant substitute. They do exactly the same job, with the same results, at a fraction of the price. Another suggestion to save you some money is to use coffee filters. To be honest, more people have these around the house than toilet seat covers. Unless, of course, you live with really nasty housemates and have to use them in your bathroom. The less we say about that, the better.

#6 – Mascara as Eyeliner

A common theme among our cheap and effective makeup hacks is using mascara or mascara accessories in new ways. Mascara has so many uses, and it’s worth getting a good waterproof one. In addition to using it to color and enhance your lashes, you can also use it as eyeliner. All you need is an angle tipped brush and your mascara wand. Get some product on the wand and run the end of your brush along the tips of the bristles. This will put some color on the brush without it being overly saturated or having any lumps. Simply run the end of the brush along your lash line to achieve a straight line.

If you want to do cat eyes, the angle of brush easily allows for a straight edge on your outer corners. It’s a foolproof way to get your liner done, and you don’t really need a steady hand to make a success of it. This is one beauty hack we couldn’t live without.

#7 – Fix Broken Powder Compacts

If you, like most of us, have dropped your handbag or powder compact and find that the contents have broken apart, don’t panic. It’s a messy situation for sure, and can result in the contents of your bag being covered in power. This often means you’ll throw it out to save yourself the hassle of cleaning out your bag every day. Instead of tossing it out and having to buy an expensive new compact, get yourself a bottle of pure alcohol solution. Simply mix a few drops into the compact, even out the mixture, and press it into the mold. Give it a while to dry, and you’ll end up with a fully repaired powder. The alcohol will bind the powder together, and you’ll be good as new in no time.

#8 – Don’t Throw Away that Non-Matching Foundation

At some point, we’ve all made an impulse buy and tried to gauge the color of a foundation that’s been on sale. More often than not, when you get home you find out it’s not your color, and you write it off. But that’s really a waste of money, and a cheap and effective makeup hack to help fix the situation. If you buy something that’s too dark for your skin, there is a solution. Either pop a few drops of moisturizer on your hand and mix in some foundation before you apply to your face, or dispense it to another container and make up a batch. The moisturizer helps to lighten the color, and you can mix it in until you have a good match. Although this will also lighten the coverage, it’s a great way to make your own tinted moisturizer from a product you may otherwise have discarded. It’s one of our favorite beauty hacks.

#9 – Fix Your Broken Lipsticks

We’ve all broken a tube of lipstick at some point and then struggled to keep using it. It can be more annoying to try extending it out of the tube only to have it fall out again. Don’t despair, though. Grab yourself a lighter and heat up the lipstick residue at the bottom of the tube. Then give the bottom of the broken piece a quick second or two under the flame. Stick them both together and carefully twist them back into the tube.  Leave it a few minutes to dry completely, and it should be good as new.

#10 – Coconut Oil to the Rescue

Instead of paying for expensive cleaners, buy a tub of coconut oil, and use that instead. It’s a cheap beauty hack, and it’s great on your skin. Coconut oil is a fantastic way to remove eye makeup, and it even removes stubborn waterproof mascara without any hassle. It’s a cheap product that has many different uses. It will also leave your skin feeling soft and supple. In addition, it’s unlikely to irritate, so it can be used on all skin types. This includes the most sensitive skins, and coconut oil is a great natural ingredient.

ALSO READ – Top 12 Home Remedies for Acne Scar Removal

#11 – Make the Most of Liquid Foundation

If you’re someone who buys their foundation in tubes, it can be a bit of a challenge to get product out when you’re running low. Instead of throwing it out and heading to the store for a new one, get handy with your scissors. Cut the bottom off the tube, and you’ll find that there’s far more product left than you realize. This can be a great way to make your foundation last longer, and a great way to save money on makeup. If you find there’s quite a bit of product left, get an empty lip balm tube and deposit it in there. This will stop it from drying out before you can use it all. We love a DIY beauty hack, and this is one of the best – which is why it’s on our cheap and effective makeup hacks guide!

#12 – Baby Powder for False-Look Lashes

If you can’t cope with the thought of glue and tweezers near your eyes, get yourself some baby powder. Slicking on a coat of mascara and then gently brushing your lashes with some baby powder can instantly make them look longer and fuller.  You can repeat the process another time if you like, but do watch that your mascara doesn’t become clumpy after several applications. Usually, one coating of baby powder is enough to make a difference. Follow that up with another coat of mascara, and you’re good to go. Baby powder is a great beauty hack, so always keep some on hand.

#13 – Heat Up Your Pencils

It can be hard to use a pencil that’s been stuck in a makeup bag in a cold bathroom all night. If you don’t have the time to wait until the general ambient temperature heats up a little, give the tip of the pencil a second or two under a lighter flame.  Heating up your pencils is a great life hack for beauty as it makes the pencil work so much easier. This saves you from having multiple lines from where you’ve started and stopped across your eyes when your pencil sticks. A little heat will have the color gliding across your lids in no time. Cat eyes? Done! A simple, cheap and effective makeup hack, that takes nothing more than a few seconds of your time.

#14 – Make Your Own Lipstick

If you have lots of those annoying stumpy bits of lipstick left at the end of a tube, start recycling them. Grab a bowl (something you can put in the microwave) and scrape out the remaining pieces of all your old lipstick tubes. Mush them all together a bit, and then stick them in the microwave for 30 seconds. Take it out and have a stir and see if needs any more time. This will depend on how many big lumps you have! Once you have it in liquid form, you can pour the mixture into little tubs and apply your new color with a brush. You can make so many great and unique colors in this way, and it’s a fun DIY beauty hack.

#15 – Stop Buying Brush Cleaning Fluid

Don’t pay for expensive brush cleaning fluid! You can do just as good a job with your brushes at home with household products. If you want to save a little money, one of the best beauty hacks is to use your existing dish soap to clean your brushes. Simply steep them in some soap and warm water and gently remove all the old product from them. When you’re done, let them dry naturally and, voila! Your brushes are as good as new.  Water and soap is one of the best inexpensive beauty products we know, and makes the final slot on our cheap and effective makeup hacks list.


What is a simple makeup tip that can instantly improve your look?

To be honest, simply filling in your brows and adding a touch of mascara can transform your entire look. Brows frame your face and, since your eyes are the focal point, this instantly levels them up. Finishing the look with a quick coat of colored or clear mascara also improves your look. Both steps are great cheap and effective makeup hacks that can be done in 2-3 minutes.

Are there any sweat-proof makeup recommendations and hacks?

Getting yourself a good face primer is one of the best beauty hacks we know. The base will help your makeup last longer and stop you having to reapply. If you’re sporty and want your makeup to last while you’re working out, primer will stop the product sliding off your face. In terms of mascara and other eye products, always opt for waterproof as this will also make it sweat-proof. No one wants to look like a panda after their spin class! Primer needn’t be costly, either. There are lots of inexpensive beauty products on the market more than capable of doing the job.

What are some hacks that you wish you knew when you started doing makeup?

Most of us wish we had some contouring know-how years ago, but it wasn’t really a thing back in the day. It’s such a great beauty life hack, but contouring doesn’t need to be a full Kardashian affair every day. A few spots of concealer and darker foundation in strategically placed areas is all you really need. There are literally thousands of YouTube tutorials for a bit of quick and easy contouring, so check them out. We also wish we’d known about the wonders of Vaseline when we started doing makeup. This versatile product can be used to keep brows in place all day, and a slick on the lips can brighten up any matte color. It’s one of those really cheap face products that works!

What are helpful tips for artificial eye wearers?

Though not applicable to a huge segment of the population, those who have artificial eyes naturally want makeup tips and hacks to help them look great, too. Although you can wear any kind of makeup, it’s always best practice to ensure your eye is in socket before you begin. This stops any powder or residue getting in between your prosthetic and the tissue behind it. It can also be a good idea to make sure your makeup is made for sensitive skin and hypoallergenic.

What are any tips for applying mascara and curling lashes?

A good tip for applying mascara is to let your coats dry in between applications. This can stop it from looking clumpy and matted. When curling your lashes, you can heat up your curler with a hairdryer and then apply it. This helps to put some extra curl in your lashes and makes them instantly look better.


Everyone loves getting a bargain on makeup. Most of us know that we need to spend a little in order to get quality products that do the job we want them to. However, expensive makeup isn’t always the best value for money. There are tons of great inexpensive beauty products on the market. These can be used to mix and match with your costly pieces to save you a bit of money. We hope our 15 cheap and effective makeup hacks to save you time and money give you the confidence to shop around and swap out some pricey products!

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