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Monday, January 18, 2021

Hacking My Cosmetics

I really didn't know what to write about today. But because I'm such a vain creature . . .

I've written about blending together Vaseline with lip balm and lipstick in a small dish to make tinted lip gloss. Today I'll tell you about 2 other makeup hacks that I've been using.

In the early months of this pandemic, I took a holiday from cosmetics other than moisturizing cream, lip balm, and the occasional under-eye concealer. But I have wanted to wear something sheer to even out my skin tone and add a pinch of pink to my pale winter cheeks. Doing so just makes me feel better when I glance into the mirror. And I'm hopefully more attractive to look at for the rest of my family.

My normal foundation is actually a tinted moisturizer. That sounds really light and sheer. On me, it feels heavy and like I have a lot of make-up on my skin. What I've been doing the past few months is making an even sheerer tinted moisturizer. 

You know those small plastic containers that come filled with condiments from take-out restaurants. I save them, give them a good washing, and reuse them for all sorts of purposes. In one of these small containers, I used a toothpick to blend together a small amount of my regular tinted moisturizer with an equal amount of my daily moisturizing cream. 

The resulting product is rich enough to add a layer of protection to my skin, while adding very sheer coverage to even my skin tone.

just a hint of coverage
(excuse my old lady,
wrinkly and veiny hands)

My other issue with my skin is that I'm normally quite pale. The blush I have is a hard-pressed powder. When applied on top of moisturizing cream, powder blush is difficult to get to go on smoothly. It streaks in places and in general looks too made-up on me. 

My solution has been to make my own cream blush, blending together my basic moisturizing cream and bits of my powder blush in a small container. I can apply this blush with a fingertip just after applying the ultra-sheer tinted moisturizer. I use a toothpick to pick out a small bit of the blusher from the compact and drop it into the small take-out container. Pressed powder blush can be grainy, so I then use the back of a spoon to crush the blush to a fine powder before blending in some moisturizing cream. 

I use a rubber spatula to then push all of the new cream blush into a lump, then cover the container.

my "new" cream blush adds
 barely-there color to my cheeks

Since I may change my mind or my skin may change it's needs, for now I'm just making small amounts of tinted moisturizer and cream blush.

Prior to hacking what I already had, I had been thinking about buying some cream blush. I had also searched for even more sheer tinted moisturizers than I normally wear. The thought of making something myself and saving some money really appealed to me. But the primary reason I decided to try blending my own products is that I already know that the products that I have at home work for my skin. At the same time, I could control the amount of coverage or tint that was in the final product. On days when I choose to add color or coverage to my skin, I simply use these hacked products in place of my regular moisturizing cream. So this has also simplified my routine.

Hacking makeup products isn't a new and novel idea. Only they didn't used to call them hacks, just sensible use of what one had. I remember my mother blending lipsticks together when she tried a new shade that didn't quite look right with her skin tone. I must have gotten my common sense use of my own cosmetics from her.

Today, hacking cosmetics has opened a new leg of the beauty industry. You can buy tints (shade adjusters) to customize your liquid products, and you can even buy empty palettes in which to put your customized blends. While I'm not inclined to go all in on this trend, I do like the idea of using a shade adjuster to correct the tone of a product that I've already bought if it's not right for me. And I will continue to mess around with the products that I already own.

Anyway, so much about my vanity.


  1. Those aren't old lady hands. Those are creative, hard-working hands. And, BTW, I have a pair just like them. :)

    1. Thank you, Live and Learn! I needed to hear that.

  2. Oh, well, if you are vain, then so am I. I find that if my hair looks tidy and I have a small bit of makeup on, it gives me an emotional boost (and by makeup I mean a tinted moisturizer, a bit of blush, mascara and lipstick that doesn't read as "lipstick" but is the same color as my lips and gives them more moisture). That's not to say that I don't have low-key days where I go makeup-less but if 3 minutes in front of the mirror applying makeup makes me feel better for the rest of the day, then it's time well spent.

    On a related but different note .... I seem to recall that you use the same hair color product that I do, Clairol Natural Instincts. If so, are you finding that their new formulation leaves your hair appearing greasy when you first apply it? I have tried it both with and without using the conditioner cream and I have that problem either way. Kinda frustrating, as I colored my hair last week and thought I solved the problem by not using the conditioner. I had to work the next day and my hair looked too oily for me to get away with not washing it, which I know is bad for maintaining the color for longer periods of time.

    1. Hi Kris,
      You put that so well -- it does give me an emotional boost.
      As for Natural Instincts, I haven't noticed more oiliness after use, but then I have very dry hair, so I might not notice something like that. What I have noticed is the color doesn't stay with my hair as long as it used to and doesn't cover grays as well, which is disappointing.
      One thing you could try on that day after is to "wash" with your regular conditioner, only. Just scrub with your fingertips well, then rinse with lots of warm water. This wouldn't strip the color as quickly and you likely wouldn't be needing a full wash just the day after, as the hair color seems to act as a shampoo.
      I have two tricks to extend time between coloring, now. 1) part my hair in a new spot where fewer grays are showing than my usual part, and 2) wear a wide fabric headband that covers those root area grays. I've been able to get another 7-10 days between colorings using these tricks. It's better for my hair, but also, coloring is just a pain to do. I can see why people get their hair professionally colored.
      Alice, mentions below using Sally Beauty demi color. I may try that.

  3. I wish there was some way to make me beautiful! I have gray hair that really makes me look frumpy and old. I color it and that helps but doesn't stay. I used to use Clairol Natural instincts but changed to Sally beauty Demi color which I like better and is cheaper. Makeup has never been anything for me since I break out so quickly with just about anything. That would help a lot but anything could give me rashes for days. I don't know how to "do" my hair and I haven't had a good haircut since before covid and I wouldn't even know what to ask for. One length, layers, bangs, no bangs. I need wash and wear at best so knowing how to trim/cut my hair is so painful for me. I really could hire someone to help me look less aged.


    1. Hi Alice,
      I think my gray hair looks frumpy, too. Some people have absolutely beautiful gray hair. But on me, I feel old with it. Thanks for mentioning Sally Beauty demi color. I'm going to check into that.

      The single best thing a woman can put on that makes her look beautiful is a smile. I truly believe that.

      I struggle with hairstyle, too. When this whole pandemic thing is over, I want to make an appointment with a stylist to ask what my hair would realistically do, with little effort on my part, in the best possible cut/style. I sometimes do google image searches for haircuts with my type of hair. That has helped me find a few possibilities.

      Alice, when I read your comments, I "see" a beautiful woman behind the screen. You are beautiful. Smile and let that beauty come out!

    2. Alice, obviously I've never seen you in person, but you have a beautiful spirit! How frustrating for you that skin products give you rashes. I would avoid them, too! And I definitely need to check out your hair color.

      I now have a "covid style" hairstyle. I have had short hair for years but longer is easier right now as I can go longer between trims. That said .... I am struggling with how to style it. Shorter, for me, is definitely more wash-and-wear but to make it look nice, I find I have to get frequent trims. One of my coworkers says she might try something crazy like blue hair since we all wear masks and frequently wear surgical caps at work, anyway .... she made me laugh when she said that.

      There may be other options for you to give yourself that cared-for feeling. I have never really been good about manicures/pedicures (which you can tell immediately if you look .... ) but maybe giving yourself a little manicure would make you feel pretty? This may sound silly, but sometimes I get out my magnifying mirror and neaten up my eyebrows (nothing crazy, just get rid of the strays) and while I'm sure it's in my mind, it makes me feel better. Or wearing something other than old scruffy clothes, which I find myself doing a lot these days. I think it's more about taking a little time for yourself.

    3. When my sister-in-law was having cancer treatments, she had a bright blue wig and she looked fabulous in it. Everyone said she should keep it or dye her hair that way later. Unfortunately, she didn't live that long, but it was a bright spot at the end of her life. I think you should try it, Kris, and Lili and Alice if you want to have a little fun. :)

    4. Hmmm, I'll give that a thought, Live and Learn.

  4. Hi Lili - I wanted to respond last week to your interesting posts, but our daughter got married in a very small and simple wedding. My time was spent on the details of that but I really enjoyed reading your suggestions.

    On the gym membership - I haven't ever had one either. I don't love exercise, but I do recognize the value in it. I try moving as much as possible, however. Parking farther away in parking lots, scrubbing floors on hands and knees, walking, etc - plus I am blessed to be on the tall, thin side.

    I love hummus and enjoyed your thoughts on making it. I have made it several times and have never tried the ice cube method. I can't wait to give it a try. The photo looked like a dish from a five star menu - with the olive oil drizzled on top with parsley and garbanzo beans sprinkled. Yumm!

    I also have a swiffer that I use old cut up bath towels for. I like the idea of sewing them to slide right in. I have held them on with rubber bands, but sometimes gets dirty and I don't really want to touch it. Using the fleece is a great idea!

    I love the makeup tips as well. Now I know how to incorporate the small little amounts of blush left over around the edges of the containers. I'll just scrape them into some moisturizer.

    Anyway - just wanted to thank you and this community for the helpful tips to combat waste and save some $ at the same time. There aren't many ways to save a lot of money at once, but there are a lot of ways to save small amounts -- and it adds up!

    1. Congratulations on your daughters wedding, Ruthie!

      I tried securing towels to the Swiffer head with rubber bands for a while, too. I like the sewn one much better. The rubber bands kept the mop from gliding smoothly on the flooring. If you have a few minutes, that's about all the time it took me to sew this one. Super easy and quick to sew.

      I hadn't thought about those last little bits of blush. But you're right, blending with the moisturizer will be such a great way to use it all up.

      Thanks for your comments, Ruthie!


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