3 Ways To Remix Your Makeup Bag

New uses for your unloved makeup products.
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Rikki Ciminsky
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New uses for your unloved makeup products.

Who here is guilty of buying makeup, using it once, and then hoarding it forever in the belief that you'll one day work it into your beauty regimen? Say I... IIIIIIIIII.

I mean, I switch it up often enough that nothing actually collects dust. But I’m sure there are some people out there whose makeup literally gets lost and forgotten at the back of a drawer or under the bathroom sink (a.k.a. the beauty graveyard).

Enter the “Make Up Bag Remix” event that's currently touring select Make Up For Ever counters across North America. You get to bring in your own makeup bag, filled with your own products, and then in a one-on-one session, a makeup artist 1) shows you new ways to use the cosmetics you already own, and 2) teaches you what to do with any products you weren’t sure how to use.

I was lucky enough to get a preview of the Canadian stop with Toronto-based Make Up For Ever makeup artist Melissa Nicholl. Here are three cool tips I got from my remix.

The product: Random frosty pink eyeshadow

Urban Decay Eyeshadow in SWF

Urban Decay Eyeshadow, $22 CAD/$18 USD; click here to learn more and purchase.

I'm in a long-term love affair with Urban Decay eyeshadows. They are so pigmented and bright, and they never disappoint me, so I didn't think twice when I bought their eyeshadow in SWF (pictured above). However, every time I used it I felt like the young Jennifer Garner in Thirteen Going on Thirty—i.e. awkward, tacky, '80s teenager makeup fail.

The remix: Super-charged concealer

Make use of that frosty pink shadow by mixing it with your liquid concealer before you apply it under your eyes.

Here's how:

  1. Apply a teeny squeeze of your liquid concealer onto one index finger. (You want as much as you would normally use to cover the dark circles under your eyes.)
  2. Rub your other index finger into the pot of pink shadow. (Just the tip of your finger should be covered. Too much will make you look like the Ice Queen!)
  3. Rub your finger pads together until the concealer and the shadow have blended and both fingers have the same amount of each product.
  4. Using one finger for each eye, dab the product at the inner corners and the darkest parts of your under-eye area until it is seamlessly blended.

Here's why:

Prep yourself for some science here. When light is reflected off objects, the colour of that object influences how much light penetrates our eyes. This amount of light can actually cause a lot, or a little, vibration within our vision. It is soooo small that we don't actually SEE anything shake, but our brain notices it. Now, pink happens to be one of the colours that causes a lot of vibration! The light being reflected into your eyes, plus the vibration equals more radiance and glow!

But if all that science lost you, then just know this: You will look even more luminous with a touch of pink surrounding your under-eye area.

The product: Liquid foundation or concealer

Make Up For Ever HD Concealer

Make Up For Ever HD Invisible Cover Concealer, $33 CAD/$29 USD; click here to learn more and purchase.

We've all got a foundation (or three), as well as concealer, lying around in our makeup bags. Whether they're your go-to products that you use every day, or shades you ditched because they didn't quite match your skin tone perfectly, here's a neat, money-saving idea...

The remix: Easy eyeshadow primer

No need to dish out the big bucks for an eyeshadow primer. That liquid concealer or foundation you have lying around gives the same type of adhesion as an eyeshadow primer.

But they need to be liquid. Powders are better to "set" makeup in place—not to mention, they're notorious for looking dry and cakey—so any dry foundations and concealers won't work here.

Melissa used Make Up For Ever’s HD Invisible Cover Concealer on my lids instead of a primer. She simply squeezed some onto her fingers and dabbed it over my entire eyelid. Now, this remix was probably my favourite because, OH MY LORD, it actually wasn't normal how well the shadow stuck. Proof:

Rikki - Make Up For Ever eyeshadow - closed

And just so you can see what it looks like when I'm not looking down at the ground...

Rikki - Make Up For Ever eyeshadow - open

This was my eye makeup after FIVE hours of sweating and teaching dance classes. (Sorry if you cringed at the idea of sweat, but I think I proved my point.)

The product: White eyeshadow

MAC Eye Shadow in Gesso

MAC Eye Shadow, $17.50 CAD/$15 USD; at MAC counters and maccosmetics.com.

Know that trick where you apply a tiny touch of white eyeshadow to just the inner corners of your eyes to add brightness? That's why I have MAC Eye Shadow in Gesso (an opaque, matte white)... but it's also why I've barely made a dent in the pot so far.

The remix: Eyeshadow base

Most people test out eyeshadows by rubbing their finger in the product and blending it on the back of their hand. But the reality is, when you go to use it the "proper way"—i.e. with a brush that you sweep over your eyelids—the colour doesn't always look the same. It can be dull, semi-opaque, or just not what you anticipated. If an eyeshadow's application isn't truly opaque, the natural nude of our eyelids can show through, making the colour seem a little "browner" than it should.

To make eyeshadow colours look as bright as they do in their pots, Melissa suggests applying a white eyeshadow as a base.

And it doesn't stop there! To make your coloured eyeliner really pop, you can use an angled liner brush to apply a thin line of the white matte eyeshadow, and then overlay it with your coloured eyeliner of choice (or use the angled liner brush again to apply a line of coloured eyeshadow).

Pro tip: Use this trick when you are using bright, rainbow colours of eyeshadow; there's no need to do it with neutral shades.

PS: As a part of the event you ALSO get matched with your perfect shade of the new Pro Finish Multi-Use Powder Foundation, which by the way, is fricken amazing.

Make Up For Ever Pro Finish Multi-Use Powder Foundation

Make Up For Ever Pro Finish Multi-Use Powder Foundation, $42 CAD/$36 USD; click here to learn more and purchase.

I always find powder foundations to be exactly that: Way. Too. Powdery. After Melissa "colour-matched" me, and applied the foundation, I was shocked that I actually liked the look of it. This one has a wet/dry formula which means it can be used with a wet sponge for a satin finish or with a dry brush for fuller coverage.

The Make Up Bag Remix tour is making one stop in Canada, at Toronto's Yorkdale Shopping Centre on April 13th and 14th. You can sign up online at makeupbagremix.com. It’s free—and even better, you totally don’t need to have Make Up For Ever products to partake. They don’t discriminate, and will play around with any makeup products you own!

Rikki Ciminsky is a student at Ryerson University in Toronto. Follow her on Twitter: @rikki_see.

So, tell me...

Do you have a beauty graveyard where unused products go to die?
How do you remix your unused makeup?
Will you be hitting up this event?