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12 emergency beauty substitutes

  • Story Highlights
  • Lipstick can be used as blush, and vice versa
  • Use hair conditioner to replace shaving gel in the shower
  • Bronzer is a good replacement for eye shadow
  • To soften serious foot calluses, apply a thick coat of petroleum jelly
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Real Simple

(Real Simple) -- Got milk? What about mayo? Here are some emergency stand-ins for your favorite hair products and beauty essentials:

A little Vaseline dabbed on your lashes with your fingertip will define them, a makeup artist says.

A little Vaseline dabbed on your lashes with your fingertip will define them, a makeup artist says.


Use: Mashed avocado, whole milk, or mayonnaise.

How to: These supermarket staples contain fats and oils that will coat and moisturize hair, making it easier to comb.

Mash one avocado and, after shampooing, coat your hair with the paste (or with cup of mayonnaise or whole milk), starting at the scalp and working through to the ends.

Leave on for 15 minutes, then rinse well, says Edris Nichols, a stylist and the owner of the Edris Salon, in New York City. Real Simple: Guide to healthy hair


Use: Petroleum jelly.

How to: A little Vaseline dabbed on your lashes with your fingertip will define them and help them glisten and catch the light, says Los Angeles makeup artist Carol Shaw.


Use: Loose powder or concealer mixed with moisturizer.

How to: Pour some moisturizer into your palm, tap a little powder or a finger dab of concealer into it, and mix until it has the consistency of foundation. You may not want to make up your whole face this way (it could look slightly patchy), but you can use the mixture to correct ruddy areas.

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Shaving gel

Use: Hair conditioner.

How to: Most conditioners contain a silicone, such as dimethicone or cyclomethicone, to give hair a smooth, slick surface. This same ingredient will allow a razor to slide easily over the skin on your legs for a close, nick-free shave.


Use: Hand or body lotion, face moisturizer, or lip balm.

How to: Any product that contains an emollient will tame flyaways, says Eric Fisher, owner of the Eric Fisher Salons, in Wichita, Kansas. To avoid an oil-slick look, rub a drop between your hands first, then smooth it lightly over your hair. If your hair is naturally curly, twirl one-inch sections around a finger to define the curls, says Jet Rhys, owner of the Jet Rhys Salon, in San Diego, California. Real Simple: Long-lasting beauty solutions


Use: Blush.

How to: Cream or powder blush dabbed on lips with a finger creates a soft, sensual look. For a creamier texture, top blush with clear gloss or a lip balm, says Carol Shaw.

It works in reverse, too: Use lipstick as blush. Keep in mind that lipstick has much more pigment than blush, says Joli Baker, president of the cosmetics company Pür Minerals, in Atlanta, Georgia. To avoid going overboard, start with a tiny dab, then gradually increase the color. Add a bit of moisturizer to blend it in

Eye shadow

Use: Bronzer.

How to: Shades like sienna, copper, and bronze complement all eye colors, according to Joli Baker. One caveat: A little bronzer goes a long way. Use a cotton swab to dust it just along the creases of your eyes and under the lower lashes; loading it on can turn your lids the color of candied yams.

If you don't have bronzer, try a sheer, neutral shade of blush, or scribble brown eyeliner onto a fingertip and wipe the color over your lids, says Los Angeles, California, makeup artist Tasha Reiko Brown.

Hair Spray

Use: Styling gel.

How to: Hair spray works like styling gel in a spray form, says River Lloyd, a stylist with the Serge Normant at John Frieda salon, in New York. If you normally use hair spray to smooth frizz or add hold, wet your hands lightly with a little gel, shape your hair the way you want it, then air-dry to lock the style in place.

Cuticle Cream

Use: Oil.

How to: Most any type of oil -- baby, olive, avocado, or the contents of a vitamin E capsule -- massaged into the cuticles will work, says Mark G. Rubin, a dermatologist in Beverly Hills, California. "It's really just the fact that you're putting on something oily to hold in water and moisture that matters," he says.


Use: The thick residue left in the rings around the top of a foundation bottle.

How to: Moisture that was in the foundation has evaporated, and what's left over is more concentrated -- like concealer, says Troy Surratt, a makeup artist for Maybelline New York. The trick to getting even coverage: Pat it on and blend it with your ring finger. Since that finger applies the least pressure, you're unlikely to gob on too much.


Use: Eye shadow.

How to: Dampen an eyeliner brush with water, dip it in blue or brown eye shadow, and drag the brush along your upper lashes. Another option: mascara. With your eye closed, touch the tip of the mascara wand along the lash line of the upper lid, smudging quickly (mascara dries in seconds) with your finger or a cotton swab. The effect will be smoky, and you'll get more definition along the lash line, says Tasha Reiko Brown.

Foot Cream

Use: Petroleum jelly.

How to: To soften serious calluses, apply a thick coat and slip on a pair of cotton socks before bed. Dermatologists love petroleum jelly for its ability to seal in moisture and encourage healing. "Vaseline draws moisture from the atmosphere into your skin," says Dennis Gross, a New York City dermatologist and the author of "Your Future Face."

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