How to use the last little bit of your beauty products

toothpaste tube
CC BY 2.0 Kristopher Avila

Don't let your expensive skincare lotions and cosmetics go to waste with these simple tips.

How often have you fought with a tube of toothpaste to extricate the final lump or shaken a lotion bottle vigorously to loosen the stubborn bits at the bottom? Packaging is both a convenience and a curse, enabling one to carry a product home and keep it fresh for weeks, but often contributing to waste by make it hard to access the residual contents.

Back in 2010, Consumer Reports found that on average one-fifth of lotion is left behind in the bottle, while 10 percent of toothpaste remains in the squeeze tube. All of this is product that consumers pay for, and it's wasted money (and resources) if it goes into the trash.

The good news is, it doesn't have to. With a bit of ingenuity and minimal effort, it's not that hard to use up leftover beauty products. The first step is to choose your packaging wisely and opt for items that come in easy-to-access containers. After that, use the following ideas to get the most out of your items.

- Cut the toothpaste tube open. Keep a pair of scissors in the bathroom. Cut off the top and squeeze out the remainder to get a few more days' use. Close with a clothespin.

- Store your shampoo bottle upside down. Drain it directly into a new bottle overnight, or swish water around inside to get a final wash.

- Cut open plastic lotion bottles and scoop out contents with your fingers. Use the upper half as a cap to prevent it from drying out.

- If you have a glass bottle of foundation, dip a clean tiny paintbrush in to access the remaining product.

- Add a few drops of contact solution to old mascara to extend its life by a few more weeks. Alternatively, soak the whole tube in a cup of warm water to loosen it up for immediate use.

- When your lipstick reaches the end of the tube, use a butter knife to scrape it into a smaller container and apply with a Q-tip or fingertip. You can also melt lipstick by holding the tube over a candle, then pour it into a clean empty palette, where it will solidify.

- Add drops of nail polish remover to a jar of nail polish to loosen up the residual product, or use a professional thinner.

- When you have leftover slivers of soap, put the tiny bit on top of the new, wet bar of soap; let them dry together. You can also make a self-soaping washcloth by lumping the bits together in a cloth, tying it like a sachet, and using it to wash.

- Turn leftover bar soap into liquid soap by melting it with water and adding glycerin. See instructions here.

- If you have a few drops remaining of perfume, add them to body lotion for extra scent.

Do you have any other ideas? Please share in the comments below.

How to use the last little bit of your beauty products
Don't let your favorite lotions and cosmetics go to waste with these simple tips.

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