Every Last Drop - Creative Uses to Finish Your Skincare Products

We all have the best intentions when we buy a new item - we are going to use every last drop, right?  The aim is for zero waste, but what happens if your skincare product reaches the use by date and it is still full to the brim??

That's when it is time to get creative and ask yourself what other ways to use the formula there are!

Zero Waste Tips - how to Finish Your Skincare Products

Of course you should always use skincare products as intended, as they has been specially crafted to address specific skin needs and have had so much love poured into the formulations.  Plus, some types of items have much more precious ingredients involved, so I would be hesitant to wash any of these off and down the drain except in emergency cases.

But let's be honest - those cases *do* happen on occasion.  Sometimes a jar is just too big, or you forget about the bottle in the back of the cupboard, or you just lose track of the BB date.  Whatever the situation, my rule is it's best to use the product up, no matter how it has to happen.

How?

Well, there's a whole lot of things that can be done!  Of course the first thing is to just buy less, as then you have fewer products that can spoil.  But in the meantime, after much trial and error, I'm excited to share the best ways to finish your skincare products and repurpose your items so nothing goes to waste!


Oils:

I'm including all oil based products in this, so think oils, serums, balms, butters... Basically anything that is or can be melted down into a liquid state.

Oils are the easiest to quickly finish up in my experience as they are perfect multi-taskers.  Sure, it may say "body oil" but that doesn't mean you can't use it for other things!  I mean, I wouldn't pop a body product on my face necessarily, as I personally have very fussy skin and things like coconut oil and more comedogenic ingredients really block my pores and cause acne super quickly, but if the label is full of lightweight and non-clogging oils then try it!  Just use your judgment - you know your body, so if you think something will work for you, give it a go!

So, if you're past the use by date or fast approaching the moment you 100% need to empty that bottle, try these hacks:

Clockface Beauty Post Shave Balm, MOA Green Balm, Ooh! Oils of Heaven Avocado Oil



  • Body Treatment: this is usually my first line of action if I find a product is nearing the end of its lifespan and I need to use it up ASAP.  I apply to trouble areas that need the moisture boost, a firming effect, or just some extra TLC.
  • Bathtime: if it can melt into an oil consistency, it's good enough for the bath or shower!  I love my weekend bath, so if I ever have a formula that needs to be finished fast then this is a great way to do so.  Add 1-2 tbsps to the running water and then get ready to be pampered while you lie back and relax!  Or, if you don't have a bath, apply in the shower as a moisturizing treatment to your skin and enjoy the added bonus of breathing in all the beautifully scented steam.
  • Haircare: oils can be great for hair, and you don't have to pay tons of money to get a good one!  In fact, I have found several "simple" facial oils have been incredible for my hair, and I regularly use them as leave in treatments or wash out products.  Avocado is one that has proved a real winner for me, so if I ever have a bottle of something that includes this green goodie in the formula and it needs to be used up, I just use it in my hair.
  • Nails: same premise as hair actually - a good cuticle oil can be pricey, so why not use this opportunity to get creative and try out the product you need to empty on your nails??  Just massage into your cuticles and the skin around the nail bed, and that's that.  And don't forget your toes too - they need loving as well!
  • Cleansing: depending on the ingredient list, this could be a great way to use up that extra oil!  I find facial oils and balms work best for this task, and since these are great at melting away mascara it's a great dual-tasker too.  Remove makeup and cleanse all in one go!
  • Highlight: Yes you read that right!  There are two ways to do this: the oil-as-highlight method where you apply a small amount to get a natural glow (just don't overdo it or you'll look shiny/greasy!), or the DIY method where you add a tiny bit of shimmer shadow to the oil and apply as you would a liquid highlight.  It's super pretty, moisturizing, and so easy to do!
  • Lips: if your lips are feeling cracked, irritated, dry, or need some extra TLC, just dab a bit of the oil/butter/balm on and voila - instant soothing!  Or, if you need an exfoliating treatment, just mix some of the product with sugar and you have yourself a simple sugar lip scrub!
  • Exfoliate: the lip scrub brings me to the next idea - a body buffing treatment DIY style!  Just blend some of the oil up with your choice of gentle exfoliant (whether it's salt, sugar, coffee grounds, or something else) and you're good to go.
  • Masking: have a powder face mask?  Try adding a few drops of the product you're emptying into your concoction for an even more nourishing experience!

And of course, if you have a gentle face oil you can use it as an eye or lash treatment as long as it is not too rich or full of essential oils.  Your eyes are sensitive, and you don't want to irritate them, so just use your best judgment.  Or, if your skin is needing even more moisture, you can always mix a drop or two into your favourite moisturizer - this is a great way to nourish your skin!


Moisturizers:

I'm talking face creams, gels, body lotions, hair masks, and any thick liquid based moisturizing formulas.  These are items that won't "melt" and tend to have water, aloe vera, or hydrosol as a key ingredient.  Since they can't really be turned into a full fluid, I find moisturizers have fewer ways in which they can be utilized.  But don't fret - there are still many ways to use these skincare goodies up!

Gallinee Body Milk + Kae Radiance Moisturizing Day Cream



  • Body Treatment: again, just like oil based products, I find moisturizers (whether it's for the face, body, hair, or something else) are best first used as a body treatment if you are in a pinch and need to use up the bottle ASAP.  Just cover yourself from top to toe, and that item should be empty in no time at all!
  • Hair Conditioning: okay, so this one is a hit and miss in terms of texture I've found, but it DOES work.  If you have a product that is gentle enough, just apply the moisturizer as you would a hair treatment, and that's all there is to it.  What do I mean by gentle?  Well, no drying ingredients like alcohols basically.  You can use it as a leave in mask, a rinse off mask, or as a in shower conditioner, and your locks should feel more nourished and bouncy.
  • In Shower Body Conditioning: so moisturizers aren't great as bath products as they just sort of stay a bit clumpy and float around, BUT you can use them as you would a shower oil.  Think of it as something similar to the old Human + Kind 24/7 formula which you apply in the shower all over your body and then rinse off.  Your skin gets a little boost of moisture that leaves you feeling extra pampered after you turn off the water.  Or, maybe try it as a shaving cream!  I've had mixed luck with this - the thicker creams tend to work better, but it is trial and error.
  • Foot TLC: this is perfect for post winter especially, or those summer days where your feet need extra attention - just pop on the cream/gel and let it absorb.  For even more nourishment, put a pair of foot mask socks on and let your feetsies marinate!  I have some reusable ones that I love to use overnight, and always find my feet so much more soft, soothed, and healthy the next day.
  • Hands & Nails: similar to the oil hack, but this time why not pop some on as a hand cream too?  I usually find oil is a bit too much for my hands, but moisturizers (especially those that aren't super rich) can be a great dual-tasker and double as a hand cream and cuticle treatment.  Just give it a go and see how you like it!
  • Exfoliate: again, like the oil hack you can use those creams and gels for a bit of an easy DIY project.  Add in your scrub of choice, whether it is sugar, salt, coffee grounds, or something else that is gentle on the skin, and buff away those dead cells!
  • Masking: this is a little different from the oil blend, as this actually gives the face mask a totally new texture as well as adding a bit more nourishment.  Mix in a dollop of the moisturizer to get a whipped, almost fluffy feel to the mask.  It helps keep the treatment from drying down too, so it saves you from having to mist as often too.  Win win!

Depending on the moisturizer, there is also the possibility of using the product as a makeup remover.  Just be sure the ingredients are gentle enough to use around the eyes and won't lead to irritation or break outs.


Toners:

Okay, so for this category I'm considering all 100% liquid items - toners, tonics, hydrosols, distilled water...  If the product is totally liquid and water based, then it counts!

Alteya Chamomile Water + JOIK Refreshing Facial Toner



  • Face Masks: instead of mixing your powder mask with water, use your toner!  This is a great way to add a little bit extra to your masking experience, and it works to soothe the skin, give the aroma more depth, and brings any additional benefits the liquid itself may have like brightening, tightening, or calming!
  • Hair Rinse: this might be my favourite/most useful hack when it comes to toners, and the one I opt for most often when needed.  If you have a tonic or hydrosol that needs to be emptied quickly, why not use it to clarify your locks?  Perfect to follow up a hair mask or oil treatment, as it leaves your hair soft, smooth, and non-greasy!  Just check the toner does not contain drying ingredients like alcohols.
  • Hair Styling: another super easy way to use up that product quickly and ensure zero waste comes from your mix up is to transform it into a hair styling formula!  You can use the normal toner as an anti-frizz or smoothing product (as long as it isn't drying - remember, no alcohols on hair!), or add salt to create an affordable DIY salt spray.  This is a lovely way to get beach waves without breaking bank!
  • Facial Steam: just heat up the tonic and normal water and create a 50/50 blend, then use as you would a normal facial steam!
  • Pillow / Room Spray: so simple and quick to do, you just spray the product around the room to create a lovely aroma, or spritz onto your pillow before bed.  You can use tea tree based tonics as an antiseptic to clarify the area, or chamomile and lavender ones to have a calm atmosphere.  The possibilities are as varied as the types of toners out there!
  • Skin Soother: if you suffer from itchy, irritated skin and know a traditional ointment isn't going to be possible, try spritzing with a gentle toner/hydrosol.  You want this to be free from drying ingredients like alcohols and free from any essential oils that cause you issues.  Chamomile is especially good for calming the skin.
  • Bathtime: for a little extra something in your bath, you can add some hydrosol.  This is especially perfect for infants and children who can't have added essential oils, as it is super gentle on their skin and safe to use.
  • Wake Up Call: feeling a bit groggy or need a boost?  Just spritz yourself with the product and you should feel more awake in no time!  I love doing this, as it helps keep me alert and also aids in sharpening my focus when my brain is not cooperating.  Give it a go!
  • Summer Cool Down: similar to the above, but used when you're feeling overheated or sticky.  A few pumps of the light mist and you should feel cooler and less agitated.


Clays:

This one is pretty straightforward I think - if it is a powder based clay product, it's a goer.  Unfortunately, this is one of the harder ones to find tons of new uses for, but don't fret - the ones I have tried and tested are guaranteed to finish that jar off super fast!

Rossi Uvema Seaweed Tumeric and Green Clay Mask



  • Full Body Mask: yep, that face mask you have can be used to detoxify your ENTIRE body, not just your face.  Cover yourself from head to toe and let the formula work its magic before rinsing off.  This will make a bit of a mess in your shower, but don't worry it does wash away pretty easily.
  • Scalp Treatment: I love doing this when my scalp is getting a bit oily in the summer, as it really helps balance everything out.  Apply as you would a face mask, then rinse!
  • Hair Cleanser: similar to the scalp mask, but mixed with a more hydrating ingredient like aloe vera gel or your favourite nourishing oil.  You blend everything together, apply from root to tip, and let the concoction sit for 3-5 minutes.  Just be sure to fully rinse, and if your hair is feeling a bit dried out follow up with a conditioning treatment.
  • Toothpaste: yep, you read that right!  This little DIY hack is a great way to use up that remaining clay powder, and it isn't too tricky to make either.  You can find tons of recipes online, but the basics you'll need for creating this paste is water, baking soda, coconut oil, and essential oils.  Many blends will use baking soda or xylitol/stevia, but that's up to your preferences!
  • Detox Bath: this one is a love/hate for me, as I love the effects and the experience, but really am not keen on all that clay going down the drain as it can be a potential issue for plumbing.  If you're needing a skin detox but hate the feeling of a body mask, just add around 1/4 cup of clay to your bath water and have a good soak.  If you're worried about draining, you can always pop a cheese cloth over the plug and catch the majority of clay - just takes a bit longer for the water to all go down.
  • Armpit Detox: if you're thinking of making the switch to natural deodorants, you'll want to do a detox first to make the transition as easy as possible.  One way to do this on the cheap is to use a blend of apple cider vinegar and clay - just apply to your underarms for 5-25 minutes then rinse.  Be sure to patch test first though, as vinegar can be an irritant.


Zero Waste Tips - How to Finish Skincare Products before they expire


And that's my mini guide on my best hacks for using up skincare products!  I'm sure there are other types of formulas I could add, so do let me know if I missed anything obvious and I will get on it.  Or, if you would be interested in a makeup style version of this post let me know and I can share all my 'nothing goes unused' hacks for ensuring nothing ever goes to waste!

Of course I would love to hear all your ideas too - so leave them down in the comments!  Let's source all our fab thoughts and guarantee no product ever goes to waste again, yeah??  You can even share this guide with any friends or family you think may find this useful! xx




P.S. Curious about the items featured in the photos?  Most of these are nowhere near their use by date yet, so I'm actually enjoying using them as intended and really liking all!  The only exception is the Kae moisturizer which unfortunately had a *very* narrow window for me to use it in since I got a bottle very near the BB.  I wish I could have had more time with it as just a facial product, but at least through experience I can say it works in all the ways I listed above.  Plus it's a fab face cream of course too!

You can find all the products pictured here (aff links):

Clockface Beauty Post Shave Balm (provided by BSL)
MOA The Green Balm
Ooh! Oils of Heaven Avocado Oil
JOIK Refreshing Facial Toner
Rossi Uvema Seaweed, Tumeric, & Green Clay Mask Powder (a LLABP pick)
Alteya Certified Organic Chamomile Water (gifted via LLABP)
Gallinee Probiotic Body Milk (this is actually being given away on Instagram at the moment as I have used a full bottle previously!)
Kae Argatherapie Arganaissance Moisturizing Day Cream (gifted via LLABP)

Feel free to ask any questions about these green goodies!

16 comments

  1. These are some really great tips!

    Not skincare, but kind-of related. In the past I used to dye my hair and so would buy conditioner specifically for dyed hair. This meant my old conditioner was no longer suitable, so I started using it in place of shaving cream. Worked a treat :)

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    1. yes conditioner works pretty well! even the thinner ones can do in a pinch :) great that you have tried to repurpose products so they don't go to waste x

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  2. I agree - I love using oil based cleansers, as they are always the best at getting mascara off effectively :)

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  3. I love these beauty tips, especially using oil as a highlighter. I shall be using a few of these ideas. Many thanks.

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    1. would love to hear how you get on with the oil as highlight! x

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  4. I love these ideas so much! I have a lot of products that I try to get through and do use a load of them as multi taskers but, you have given me some more ideas on what to do with them.

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    1. excellent I'm so glad to hear that! would love to know what ones you use x

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  5. This is one of the best best beauty product blogs I have read it. So many folks toss away products if they are past the expired date. If the product is sealed and taken care of,it will still be good even months after the past date. It doesn't suddenly go bad from a Monday to a Tuesday. Well written and I pinned this as well.

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    1. well said! if it looks and smells the same as it did when you first opened, and feels how it did when you first began to use the product, then it is most likely okay to use! I use the "whisky" rule - once a product drops below the halfway point in the bottle I try to finish it asap as the oxygen begins to change the product more at that point.

      p.s. thank you so much for your kind words - it means so much! xx

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  6. Wow I have learnt so much, I usually just use my creams for what they are for I have never thought of using them in other ways before. I am bookmarking this to so I can keep coming back to it x

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  7. Wow! These are really very helpful tips. I love life hacks and now these hacks on beauty products. I will try oil on my hair and nails.

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    1. it's a lush experience - hope you enjoy the hack :) x

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  8. There are some fab tips here. I may have to give some of these products a whirl xx

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  9. Wow! What a great list of tips!
    I tend to use unwanted skin products on my feet but I never thought of adding them to the bath or any of the other suggestions. Thank you!

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    1. yes there are so many ways to use products - definitely experiment and see what works best for you x

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  10. Some awesome ways I have never considered to try. I will be sure to give some of these a try.

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