When was the last time your refreshed your stash of office makeup? For some of us here at Brit + Co, our desk-to-gym/to-drinks/to-dinner schedules get the best of us, and we find ourselves grabbing a lipstick to wear to our book launch party (did you guys hear we wrote a book!?) and eyeliner for a post-yoga pick-me-up and they never make it back to our desks again. So, inevitably, the time comes when we need a full lineup to refresh our look for an after work date + night on the town and eeek! We need to get scrappy. Below, we’re showing you how to get the absolute most out of your makeup basics, hacking whatever staple products you have on hand to work their magic in multiple ways. Here’s how to make it work in minutes:

Mascara as Eyeliner


Think of your mascara as an all-over-eyes secret weapon. Before you use it to thicken and curl your lashes, use it like liquid liner to create a graphic lined eye. Use the tip of an angled eyeliner brush to gently grab some product from the wand of your mascara, then lightly run the brush along the back of your hand. This ensures the product is blended into the brush so that you can apply a clean, clump-free line. Our DIY editor Kelly is adding the mascara directly to her lash line to define her eyes and create the illusion of thicker + fuller lashes.

Eyeliner as Shadow


Only have a pencil on hand? After you line your eyes, use it to create a glamorous smokey eye. Pro tip: You don’t have to have black on hand! You could use any eyeliner hue as a smokey eye shadow — here, Kelly is using a deep brown. First draw the liner on the outside corners of your eyes, going slightly into the crease of your lids and into your upper lash line — when you’re done, it should look really graphic, like in the picture above. To blend, gently tap your finger to smudge the product onto your lids and into your crease. The liner should get lighter the more you blend. So, to create a more legit smokey eye look, blend more into the center of your lids to create that gradient.

Eye Shadow as Brow Color


Say you have your base face on and but only have your eyeshadow palette around. Don’t just stop at a done-up lid. Give yourself an extra kick for that date by using your shadow as brow color. Sweep the shadow into your eyebrows with an angled brush (or even a cotton swab) for a little extra drama. Fuller eyebrows can totally change your look, not to mention make you feel a little more put together.

Lipstick as Blush


This is probably one of my personal favorite makeup hacks EVER. Blush can put the life into a tired or makeup-less face in seconds. What do you do if you don’t have any? Simply grab your lipstick, lipliner or even tainted lip balm and apply directly to the apples of your cheeks. The trick here is to blend, blend, blend. Good thing is you only need your finger to do this! Tap and make tiny little circular motions going up and away from the center of your face to blend flawlessly.

Blush as Eyeshadow


Okay, so you have your blush, but what else can you use it for? How about to add a pop of color to your eyelids? Dab your finger into your blush palette. This could be a cream, powder or liquid blush — they all work for this. Kelly added it to the center of her eyelids and slightly into the inner crease in combination with liner shadow, but you could use it alone in your crease and outer corners and avoid the center of your eyelids for a nice contrast too.

Lip Balm as Brow Gel


This hack sounds a little silly, but you would be surprised at how well it works. Use your lip balm to give fierce definition to your brows. Adding gel/balm to your brows, especially after you’ve filled ’em out, makes them look smoother and more refined thanks to the added texture. Think of how much better your hair looks when you add a serum to it — kind of the same idea here. You can use your finger or a cotton swab, but ideally an angled brush to apply and shape (note to self: Buy one — or two – for the desk makeup stash).


Who knew, right? Thinking outside the box with your beauty regimen means your makeup just got a whole lot more versatile. It’s always best to err on the side of caution, though! Be sure to research your products to make sure they are safe to use on multiple areas of your face. After that, the possibilities are endless and could even save you time and money when in a pinch — no more Hail Mary drugstore runs before your Lyft comes for ya!


What other makeup product hacks do you love? Share in the comments below!