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Here’s How to Fix Broken Makeup When It Shatters Into a Million Pieces 

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Photo: Stocksy / Ani Dimi

No matter if you buy your makeup at the drugstore, Sephora, or at a fancy department store, one this is for sure: The cost of makeup can add up. Between foundation, eyeshadow, blush, mascara, brow products, highlighter, bronzer (are we forgetting anything?), there’s a small fortune-worth of product in most makeup bags. So when one of your favorite products slips through your fingers, crashes onto the bathroom floor, and *gasp* shatters into a million pieces, it’s truly heartbreaking. We’re not even being dramatic here.

But even if you’re staring at a crumbled compact or truncated tube of lipstick, hope is not lost. You don’t have to toss it in the trash and shell out the money for a replacement. In most cases, your broken makeup can be easily brought back to life with the help of some items you probably already have at home.

Keep reading to learn how pro makeup artists fix their broken powder makeup, lipsticks, and gel eyeliners and brow pomades.

How to fix broken powder makeup

Powder makeup such as bronzer, blush, eyeshadow, or powder foundation is the type of makeup that tends to break the easiest. Luckily, it’s pretty easy to fix, and there are a few different ways to do this. Here are two makeup artist-recommended methods.

Technique 1

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Small bowl
  • Spoon
  • Water
  • Original container or another container with a lid
  • Paper towel

Instructions:

  1. Put the powder in a bowl

First, makeup artist and beauty expert Jenny Patinkin recommends putting all the powder into a small bowl. Scrape off any excess from the packaging if needed. Every little bit is gold.

  1. Crush the powder

Things may need to get a little worse before they get better, so stick with it. Once you’ve put all the powder into a bowl, Patinkin advises using the flat side of a spoon or another smooth, flat tool to crush the remaining chunks of powder until they are fine, evenly sized granules.

  1. Add water to the packaging

Next, Patinkin instructs adding a few drops of water to the bottom of the compact. Be sure to space out the water drops. (Note: If the original compact or packaging suffered some damage, too, you can use a different container with a lid for your makeup’s new home instead.)

  1. Put the powder back 

Then, Patinkin says, carefully move the crushed powder back into its original (or new) container.

  1. Press it real good

Here’s where the magic happens. “Place a paper towel over the top of the powder and apply quite a bit of pressure to compact all the granules together,” Patinkin says. “Clean up around the edges, and you’re good to go.”

Alternatively, you can leave your crushed product  as a powder and use it as-is. (Hey, it works for Bare Minerals!) To do this, Patinkin recommends dampening a makeup sponge or makeup brush before gently tapping powder onto your cheeks and face. “The little bit of moisture in either tool will both help to give you a dewy look and to eliminate product fall-off,” she says.

Technique 2

Celebrity makeup artist Lauren D’Amelio fixes her broken powder makeup a little bit differently. So if technique number one doesn’t work for you, try this one.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Plastic baggie
  • Shot glass
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Scissors

Instructions: 

  1. Crush the powder

D’Amelio recommends emptying all the broken powder into a plastic baggie. Zip it up nice and tight and then use your hand to mash up any big pieces until it’s a fine powder.

  1. Add rubbing alcohol 

Next, take a shot. Kidding! Sort of. Hey, after what you’ve been through grieving your broken makeup, you deserve it. No, but seriously, D’Amelio says to fill up 1/4 of a shot glass with rubbing alcohol and pour it into the baggie with the powder.

  1. Squeeze the mixture into the compact

After, D’Amelio says to use your scissors to cut a small corner of the bag and carefully squeeze the mixture to dispense it back into its original compact or container. (Just picture those icing-piping bags they use on baking shows.) Let it dry until it’s back to normal.

How to fix a broken lipstick

Fixing a broken lipstick is also relatively quick and easy, but it does require fire, so be extra careful. Here are two ways you can do it.

Technique 1

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Broken lipstick
  • Lighter
  • Refrigerator

Instructions:

  1. Warm up the lipstick

Start by removing the broken piece of lipstick and set aside the tube for a moment. Then, Patinkin says, “Hold a lighter about 2 inches away from the bottom of the broken-off piece in order to warm it slightly but not make it drippy and melted.”

  1. Reattach the broken piece

Once the lipstick is nice and warm, Patinkin recommends placing the broken piece back onto the base of the lipstick and wiggling it gently into place.

  1. Pop it in the fridge

Once the lipstick is reattached, Patinkin says to wait for about 60 seconds and then carefully twist the lipstick back down. Lastly, pop it in the fridge for at least two hours, and it’ll be ready to swipe.

Technique 2

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Broken lipstick
  • Lighter or stove
  • Empty lip balm tube

Instructions:

  1. Scoop out all the lipstick

Like with the broken powder, this one requires you to mush up the entire lipstick to fix it. D’Amelio recommends scooping out all the lipstick bits into a spoon.

  1. Melt it

Then, D’Amelio says, place your spoon over a stove or a lighter to melt it until it looks like a beautiful [insert lipstick color here] soup.

  1. Pour it into the lip balm tube

Once the lipstick is nice and smooth and melted, D’Amelio says to pour it into an empty lip balm tube (not the one it came in—grab a cleaned out Chapstick tube or the like). Then let it fully dry and harden.

  1. Return it to its original tube

Lastly, D’Amelio says, “twist up and remove the newly repaired lipstick and place it into the original packaging. This allows the lipstick to be able to fit back into its original applicator without sticking to the sides. You can also keep it in the Chapstick tube if you prefer.”

How to fix gel eyeliner or potted brow pomade

Gel eyeliners or potted brow pomades don’t break, per se, but they definitely can dry out and crack. To remedy this, Patinkin says, “poke a couple of holes in them with a toothpick, and drop a few saline eyedrops into them.” Then mix it together. If it’s too dry, you can pop it in the microwave for 15 seconds to soften it up enough to be able to mix. Finally, let it set it in place and voila! Good as new.

And, according to D’Amelio, adding eyedrops to dried out mascara also helps rehydrate it and bring it back to life.

The one makeup item D’Amelio *doesn’t* recommend mending back to health are liquid products in glass bottles. “I do not recommend trying to save a liquid product that you may have dropped, and the glass bottle broke,” she says. “You do not want to risk putting it into a new bottle because there may be small pieces of glass in the formula.” Better safe than sorry.

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