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How to make the most of your beauty products

Most cosmetics and skincare products have another use - you just need to work out what it is.

I gave my sister some skincare products to try recently and she didn't get on with them at all - hated the sticky texture and the skin reddening they produced. But she found a new use for them on the dry skin on her shins, which set me thinking. There are always other uses for your beauty products, so you need never completely waste your money. Here are a few ideas:

* Shampoo too harsh?

Use it to handwash your woollens, or as gentle wash in the machine. In the US, many fabric aficionados wash their delicates in baby shampoo. 

* Eye cream makes your eyes sting?

Use it as a lip cream. It's all basically the same stuff, but your lips are a lot less sensitive than your eyes.

* Night cream too light?

Use it as a day cream, but also wear a sunblock with at least a 15 SPF. 

* Day cream too heavy? 

Use it as a night cream, or on your knees, elbows and feet, which lack natural moisture. You could also try it as a hand cream, especially at night.

* Body lotion too sticky or draggy?

Use it as a body wash in the bath or shower. If the cream's water-soluble, it will wash off nicely; if it isn't, it will still moisturise and protect your skin. Another use for old cream and lotions is as a conditioner for any leather garments or furniture you might have (test it on a hidden spot first, in case it changes the colour, but I once used a whole bottle of Lancome body lotion on my Chesterfield sofa, with great results - leather is only skin, after all). 

* Don't like the smell of your body lotion?

Squeeze it into a pot and add 10 drops of essential oil such as lavender, and mix well with a teaspoon. 

* Don't like your perfume?

Use it as an air freshener in the bathroom. Even a perfume that has slightly gone off can do a job here, as long as it's not completely repulsive. 

* Bored with your perfume, or got a surplus?

Spray it onto sheets of acid-free tissue, let the sheets dry and use them as drawer liners.

* Broken your eyeshadow?

Crush it on a saucer, with the back of a spoon, and place it in a little pot - just use it as loose powder eyeshadow, applying with a small eyeshadow brush. You can also mix shadows with the same technique. Irridescent shadows in natural colours work well crushed and mixed into a loose facepowder or body lotion as a body shimmer.