We’ve all been on the same emotional rollercoaster ride. After seeing a particular skincare product trend on social media and hyped up by your favourite skin-fluencers, you get swayed and decide to splurge on it. You slather it all over your face and head to bed, excited to see a fresher complexion the next morning. What stares back in the mirror the next day, however, is a slew of breakouts accompanied by red, angry patches.
Indeed, there’s nothing worse than finding out that a new skincare product doesn’t work for you. It’s unfortunate, but instead of tossing it in the bin or giving it away (probably not the most sanitary idea during a pandemic), why not repurpose it in other ways? If the skin on your face isn’t a fan of it, the rest of your body might just fall in love with it.
Ahead, we’ve gathered seven ways to breathe new life to your skincare products.
How to repurpose skincare products
Cleansing oils, balms, and micellar water
Cleansing oils and balms are an effective option to remove makeup, dirt, and oil without overly drying your skin, but some of them can lead to breakouts. When this happens, you can try using them in place of shaving cream. A cleansing oil or balm will provide enough slip, so you can get the smoothest shave and the softest legs.
Makeup removers like micellar water are also great at removing the gunk off your makeup brushes. Just be sure to rinse your brushes after you’ve dipped them in a pool of cleansing oil, cleansing balm, or micellar water.
If a cleanser is too stripping for your face, consider using it as a hand wash or body wash. Just remember not to use the cleansers with exfoliating acids – such as AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids, e.g. glycolic and lactic acids) and BHAs (beta hydroxy acids, e.g. salicylic acid) – on your hands. It may be too drying for you and your guests.
Got a cleanser that comes in a glass packaging? Even better. You can wash it out after you’re done and reuse it as a hand soap dispenser.
When it’s scorching outside, repurposing your toner into a pick-me-up body spray can shower your skin in sweet, soothing relief. Think of it as an after-sun spray, which is particularly great for your skin if it contains aloe vera and allantoin.
If you have sensitive skin and the toner you’ve got is loaded with fragrance or essential oils, you can try using it as a room or pillow spray instead.
If you’re a skincare addict, you may have quite a few bottles of chemical exfoliants that you can’t use up fast enough. Well, you don’t have let them sit around getting dusty anymore, because chemical exfoliants are perfect stand-ins for deodorants – and there are studies to prove it.
With your hands, simply splash a little acid exfoliant on your armpits after you shower. If you prefer using a cotton pad, that works too. Perhaps the biggest advantage for most of us is that chemical exfoliants also act on ingrown hairs and prevent them from occurring.
Not to mention, they help to fade hyperpigmentation too, so if you have post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) from ingrown hair or cuts from shaving, or even dark patches you’d like to lighten, it’ll help with that too.
A derivative of vitamin A, retinol is widely considered by most experts and dermatologists to be the final word in anti-ageing skincare. It works by increasing the rate of cell turnover in the skin, and studies have shown it to be great for aiding just about any skin concern, from fine lines to pigmentation and even acne. Just like any other ingredient, however, retinol may not work for some.
If you have a lower-strength retinol product (0.01% to 0.03% in concentration), consider using it on your hands or chest. Remember to do a patch test on those areas first and to only use the product at night as it makes your skin more sensitive to UV rays. The morning after, make sure you slather on the sunscreen.
This one’s a no-brainer. If your moisturisers don’t work for your face, it’s time to slather them on your body. Depending on the ingredients, you can also use them as a luxurious hand cream. To tame flyaways and frizzies in a pinch, try smoothing some moisturiser on your hair to keep it neat.
When it comes to face oils, you can use on your hair to tame any bits of frizz. After shampooing your hair and towelling it off, apply the oil to the ends and work it through. You can also use it on dry hair to smooth any flyaways. Of course, a facial oil will also work well as a nourishing cuticle oil.
More tips to help you reduce waste
1. Don’t overbuy products
The skincare industry is starting to mirror “fast fashion”, with more launches and brands popping up than we can keep up with. Before you purchase a new skincare product, ask yourself if you’ve already got something similar in your beauty stash and if it’s something you really need in your routine.
For most of us, we don’t always require anything beyond a reliable cleanser, moisturiser, targeted treatment for our skin concerns, and sunscreen.
2. Understand your skin
The best thing you can do to avoid product waste is to understand your skin. If you know that your skin is sensitive to particular ingredients, avoid them. It may be tempting to try a new trendy product, but once you’ve spotted your trigger ingredient, steer clear of it. The chances of it not working for your skin is bound to be high.
3. Donate unopened and unused products to loved ones and/or local charities
If you find yourself with plenty of unopened, unused products than you know what to do with, you can also look into donating them to local charity organisations, such as Babes Pregnancy Crisis Support Ltd, HOME: Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics, and Pass-It-On Singapore. Skincare is a privilege, and we can all do more to give back to these charitable organisations.