Quick fixes for broken make-up

Make-up can be expensive, so rescue damaged eye shadow, lipstick and mattifying powder with this quick-fix guide.

Updated 27 June 2019

Quick fix make-up against white backdrop

Key steps

  1. For cream products that have dried out, make sure you have some saline solution and a toothpick handy.
  2. Have cling film, a spoon and rubbing alcohol available to fix your powder-based make-up.
  3. Applying a small bit of heat will help put your lipstick back together.
To save powdered makeup without making a mess, gather the broken pieces within its original container, wrap with clingfilm and use the handle of a spoon to break into a fine powder.

To save dried-out cream products:

  1. Add a small drop of saline solution to the product.
  2. Mix with a toothpick.
  3. Voila – your makeup is restored!

You have dropped that powder eye shadow and the tile of colour is in pieces. Don’t throw it away, learn how to salvage it below:

Repairing powder-based make-up

You will need cling film, a spoon and rubbing alcohol. The rubbing alcohol will help to re-set the powder and will act as a disinfectant.

The essential steps:

  • Put the pieces of broken make-up back in their original container.
  • Crush the broken make-up in its container to a uniform consistency.
  • Add a few drops of rubbing alcohol to the crushed powder.
  • Cover the powder mixture with cling film and use the back of a spoon to smooth out and reshape. If the mixture is very dry, a few more drops of rubbing alcohol may be needed.
  • When it is smooth, remove the cling film and let the make-up dry out overnight. It should be ready for use the next day.

This method can be applied to broken blushers, eye shadow and face powders. 

Repairing lipsticks

Due to the oil or wax content of most lipsticks, applying heat will soften the lipstick and can help put that favourite shade back together again.

  • If the lipstick is broken in the middle - keeping it in the case, carefully apply a little heat to the damaged section. You could use a match, a tea light or a safety gas lighter in a safe area. When the broken surface of the lipstick is slightly melted – taking care not to melt the lipstick case – press the other section into it. With a toothpick or a match, smooth and seal the sides of the lipstick. Then place the repaired lipstick in the freezer for a few minutes to harden.
  • If the lipstick broke at the base - remove the stub of lipstick still in the container – perhaps with a toothpick or straightened paper clip – and press the broken surface of the other piece of the lipstick into the cavity.
  • If you have broken pieces of lipstick that can’t be stuck back together - put them in a large metal spoon and get a small container with a lid. A clean lip balm jar or an empty blusher may be suitable. Carefully hold the spoon over a candle to melt the lipstick, and when melted, pour it into the prepared container. Then place it in the fridge to cool and harden for around 30 minutes. You can then use the lipstick, using a lip brush to apply it.

If you got make-up on your clothes when it broke, remove the stains with our guide.

Originally published 11 December 2018