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7 Double-Duty Makeup & Beauty Products You Need

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As a total beauty product junky, I make it my business to test-drive just about every new item on the market. That means my bathroom vanity is always covered with products and potions, much to my husband’s dismay. Although I love trying out new things and having a huge beauty arsenal on-hand, I also recognize the importance of makeup minimalism. After all, I’m not going to put on a full face every time I go to the grocery store.

That’s why I love products that can do more than just one thing. Not only do they save you counter space, they allow you to streamline your morning routine so you’re not stuck shuffling between 10 different colors, products, and brushes as you rush to get ready. By filling your makeup bag with products that pull double duty, you can easily travel with, use, and store a smaller number of them without sacrificing your look.

Multipurpose Beauty Products

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Whether you’re headed for a weekend getaway or you have a serious case of makeup overload, simplifying your routine – and de-cluttering your bathroom counter – means stashing all of your specialty items in favor of more efficient products. Check out some of the ways I use my favorite cosmetics, and you may discover that some of your own can perform double duty too.

1. BB Cream

You’ve probably heard a lot about BB (beauty balm) cream in the last few months. Originating in Asia, it’s made its way West and into makeup bags across the country. BB cream is a mixture of sunscreen, moisturizer, and foundation, making it a light alternative to heavier creams and foundations. While I love BB cream to help even out my complexion, I love it even more as a way to flatter my legs while wearing skirts and dresses.

BB cream usually features some type of shimmer in the formula, which can highlight your legs to make them look long and lean when wearing skirts or shorts. Just squeeze a little bit of the cream onto your fingertips – my favorite is Maybelline Dream Fresh BB Cream – and then smooth it down your shin bone only, blending well. The slight color and shimmer create a nice, long line down the legs, which can help hide imperfections and leave them looking amazing. You can also use BB cream to highlight your collarbone when wearing lower-cut shirts.

2. Lip Balm

I have a theory that women’s purses eat lip balm. That’s the only way to explain how I continually purchase it, yet never seem able to find it. I like beeswax-based formulas with plenty of vitamin E, such as Burt’s Bees Lip Balm, to help ward of chapped lips and prevent sunburns. High-quality lip balms are a perfect way to combat the harsh summer sun, which tends to dry out and burn lips.

Come winter, there’s another use for your lip balm that might help save you from a bad hair day. Indoor heating can make your hair dry and frizzy, but lip balm can help tame your tresses in a pinch. Just rub some on your hands and smooth them over your hair to help tame those flyaways by adding weight and moisture. Lip balm can also stand in for cuticle cream when your nails are looking ragged.

3. Cream Blush

Cream blush is amazing when you want your color to look natural, not powdery. Look for a formula that is super-sheer so you can add layers of blush to customize your look from slight glow to “I just came in from a blizzard.”

However, don’t make the mistake of assuming that cream blush is just a one-trick pony. I use my favorite, e.l.f. Studio Cream Blush, as a way to freshen up my lips as well as my cheeks. Cream blush works as a great lip gloss. Just dip your middle finger in it and lightly tap the cream onto your lips, starting from the center and moving outward. The result is a sheer wash of color that complements your cheeks for an all-over natural look.

4. Mascara

Mascara may be one of the most popular makeup products. It helps define your eyelashes and makes them look fuller and longer. However, it doesn’t have to be used on eyelashes only. In a makeup emergency – or if you simply prefer a less-fussy look – it can sub for eyeliner.

Here’s how to make it work: Using a quality mascara (I love L’Oreal Voluminous Million Lashes) bring the wand up to your lash line. Get the brush as close to the eyelid as possible and instead of simply sweeping upward, wiggle the brush back and forth at the lash line a few times. This deposits color to make it look like your eyes are lined. Then, sweep up and repeat on the bottom lash line. As a bonus, if you use waterproof mascara, it makes your “eyeliner” positively budge-proof.

Popular Eyelash Mascara

5. Bronzer

Bronzer is the one product I never leave home without. Not only does it chase away winter pallor, but it’s a must-have for contouring your cheeks and nose. I specifically look for bronzer without the shimmer, like Too Faced Tan Without the Twinkle, which works for more natural contouring over its sparkly counterparts.

Bronzer is also a great fill-in for eyeshadow in a pinch. The trick is to increase the concentration of pigments. When you apply it to your cheeks with a wide, fluffy brush, the pigments are more widely distributed, making for less color and a more natural look. A smaller eyeshadow brush, on the other hand, can concentrate the color for a more dramatic look. Try using a wider brush to coat your lids in bronzer and then run a small eyeliner brush along your lower lash line. The beauty bonus is that the color already complements your skin tone and makes your iris pop.

6. Coconut Oil

Do you have a tub of coconut oil on your vanity yet? If not, you should. It’s cheap, comes in huge quantities, and works for just about everything. Most people I know use coconut oil as a moisturizer. It works wonders on chapped knees and elbows. However, my favorite way to use the solid-based oil is as a pre-blow drying treatment.

Blow drying seriously dries out your hair and can leave those formerly smooth, sleek locks looking rough. That problem can be solved by smoothing a dollop of coconut oil through damp hair before you begin – I’ve found that a teaspoon works well on medium-length hair. Work it into your ends and then continue moving up until the oil has been distributed. It creates a protective barrier so the heat from your blow dryer doesn’t cause damage and leaves you hair smooth and shiny. Find coconut oil in the baking section of your grocery or health and wellness store.

7. Baby Wipes

My friends are always teasing me because I keep a package of baby wipes in my purse – despite the fact that my kids are much too old to use them – because they’re a must for cleaning up a messy face, car spills, and – my favorite – wayward makeup. Not only do I use baby wipes to take off stubborn makeup, such as waterproof mascara, but also as a gentle way to touch up cosmetics if they smudge or dab excess lipstick. Just look for baby wipes labeled “unscented” – otherwise, you’re going to end up smelling like a baby all day.

Final Word

Minimalist beauty means you can streamline your morning routine and, even better, spend less time digging through your makeup bag to find the right products. Cosmetics companies are becoming more sensitive to the fact that women lead busy lives and may not have time for an extensive makeup routine everyday. By adding double-duty products into your arsenal, you can spend less time in front of the mirror and less money on items you don’t really use.

What’s your favorite double-duty makeup product?

Jacqueline Curtis
Jacqueline Curtis is an experienced style expert, and she focuses on getting high fashion on a tight budget. She writes for several online publications and specializes in fashion, finance, health and fitness, and parenting. Jae grew up in Toronto, Canada, but now resides in Utah with her husband, two kids, and prized shoe collection.

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