In a Bind? Check Out These Eleven Beauty Substitutions

July 3, 2011 by J. Dikes  
Published in Hair

We’ve all been there. You’re on vacation and you need to shave your legs, but oh no, you forgot to pack shaving cream! With these handy tips and tricks, you’ll know exactly what to do if you find yourself short on some of your beauty supplies.

1. Shaving Cream.

If you find yourself without shaving cream, there are many things you can substitute. The main purpose of shaving cream is to provide lubrication and prevent razor burn.  Anything that can provide a lather, like a bar of soap or shampoo would be a good substitute.  If your skin is dry, you may consider using something richer like conditioner, lotion, or even baby oil.

2. Shampoo

If you use a strengthening/volumizing/moisturizing shampoo formula, you will not get the same results from these substitutes. But if you’re in a bind and simply need to get your hair clean, these will do the trick.  Body wash, a bar of soap, diluted dish/hand soap, or even bubble bath, concentrating the lather on your scalp only, will get your hair clean.  Just make sure to use conditioner afterwards, especially if you have to use dish soap. Baking soda can be used two different ways to clean your hair.  You can massage it into a wet scalp for 2-4 minutes and then rinse in the shower, or combine with baby powder and sprinkle on a brush and comb through your dry hair to use as a dry shampoo to absorb oil. You can also wrap a brush in gauze, or pull a nylon stocking over the brush, then comb through your hair to absorb oil.

3. Conditioner

Many of these substitutes come from the kitchen, and many of them are so rich that you’ll need to condition, and then shampoo (or rinse very very well).  Mashed avocado, yogurt, mayonnaise, egg yolks, or olive oil, left on the hair for twenty to thirty minutes and then rinsed well/shampooed will deep condition your hair.  You can even mix more than one of these if you have several available to you.  Honey can also be used to condition before shampooing, I would recommend mixing it with olive oil or water to thin it out and make it a little less sticky, and I wouldn’t leave it on for longer than twenty minutes because honey produces a mild peroxide and gradually lightens your hair.  Of course if you want to lighten your hair, leave it on as long as you want, the results are subtle and build gradually through repeated treatments.  And as a final substitute for conditioner, after shampooing your hair and towel drying, you can rub a dab of lotion between your hands, then rub it into your hair, concentrating on the ends or anywhere else your hair is normally dry or frizzy.

4. Face Primer

If you use primer under your foundation, you probably can’t imagine going back to wearing makeup without it. If you run out of primer and are nowhere near a cosmetics store, you can use chafing gel instead.  As long as the gel you use contains dimethicone, it will work as a makeup primer.  I’ve actually switched over to using Monistat Chafing Relief Powder Gel exclusively.  I don’t buy makeup primer anymore and I couldn’t be happier with the results.

5. Loose powder

If you normally set your makeup with loose powder and you’ve run out or misplaced yours, there are a couple things you can use instead.  Corn starch or baby powder will both work in a pinch. Just use them sparingly, because used in excess, either one can make you look incredibly pale.  If you don’t have either of those on hand, consider allowing your makeup to set for about 5 minutes and then blotting with an oil absorbing sheet or tissue paper.  It may not give a porcelain doll finish, but it will at least give your skin a slightly more matte finish.

6. Oil Absorbing Sheets/Blotting Papers

If you’ve come to rely on these, it can be frustrating to run out.  If you happen to be in a public restroom, tear off a piece of an unused toilet seat protector and blot with that.  It absorbs oil surprisingly well.  You can also use a single ply of toilet paper, tissue, or tissue paper if you happen to have one of those.  Just remember to blot, not rub so that you remove just the oil and not your carefully applied makeup.

7. Blush

If you need to add some color to your face, but forgot your blush, there are a few products you can substitute. Bronzer will work to add some color, just build the color gradually, especially since bronzers tend to have shimmer added.  You can also dot a bit of lipstick on your cheeks and blend it with your fingers to give you a flush.  And of course if you happen to have an eyeshadow of an appropriate color, you can easily substitute that.  The key, no matter which product you use, is to blend well.

8. Lipstick or lip gloss

If you’ve forgotten or misplaced your lipstick, line and fill your lips with lip liner, then put a dab of lip gloss, Vaseline, olive oil, or vitamin E oil on your lips for some shine.  If you don’t have lip liner or lip gloss, you can also mix eyeshadow, blush, or pigment powder with Vaseline and dab it on your lips.

9. Brow Gel

If you’ve got unruly brows, a tiny bit of hairspray or hair gel, worked through your brows with a toothbrush (or a finger if it’s all you’ve got), will tame them.  If you’ve got thin or very light brows, you can fill them and set the hair spray or gel with an appropriately colored eyeshadow or brow powder if you’ve got it.  You can also use eyeliner to fill if needed, but it will not help to set the gel or spray, so you may want to use some loose powder to set everything when you’re done.

10. Eyeshadow

A wash of shimmery pink blush or bronzer from lashes to brow can work if you don’t have any eyeshadow with you.  You can also use a darker shade to define your crease, or even lipstick or lip liner, if blended well and in an appropriate color.  I once used a pale shimmery bronzer as my base color and a coppery brown lipstick blended into my crease for an entire summer because my eyeshadow was misplaced while traveling.  It worked well enough that I didn’t bother buying any new eyeshadow until we arrived back home. Just make sure to set with loose powder if you use any cream based products.  Also, not all lip products contain ingredients that are safe to use around eyes, so if you have any doubts about a particular product, then don’t use it.

11. Eyeliner

If you’ve run out of eyeliner, eyeshadow or pigment powder applied with a wet brush can work in a pinch.  Just again, be sure you are using eye safe products, some ingredients can irritate your eyes.  You can mix a couple drops of visine with eye safe pigment powder or loose eyeshadow to create a cream for bold eyeliner.

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One Response to “In a Bind? Check Out These Eleven Beauty Substitutions”
  1. Crissleigh Says:

    Great tips. We have all been in a pinch and ran out of one beauty product or another so these are really great tips to know. Thanks .

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