9 Genius Beauty Hacks Using Common Household Items

9 Genius Beauty Hacks Using Common Household Items
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Here's why you should pack tape and a toothbrush in your makeup kit.
For SELF, by Jessica Cruel.


As a beauty editor, I don't usually carry my five-pound makeup bag with me everywhere I go--so I often have to get creative. That's where the Internet comes in! It seems like there's a trick for every beauty emergency imaginable if you search Pinterest and Instagram long enough--and many of the solutions are lying around your house. Apparently, I haven't been using my Scotch tape to it's full potential! Here, I tested out nine popular hair, makeup, and nail hacks to see which ones really work.

1. Use tape to get perfect winged eyeliner.

Here at SELF, we already tested the Beautyblender's new tool to get flawless winged eyeliner. This tape trick is the budget-friendly Pinterest version. Just apply the tape as a stencil, draw along the straight edge, and remove. Beauty editor confession: I suck at all things related to eye makeup. Shadow? Don't get it. Eyeliner? Never straight. Mascara? Ugh. So, typically I skip it altogether.

Did it work? This tape hack made it actually look like I know what I'm doing. The eyeliner will also take away some of your under-eye makeup. So use this trick before applying your foundation and concealer.

2. And you can also use tape to finally master contouring.

Contouring with tape is one of the many makeup hacks that rose from Instagram (thanks, Huda Kattan). The tape is meant to act like a stencil to make the complex art of sculpting more like coloring inside the lines.

I applied a strip of tape to the middle of my nose, then used a dark contour color on each side. This supposedly creates the illusion of a slimmed-down snout. Then, I lined up a piece of tape from the top of my ear to the corner of my lips, brushing product just above the line. Finally, I used a sponge to blend away the stark lines.

Did it work? If you're a beginner, it's a great way to learn where contour color is supposed to go. I'd actually use this hack again to teach my girlfriends how to master this pro makeup trick.

3. Use a metal spoon to minimize puffy undereyes.

This cold metal spoon hack seems like a hoax--until you actually try it. You can keep two spoons (one for each eye) in the fridge for a few hours or the freezer for a couple minutes to chill.

Did it work? Once I got past the immediate shock of having a frigid piece of metal on my face, the soothing sensation made my tired eyes feel more awake. I left each spoon in place until it was warm (about three minutes). Afterwards, I noticed the majority of the undereye swelling had disappeared, and I was ready for some concealer.

4. Use dryer sheets to eliminate staticky hair.

I had to enlist the help of a friend to test this hair hack because, you know, Afro hair doesn't really get staticky. Emily's hair was looking a little electric after a week testing coconut-oil beauty hacks, so she was game to try dryer sheets as a solution.

Did it work? Genius! The dryer sheet immediately put all of Emily's flyaways back in line. You can easily pack a few in your purse or at your desk to calm hat hair. Bonus: it doubles as a deodorizer wherever you stash it.

5. Use a coffee filter to blot away shine.

When it comes to beauty hacks, blotting away oil with toilet-seat covers is one of my favorites. But no one has those sanitary sheets lying around at home, so your DIY alternative is coffee filters. Fold the circular paper into a triangle and press against your shiny zones (for me, it's my forehead).

Did it work? The woven papers did a great job at absorbing oil without wiping away all of my makeup. However, I don't think I'll be carrying coffee filters to the office, so brown paper napkins and toilet-seat covers will have to do, for now.

6. Use cooking spray to dry nail polish.

I love to cook, so I typically use fresh olive oil over cooking spray. But luckily my boyfriend had a can of PAM hidden in the cupboards from his former Hot Pocket and Ramen noodle life. Supposedly, a shot of spray helps speed up dry time for a new manicure.

Did it work? No my nails weren't instantly dry. But the oils did make the polish super slippery, which minimizes your chance of denting the topcoat. Plus, my cuticles were thoroughly moisturized. Just make sure to angle the spray at least a foot away from your hands, or you'll end up with white foam all over your hand.

7. Use a business card behind your lashes to keep mascara from smudging your eye makeup.

Mascara is generally the final step when applying eyeliner, which can result in wet black smudges covering your eye shadow. The business card acts as a shield to keep wet mascara off your lids.

Did it work? This sounds a lot easier than it looks. First of all, I don't have enough coordination to hold a business card, put on mascara, AND look in the mirror. Sure my eyeshadow was saved, but there was a very close call between my cornea and the mascara wand. I think this hack should be reserved for the lower lashes, which were much easier to do.

8. Use a toothbrush to exfoliate cracked lips.

I've got a ton of extra toothbrushes lying around because they're useful for all types of hacks, like cleaning tile and rattail combs. To exfoliate your lips, use an old brush dipped in olive oil to get rid of peeling patches and scaly spots.

Did it work? I tried it the morning before putting on this matte, hot pink lipstick and there was minimal creasing. You can also just use your regular toothbrush after brushing to get the same exfoliating effects.

9. Or use it to brush up unruly brows.

I have extra wily (but sparse) brows that grow long and curl at the tips. Since I'm growing out my arches, I can't afford to cut any hair. Long ago, one makeup expert told me to brush my brows every night to get them to behave. Sometimes I add a drop or two of castor oil to promote growth. In the morning, you can add a spritz of hairspray to the brush to hold brows in place.

Did it work? I've lived by this tip for years, and I'll continue to use it in my quest to get Solange Knowles brows. Note: Definitely use two separate toothbrushes for lip scrubbing and brow grooming. Plus, you'll need a third for actual teeth brushing.

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