Products to Use in a Pinch

Back in my (beauty-clueless) high school days, I used to paint my nails with whatever I had in my backpack—anything from a pink highlighter to a bottle of White Out. While I would never recommend any of these Office Max-sourced substitutions, sometimes you gotta work with what you’ve got. Whether the airline lost your suitcase—along with your entire makeup bag—or you only have five minutes to touch up before for a last-minute presentation at work, here’s how to make the most of the products you have stuffed in the side pocket of your purse.

If you don’t have a brow brush…

Use lip balm. Arches out of control? Spread a pin-sized amount of your go-to lip balm (Dr. Lipp’s Original Nipple Balm for Lips is in our pocket at all times) over your brows to keep unruly hairs in place. The thickness of the balm will ensure they’ll stay put for the rest of the day. For those with darker hair, a mocha-colored mascara can also double as brow filler.

If you don’t have hairspray….

Use hand cream. Taming flyaways is as easy as rubbing a bit of hand cream—Folle de Joie Hand Cream has a permanent place in our purse—between your hands and smoothing them over your errant hairs. Bonus: your mane will smell amazing.

If you don’t have eyeliner…

Use eyeshadow. Dip your applicator in a bit of water, gently swirl it in your shadow, and swipe along your lashes to a create a bold line similar to your favorite liquid liner.

If you don’t have moisturizer…

Use lip balm (yes, again!). For pesky rough patches on your cheeks and hands, a dab of lip balm can offer immediate relief. Yes to Carrot’s Lip Butters packs enough vitamin E, coconut oil, and olive oil to hydrate dry skin when your go-to moisturizer is nowhere to be found.

And if you like to travel light…

Invest in double-duty space-savers. Keep lips and cheeks flush with a versatile product like stila’s Convertible Color compact or Vasanti’s Lip and Cheek Colour Pod, which are both designed to multitask on demand. Benefit’s Big Beautiful Eyes palette includes an under-eye concealer and three shadows in a mirror compact, perfect for last minute touchups. Finally, Caudalie’s Divine Oil is a beauty triple threat: stash it in your bag to smooth flyaways, moisturize rough patches of skin, and even repair ragged cuticles and nails.

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