Everything You Need to Know About How to Fix Broken Makeup

Because saying goodbye to your favorite eyeshadow is never easy.

5 broken circular makeup pressed palettes in different shades of pink
Photo: Pixel Stories/Adobe Stock

It can take years to finally find the neutral-toned eyeshadow of your dreams, or the face powder that makes your skin feel like velvet. This is why it can be devastating when you find out that one of your favorites has broken into pieces.

It may seem like the only solution is to toss the makeup and rebuy, but we have some good news — there are some tried-and-true methods to fix broken makeup. Yippee!

Ahead, we speak with three makeup gurus about their top tips for fixing broken makeup, including the best way to travel with makeup, and how to avoid it breaking in the first place.

VIDEO: What Every Beginner Needs to Have in Their Makeup Kit

So, How Do I Fix Broken Powders?

You were dusting on your favorite powder and it went from pressed to, well, loose. The good news, says Claudia Soare (Norvina), president and creative director of Anastasia Beverly Hills, is that there's an easy fix for broken powders — and it involves a small amount of rubbing alcohol. If you've found yourself in this predicament, Soare suggests taking the following steps:

  1. Start first by breaking up your broken product into a finer powder so it's easier to bind together.
  2. Add a small amount of 91% isopropyl rubbing alcohol (just a few drops depending on the size of the product).
  3. Mix the powder and alcohol together.
  4. Place a paper towel over the top of the product and press down firmly with the palm of your hand.
  5. Remove the paper towel and allow powder to dry before using it again.

If you'd prefer not to use alcohol to mend your broken powder, Hannah Hatcher, a Jane Iredale makeup artist and global educator, says rosewater is just as effective.

You can also turn your beloved face powder compact into a loose powder —simply empty the broken powder into a ziploc bag and use the back of a spoon to crush the broken pieces "into the finest powder possible," Hatcher says. "Then empty the contents of the bag into a small sieve and, using a spoon, stir the contents of the broken powder until it all falls from the sieve into a clean container — you now have a perfectly good loose powder."

It's also important to note that this method works best with foundation powders, Hatcher says. You'll typically want to be more precise with bronzer and blush, so you may want to try the alcohol or rosewater method instead.

Another trick? If you've only managed to salvage a few crumbs of broken bronzer, transform them into a tinted moisturizer. Take your favorite moisturizer, squirt a few drops into center of the compact and use a teaspoon to mix it all together.

What About Fixing a Broken Lipstick?

The bad news: your lipstick has gone kaput. The good news: Hatcher says there are few ways to rehab your favorite shade.

The first method involves holding a lighter under the broken piece of lipstick to allow it to soften. Don't hold the lighter too close or the lipstick will begin to melt (and be sure to protect your hands while you do this). You can try this same method with a hairdryer, again being careful not to overheat.

If the base piece (a.k.a. the part still attached to the lipstick holder) is bigger, Hatcher suggests holding the lighter to the top of the base. "After about 8 to 10 seconds of heat, take the piece of broken lipstick and place it on top of the base, gently pushing down," says the makeup artist. "Let the lipstick set for a few minutes, then clean up any rough edges with a tissue." To solidify the mended lipstick, place it in the fridge overnight to harden, says Hatcher. "[Then] you are ready to roll!"

But if you find yourself in a situation where there's barely any lipstick to mend, celebrity makeup artist, Cara Lovello suggests transferring the broken lipstick into a palette. This way, the lipstick ruins can serve as both a lip and cheek stain.

Cool. What Do I Do About Clumpy Mascara?

If your favorite mascara has ever gone clumpy, it can definitely bring a tear to the eye. However, you'll be pleased to know, dried out mascara can be revived. Just twist on the cap and place the tube in hot water for three minutes. The heat from the water will help breakup any clumps and bring your mascara back to life.

Tips for Traveling with Makeup

Keeping makeup in one piece can be difficult enough when it's safe and sound in your bathroom let alone when you're traveling, am I right? The good news is, this is one the pros have mastered.

It all starts with the type of bag you choose. Hatcher says that while hard cases are a great option for keeping makeup extra safe, they can take up a lot of space. If you are trying to keep your carry-on concise, then you may want to purchase a small makeup bag that is made from cloth or another flexible material that can easily slide into a suitcase. Using a smaller bag that fits the essentials, and doesn't allow for a lot of wiggle room, will minimize chances for breakage, Hatcher says.

You might also want to consider wrapping your favorite products in a washcloth for extra cushion, Soare adds.

When Should I Just Toss Broken Makeup?

While Soare says she is the self-proclaimed queen of using makeup "until it's hanging on to its last life," there comes a time where it's time to say goodbye to even your most beloved makeup products.

"If you broke a glass foundation bottle, don't try and use it because there could be tiny glass particles that you can't see," she says, adding that this could lead to micro-tears in the skin.

And, if you think your broken makeup may have been past its expiration date anyway, well, then consider it a sign from the universe. Quick reminder: "If the product has changed colors or smells a little strange, you should definitely toss it," Soare says. "This could be a sign that there's life (aka bacteria) in your makeup and you don't want to make this a science project!"

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