"Wrong" Uses for Beauty Products That Feel so Right

I used to believe that everything had to be exactly "just-so".

For example, if I bought a "face cream", it better not touch my neck or anything other than my face. Hand lotion wouldn’t dare get near the rest of my body, and God forbid I put anything labeled "hair" on my skin.

You could've sold me a cream just for my knees—that's how specifically I used my lotions and potions.

Like anyone else who has ever grown up or changed, I've loosened up a lot over the years.

These days, I put coconut oil, previously reserved only for cooking, all over my body. Even on my face. And that's the tip of the iceberg.

Ever since I went "green" with my beauty products, I not only realized that I needn't be so rigid with their uses, but I also found that since I feel confident everything I use is safe and natural, it's less scary to think about slathering any of it wherever.

So, in that spirit, here is a list of several products I love to use "incorrectly", to healthy and stunning results.

Eye shadow as lipstick

Back in the day (the early 90s) I bought a glittery, brown lipstick at The Limited-Express in my hometown mall. It was the perfect shade. I continued to use it, sparingly and preciously, all the way through college.

I shudder at the chemicals that must have been in that tube to preserve it for decades, but that’s another story.

Once I finally tossed it, I began my quest for another lipstick shade similar in color and shimmer. It’s been almost impossible to find one, and even more so once I went green.

The funny thing is that I regularly find eye shadows in that brown glittery shade I loved, so one day I finally got up the nerve to put some on my lips. And it actually works.

Here are some eyeshadows I’ve come to love as lipsticks:

Vapour Organic Beauty makes Mesmerize Eye Color sticks, $22

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I've found these to be the perfect on-the-go eyeshadow-as-lipstick. Shades Seduce, Ember, and Firefly all scratch that brown, shimmery itch for me.

RMS Eye Polishes, $28

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Moisturizing and buildable, with a coconut oil base, which makes them awesome for lips. Magnetic, Solar, and Seduce are my go-to shades for lips.

Face cream as hand cream

I recently texted a friend a photo of a ring I inherited from my late grandmother, only to see that I've clearly also inherited her 90-year-old-looking hands about 55 years too early.

Over washing and sun exposure have left my hands cracked and wrinkled. I often find hand creams to be too greasy, so I tried putting a little bit of a facial moisturizer on my hands when I had some left from my face one morning, and I was shocked to see the amazing results.

If you are at all self-conscious about the appearance of your hands, you'll see how spending a little extra and using a high quality, anti-aging or line-plumping face cream might help your hands.

Tata Harper illuminating moisturizer, $85


A truly decadent treat for your face OR hands. I use it for both, but especially love how it helps disguise all the wrinkles and lines on my hands with the soft-focus-like effect of diamond dust. The ultimate luxury.

Balm as perfume

Sometimes you just want a subtle scent on your body, especially if you’re going to the theater, flying on a plane, or working in an office—anywhere that those around you might not appreciate a strong perfume.

I like using my favorite moisturizing balms on my pulse points or as hand lotion, so that I get a subtle, delicious fragrance that doesn’t take over the room. It’s like a little luxury that’s just for me.

Maya Chia’s Supercritical Chia Waterless Wonder Balm, $42

This is, indeed, a wonder, and my ultimate bedside table necessity.


The chia seed oil-based formula is super-moisturizing, and the essential oil blend scent is just simply heavenly. I often apply it to my hands before bedtime and then stay awake an extra 10 minutes just to smell myself. It’s that good.

Leahlani Skincare’s Bless Balm, $48

The perfect delicate shade of pink with a scent to match. It smells like Hawaii, where it’s made by hand, and is great for soothing lips, cuticles, and your soul. I put it all over my face at night and dream of Hawaiian beaches.

Hair oil as body oil

For someone who used to go to great lengths to avoid letting her hair products touch her skin, I’ve certainly made a full 180.

Prim Botanicals’ incredible hair oil, $44


I use this on my body every day post-shower for two reasons:
1) it smells incredible
2) since it’s a hair oil, it’s formulated to be a drier oil, so as not to make your hair heavy or greasy.

As a result, it absorbs quickly into my skin without being greasy, allowing me to put my clothes on right away since I’m inevitably in a hurry.

Soap as eyebrow gel

I had never heard of this concept, and then suddenly it was all over my Instagram feed. People are using soap in place of eyebrow pomade or gel, and it actually works really well. Of course, soap can be quite irritating to your skin, not to mention drying, so I’ve found that a "lotion bar"—a body lotion that’s made in a soap-like form, is the perfect compromise. #soapbrows

Worker-B’s signature Lotion Bar, $32


Super hydrating and easy to use. With a base of Almond and Olive oils, plus pure propolis straight from the bee hive, it’s great for avoiding eczema and psoriasis, too.

Highlighter as blush, and blush as highlighter

I know this one doesn’t sound all that revolutionary, but it’s a good way to start small if using products "incorrectly" sounds scary to you.

Jane Iredale’s In Touch Highlighter, $28 


'Comfort' makes the perfect subtle blush for any occasion.

Au Naturale Cosmetic’s Powder Highlighter, $22

This highlighter in the shade Begonia is also a great blush, if you prefer a powder option.

Ilia Beauty’s Illuminator, $34

'Sway' is my favorite lipstick and blush, especially in summer when everyone is going bronze.