Reactions & Repurposing (Skincare) 

Here’s the scenario: You bought a new moisturiser, you took it home, you applied it five days in a row and your skin is becoming increasingly blah. Maybe it’s not a huge allergic reaction, there’s no reason to try and return it to the store, but something just isn’t right. So, what do you do? You could ask a friend or family member if they want to try it. What if they don’t? For me, when this happens I try to think about another way to put it to use.

Disclaimer: Right off the bat let me say that this approach isn’t always a good idea, it’s a case by case scenario. I recommend putting a lot of thought and some research into what you use and how.

When a product is causing issues, there’s a checklist I’d suggest going through:

  1. Think of the factors at play. Are you using too much? Are you using too many actives at once? Make sure you’re taking a gentle approach and be sure to read the instructions.
  2. Is your skin having an allergic reaction, is it purging or is it just not quite right for you? There are many different types of allergic reactions and here’s what to watch out for: Redness, swelling, little bumps, a rash, scaly patches, welts. If it’s contact dermatitis it can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days for the reaction to occur. Purging occurs when the skin is exposed to a new product and it’s adjusting. Sometimes cell turnover increases, which means some nasty stuff can surface but once that’s done the skin improves. To tell the difference, I recommend this article on the Lab Muffin blog, it’s concise, informative and a must read!
  3. Once you’ve decided what’s happening you can take action. Purging? Forge ahead. Allergic reaction? Return it, or toss it etc. But there is a third possible direction, and that’s repurposing.

Example: I bought some QV cleanser in an emergency. because I wanted something gentle and fragrance free. After several uses my skin seemed a bit congested and I decided it’s just too rich for me. Because of the ingredients that aim to soothe, I had an idea: Use it for shaving! It leaves my skin smooth and soft, and I haven’t wasted my money.

Here are the most common ways products can be given another life:

  • A face oil that’s too rich for you skin type? Try using it on the body instead, where the skin is often less prone to breaking out.
  • Eye cream feels a little greasy? The skin of your decollate (throat, chest area) is on the delicate side, a little thinner, so eye cream can work quite nicely there!
  • Brightening toner too drying? Try putting it on your forearms and the backs of your arms at night, while being sure to wear a strong SPF throughout the day. This part of the body is exposed to the sun a lot and hands age quickly, so I love to swipe a little acid toner on there.

Now here’s some general rules to follow:

  • Face stuff can often go on the body, but body stuff shouldn’t go on the face.
  • Eyes are sensitive, always be careful of them and follow manufacturer’s suggestions.
  • If anything gives you a painful reaction (not talking tingling here) then stop use immediately, cleanse with pure water, and don’t try to repurpose.


I am available for reviews, collaborations and commissions! Details for PR are here, and for commissions, here!
Find me on Instagram @vivienne_austen

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