Travel Tip Time: You Can Use Your Bronzer, Blush and Highlighter as Improv Eyeshadows

Published in: Makeup Tips/How To


Raise your perfectly manicured paw! — which mine is definitely NOT at the moment because I’m long overdue for a manicure…


Anyways…raise your perfectly manicured paw if you’ll be heading out of town this weekend.

Hello? Bueller?

Well, I’m one of those people. Tabs and has crack team of pet stylists, professional pet sitters and Michelin star-rated gravy preparers will be holding down the fort while I go visit my parents and in-laws, and if history has taught me absolutely anything, it’s that I better finish my packing RIGHT NOW because if I don’t, I’ll end up running late and randomly throwing stuff into a bag, and trust me, this rarely works out the way I want it to, like the time I forgot all of my makeup brushes at home (NO, SERIOUSLY, ALL OF THEM) or the time I packed mismatched shoes…

To prevent this from happening, my plan calls for condensation.

Wait, no — not condensation. Condensing! My plan calls for condensing. I have to condense the contents of my makeup bag.

I mean, I wasn’t going to be bringing everything and the kitchen sink with me anyway because I’m still going through a minimalist makeup phase, and I already have all of my minimalist stuff in my MAC Mia Moretti bag right now.

Here, let me show ya…


I’m also trying to think of things I can do to save time when I do my makeup today and tomorrow, like using products in different ways.

Like bronzer. I wear bronzer almost daily, and did you know that your bronzer can also double as an eyeshadow?

Yeah! To deepen your eyes a little, just swirl your favorite crease brush into your bronzer, and sweep that into your crease.

Same goes for using blush as an eyeshadow. Sometimes I’ll take whatever blush I have with me, and after applying it on my cheeks, I’ll also apply it on my lids. Or, if the blush happens to be a little sparkly, I’ll wet a domed blending brush with MAC Fix+, and then use that on my lids for a more intense contrast with the bronzer in my crease (which is usually a matte for me).

I really like the NARS Dual Intensity Blushes for this (particularly Fervor).


Highlighters can also double as eyeshadows. Using your finger or a pencil brush, dab some into the inner corners of your lids to brighten your eyes a little. You can also use a teeny, tiny bit under your brow bone to give your brows a lift.

I used all of these tricks last Saturday before going to the mall — using a bronzer, blush and highlighter as eyeshadows. It was one of those things where I told El Hub that I’ll be ready in five minutes (although it ended up being closer to 15).

I had to put on my makeup, get dressed, do my hair, moisturize my body (which is no easy feat when you’re 29 weeks pregnant), and I noticed my Mia Moretti makeup bag with all of my products in it. When I saw my bronzer, blush and highlighter in there, I thought, “Huh. I’ll use these as eyeshadows.”

And it totally worked.

It’s kind of like multitasking. It just takes thinking about products in different ways.


For years I filled in my eyebrows with an eyeshadow (MAC Concrete) instead of a brow powder. I still do sometimes. Sometimes I’ll also use Concrete as an eyeliner.

Necessity is the mother of invention, after all. You can do a lot with a few products when you have to.

Merry Christmas and safe travels. 🙂

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



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So far, 12 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Agata says:

    This minimalistic makeup looks really pretty on you. I travelled to Ohio last night in really bad rain to stay with Mike for Christmas. Which worked out well because there is no heat or hot water in my apartment (the water heater blew up and flooded the basement).

    Merry Christmas! Just think about it- next year Baby Girl will be celebrating her first Christmas!
    Agata recently posted … Birthday Perks

  2. India says:

    I always splurge on highlighters because I know I always end up using them as eyeshadows more than actual highlighting purposes! Also, that bronzer trick is something that I did when I was younger and couldn’t find a single dark brown pigmented eyeshadow from the drugstore (and I needed one I could use a ton of), I would buy those huge NYC sunny bronzers in the darkest shade and use that instead! It worked like a dream and the best part is, I never hit pan!
    India recently posted … Review: Benefit’s Creaseless Cream Shadow

  3. Erin says:

    I actually use my bronzer as eyeshadow too. It’s rare I need a warm brown, but when I do, it’s bronzer time.
    Erin recently posted … Fresh Black Tea Overnight Firming Mask

  4. Chelsea says:

    So glowy and pretty! Love highlighters so much.

    Merry Christmas to you, Tabs, baby girl, and el hub!

  5. Allison C says:

    Great tips as always, Karen! You look fabulous. Merry Christmas to you and yours! Have a fun trip!
    Allison C recently posted … How To Make Cranberry Orange Sauce or Jam

  6. jessica says:

    ….errrr… what if one doesn’t really use bronzer, blush, or highlighters??


    Sometimes I use eyeshadow for my brows too, but usually not.
    jessica recently posted … How to Torture Your Child

  7. Rachel R. says:

    Great tips! Palette bronzers are usually too dark and warm for me, so they usually get repurposed into eyeshadow. They work great!

    If I really need to compress, I take Naked Basics. I use it to do my eyeshadow (obviously), and then use Naked 2 for Contour, Venus for highlighter, and Faint on my brows.

  8. Nina says:

    I love this makeup on you. It’s very pregnancy glow-ish 🙂 happy holidays Karen!

  9. Lauren says:

    You look so gorgeous- hahaha non manicured nails! I didn’t even notice! Wanna see mine? I hope you have a very Merry Christmas!

  10. Yep, that’s a great tip! I’ve done this before.
    Kiss & Make-up recently posted … This was 2015 | Top 5 most read blog posts

  11. Aj says:

    I use my NYC Sunny bronzer as my transition shade in my eye looks more than I use it for the face. It’s also the only bronzer I own and I actually use it more as a blush than bronzer. I never really thought about using my more shimmery blushes as an eyeshadow though – Thanks!

  12. Katia Audrey says:

    You look absolutely amazing with this make up! I use my bronzer like that on a daily basis. I even use my mary lou highlighter as an eyeshadow when I want a fresh, minimal, glowing-like-you’ve-had-a-good-night-sleep make up. It always works!

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