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Here’s how to recycle what you cannot return.
Here’s how to recycle what you cannot return. / David Baratz/USA WEEKEND

We love the convenience of online shopping for beauty and skin care, but mistakes can happen when we try something new.

Return policies have become generous, but what about all the stuff sitting around untouched since August? Or the not-quite-right gifts that will come at Christmas? Here’s how to recycle them:

Shampoo duds and conditioner clunkers.

Use leftover shampoo to hand-launder bras, shapewear and cashmere sweaters. Use any conditioner as a shaving cream. The same moisturizing ingredients prep body hair so shavers glide smoothly.

Body moisturizer blunders.

If a post-shower lotion loses its appeal, use it in-shower for broader areas (like the stomach) that need extra moisture. Try leftover body creams as a leather conditioner, too, for shoes, belts and bags. Remember to color-test first for transference or darkening in a discrete spot.

Fragrance flubs.

Recycle perfume as bath and bed sprays. Mist sheets and pillowcases and spritz cotton balls to stash in lingerie drawers, suitcases, gym bags or out-of-season clothes closets.

Tired nail polish.

When you’ve had enough of a trendy polish, use it to color-code just about anything for quick personal identification. My favorites: keys, luggage handles, hairbrushes, sunglass cases and office supplies.

Eye cream errors.

Designed for the fragile skin under the eye, these creams are usually super-concentrated, so a little goes a long way. Use as spot treatments for lips, nails and cuticles.

Flawed face creams.

Day creams with UV protection make great neck treatments. Heavier night creams hydrate flaky shins and arms. Both work as hair-repair styling creams.

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