Probably the easiest solution. Mix together products to make things bearable or even enjoyable. I've had to do this with pretty much every foundation I have tried out so far since my skin is fickle and my expectations are varying. How hard is it to make a base that isn't full coverage, looks like skin, lasts long, and controls oil? I'm asking for the impossible it seems. I've already gone over my mixology philosophy with the too thick/matte Lancome Teint Idole and Becca Moonstone Skin Perfecter. My recent concoction is using a combo of YSL Teint Resist with Avene Thermal Water.
I recently rambled about how baffled I am by the hype Avene gets for their cult product as it sprays poorly and unpleasantly in my face. But sprayed on a brush that has no feelings on pathetic water dribbles? Magic. I have been using this can up steadily with increased worry that I've become a water in a can convert. I rather enjoy YSL Teint Resist but had problems with how much to use. Two pumps wasn't enough, three was too much. The pump doesn't give much control on doing halfsies. But two pumps plus a damp Real Techniques Buffing brush? Ahhh yes we have a winner.
Pretty much a subsection of combining. I do this a lot with blushes, not only to make things work but because mixing colors and textures can be fun. I like the Milani baked blushes but lament over how frosty some shades are. I avoid frosty products at all costs because it emphasizes the texture of my scarred skin. Milani Dolce Pink is such a pretty color but it is frost city. I actually placed this in my Box of Neglect and my sister took it out because she likes it so much. That made me rethink of ways to use it. Why not layer over a matte blush?
When layered the color combo becomes satiny. I don't exclusively use these colors together, I just used them together as an example. I tend to mix Dolce Pink with any other matte shades in the same pink color family. It is like using a colored highlighter.
This section you have to be a little creative. I mentioned this Garnier Radiance Renewer Gelee Cleanser before and my first impression was positive. But now I am a little unsure. I think it was the culprit of some breakouts I was previously having. I stopped using it out of paranoia but was sad about it. It smells refreshing, it cleans well, and it is dirt cheap. How else could I use it up? I have been using it in place of shaving cream and it works just fine that way. I just pump out the product, lather it up and spread all over the skin. It forms a nice cushion that prevents me from getting any nicks or razor burn.
My number one tip for using up products and getting the most out of your already spent money is sticking to a routine but my second piece of advice would be to really rethink of different ways you can use them up. Combine, layer, reuse in a new way...try it all! You'd be surprised at what products you end up enjoying after tweaking it a little. But of course, admitting defeat is perfectly fine too. I for one have no idea what else I can do with the oil inducing Murad T-Zone Pore Refining Gel or the icky skin clogging Avene Soothing Moisture Mask. And if you are in the early stages of trying a product out and can't stand it, return it! No need to torture yourself using something you abhor.
Do you try to make things work or do you return/give away/toss/neglect items? I am curious to heard your philosophy and take on it...