Make your own play makeup kits using old eye shadow containers and nail polish

Kai’s ingenious solution for indulging her little girl’s makeup fascination:

My daughter is getting into the “I’m a big girl/princess” phase. My parents didn’t allow me to wear makeup until I was a teenager. When I finally applied makeup, I had no clue how to do it, had to learn everything from Seventeen magazine, and felt totally awkward. So I’d like her to be comfortable with it… but while I don’t think playing with makeup is a BAD thing, I also think she’s too young to be experimenting a lot with real makeup.

Enter my makeup containers! I had a few eyeshadow palettes lying around that were either too old or of a brand to which I’ve developed an allergy. I scooped out all of the remaining shadow and washed them. Then I spent about $3 on some funky Wet and Wild nail polish colors and poured the polish into the palettes (note, keep an eye out for the little mixing beads or they’ll fall in!). After a full day of drying, they were completely set. I added a couple of super-cheap ELF makeup brushes I had in my cabinet and my girl had her own little pretend makeup set in fun colors! She loves sitting in front of a mirror to put them on, but she also loves to “do Mommy’s makeup.” And I don’t have to worry about glitter or lip gloss all over the walls.

SMART. So smart.

Related: Paint swimsuits on naked dress-up dolls (heh!)


  1. Tasha says

    Great idea, I would like to mention that nail polish contains all kinds of toxic junk in it and is probably not something you would want your kids playing with or breathing in. Check out EWG’s Skin Deep for info on nail polish. As an alternative may I suggest some non-toxic water based no VOC paints with loose glitter mixed in?

  2. says

    my parents were the same re makeup, BUT when my mother decided i was old enough she took me merle norman.

    they have a great set up for teaching kids about make up AND you get to come home with picture showing color placement, making it EASY to replicate at home.

    you might want to keep that in mind for later.

  3. Skye says

    That’s *brilliant*. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to wash everything in my daughter’s room b/c it was covered in glittery junk her grandmother got her to satisfy her addiction to make-up. I’m gonna try this as soon as I have a few dollars to spare.

    Also, I think most of the chemicals in nail polish that are potentially dangerous are volatile, and thus would evaporate out during the drying process…otherwise you could make yourself sick by licking your fingers, right? In any case I’d much rather train my girls to not eat make-up by them licking a stick that’s been touching dry nail polish than eating the goo grandma gets them…

  4. Gavin says

    Sounds a great idea.

    Unfortunately my 4 year old wouldnt want the pretens tuff – now she has experienced the REAL world of make-up!

    I chaperoned her dance class at a show a few weeks ago – 24 x 4 year olds all putting their own eye-shadow and lipstick . . . hilarious!

  5. says

    Love this idea!! I looked *everywhere* for “fake” makeup this past Christmas, and will definitely be whipping up a couple of these for our 4 YO daughter. Thanks for sharing!!

  6. Momof2 says

    I think in theory it is a great idea to ensure that your own make up is intact and you can use it. However, knowing what is IN the makeup makes me question why would anyone want to expose their children to all the chemicals at such an early age. So, go to and find out what is in your personal care items and makeup and what you are applying on your skin and your child’s. At least if a young girl is wearing makeup it should be safe. There you’ll be able to find healthier choices.

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