Freecycle Friday – Faux Makeup For Your Kiddos

We decided a long time ago that we don’t want our kids to get used to wearing real makeup too young, but the only “play” makeup I can ever find in the toy section is all REAL!!
So, I always save my empty makeup containers for my girls to play with, but I have always kept an eye out for “play” makeup like I used to have as a kid. But, I still haven’t found any (only the occasional fake lipstick and such).


Here we are……making our own.
And all you need is nail polish!!

It’s ssooooooo easy AND it looks totally REAL, so your kiddos will LOVE it! (My hubby even saw it sitting on the counter and didn’t realize it was fake :)

Just wash out your old makeup containers with soap and water, and let them dry thoroughly.
Then, (once you’ve gotten some cheap Dollar Store nail polish, or use some that you don’t use as much anymore), just slowly pour it into your containers where the makeup used to be.

I say slowly because you don’t want to accidentally pour out the little mixing beads that are inside. Also, before pouring shake the polish well, but then let it sit for a minute so the air bubbles can rise and pop and not mess up your “makeup.”

You can use as much as you want, but as the polish dries, it shrinks, so it will actually look like about half of what you pour in. I used the whole bottle for the “foundation powder” and around a quarter of the large pink bottle for the “blush” and less than an eighth of a bottle for each “eyeshadow.” (but, the eyeshadow in the pic is wet, so it will look like less once it dries)

It takes a full 24 hours for the polish to dry, but I waited another few days since it was still pretty stinky (didn’t want the kiddos getting high off it), and to make sure it was thoroughly set.

Once I used up the bottle for the “foundation,” I thought it would be cool to have play nail polish too! So, I cleaned the brush off with nail polish remover and around the inside of the cap, then I just let the tiny bit that was left over dry inside the bottle for a few days too. We do let our kiddos have painted nails, but they are not allowed to play with the actual bottles of nail polish, so….now they can :)

The best part of these are the cool brushes to use with it!!!

Don’t forget to let it dry in a well ventilated area, away from bugs that might get stuck in it. Also, this is probably a craft to do without your kids since, (a) there are lots of fumes & (b) they can’t really help much and they can’t even play with it for 3 whole days!!!

Well, hope you have fun making your own, I know your kids will LOVE it!

Update: Hop on over to Reinvented to check out her “Trash to Treasure Tuesday” I linked up with this post :)
About Emily Mcdonald

Emily McDonald is the owner of Not So Idle Hands and lives in Colorado with her hot hubby and 3 cute daughters. When she's not battling ADHD, Fibro, or Migraines she loves to be downstairs playing with all her pretty crafty things making fun stuff. She also runs an awesome Etsy Shop by the same name where she gets to sell shiny supplies to make pretty stuff {check it out!}.


  1. That is brilliant! I know what you mean about the “fake” makeup. It’s just as messy, if not worse, than real makeup. I think I might have to give this a try. DD would love these.

  2. This is such a great idea. It looks so real. My girls would really love this.

  3. What an awesome idea!!! My little grandaughter is going to love it! Thanks for sharing your creativity with all of us in blogland!

  4. that is a fabulous idea!!!!

  5. Awesome!

  6. Wow…what a unique idea!
    sandy toe

  7. Amazing! I absolutely love it!

  8. So Clever!!!

  9. Great idea! My daughter recently got into the REAL nail polish….she was standing in front of my looking REALLY guilty and then I looked down and there was fuschia polish covering her feet and toes. She though it was SO pretty ;)

  10. I LOVE this idea!!!

  11. Oh this has to be the cutest Idea EVER!!!! I am in love!!!

    Thanks for adding your blog to the blog roll over at Blue Cricket!!! We should blog swap on a freaky friday. Email me if you’d be interested!

  12. Brilliant

  13. I am totally featuring this!! What an AMAZING idea!

  14. Such a great idea!

  15. This is absolute Genious! Now, if only I had a daughter… someday?

  16. I’m so excited about this!!!!

  17. This is wonderful! I wish I had empty make-up containers on hand right now so I could make some for my niece’s birthday today. She’s turning 3 and would absolutely love it! Thanks for the fun tutorial! :)

  18. What an awesome idea. My 2 1/2 yr old will love this. I think I might save them to stuff her stocking at Christmas though. Thanks!!

  19. What a fabulous idea!! I am going to make some of these for my nieces. They’ll LOVE it!

  20. Great idea!! My girl is still too yuang… but I hope I’ll remember…

  21. This is such an amazing idea. Found it via UCreate. I’ll post about it on Dollar Store Crafts next week!

  22. Wow, that is so smart! Would be great for party favors at a little girls birthday party too. I’ll have to remember that.

  23. What an adorable idea!! I just added you to my favorites list! Great blog!

  24. i love this and would have thought this was the greatest thing ever when i was a little girl!

  25. Wow, I can’t believe how realistic that looks! Fabulous idea, just wish you’d thought of it while MY girls were little! ;)

  26. This is a super cute idea! I might have to make some little purses and fill them with fake make up for Christmas gifts.

  27. This is fantastic!! I love it so much. Now i just need a girl. ;)

  28. wow I would have NEVER thought to do that HOW cool I love it!

  29. OOO! That is SOOO great! I will be on my way to the Dollar store tomorrow for some nail polish! THANKS!

  30. thank you so much for this! my oldest (4) begs for lipstick. i give her chapstick. and she’s perfectly fooled – er – happy with it.

    i can’t wait to try this out!

  31. Just dropping in from Trash to Treasure Tuesday. I love this idea. I’m going to make some faux makeup for my nieces. Thanks for sharing!

  32. Quite possibly the most brilliant little girl idea I have seen in forever. LOOOOVE it!!! Can’t wait to try it. My girlies will freak out!

  33. What a clever idea…I love it!

  34. you are incredible! this is so simple but i never would have thought of it! my daughter is going to love this. thanks for the great idea!!

  35. This looks so professional and perfect!

  36. Thank you thank you thank you. I too have been looking all over for “fake” makeup. You just can’t get it anymore. You are AWESOME for coming up with this. My kids are getting this in their stockings this Christmas.

  37. Ok so I posted your link on my facebook & there is a whole hord of us making this stuff, lol. I made my daughter a makeup box out of an old wipe container that I decoupaged pink paper & her name on. For her “makeup” I am using painter’s tape to tape of the clear plastic thing on top & popping out the metal tins & spray painting the bottoms of all of her pink & then gluing the tins back in & filling them. Then I am going to decoupage an A on all her her’s so she can start to recognize her A for her name. I LOVE THIS IDEA!!!!

  38. I wish my daughter was still young enough to play with this…it sounds like such fun! great tutorial!

  39. Ha ha, no getting the kids high would be a bad thing.

    Great idea!

  40. This is absolutely faboulous and looks so easy! Thank you SOOO much!

  41. You are the BEST! I’ve been SO frustrated trying to find fake makeup for my 3 year old.

    Thanks a ton!

  42. This has to be the most awesome idea I’ve ever seen! Thanks!

  43. GREAT idea!! I can’t wait to try this for my niece, she is going to love it!

  44. i have no babies but as soon as i have a little girl, she will have this waiting for her. most likely long before she is even interested in real or fake make-up.

    thanks for the creative idea.

    happy blogging-

  45. I love this! Now I just have to hit my mom up for some old makeup and nailpolish, since I don’t have any myself!

  46. so cool, I’ve bookmarked this for when I have kids. Thanks. Mx

  47. crazy smart! i’m definitely trying this!

  48. Do you think Sarina will get mad if I replace this with her “play” make-up? (which BTW is very real, very bright, & very messy!…thx to sweet gramma :)

  49. Great idea. I have a house full of girls. This will be perfect!

  50. LOVE this!!! I was actually searching for a solution today after my 2-year-old daughter got into my make-up again! She sure looked beautiful with a mascara uni-brow, clown lip lipstick, and highlighting powder covering her whole face! So, thanx for the idea! I’m making some tomorrow!

  51. I made this and it’s a huge hit, so I blogged about it here!

  52. Thank you SO much for posting this!! I had been scouring the stores for the fake make-up too and been so disappointed to only find the non-fake stuff being marketed to little girls. I plan to make this up for my little girl’s birthday and pair it with some cosmetic brushes stored in a pencil cozy. She’s going to have a BALL. thanks again!

  53. awesome, awesome, awesome!

  54. Made it and love it. No more washing my “borrowed makeup” off faces before leaving for church.

  55. Anonymous says:

    BRILLIANT!!! my 2 yr old was pretending my pedometer was a comact, you saved me alot of aggrivation of searching for the fake makeup! thanks!

  56. OOOOOOO!!! BRILLIANT!!!!…The Exact thing I said when I saw this post. I have spent 2 days combing the net for play makeup for my 2 1/2 yr old. THANK YOU for this FABULOUS IDEA!

  57. THANK YOU SO MUCH!!! I’m so frustrated finding cheap “fake” not so fake makeup for my 3 year old who wanted “makeup” from Santa this year. We got her the Princess vanity, but this will give me the stocking stuffers to go with it. THANK YOU THANK YOU!

  58. So cute!! i did the same thing for my girls but I used acrylic craft paint instead of the nail polish. It eventually flakes off so I think I’ll try your nail polish technique on our next batch. I also gave my girls (ages almost 3 and 6.5) a set of silver plate make up brushes I’ll never use and an old make up bag to keep it all in…very popular indeed!

    pink and green mama

  59. So cute! Just made a bunch of play makeup along with cute little purses to hold it. Great, easy birthday gift! Now maybe my daughter will leave my makeup alone!


  60. What a cute idea! I dont have any kiddies yet but when I do I hope I can remember this idea. :-)

  61. What a brilliant idea! My girls love playing with pretend makeup.. but as you have found, all of the “play” makeup is now actually real! I am going to try this!

  62. This is so clever. I have been trying to find some pretend makeup and all I find is the real deal. I’ll be doing this for sure for our 2 year old who can’t keep her hands off of mine!

  63. I can’t wait to make this for my granddaughter! It is brilliant!

  64. I put this away for future reference and my daughter just told me that her 2 year old daughter loves to sit beside her and grab the brushes after my daughter is done putting on her makeup. I don’t have any containers but I’m sure I can find the polish and containers at the dollar store tomorrow.
    robin – feel free to check out my giveaways!

  65. This is one of the most brilliant things I’ve ever seen! I’ve been looking for a pretend play makeup set for my two and a half year old because she is interested in doing things that I do but they are expensive and cheaply made. This is PERFECT!!! I thank you for posting it!

  66. This is perfect! I have been searching high and low for a ‘pretend’ makeup set for my little 2 year old (she already wants to put makeup on like mommy in the morning – oh dear….!). Definately putting this together for her for Easter! Thanks!

  67. I cannot wait to try out this super creative idea for my neices; this is perfect! Thank you!

  68. WOW! This is great! I was just looking for REAL play makeup for my 2 yr old also…and found this blog. Thank you so much!

  69. Thanks so much – I have spent ages walking the stores to find a pretend makeup set in Sydney, Australia. Your idea is just fantastic – I’m going out tomorrow to buy some cheap makeup and nail polish and make them ready for wrapping up for her party on the weekend!

  70. Brilliant! Looks just like the real thing!

  71. I just made these and they turned out so cute! My little girl will love it for Christmas. Thanks for your neat idea. I am going to post this on my blog. Hope you don’t mind if I do a shout out for you:>

  72. You’re totally awesome. I just did this a few days ago and it’s all done and non smelly now. Do you know of a way to make fake lipstick or gloss? My daughter would love that.

  73. This is AWESOME. I have been looking EVERYWHERE for FAKE makeup, but its all real. Its was driving me crazy. This is the perfect idea! Thanks!

  74. thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!! My 3-year-old wants makeup for Christmas and I didn’t want to buy her anything that was real and would make a mess and make her look like a clown. This will be so perfect!

  75. Brilliant! I can’t wait to try this out – my girls will love it – TFS!

  76. I LOVE this so much I had to make my own!

    You can see a pic of it here,

  77. THE most excellent idea ever. I too have had zero luck in finding pretend makeup. Plus it gives me an excuse to chuck my crusty old makeup and get some nice new stuff for myself!

  78. Super cute! I have this scheduled to post on for a Super Savy Saturday post. Check it out!

  79. What a wonderful idea. I have a 3 year old granddaughter who loves the play make-up. Me, not so much. She loves to play dress-up and to put make up on herself and me and others. I will have to make her some of these and a cosmetic bag to hold it all. Brilliant!!!

  80. what a truly sweet and brilliant idea! I think my daughter is too old for pretend makeup.. but I have a few younger nieces who would LOVE this! I am totally going to do this now! :) Thanks for such a great idea!!

  81. This is such a great idea! I remember having pretend makeup that was plastic, this even better than those! I was so excited I went and found old nearly empty makeup that I didn’t use and made some for my nieces for Christmas! They are drying now. Thanks so much! Perfect gift idea!

  82. Can’t wait to try this!!! My little ones will LOVE it! Thanks for the great ideas!!

  83. So glad I came across this on Pinterest. I made one for my daughter and she loves it, I can’t wait to make more – and great idea to have pretend nail polish too, she is in mine *all* the time but now she can pretend :)

  84. Love, love, love. You just solved so many of my problems being the mother of two girly girls who would love nothing more to get their hands on my makeup. Stocking stuffers for sure! Thank you!

  85. What an awesome idea!

  86. I, too, found this on Pintrest, and am the mother of 3 girly girls, and can NOT, for the life of me, find a single piece of PRETEND makeup. I love you. Thank you for sharing this with the world. Thank you for being a genius. You should market this shit, and become a millionaire. I’ve rallied all my friends to go through all their makeup and nail polishes and I’ll be making all of our daughters their very own makeup, FOR FREE!!!! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!!!

  87. Just wondering if the ‘makeup’ chunks out or comes out of the container? Love the idea and want to try it out!

  88. Kelly- Nope! It’s stuck in there forever!! Have fun!

  89. Wait, is dried nail polish safe to use a play makeup? Is it eye safe or irritating to the facial skin?

  90. So Cute

  91. This is amazing! I don’t have any little ones in my life, but will have to keep this idea at the back of my head.. or use it as a toy for babysitting! I love the idea though, so simple.

    A quick tip on the nail polish (also useful for yourself, when you use the nail polish to paint nails): instead of shaking the bottle, roll the bottle in between your hands to warm the bottle and mix the polish without getting air bubbles in it.

  92. This is EXACTLY what I’ve been looking for! Brilliant. Thanks for the great idea!

  93. How cute is that!! Will try this out for sure! Thanks for sharing :0)

  94. The skin on your face is much more sensitive than the skin on the rest of your body. Facial scrubs and lotions are made specifically for that reason. I wouldn’t encourage putting dried out nail polish on your child’s face. It’s a creative idea, but probably not very safe.

  95. Hey there! Just wanted to let you know we featured you in our Favorite Find Fridays post over at Whimsically Homemade. We used one of your pictures. If that’s a problem let us know and we’ll remove it immediately. Thanks for your great inspiration!

  96. Just wanted to say, I made these for my 1 and 3 year old girls a while back and they LOVE it! They still do each others make up and mine. So cute and easy : )

  97. Hi! I just came across your page via pinterest yesterday and LOVE this faux make up idea. I just finished making a couple different compacts to put in my 4 year old daughter’s Christmas stocking this year. She is going to be so excited! Thanks so much for sharing your genius idea!!

  98. I was wondering if actual color came out of this if you rub to hard, or is it the consistency of plastic?

  99. Just made some for my 6-yr old. Brilliant! I have the same problem of looking for play makeup and only finding “play” makeup that’s real. No thanks! This solution is perfect–thanks so much!

  100. I love, love this idea! Now a days, you cant find pretend makeup anymore, it is all REAL makeup!! I would love for you to post this on my linky party, my readers will also just LOVE this idea.

  101. This is perfect for my little princess! <3

  102. This….is a GENIUS idea!!!! If Adam and I ever have kids, he for sure wouldn’t want them using real make up either!


  103. They do sell kid-friendly, non-toxic nail polish. If you’re going to paint your child’s nails, I highly recommend it because those fingers end up in their mouths at some point no matter how old they are. It also has less (if not none) of the toxic fumes. So using them to make play makeup might also be more ideal.

  104. I love this! I just started a crafting blog, I make miniatures, and you inspire me! I might try and make these in miniature… for my little cousins doll. Thanks! You’re amazing!


  1. […] less, I was committed to upcycling this thing and by Prince George I was going to. So I followed the idiot proof instructions and dug out all the lovely pigment. Then poured in some nail varnish that is older than the […]

  2. […] wear it, when you can fake it!  Let your little girls put make up on the same time as you in these fauz makeup sets.  Just fill old makeup containers with nail polish, give your kids a brush and they have fun, join […]

  3. […] wear it, when you can fake it!  Let your little girls put make up on the same time as you in these fauz makeup sets.  Just fill old makeup containers with nail polish, give your kids a brush and they have fun, join […]

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