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Have you ever stuck a bottle of foundation or moisturiser in the fridge, thinking that it would help prolong the product’s shelf life?

Freelance make-up artist John Lee says this does little to help, adding that the cold might cause the formula to thicken and harden.


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The 34-year-old, who has been in the industry for 13 years, says that while manufacturers have to print the expiry dates of skincare and make-up items due to regulations, they generally last longer than the listed dates.

“As long as your skincare and make-up is kept in a room with stable temperature and not under direct sunlight, such as on a dressing table by a window that gets strong afternoon sun, I think it is fine,” he says.


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Still, if your foundation separates and your lipsticks start to emit a strong chemical smell, throw them out.

Beauty products which come into frequent contact with fingertips and lips, such as eyeshadow and lipsticks, tend to spoil faster due to the sweat, oil and moisture on the skin.

The moisture from one’s hands, when in contact with powder eyeshadow, can cause the top layer of the powder to harden over time if not used for a while and this makes it hard to pick up the product with a brush.

To fix this, scrape off the hardened layer and the eyeshadow will be good to use again.

Try to apply eyeshadow with a brush instead.



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Here are other ways to prevent your make-up from spoiling faster than it should:

•Avoid the mistake of pumping the mascara wand in and out of the tube in an attempt to get more mascara on the brush, as it introduces air into the formula and will cause it to dry out faster. Instead, swirl the brush around in the tube to get as much product on it before pulling it out.

•To prevent gel-eyeliner pots from drying out too soon, Mr Lee shares a trick: If repeatedly capping and uncapping gel-eyeliner pots while applying eyeliner is troublesome, simply turn the opened pot upside down onto a table so that the product is not exposed to air. Turn it the right way up when you need to dip your brush in again. Cap it only when you are done applying your eyeliner.

Make sure your beauty tools are in tip-top condition. Aside from hygiene concerns, clean make-up brushes can pick up more product and make for better application, says Mr Lee.


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Brushes that come in contact with oil- or cream-based products such as foundation should be washed once a week. If not, wash the brushes once a month.

“But as a make-up artist, I wash my brushes and tools after every job for the sake of my clients,” says Mr Lee.

Beauty blenders, though, should be washed after each use as they absorb a lot of the product and bacteria can grow in them.


Mr Lee advises getting two beauty blenders as it takes two days for one to dry properly.


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Here is a step-by-step guide on how to properly wash your make- up brushes:

1. Put a five-cent-coin-sized drop of shampoo, facial wash or make-up brush cleanser on your palm and gently swirl a wet make-up brush in a circular direction to work up a lather.

2. Rinse the brush with water until there is no more residue left. Residue can seep into the base of the brush and loosen the glue that holds the hairs together, causing them to fall out. Repeat steps one and two if the brush is very dirty.

3. Gently squeeze out excess water and lay the brush on its side to dry, preferably with the brush head hanging over a counter so that the brush will not lose its shape.

Do not use a hair dryer to dry it as it might cause the hairs to go out of shape permanently and damage the brush.

“Once the brush is out of shape, it will not be useful anymore,” says Mr Lee.


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This story was first published in The Straits Times.