Living In Hong Kong Newsletter Style & Beauty

HK humidity is coming, is it time to throw away your old make-up?

There’s no denying that hot sticky weather is just around the corner! Are you prepared? How do you know it’s time to send your beloved blush or mascara to the beauty graveyard? Here’s make-up artist Kelly Bilimoria’s handy guide.
With the exception of powder formulas, cream and liquid foundations are a haven for bacteria. Unopened, foundation can last for a couple of years, but once the seal is broken it is best to replace it every six months, especially in Hong Kong’s humidity. Keep foundations in a cooler place, if possible, and away from direct sunlight. A change in colour or a suspect smell indicates it’s time for it to go.

Concealers in powder or stick-form can last for up to two years, while liquids should be tossed after one. The best way to tell if a product is on the way out is if it starts looking discoloured. Remember, you want your concealer to hide blemishes, not to cause irritation.

Face Powder
Powders are among the longest-lasting beauty products. They can last for up to two years. However, some powders do contain small amounts of water from botanical extracts. Ingredients such as oat extract, chamomile, aloe, bamboo and green-tea extracts can expire quicker if kept in warm areas such as your bathroom cabinet.

When was the last time you cleaned your brushes?
When was the last time you cleaned your brushes?

Cream blush should be replaced after a year. A dull grey film or a white, chalky layer on top of your cream blush signals the end. This is generally a result of skin oil being transferred to the product; to prevent this from happening, wait a couple of minutes after applying foundation before putting on blush. Powder blushes, like face powders, can last for up to two years.

Eye Shadow
Even though eye shadows are similar in formulation to other powders, there’s a high risk of transferring bacteria from your eyes to the product and then back to the eyes. This is especially true for cream based shadows. If you use your fingers to apply it, wash your hands before doing so, and look out for any changes in colour or off-putting smells.

Whether liquid or pencil, these eye enhancers should be replaced every three months. They can pick up bacteria and contaminate the eye, leading to redness, itchiness, sties or conjunctivitis. Stop using the product immediately if you notice any of these signs.

Since the mascara wand is constantly taken out, applied and put back in the tube, it can easily collect bacteria along the way. Mascara is the one product you should be most vigilant about! Switch mascara every two to three months to be safe, and throw it out if you develop any irritation.

Lipstick and Lip Gloss
Lipsticks and glosses contain oily ingredients that start to smell like stale cooking oil over time and change in texture when heading to expiration. Lipsticks will also lose their slip and become hard to spread, while lip-glosses tend to get streaky when you apply them. Replace your lip products after a year as they are repeatedly exposed to your mouth area and can pick up bacteria from your lips.

Nail Polish
When your nail polish starts to dry out or become thick and clumpy, or if the pigments settle along the bottom of the bottle, give it a shake. If it remains separated, it’s finished.

If cleaned and stored properly, good brushes can last for years. Once the bristles start to fray or fall out, though, it’s time for a new set. Wiping them after every use and giving them a thorough cleaning every two weeks with a brush shampoo is essential. The best way to store them is propped upright in a glass, where they can air. Cheap makeup sponges should be replaced after two uses – one use per side! High-quality ones, like the Beauty Blender, should be cleaned regularly to prevent bacteria from building up.


This article first appeared in the January issue of LIV magazine. For more beauty and makeup tips take a peak at our Body and Style page.