Baby powder to lengthen your eyelashes and other beauty hacks

Items in the kitchen or medicine cabinet, such as silicone pads, eggs, baby powder and haemorrhoid cream can be used as skincare and make-up alternatives.
Items in the kitchen or medicine cabinet, such as silicone pads, eggs, baby powder and haemorrhoid cream can be used as skincare and make-up alternatives.PHOTOS: GUARDIAN HEALTH & BEAUTY, TNP FILE, TRIUMPH, WATSONS

Here are seven skincare and make-up alternatives you can find at home or in pharmacies

Skincare and make-up products by known brands can be a strain on the wallet.

However, if you look in the kitchen or medicine cabinet, or at the shelves of pharmacies, you may find more wallet-friendly alternatives that may be equally effective.

Not all beauty hacks are safe, though. Case in point: natural lipplumping techniques using kitchen ingredients such as cinnamon and wasabi have been discouraged by several beauty bloggers due to their possible detrimental effects.

The Straits Times gets skincare and beauty experts to weigh in on these alternative products and treatments.

1 SILICONE BRA PAD OR CONDOM-COVERED SPONGE FOR APPLYING FOUNDATION

This trend has swept the Internet since the introduction of Silisponge, made by Hong Kong-based brand Molly Cosmetics, in November.

As the sponge is made of silicone on the inside and thermoplastic polyurethane (plastic that is resistant to grease and oil) on the outside, it does not absorb products such as foundation or concealer, unlike normal make-up sponges.

Silisponge quickly sold out, leaving beauty fanatics looking for other options. Alternatives - in the form of silicone bra pads or inserts and the use of condoms to cover regular make-up sponges - have surfaced. Like Silisponge, they also do not absorb products, which allows for smooth foundation application.

Wedding make-up artist Valerie Tang Yong, 32, says: "As long as there are no harmful chemicals, there is no harm in using these products on the skin. Just make sure they're clean before use."

2 MANE 'N TAIL SHAMPOO AND CONDITIONER

Created on a horse farm in rural New Jersey by the Katzev family, the original Mane 'n Tail shampoo and conditioner were used on show horses to keep their coats healthy and shiny.

The formula soon became popular among equestrian aficionados, who discovered its benefits after using it on themselves.

The products that were first formulated for horses have high-lathering and ultra-cleansing agents filled with moisturisers and emollients, leaving hair silky soft and clean.

In Singapore, Guardian Health & Beauty has been carrying Mane 'n Tail products ($15.90 each for shampoo and conditioner) for the past three years and demand has been steady. A spokesman says it is among the top 15 brands of haircare products out of 120 sold at Guardian.

Lifestyle blogger and student Cassandra Tan, 22, uses Mane 'n Tail's Herbal Gro shampoo and conditioner daily.

"Not only do they make my hair smooth and free of icky split ends, but they make my tresses smell really good too," she says.

3 EGG WHITES FOR BLACKHEADS

People often use pore strips to get rid of blackheads, dark spots speckled around the T-zone.

"Blackheads are caused by the build-up of dead skin cells in clogged pores, over a background of oily skin," explains Dr Neoh Ching Yin from Specialist Skin Clinic.

Fans of home beauty remedies would recommend the use of egg white and tissue paper as an alternative to pore strips.

Egg white is naturally rich in protein and minerals, which help tighten pores and tone skin.

How to do it:

1. Whip up egg white from an egg until it is frothy.

2. Use a brush or your fingers to apply the egg white on the area with blackheads.

3. Place a piece of tissue on the spot and apply another layer of egg white over the tissue.

4. Wait for it to dry, then remove the strip by pulling it slowly away from your skin.

While the method may work, Dr Neoh cautions that it may irritate sensitive skin and potentially cause more acne or general irritation, so avoid regular use.

4 NIVEA'S REPLENISHING POST SHAVE BALM AS A FACE PRIMER 

Who knew that men's aftershave cream could be used as primer for the face?

Primer can be expensive, but many beauty gurus consider it an important make-up step because it makes application smoother and foundation longer lasting.

The active ingredient in primers is glycerin, which makes foundation slightly tacky. This prevents it from streaking.

Glycerin is also present in German skincare brand Nivea's replenishing post shave balm ($9.05), which is why it is touted to work well as a face primer.

Make-up artist Yovita Pratiwi, 20, attests to this method, saying it helps her make-up stay on all day, even with her oily T-zone.

"My pores become less visible, my skin feels soft and the product is very cheap."

However, fellow make-up artist Valerie Tang Yong notes that everyone has different skin types and sensitivity.

"You should make sure the aftershave balm is suitable for your skin and does not cause breakouts, especially when this is formulated for men's skin."

5 HAEMORRHOID CREAM FOR PUFFY EYES

The cream, formulated to alleviate haemorrhoid symptoms, sometimes contains ingredients that constrict blood vessels. So when it is applied on eye bags or under the eyes, it reduces swelling.

It has purportedly been used by models and celebrities, such as American actress Sandra Bullock, to tighten the skin under the eyes and diminish wrinkles.

Dermatologist Neoh Ching Yin from Specialist Skin Clinic says it is only a temporary solution at best.

"These creams may also contain topical anaesthetics or other ingredients that can potentially irritate the sensitive areas around the eyes," she warns.

Haemorrhoid cream is effective only as a quick fix, she adds, so avoid using it for puffy eyes regularly.

If your eyes are persistently puffy, it "may be a sign of hypersensitivity or allergy", so you should get them checked out by a doctor, she notes.

6 BABY POWDER TO LENGTHEN AND VOLUMISE EYELASHES

Many women have sought ways to get long, fluttery lashes without the help of falsies.

Fibre mascara, which is filled with tiny rayon or silk filaments that adhere to lashes for added length, has been a popular option. Not only do the fibres add length, but they also fill out the lashes, resulting in a fuller look.

But it can be expensive. A cheaper option is baby powder. Baby powder adheres to the lashes after a coat of mascara is applied. The next coat would produce the illusion of thicker, more voluminous lashes.

How to do it:

1. Apply a coat of mascara onto the eyelashes.

2. Dip a cotton bud into some baby powder and gently brush onto lashes.

3. Apply another coat of mascara.

Make-up artist Valerie Tang Yong advises users to be careful not to get baby powder in the eyes.

When adding mascara after the baby powder, she says it may be better to use a disposable mascara wand.

"Baby powder can get onto your mascara wand and into the mascara during application, making it dry up faster."

7 CONTACT LENS SOLUTION REVIVES DRIED MASCARA

Mascara dries when air enters the tube, which happens when you pump the mascara wand before use. Dried mascara can be a bummer, especially when good-quality mascara does not come cheap.

Contact lens solution can help revive dried mascara.

How to do it:

1. Add two to three drops of contact lens solution into the mascara tube.

2. Close the lid tightly and shake.

3. If the results are not obvious, place the tube in a mug of hot water for three to five minutes.

Freelance make-up artist Yovita Pratiwi gives this method a nod of approval, but points out: "Don't forget to buy a new tube of mascara if it has been opened for six months."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 13, 2017, with the headline 'Unusual beauty products'. Print Edition | Subscribe