Hard to believe we’re already in the last quarter of the year. This year seems to have flown by especially fast, what with the GE drama, post event repercussions and all.

Frankly, apart from the big hoo-ha that was the elections, nothing much has really changed.

Prices have not gone down drastically, be it for food, daily necessities or luxury products.

If before everyone was shopping to cash in on the GST-free months, now some people are complaining that with SST, prices are even higher compared to GST. But realistically speaking, surely it’s not reasonable to expect an overnight drop in the cost of things?

Here’s the thing – people have short memories and have forgotten that SST was/is 10%, compared with GST at 6%. It shouldn’t be that big a surprise as it just means we are reverting to how things were before April 2015.

For beauty products, they appeared to cost more with GST as there were charges for transportation, raw materials, labour and what have you in between.

Now with SST, some products may be more expensive, while some items such as essential oil, for instance, are cheaper as they are exempted from tax.

Essential oils are exempted from tax.

Notwithstanding the fact that there is this other big damper called inflation, and our poor exchange rate hasn’t helped either.

Given how price tags have been fluctuating since June, I’m guessing some distributors have decided to stick to one figure and absorb the difference until their next financial year. After all, it can’t be good for business to keep changing your mind.

On the flip side of the coin, it works in favour of consumers as prices for beauty products have become really competitive and choices are aplenty. And if they still don’t like what they see, they can always go online to search, not just on Malaysian shores, but the whole globe, for something that strikes their fancy and budget.

Here’s another bit of news that should be welcomed by hoarders and beauty aficionados alike.

According to a report by Gina Ragusa on www.free.vice.com, throwing away food because of a sell by date is wasteful and expensive.

We are told we shouldn’t eat food past the expiration date, but Michael Hansen, a senior scientist with Consumers Union, feels the “best by” dates just address food taste or quality, not safety.

Perfumes can last anything between eight to 10 years.

Obviously, one shouldn’t consume food that’s grown mouldy or bad, but apparently, shelf-stable and frozen foods “can last indefinitely”, and the same goes for dry foods like pasta, crackers and nuts.

So, I am vindicated! My kids often roll their eyes at me as they complain I’m feeding them expired food. But in my books, anything that’s kept in the fridge or frozen lasts a whole lot longer. In the same article, it states that consumers throw away about half of the US$218bil worth of food wasted yearly in the United States. I’m not about to dump stuff which I’ve spent good money on so easily!

The same goes for cosmetics. I know I said we should clear our dressing table of old products. But I’ve a confession – I’m still using the same eye colour palette from more than two years ago! (Oops! It takes forever to finish a full palette.) And I’ve got unopened jars of skincare which I’ve stashed away in my cupboard that I haven’t gotten around to using.

A lot depends on how the products are stored, when they are opened, and how they are kept. There is sometimes a Period After Opening (PAO) symbol which comes with a number and the letter M on the packaging, even if there’s no actual expiry date. For example, “6M” means it’s good for six months after opening.

Generally though, eyeshadow and other powder-based products can last a lot longer. As for skincare, if they are unopened and stored in a cool place away from sunlight, they should still be in good condition, especially the more expensive brands. Once opened though, they should be used within six months or, you could possibly stretch that to a year.

I’ve thrown away eye creams and foundations that have become a watery mess and ampules which have totally dried up. Similar to cooking oil, oil-based products can go off and I’ve had essential oils and lipsticks go funky on me.

Just be discerning and mindful of what your skin is telling you, especially if it breaks out in rebellion. A good judge of that would be your sense of sight, smell and touch. If it smells or feels weird, best to throw it out.

On a parting note, there are a few interesting new trends – men’s make-up is getting even bigger (Chanel launched its men’s make-up line); the element of wellness is being embedded into personal care (think vitamins and probiotics); and big tech boys like Amazon and Spotify are using their massive database to aggressively reach and curate consumers’ preferences in beauty.

Indeed, the beauty industry has never been more exciting…


Read this somewhere: The most important rule of beauty is, who cares? Share your thoughts with star2@thestar.com.my