Back in my secondary school days, I remember cruising down the makeup aisles of Guardian or Watsons with my besties after school where we’d marvel at all the hottest products the popular beauty gurus on YouTube were raving about.

We’d get our hands on the testers and discreetly apply some eyeshadow or lipstick onto our faces, hoping not to attract the attention of the sales associate who might tell us to stop — or worse — comment that the over-the-top looks we were going for didn’t suit our school uniforms.

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Good times.

Since then, I’ve thankfully grown out of my unsanitary ways of digging into testers used by an unknown number of people before me.

But if you still love shopping in-stores to get a feel of beauty products before you buy them like I do, then it’s absolutely essential that you learn how to test beauty products, the safe and accurate way.

Avoid applying unsanitised products directly to your face

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Did you know that you could contract pink eye or more serious infections by applying makeup testers straight to your face? To avoid such unwanted predicaments, we recommend using various parts of your hands instead to swatch testers (more on that below!)

You should also refrain from applying unsanitised products directly onto open skin or moist regions such as the area around your eyes and lips to avoid having germs enter your system.

How to test if a concealer will crease

Credit: @unbiden/TikTok

Crediting various users from Chinese social networking sites, @unbiden shared a few tips on TikTok on how to test specific makeup products to get the best sense of how they’ll actually wear on your face.

For concealer, you should always apply it to the skin area between your thumb and index fingers.

“The fine line you see on this area mimics the fine lines under your eyes. So if there’s no cracking or creasing [of the concealer] on this area, it means that it’s a good concealer,” she explained.

How to test if an eyeshadow is of high quality

As for eyeshadows, most of us are looking to test out the pigmentation and texture. Something that looks gorgeous on the palette may look like a chalky mess on our eyelids.

As such, you can swipe it once on your wrist. If it doesn’t glide on smoothly and show up vividly on your wrist, it’ll definitely perform similarly on your eyelids.

Credit: @unbiden/TikTok

To address how well it may sit on your eyelids without actually applying it there, you can also apply some of the shadow onto your knuckles, as the folds there are similar to the ones on your eyelids.

By bending your finger and straightening it, you can get a sense of how it might fare when you close or open your eyes.

How to tell if a mascara won’t smudge

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To avoid looking panda-eyed, you’d definitely want to test out how smudge-proof a mascara is before you buy it. One trick to do this in the store is to apply some on the back of your hand, and then use a bit of the oil on your face to go over it a few times.

Credit: @unbiden/TikTok

If it stays intact, then you’ll know it’ll be more resistant to smudging even when your eyelids get oily throughout the day!

How to try on lipsticks

You should always look for try-on images from reviewers online before trying out a lipstick tester. However, if you do decide to test it out, take the necessary precautions. Your safest option is to ask the employee to open a new lipstick to try on (of course, be nice and don’t ask to try 20 lipsticks at one go).

From what we’ve observed, most employees are happy to do so long as they have sufficient stock of it in the store inventory.

Credit: @unbiden/TikTok

Alternatively, you can use the alcohol spray provided to clean the surface of a lipstick, before wiping off the top layer and corners using a cotton pad. @unbiden goes in with a folded cotton pad to swipe on the smallest amount of pigment from the corner of the lipstick, before dabbing it onto her lips.

Most beauty advisors will also be able to scrape off the surface of the tester lipstick to allow you to pick up fresh pigment using a disposable scraper, disposable lip brush, or a cotton bud to apply the lip colour onto your lips.

Featured image credit: @unbiden/TikTok