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Ask any beauty junkie about the latest product launch and chances are, the individual get all excited and sound off like there’s no tomorrow. It wouldn’t be wild to say that us beauty junkies have tried and tested a gabazillion beauty products since we first stepped into the magical world but that also means we have tried enough to build our army of trusted holy grail formulas in our arsenal. These are our go-to beauty products no matter the reason or season, and finding a substitute is almost impossible.

However, there are plenty of beauty icons that can be used in more ways than it’s intended for thanks to the discoveries made by industry experts and beauty lovers alike. We round up eight beauty classics and their surprising hacks that you can use to give your favourite product more mileage.

1. Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum

Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum (FCAS)

What’s this holy grail: Released in 1997, the Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum is the K-beauty product that paved the way for the popular Korean first-step-serum trend. Made with a recipe of five herbal ingredients, the boosting serum boasts many uses other than its original function.

It has recently received a new bottle design with its 5th generation launch, which sees an improved formula to take its anti-ageing benefits even further.

Insider’s hacks to using the Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum

Mix it with eye cream: It doubles as an eye care – all you need to do is mix your favourite eye cream with the First Care Activating Serum in 2:1 ratio, lightly tap the mixture around the eyes then let it sit for one minute. While resting, gently press down on the inner corner of your eyebrows to relax strained eyes. You can also press firmly on the orbital muscle around the eyes to help reduce wrinkles.

Turn it into a sleeping mask: To use it as a sleeping mask, simply mix your usual serum or moisturiser with the boosting serum in 1:1 or 2:1 ratio and apply a thick layer onto the skin before going to bed. Want your liquid foundation to go over your skin better? Just mix the boosting serum with your foundation to get smoother application and better skin adherence.

Available in 30ml, 60ml, and 90ml. Retails between S$55 and S$160 at Sephora and TANGS. iShopChangi stocks a 90ml duo set that retails for S$213.90.

2. Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex II

Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair (ANR)

What’s this holy grail: One of the brand’s most popular products since its launch in 1982, Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair serum are loved by both the young and old and it is said that more than 10 bottles are sold every minute around the world.

Insider’s hacks to using the Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair

Top it over your makeup: The brand’s Global Beauty Director Violette Serrat, who’s a makeup artist and all-around cool French girl, likes to apply a tiny drop of the iconic formula over her makeup before going out. According to Violette, this trick is great for those who often find their makeup looking a little dull as it adds a natural, youthful-looking glow to the complexion.

Put it everywhere, really: Aside from that, you can also use it to hydrate dry hands and cuticles as well as chapped lips. Want a lip gloss-like finish without the stickiness? Dab a bit of the formula on top of your lip colour to achieve the result.

Available in 7ml, 20ml, 30ml, 50ml, 75ml, and 100ml. Retails between S$18 and S$304 at Sephora, Zalora, TANGS, Watsons, iShopChangi, Lazada and Robinsons.

3. SK-II Facial Treatment Essence

SK-II Facial Treatment Essence (FTE)

What’s this holy grail: This iconic essence that gave women around the world crystal-clear complexion needs little introduction. Formulated with Pitera, this Japanese essence is said to correct signs of ageing while delivering a coveted radiance to your complexion.

Insider’s hacks to using the SK-II Facial Treatment Essence

Turn it into a face mist: But if you’re getting bored of using it the conventional way, enjoy it as a face mist instead. This well-loved trick eventually inspired the brand to launch its own version called the Mid-Day Miracle Essence, but you can DIY it the OG way – by transferring a portion of the liquid into a spray bottle and voila! You have yourself an SK-II mist that you can use to refresh your skin any time of the day.

Use it as an SOS eye mask: Woke up with crazy undereye bags and need something to de-puff before you head out? Yes, you can count on the Facial Treatment Essence for that as it can be used as a quickie eye mask in the morning as well. Saturate a handful of cotton pads with the essence before storing them into a sealed Ziploc bag, then leave it into the freezer.

The morning after, take out two of the chilled cotton pads and place them over your eyes like old-school cucumber slices, kick back your feet and relax for five minutes. The coolness will give you less puffy eyes virtually instantly as it helps to shrink swollen capillaries and lends an instant lift to your lids.

Available in 75ml, 160ml, and 230ml. Retails between S$108 and S$289 at Sephora, TANGSMetro and Watsons.

4. Lancôme Génifique Youth Activating Serum

Lancome Genifique Youth Activating Serum

What’s this holy grail: This is probably the most recognised product from Lancome and it’s not surprising why. Having gone through many generations of relaunch, the latest version of this serum incorporates microbiome science to strengthen skin so that it can recover faster. It promises to deliver youthfully radiant and smoother skin in just seven days.

Insider’s hacks to using the Lancôme Génifique Serum

Let it work as a post-sun treatment: For dry skin that gets red easily, chuck the Génifique serum in the fridge for a couple of hours (you can even store it there permanently if you like), then gently massage the chilled formula onto your face. The coolness will help calm irritation and it works great as a soothing post-sun treatment, too.

Turn it into a subtle highlight: Prefer a luminous kind of highlight rather than a full-on strobe? Rub a few drops of the serum between your fingers, then tap it onto the bridge of your nose, your cheekbones, Cupid’s bow, and brow bones for a fresh, youthful effect.

Available in 7ml, 30ml, 50ml, 75ml, and 115ml. Retails between S$20 and S$315 at Sephora, TANGS, Zalora, and Robinsons.

5. Bio-Oil


What’s this holy grail: This crowd-pleasing product is well loved by celebrities for its ability to reduce the appearance of scars, stretch marks, uneven skin tone, and for its hydrating and anti-ageing properties.

Insider’s hacks to using Bio-Oil

Use it as a pre-shave treatment: We all know this is a multi-tasker but bet you didn’t know you can also use it as a pre-shave treatment? To get a closer, nick-free shave, simply apply Bio-Oil to parched legs before your regular shaving cream.

Enhance hydration capability of other products: If your scalp is feeling very dry, mix a generous amount of the oil in your shampoo – it will help reduce the itchiness and flaking. You can also add Bio-Oil into your moisturisers or body creams for added hydration power.

Available in 25ml, 60ml, 125ml, and 200ml. Retails between S$6.90 and S$35.90 at Guardian, Lazada, Metro, and Watsons.

6. Urban Decay Naked 3 Eyeshadow Palette

Urban Decay Naked 3 Eyeshadow Palette

What’s this holy grail: All true-blue makeup junkies would have heard of Urban Decay’s range of Naked palettes because of how wearable the colours are and amazingly buttery the shadows feel. 

Insider’s hacks to using Urban Decay Naked eyeshadow palettes

Use it as an eyeliner: You love your Naked eyeshadows and will never stop collecting the palettes, we get it. But if you have pans of them lying around and you’re not using them as much as you’d like. One creative way to use it is to apply them as an eyeliner – simply pick up the eyeshadow with a liner brush and apply dry for a natural finish or wet for a more defined look.

It doubles up as a contouring powder: The matte earthy tones that can be found in most Naked palettes are perfect for contouring. Use your contouring brush to pick up that beautiful colour to enhance your cheekbones.

Retails for S$83 at Sephora.

7. NARS Radiance Primer SPF35

Nars Radiance Primer SPF35

What’s this holy grail: This radiance booster helps to lift up the appearance of dull complexion while keeping makeup intact forever.

Insider’s hacks to using NARS Radiance Primer

Use it as a post-makeup perk-me-up: In an interview with Net-A-Porter, lead artist at NARS, Rachel Hardie says that she likes to press a tiny bit of the radiance-boosting primer on top of her skin when her makeup has been on for a few hours – it helps to wake up the skin instantly without ruining the makeup. Just squeeze a small amount in your palms, rub together and then pat over the skin.

Turn powder shadows into creams: Wish your eyeshadows were creamier? Mix this into your favourite eyeshadow to transform it into a creamy texture so it blends more easily.

Retails between $52.80 and S$66 at Sephora, TANGS, Zalora, and iShopChangi.

8. Glossier Balm Dotcom

Glossier Balm Dotcom

What’s this holy grail: We may still not be able to get Glossier easily in this part of the world but elsewhere, this lip salve has become a staple in many makeup bags thanks to its versatility. It’s packed with antioxidants and natural emollients to nourish skin intensely.

Insider’s hacks to using Glossier Balm Dotcom

Soothe your elbows: While its scent and range of colours make it a perfect lip balm, the untinted version works well to soothe dry areas like the elbows, knees, and cuticles.

Use it as a highlight: Blot shades like Birthday and Rose along the cheek and brow bones for a dewy highlight. The Cherry shade works well as a beautiful blush!

Retails between S$20.90 and S$40 at Lazada and 4meglam.