By Theresa Ellsworth
Buying pre-loved products is good for the planet, great for your wallet, and as long as you stay away from obvious safety hazards like used car seats, cribs and helmets, you’re good to go – or are you? Yahoo Finance looks at marketplace regulars that you really should consider getting new.
Used make-up: Even when used “only” once, lipstick, foundation, eyeliner, eyeshadow, and other used cosmetics can harbour some pretty nasty bacteria, aided along by Singapore’s high temperatures and humidity levels. You may never get anything worse than a small rash, but you could also end up with conjunctivitis, or “pink eye”, from eye makeup; herpes simplex, the cold sore virus, from lipsticks; or staphylococcus aureus, which causes skin infections. Used make-up brushes are also bad idea, for the same reasons.
Swimsuits: Swimsuits fall in the same category as underwear, and for the same reasons. Both are worn close enough to the skin – in this case, someone else’s skin – for whole category of germs to take up residence. And since swimsuits should not be washed in hot water, tossed in a hot dryer, or bleached, those germs are unlikely to budge. If that’s not enough to dissuade you, by the time a wearer has gotten good use out of his/her swimsuit, it’s also started to lose its shape and elasticity.
Upholstered furniture: A good sofa set can be expensive so buying one used might seem like a good idea. But upholstered furniture can come with more than you bargained for - sweat, dust mites, and skin flakes deep inside the fabric. Bedbugs, too, aren’t particular about staying on beds, and it’s not uncommon for these uninvited guests to hitch a ride into your living room via a “lightly used” sofa.
Vacuum cleaners: People rarely get rid of vacuum cleaners that work well, so it’s a good bet that there’s something not quite right with the one you’re thinking of buying. TV ads notwithstanding, vacuum cleaners are fairly roughly used appliances, and tend to get more than their fair share of knocks and bangs. Chances are your purchase will not last very long, and repairing a damaged vacuum cleaner may end up costing you more than buying one new.
Perfume: Perfume actually has an expiry date, with most lasting three to five years. However, sunlight and heat – both in abundant supply in Singapore – can drastically reduce the lifespan of a scent. Besides smelling “off”, the resulting change in chemical balance can cause skin irritation or allergies. If you really want to buy that bottle of vintage perfume, then sprays are better than roller ball bottles which can introduce dirt and sweat back into the perfume.