Thought I'd share this (again) because it's a practice I still follow, and I think it's been key in maintaining my paints over the years: using agitators in my paint bottles. Every paint bottle I own has an agitator in it, and here's why - over time paints separate, just like any other solid medium in a liquid suspension. The pigment and binder come out of solution from the carrier liquid - with metallics, this is even more pronounced as the aluminum (maybe mica) precipitating to the bottom due to weight.
Every once in a while, it's a good idea to give your paints and inks a good shaking - not just prior to use. I have a 6mm glass bead in all my paint bottles, and adding this is still a ritual whenever I get a new color, same as "labeling" the bottle with some of the shaken paint afterwards. I've been a few times now to retail craft stores, usually with weekly coupon in hand, to pick up glass bead necklaces for a few dollars.
Why an agitator, you may ask? Well, because it helps to more thoroughly mix the paint in the bottle, for one, without the need of toothpicks or brush ends or anything else that will take away from your supply of paint while mixing. For another, it acts as a force multiplier - you may be shaking the outside of the bottle and sloshing the paint around inside, which may be good enough; on the inside, you have a weighted object that's churning the paint back together at an even faster rate.
What to use? Something with some weight to it, something that's inert, a and something that won't catch inside your paint bottle. This is why I use 6mm glass beads- they're small enough to fit down the necks of dropper paint bottles like those by Vallejo and Reaper, they've got some heft, they're made from inert material so as to not react with your paint itself (I've tried metal sprue and zinc-plated BB's and both of those turn ugly after a few years), and even better, you can get them in large numbers for cheap (did I mention craft store coupons for lengths of bead necklace?).
Oh, and a blog post from many years back, which still holds true:
Shaking Violently Being the Next Best Thing to Strangling
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