Makeup Transplanting Depotting Chronicles

DISCLAIMER: I am describing the process I used, along with some do’s and don’ts for complications I ran into while depotting. However, I am not a professional at this. I will try to be thorough, but there may be steps I forgot to list. Attempting to do this may put you, others, and your property at risk. Use the utmost caution or just don’t attempt this at all without the proper tools and protective gear. I am not responsible for anyone getting harmed for following the steps that I’m sharing, which isn’t even intended as a guide. I’m just sharing my experience and perhaps those with some depotting experience may be inspired by it. I do not recommend this for beginners. It took me years of smaller depotting projects to build up enough confidence to do most of the things I mentioned in this post. Reader discretion is advised. Using common sense and critical thinking is also a must! For the love of all things holy, please be careful if you try these! lol.

Also, all links in this post are normal non-affiliate links.

De-potting isn’t just a way to condense and uniformly organize a makeup collection. It can also be used to rearrange palettes or swap products in and out of their original packaging and/or empty magnetic palette. Often times, when I watched depotting videos on YouTube, the person doing it would destroy the original palettes or compacts. However, I have products in packaging that I love and want to preserve, if only I could customize the makeup within it.
So, it has been a goal of mine over the years to find a way to reuse palettes and compacts, especially if I’m not using the item because the makeup inside is too old or didn’t work for me, and replace it with a product I would reach for more often if it was in prettier packaging.

There are different levels of depotting that can be as easy as removing a pan from a palette that is already magnetic (such as most Natasha Denona eyeshadow palettes) or the most challenging ones that require both careful disassembling prior to then using heat and figuring out how much heat to apply to remove the pan without melting/burning the original packaging if the goal is to try and save it. Sometimes you might be surprised to learn there’s no pan at all and the product might be on plastic net/mesh instead. Sometimes the pan is made of aluminum instead of tin and will require a magnetic metal base to be added before it will be able to stick into a customizable palette. So, this sort of task can be super easy or complicated. I will give plenty of examples of the things I learned in this process with various projects if you’re interested in continuing to read on!

PROJECT 1: Making Palettes Magnetic and Interchangeable

Every year, Hourglass comes out with these holiday palettes and I owned four, yet none of them were perfect for me. If I want to use a blush, highlighter, and bronzer all in one, I would have to pull out multiple palettes which was extremely inconvenient. So, I finally had the guts to do what I’d seen Stefsedge and Grishan Roof do in depotting their palettes. I took it another step further in trying to make my palettes interchangeable, so that I could always swap out an even more appealing product of this size in the future if I wanted.

The process on how to do this involves:

  • A Heat Source (and potentially metal plate or aluminum foil if the metal within the packaging is too far from the heat) plus heat-resistant gloves for extra protection.
  • Metal stickers that will fit the size of the product if that product is not already attracted to magnets.
  • Label stickers if there isn’t already a removeable label or one that would fit on the product.
  • Magnets in various forms like circles, squares, sheets, etc.
  • Pre-measuring to make sure the magnet isn’t too thin to not hold the product, but not too thick to where the magnet plus the product will prevent the lid from closing.
  • A cosmetic spatula and/or something thin like a bladed object to stick between the product and the packaging to be able to pry/lift it out.
  • Glue, just in case.
  • Paper towel or something to lay the powders on that may potentially get messy.
  • Liquid agent that helps remove glue from surfaces like Parian Spirits or Alcohol.

Tip: If the item is in a pan already, using a magnet to touch the rim or around it and see if it has a pull will indicate whether or not the metal will require a magnetic metal sticker.

My heat source is the Z-potter I bought quite a few years ago on Black Friday. Some people use an induction hot plate/countertop burner, hair dryer, or flat iron to heat up the bottom. I’ve only attempted to depot my aluminum Hourglass Ambient Lighting palettes, not the plastic ones, so I have no idea if the plastic ones would melt in the process, but here is a video for that type. And here’s one for the exact palettes I’ve partly depotted.

Anyway, the first thing I prepped in advance was writing the brand and names of the items on label stickers and attached them to the metal stickers (not the side that you peel away). Then, on my Z-potter, I placed the portion of the products I wanted to heat up within the indicated heat circle. I tried to avoid heating all pans at once because I didn’t want to loosen the glue too much of the products I had no intention of removing. I used setting number 3 for a minute or more and then used my box cutter to lift the powders out one at a time face first into a paper towel and then peeled off the sticker on the metal pan to attach onto the back of the clay tile. Because it already had soft warm glue residue, I didn’t think it was necessary to add my own extra glue to attach the metal sticker onto the tile, but that might be required of some projects because the adhesive bond is sometimes weaker than the magnetic pull. I’ve had other products where I lifted the product and the metal tile detached from the product and remained clinging to the magnet. So, one may or may not want to add the tiniest bit of extra glue (making sure that when pressed down the glue doesn’t seep out onto the edges of the tile. Also, the fact that these baked powders are on tiles helps to make them less fragile while prying them out. Baked/domed products on plastic drives me nuts because they’re so easy to fall out of packaging without even intending to depot them.

I repeated the process of removing the product from the palette, adding a metal sticker to the bottom, and so on until all powders I wanted removed were off to the side. If there was any residue of glue within the empty wells (none that I could recall) it would only require a little alcohol or Parian spirits sprayed on a paper towel to wipe it down/clean it up. Don’t spray the Parian spirits directly into the empty well because the sprayer might get droplets onto the other powders still within the palette. Also, wearing gloves might be a good idea since it leaves a strong orange-alcohol smell that one might not want to get on the hands or fingers.

Then, I cut my magnetic strips into the appropriately sized pieces to fit the empty well and stuck them to the bottom. This might be another time when one might consider using extra glue or not, but my strip magnets tend to adhere very strongly, so I don’t find extra glue necessary. Also, my strips weren’t thin enough to cover the entire well, but it’s not necessary either. Two streaks were enough. And they don’t need to look pretty since no one is going to see the magnets once the powders are placed back on top.
So, that’s the process! I didn’t have any broken products; I just nicked a few with my nails. When looking at them from the side, it’s visible that the powders with magnets holding them down underneath are raised higher than the ones that are glued down, but it doesn’t look that bad to me. I love how it turned out!

I took the white marbled palette on the bottom right completely out of the equation since none of those worked for me (any indication of the powders being used was when I mixed them with other products in DIY makeup attempts). As for the Butterfly palette on the top right, I could only use the blushes, so I took those out and replaced those empty spots with the bronzer from the Universe Unlocked palette (bottom left) and the too-ashy strobe powder from the Tiger palette (top left). This turned my Butterfly palette into a palette of completely unusable products for my skin tone. Rather than trying to make that one magnetic, I used a little Glue-All (so it wouldn’t be impossible to be removed again) to secure those powders back in the pan and I sold that new custom version of Butterfly.

This left me with the Tiger Palette and Universe Unlocked. I wanted those Butterfly blushes in the Tiger palette, so I put one in the newly empty spot that was formerly housing the ashy strobe powder. Then, I took the deep copper highlighter out and put that into the empty space in Universe Unlocked where the too-light bronzer used to be. That gave me room to put in the last Butterfly blush. So, my new Tiger palette has the only powder dark enough to be used as a bronzer, my favorite of Hourglass’ highlighters, and arguably my favorite four blushes out of the Hourglass ones in this size. I also like the coral blush from Universe Unlocked, but I preferred to keep that one in its original palette. Currently, the Tiger palette is the one I keep on my vanity since it’s full of favorites.

PROJECT 2: Prioritizing the Packaging Over the Product

The Hourglass project was simple, whereas this one was my toughest yet!

The MAC x Chris Chang compacts are one of the most treasured packaging for makeup that I have because of how different they all looked to each other and nearly all equally beautiful. The original one that I purchased is kept on my collector shelf in the box and with the original powder inside that I only used a few times because I didn’t think it did anything for me. The two others I bought pre-owned for the purpose of making the compact magnetic, so it didn’t matter what state the original product was in nor the fact that they were used.

For my first attempt, I didn’t remember the pans are housed in a removable piece which would have made things a lot easier. So, I put the compact on the Z-Potter, and unfortunately, the pattern started to warp, but I noticed it in time before it got too bad.

Then, I tried just not using heat and prying the pan out with my box cutter. I broke off the tip and still couldn’t get it out. The glue in these compacts is extra heavy duty! In that attempt, the powder started to break apart, so if I had wanted to pry out the pan without breaking the powder, I would have failed at that. Once I popped out the holder piece, I realized it had three parts to it: the main compact, the holder, and the lid opener. I put the holder piece with the pan on the Z-potter and used setting 3, which was too hot for it. It started melting the bottom of that holder piece and it started to bubble and lift upward. In the heating process, I also warped the lid opener and main compact enough that it shuts, but with a very thin gap that won’t be as big a deal for a dry powder, but I definitely wouldn’t want to put a cream or creamy powder in it. The holder also didn’t snap back flush into the main component either.

Where the tiny gap is visible near the hinge is where I start trying to pry the holder out of the compact.

I’ve already had a product (will be discussed in the Pat Mcgrath section) that warped upward, but I managed to use heat and a blunt object to press it back down to flatten it. However, this did not work with the MAC plastic. It went down but still not perfectly even. I couldn’t get it to flatten without melting/burning the underside. In the end, to make this compact usable, I had to just toss the holder into the recycling (the powder pan was also cleaned out and recycled). I then attached magnets to the bottom of the actual compact. This might make whatever product I put inside more susceptible to breaking if I accidentally drop the compact, but at least it’s still functional now despite my mistake.

In theory, I could have left the botched compact as is without adding magnets and just removed the holder out of a different MAC panned product with basic packaging and put it in this one instead. However, that would only allow me to use this for MAC products specifically, instead of any brand with a pan size that would fit.

For my second attempt on my other compact, I tried a combination of using the box cutter to pry a big enough wedge between the space to allow me to pour Parian spirits to seep between the holder and the pan so it could start loosening the glue underneath. I didn’t mind spraying directly onto it because I wasn’t trying to keep the powder in that one either. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get a big enough wedge of space for the Parian Spirits to have done very much and I broke the blade even more to the point of needing to throw it out for safety reasons.

So, I very carefully used my nails and cosmetic spatula to lift a space and go around the edges to carefully pop out the holder from the main compact. I set the compact aside, put the holder in the middle of the Z-potter and used setting 2. I alternated between letting it get warm at the bottom, then flipping it upside down to warm from that direction as my way of trying not to let the same spot get too hot for too long while using my other box cutter to keep testing when the glue was loose enough to be pried up.

Once the pan was free, the bottom of the plastic was still covered in glue, so I unscrewed the spray top of the Parian spirits bottle and poured a little into the holder and let it marinade in there for a while before wiping it clean and repeating the process when needed. I managed to successfully get that pan out without burning/melting the holder this time. I cleaned out the aluminum pan of glue and powder and put the pan with the recycling. This time, I was able to keep the holder, so I put a few magnets on the bottom of it before snapping the holder back into the main compact.

Now, I have one of my favorite highlighters, the Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Glow Glide Face Architect Highlighter in Sunset Glow, in this gorgeous compact! I’m so happy to finally have a way to get use out of the MAC compacts and see them within my collection instead of being set aside! There are so many times I’ve spent money purely on packaging and I was tempted to get this year’s Lunar New Year pressed powder compact from Charlotte Tilbury just to put this highlighter in it, but I’m glad I didn’t waste my money getting something I don’t need (I own that powder in smaller packaging) by repurposing what I already have.

PROJECT 3: Adding Extras to Packaging.

You know those eyeshadow and blush compacts that come with brushes in them? I never use the brushes and end up tossing them, so then I have giant empty spaces that could have either made the compact smaller without it or could have held extra shadows. In the photo example below, I didn’t add a magnet to it, but I showed examples of various eyeshadows (Natasha Denona Midi Size, Viseart medium and small sizes, and Melt Cosmetics) that could fit in that space if I added a magnet to the bottom. Of course, the magnet needs to be strong but thin in order to hold the shadow securely on it without lifting the pan so high that the lid won’t close. Turning the empty space into a magnetic spot will give the ability to take extra shadows for traveling.

Also, in the event that an eyeshadow falls out if it was on a mesh, gluing it to the bottom is an option, but so is re-pressing the shadow into an empty eyeshadow pan, adding a magnet to the empty well, and placing the pan back in there. It, once again, leaves room for future customization. One just has to do those measurements to make sure it’s not too big.

PROJECTS 4 and 5: Condensing Makeup Out of Bulky Packaging and Making a Single Portable Item for Travel

The Pat Mcgrath Blushing Delights packaging was excessive compared to the size of the actual makeup within it, but because it fit the Bridgerton theme so well and the print was cute, I kept it intact despite how much I craved depotting it. However, once I noticed the edges of the paper lifting in multiple places on the cardboard, I figured it was time to get rid of it. I was thrilled to see the blushes were on tiles as well, since that made it even easier to slide a knife underneath and remove them from the packaging without even needing heat!

All I did was fill out sticker labels, slap them on the metal stickers, and then place those on the tiles. Before doing this, however, I do need to warn that baked blushes and other domed products will be raised much higher, which limits where they can be stored. These don’t fit in a traditional Z-palette or any of my cardboard empty magnetic palettes. My MAC double-sided palette is deep enough (that I turned one side into a magnetic palette by adding a thick magnet sheet), but I keep that stored with my other unused palettes because it’s so heavy and thick that it’s only worth using if it’s entirely full and not just to hold a few items. Where I stored the blushes will come later because I knew I wanted to keep my favorite shade, Aphrodisia in its own compact. I’m one of the few people that doesn’t like like the Pat Mcgrath Under Eye Setting Powder, so I didn’t mind getting rid of the powder and keeping the compact to house the blush. I figured it would fit considering that powder is also a baked product and chances are high that any domed type of packaging will be suitable for turning magnetic and housing other domed products. I somehow expected it to be on a mesh, so I wasted my time trying to cut off most of the powder, then prying the sides, before realizing this would require heat. Since there was no metal to warm up, I put it the Z-potter on setting 2 or 3 and laid the compact on top of the metal plate that came with the Z-potter. Then, I pried out the tile with my cosmetic spatula, but the bottom had bubbled upward.

Unlike my MAC compact, I was easily able to heat the bottom again on the same setting and use the handle of my hand mirror (with a flat rectangular shape) to press the raised parts back down while the plastic was warm and malleable. I continued moving the blunt object around the pan to make sure the rest of it didn’t start rising back up too. When I was satisfied with the whole thing being nice and flat, I transferred it to the spot without heat, turned off the machine, and then continued to press down on the compact to ensure it remained flat while cooling off.

I used the handle of my mirror because it was within reach, but I could have used anything hard and flat like the handle of my Tarte Buffer Brush, a bottle, etc. Whatever item is used will likely get glue on it though, so to avoid that, one could try putting something between the plastic and the blunt object, such as a paper towel. Or, clean the glue off the surface before trying to warm up the item to flatten the plastic back down. The heat setting should not be so hot that it melts whatever blunt item is used, like a thick bottle, but just keep a watchful eye out for that just in case.

Then, all I had to do was place magnets in the PML compact and voila! A single portable baked product case! As for all the rest of the blushes, I took one of my spare Kaleidos tins and removed the plastic lipstick holder piece, and placed magnets on the bottom of that. I didn’t place the magnets uniformly in a line in case I wanted to put larger domed products in there and didn’t want to run into the issue of only blushes of a certain size being able to fit there because they couldn’t be placed staggered within the container.

These weren’t the only Pat Mcgrath products I depotted that day. I had the Pat Mcgrath Highlighting Trio with the center shade having fallen out ages ago that I just kept loose in the packaging. I almost never reached for these because of the pretty but cumbersome flap style packaging. So, I started off with cutting the space around the black plastic holder within the cardboard packaging and then lifting out that plastic piece. Since the Kaleidos tin is attracted to magnets, I could have actually stuck magnets on the bottoms of the plastic holder and placed it at the bottom of the container, but considering the fragile nature of the highlighters, I decided not to. Instead, I heated up the plastic holder on the metal plate on setting 2 very briefly before using my box cutter to pop out the mesh. I don’t know if heating it at all was necessary, but I did it anyway.

Once they were all out, I scraped the excess product off the underside of the highlighters and glued the metal stickers onto them. I saved them all initially, but then the pink iridescent highlighter came off the mesh from the other side, which would have required that I glue that side directly touching the bottom of the highlighter onto the plastic. Considering how old these highlighter trio powders were, I figured I should just let the pink one go. Honestly, these other two are too sparkly for my taste now, but I’m not ready to let them go until they break!

Between the two pieces of packaging, these are now taking up significantly less space!

PROJECT 6: Transplating/Transferring Makeup Permanently from Faulty Packaging to Better Packaging

I know my Becca Shimmering Skin Perfectors are ancient, but I just can’t let them go! At least, not my favorites. The limited edition one called Champagne Gold was an item I was waiting patiently for to go on sale, but it sold out everywhere before that could happen! I had to deal with the regrets of missing out for over a year and a half before I happened to see them being sold on the Nordstrom Rack (technically Hautelook) website. The joy I felt over finally getting my hands on it, even though I didn’t use it a ton, is something I’m very nostalgic about. However, that original packaging had that rubberized gummy texture that is super sticky and gross feeling to touch. I had a pretty gold plastic compact from Becca with the shade Gold Lava inside that I never used because it was too glittery, so I decided to just get rid of the Gold Lava pan and put Champagne Gold in there instead.

The first thing I did was remove the Gold Lava sticker and put the original Champagne Gold sticker in that spot instead. Then, I put the old gummy packaging onto a piece of foil and put that onto my Z-potter. This wasn’t because it needed the foil specifically. I just didn’t want to get any of the sticky gummy part onto the surface of my depotting device. The compacts have holes on the bottoms, but because they’re still glued in, I didn’t want to risk breaking the powder, so I wanted a little heat to make it a gentler transition process.

Then I set the older compact with the aluminum foil to the side and put my gold compact in the circle to heat up. I then pulled the Gold Lava pan out before immediately put the Champagne Gold pan in the compact and pressed down so that the glue remaining on the bottom would stick to it. After it cooled off, I held the whole thing upside down (with my palm underneath just in case) to see if it stuck properly and it did! I didn’t try to make it magnetic because there’s no room for even the thinnest magnetic sheet. I have a few other original brown packaged highlighters, but none of those are sticky yet, so I’m keeping them in those for now, but may repeat this same process with the Own Your Light shade I have mixed feelings about and put Bronzed Amber in that ombre packaging instead.

PROJECT 7: Condensing Multiple Samples into One Container

If I have samples of things that would take multiple uses to try out, I make it a habit to find a tiny container to put the product in and limit air exposure. In this first example, I have two different shades of One/Size powders, but I didn’t notice a difference in the color on my face, so I wanted to put both of them into a larger container because it was a pain trying to evenly coat my powder brushes on such a small surface. I had a Besame loose powder container I had been saving, so it was the perfect way to make use of that as well.

I began with removing and cleaning the sifter lid, dumping out the remnants of the old powder, washing it, drying it, and setting it aside. I then removed the sifters from the two different shades of One/Size deluxe size samples, putting them in the clean Besame jar, and then mixed the two shades together before putting the Besame sifter lid back on top. The original mini powder puff that came with the Besame powder was never used, so even that was able to be saved!

Another example is that I tried each individual shade of the Dior lip balm and the colors weren’t significantly different enough on my lips to prevent me from scooping them all into a single jar. I have leftover empty lip balm jars from my past DIY projects, but those were too large for such a little amount of product. It actually came in handy that I now had two tiny jar containers in the form of those newly emptied One/Size powder sample jars. I just removed the sifter on one of them and cleaned out the jar before adding the balms into it. If I had any empty Laneige lip sleeping mask sample jars that are regularly available as a free gift with purchase from Sephora, I would have used that instead.

The photo of it below, admittedly does not look pretty, but I could have used a spatula to smooth them all around or even applied a little heat to melt the balm down enough for it to flatten out evenly into one smooth surface before it cools back off. However, I didn’t bother with that because there wasn’t much left. If I had 2-3 additional balm sample packs, I would have put more effort in making it pretty since it would be in my possession for longer.

I believe I mentioned I was going to declutter the Coloured Raine cream blushes in my recent review of the brand, but I kept the two smaller ones for reusing purposes. I had two sample packs of Rose Inc blushes and I wanted to save them so I could customize my blush looks. Even though Foxglove is my favorite color and the one I have in the full size, knowing I had three additional colors in samples is what kept me from purchasing more of them considering how infrequently I reach for them. So, I originally put them in a lipstick jar, but I had the idea to dump out the Coloured Raine blush, sterilize the pan, and use a spatula to spread out the three shades in a neat gradient of Anemone, Azalea, and Dahlia. The amount shown below is the end result of two trios of sample packs.

Since I didn’t want these to dry out, I thought it was a safe bet putting cream blushes in a container that was intended for cream.

BONUS PROJECT, PROJECT 8: Hiding Logos on Packaging/Making Packaging Better

There was a controversy with Ofra several years ago and I haven’t felt comfortable featuring them on my blog or showing their products ever since. However, the compacts are magnetic, and even though they are quite bulky, it felt like a shame to just toss them in the recycling. I wanted the ability to use them as backup compacts, and especially since these are tall enough that I can put a domed product in there. So, I took the sticker off the back, used a tool to pop the pan out of the compact from that hole showing at the bottom that was hidden by the sticker. I put that sticker onto the bottom of the metal pan instead. Then, I used Parian Spirits to clean off the bottom where the sticker used to be.

As for the front with the logos, stickers were a quick and easy way to hide them while also making the compacts look prettier with a beloved design. The sticker on the left was purchased from Redbubble. It’s a 3 inch by 3 inch sticker, which barely fit the lid dimensions. The sticker on the right was one that I got from Clionadh Cosmetics that has been coming free with every order.

In the future, if the edges of the stickers start to lift or is potentially getting dirty, I will consider putting a layer of Mod Podge Dimensional Magic on top. Other types and brands of sealer will work too, but I like the way it feels like plastic after a thick enough layer has been applied. If you’re handling Dimensional Magic though, be very careful not to get it on other items or skin as it’s an absolute pain to remove from fingers.

Using things like stickers, washi tape, scrapbook papers/cardstock, and so on, are ways to select prints and patterns that suits the makeup lovers’ tastes and elevate boring packaging into something truly special. I’m sure I’ve shown this multiple times before, but I treasure the look of the Huda Beauty highlighter palette that I did the same things to.

So, these have been some projects I’ve been doing lately! I’ve purchased a few more custom stickers in different designs from Redbubble, but I’m sure there are plenty of other places to get neat stickers. My first projects were made with stickers and washi tape from Amazon.

On a side note, one of my best friends has a Redbubble store which is how I discovered the website and other artists in the first place. If you’re interested in checking it out, it’s here.

That’s all for today!

Thank you for reading!


Lili’s 2022 Beauty Resolutions and Low-Buy

Today, I am sharing the details of my personal pledge regarding beauty purchases. I love the process of buying and testing new things, so this isn’t a complete no-buy. It’s just my attempt at a more realistic low-buy that may still seem like too much to most people, but will be quite the change for me. It’s all about having a more balanced approach, and I’ve come up with some things to remember to keep myself in that mindset when a shiny new thing is threatening to make me lose all reason and unleash the inner makeup goblin.

These were all the blushes, highlighters, bronzers, and contour products I owned as of September 2020. Many were decluttered since then but many more have been added to my collection. Photos like this are a motivation to stick to my goals this year.

Stance on Buying Multiples

When I love something, I tend to buy multiples, especially makeup brushes. If an item is special in some way, I want another version of it. This year, I want to restrict myself from buying a backup or getting other things from the line that I initially didn’t plan to buy the first time. Reason being, that one item I get will be even more special if it’s the only one I have. I will also get more use out of that one special item since I wouldn’t be splitting usage evenly between two or more other things from the line.
For instance, letting the Hermes Blush be my one makeup item from Hermes. Another example would be letting the Chikuhodo MK-KO be my one Makie series brush and the most expensive brush in my collection (even at the discounted price I paid for it).

Stance on Limited Edition and Limited Quantity Items

I want to save for things that are truly special, but sometimes I buy limited edition items for the sake of them being limited edition and fearing that I will miss out. For instance, every year brands release Lunar New Year items. Rather than purchasing the prettiest items each year from every sign, I should wait for 2024 when it has the most significance for me, as the Year of the Dragon. That being said, I did purchase my first Beautylish Presents brush this year (Tiger), but I successfully skipped the Koyudo Lunar New Year Brush. This rule of only buying Dragon Lunar New Year items is a resolution I want to keep forever, but Tiger, Rabbit, and Dog will be the most difficult to ignore. On the bright side, Dec-Feb is the peak time of Lunar New Year launches, so I just need to hold out for a little longer and then the temptation will be less when those releases stop being discussed.

Also, going hand in hand with limited edition makeup is the scarcity of raw materials like natural hair for makeup brushes and special pigments for eyeshadows. Some palettes made by indie brands have been discontinued because certain pigments are no longer sourced. And the supply of high quality natural hair has become harder to obtain, which is one of the biggest reasons brushmakers (even brands historically known for only making natural hair makeup brushes) are moving towards synthetic. These are some reasons I feel an internal pressure to buy special limited quantity items in case they are discontinued, have a long restock time, and/or prices get raised such as Koyudo and Wayne Goss’ brushes last year. Hakuhodo is raising theirs again on June 1st and Chikuhodo already raised theirs at the beginning of February. Most of the major Japanese OEMs are raising their prices this year. I’m not too concerned about the increases since the brushes in my price range are going up by a maximum of $5, but Hakuhodo is planning to increase theirs by 30%. If that was a brand I purchased from more, I’d be rushing to make last minute orders, but they’ve been out of my price range since their previous price increase a few years ago.

In the case of the makeup, there’s no point in hoarding things with an expiration date anyway. Regarding the brushes, they can potentially hold their value and be seen as an investment of sorts, but how long they last depends on how well I care for them. The hair can still snap and split or shed. If I wish to part with some brushes, they may not be in a condition someone would want to buy. So, it’s not a safe bet either. I have plenty of brushes as is, along with makeup, so my plan is to not let scarcity and the limited edition title to be a factor in the decision to make a purchase.

Stance on Buying Things at Full Price / The “I’ll only get it on sale” Mentality

I use sales as a justification for buying something. If I’m saying to myself, “I want this, but only if it’s on sale,” then that should be an indication that I know there are aspects about it that aren’t perfect for me. Perhaps it has too many colors that don’t interest me or it’s not intended for my skin type. Maybe it’s similar to plenty of things I already own and would be redundant in my collection. If I’m not willing to buy it at full price, then I shouldn’t get it. At the same time, it is smart to wait for a sale for financial reasons as well as giving myself time to ensure it’s something I still want and that I haven’t been sucked in by the hype. So the key is to implement both conditions. I’ll only allow myself to buy things I think are worth full price, but I will still wait whenever possible to get those items when they’re on sale.

Gift Cards, Cashback, and Reward Program Spending

In my past post about all the ways I save money when buying products online, I mentioned that I sometimes acquire products “for free” because it was paid for by credit I earned via cashback, gift cards, etc. I just want to make my stance clear that my Beauty Resolutions still apply in those cases that I didn’t pay money out of pocket. For instance, when I’ve accumulated enough points via Ulta’s Reward Program to be able to purchase all the items in my cart in full, I’m still not supposed to use it on products that are part of my No-Buy. The No-Buy is ultimately about adding less products overall to my collection. Saving money is the by-product of that. This ties in with the “waiting for a sale” issue, that even if the item I want is only a few dollars from the drugstore or is “free” via my points, it’s not about the money. It’s about getting fewer new things so I can get more use out of my current collection.

Stance on Buying Makeup from “New to Me” Brands

When it comes to designer brands with luxury makeup lines that I haven’t purchased from yet, I have the overall rule that I’m allowed to have my “first” of something, such as a first Gucci Beauty product, a first Christian Louboutin Beauty, etc. The formulas of their makeup seldom match what I like, so it has always been a little easier to pass on them, especially at those prices. Allowing myself to have just one will ensure that I’m ultra selective about which one it ends up being. So, I’m allowing this exception, while also cutting myself off from future purchases from those brands for the rest of the year or longer.

As for all other brands that would be new to me, I’m actually trying to avoid them this year. If I like something new from, for example, Sigil Inspired by Tammy Tanuka, then I would be too tempted to try their other products. I want to satisfy my curiosity, especially about different indie brands, but the overall allure is lower if I don’t know what I’m missing. That’s why I want to keep purchases from new (to me) brands to a minimum.

Knowing/Hearing Something Has an Amazing Formula but Isn’t Available in a Shade I Like

This category of a resolution is two-fold. I recognize my issue with wanting to buy everything that has a raved about formula. Just because something is good, does not mean I must own it. I already have nice things, so I need to remember that I’m not missing out by sticking with what I already deem to be great. Second, if the product with a raved about formula is from one of my favorite brands, I’m even more likely to buy it even if the colors aren’t what I’m looking for. For example, Nude Venus blush from Pat Mcgrath is quite light for me, but I wanted it anyway because between the two shimmer formulas of blush, Desert Orchid and Nude Venus, the latter was the only one with any hope of showing up on my skin tone. What I should have done, and will try to do in the future, is be patient and wait for the brand to expand the line and create something that will work for me rather than settling for something just because it’s a good product. If it doesn’t look stunning on me, I likely won’t reach for it anyway which defeats the purpose of buying it in the first place. Wanting to get it for review purposes isn’t a good enough justification for me anymore.
If the brand never ends up expanding the line, so be it. Someone else will create something just like it. Many brands share labs and formulas within the same parent company. Very few things in the cosmetics world are unique anymore.

Self-Tips to Avoid Temptation

Once I’ve decided I will not purchase an item, I need to skip watching videos (which I believe will likely be positive) about that item. For instance, I almost caved so many times on the Patrick Ta Blush palette that was released last holiday. Everyone says it’s great. I have no doubt it would be great and it even has a shade that is likely even more my style than the single cream and powder blush duo I have. However, I think in my head the fact that I have to apply two different products to achieve the look I want makes me think it will take longer to apply, so I’d rather grab a single blush. There’s also the fact that I hardly ever reach for whole blush palettes, so I doubt I would use it enough to justify the purchase, but seeing hundreds of reviews and photos in my various social media feeds kept the temptation alive. The same goes for the Charlotte Tilbury foundation that I decided will not surpass anything I currently have, so I should skip it, but the flood of reviews are tempting. Also, no one can get me to want a makeup brush like Alicia Archer (formerly KinkySweat on YouTube). So, as much as I would enjoy watching Influencer videos, if the pull of the product is too strong, I have to abstain from those videos.

I also noticed that I had a tendency to purchase products in 2021 that were made for deeper skin tones or from a black owned brand regardless of whether the product was actually the best fit for me. As much as I want to show support, I can’t be wasteful and buy things that won’t suit me. I have dark skin, but it’s still medium-dark, so not everything in the dark category will look flattering on me. My undertone also effects what shades look nice on me and which ones stand out too much. If I know it’s too deep for me then I need to skip getting it, just as I would if a product was too light.

Some of my other purchasing weaknesses are buying things as retail therapy (usually when I’m going through health issues) and impulse purchases in the early morning hours when inhibitions are low and I’m not thinking of consequences. Both are psychological and the toughest for me to fight, but knowing is half the battle.

The No-Buy and Low-Buy Categories

Essentially every makeup category has an exception because I’m trying to be realistic and allow myself some fun purchases as well, so I have a good shot at making overall better decisions. Allowing exceptions doesn’t automatically mean I will make a purchase. For instance, Charlotte Tilbury foundation releases are allowed, but after watching a few reviews, I decided I will not buy the newest one.

The categories with zero budging or exceptions* as a NO-BUY are: Mascaras, False Lashes, Face Primers, Brow Products, and Eye Primers. I have more than a year’s worth of products left in all of those categories, so I want to use up what I currently have.

*I do have an overall exceptions rule that products I intended to get in 2021, but could not due to it being out of stock at the time or unavailable in the US at the time are excluded from the No-Buy. For instance, the Essence Coffee collection was previously only available in Europe and the special holiday set of the Nyx Marshmallow primer I wanted did not get restocked, so I’m going to get the mini travel size of it.

When it comes to Lip Products, as mentioned in a previous post, the only exceptions are that I intended to buy additional Lip Clays from Kaleidos last year. I didn’t end up doing that purely because it wasn’t going to arrive in time before my six week trip. I decided to wait on buying those Lip Clays until the next Kaleidos launch caught my attention (the Smokey Nostalgia Collection). I’m also allowing myself to replace lippies with ones that may have gone bad, but I will purchase no more than 5 additional lip products in 2022.

Foundations are a NO-BUY unless it’s by Charlotte Tilbury, Pat Mcgrath, Make Up For Ever, MAC, or Nars. All of those brands (except PML) are ones who have made foundations I’ve loved in the past, and while I certainly have enough foundations to carry me into 2023, I don’t want to deny myself potentially trying a new or even old product from those trusted brands if they seem like they would be perfect for me. My overall goal is to buy zero foundations, but if those exceptions occur, I will not buy more than three for the entire year. I already have five listed exceptions, so I have to really think about which one gets to potentially be part of the three at the end.

Contours are a NO-BUY with Charlotte Tilbury and Pat Mcgrath Labs as exceptions. The raved about CT Contour Wands are something I’d like to try if she makes one that is dark enough to work for me and PML is just going to be an exception to every rule because I’m fascinated by the brand.

Powders are a NO-BUY except if Hourglass releases a single Ambient Lighting Powder to match me, but I doubt that one will happen. I’ve discovered I like finishing powders, but not setting powders, and I have enough of both so I will not get anymore this year. One other thing to mention is the Chantecaille Blur Finishing powder that I said last year I would repurchase in the Med/Dark shade if it became available for a significant discount and was not in the Flower Power packaging. I may still do that in the future, but that’s a low possibility.

Eyeliners are a NO-BUY except Stila’s liquid liners if they are half price or Sephora’s if I run out of Stila liners and just need an affordable but nice liner. However, I just bought a replacement Nyx liner during Black Friday, so with all that I currently possess, I should be set for the rest of this year.

Now, we’re getting to the toughest no-buys with the largest exceptions lists.

Bronzers are a NO-BUY except PML whose brand is due to introduce bronzers, Hourglass who is due for some deep bronzers, and CT if the brand creates a 4.5 shade between Tan and Deep. I have several powder and cream bronzers I really like and would love to make some dents in them. MAC, Make Up For Ever, and Nars may be too difficult to resist if they produce bronzers that are part of a special collection. As much as I want to try a lot more, I have to be realistic about the fact that bronzer just needs to add a warmth to my face, and there is an extremely limited amount of colors that can do that and still look natural on me. I have those shades already. Since Kosas, Huda/Glowish, and Benefit already make some of my favorite bronzers, I would have a hard time avoiding more from them, but those last three do not make my exceptions list. If I can end 2022 with under 3 new bronzers, I would still consider the No-Buy a partial success.

Blushes are a NO-BUY except MAC, Nabla, PML, Patrick Ta, Nars, Huda Beauty, Makeup by Mario, Rare Beauty liquid blushes in a mini form or if they introduce a powder version, Fenty, Clionadh, Oden’s Eye, Glossier, LYS Beauty, and CT. Technically, I made the caveat last year that I would allow myself to get a blush from Chanel and Dior, but I’m waiting for the perfect ones. I’m still very much on a blush kick. I want them all, but I don’t need a single additional one. The only way I can realistically curb my impulses to buy them all is if I have exceptions for my tip top favorite blush brands and/or the brands I haven’t tried many blushes from and am curious about trying more. The blush exceptions are mainly allowing for powder blushes. I have too many creams and liquids and will likely have to dispose of some this year, so that is my motivation to stick to powders unless the blush in question is in a mini size. Then I don’t feel quite as bad. I would be proud of myself if I could keep my blush purchases under 15 this year. That would be 82% less blushes than I bought last year when I lost all sense of reason and went blush crazy.

Highlighters are a NO-BUY excluding PML, Dior (a stipulation from last year), and if there’s a Limited Edition collection of something that I’m absolutely salivating over to purchase from, but there’s nothing in the collection I would actually use except the highlighter. This caveat I definitely need to be careful about because it ties in with my self-warning about limited edition products. But I’m trusting myself to be firm on this because I am most dissatisfied at how many highlighters I buy that are the same shades so many times over. I want to keep my highlighter number as close to zero as possible. That’s the goal, without putting an actual figure cap on it.

Finally, we’ve reached the LOW-BUYS! I must be careful not to overdo these, but I’m so picky about the products in this category that I don’t think I will have too much trouble being selective:

Face Palettes are a LOW-BUY allowing for brands like CT, PML, Huda Beauty, Uoma Beauty, Hindash, and Hourglass. I’ve always wanted one of those CT Instant Look in a Palette or face quads but there hasn’t been one that would suit my skin tone. PML would be an immediate purchase. Huda Beauty always interests me with face products, but I kept holding out for the perfect one. I wouldn’t want to deny myself if I finally saw one I thought was worth buying just because of this project. Uoma Beauty already had a face palette from 2021 I was interested in, but I was waiting to get it at a lower price since neither the light or dark palettes were really perfect for me. Now, Uoma is only on the exception list if they release a third better fitting face palette. Hourglass made the exceptions list because of their annual holiday palettes, provided they still make one this year and if it’s truly dark-skin friendly (but also not too deep for me).

Concealers are a LOW-BUY, but realistically, I’m content with the ones I have and I will likely only buy two additional concealers this year: Tarte Shape Tape when it’s half price and Pat Mcgrath’s shade 23. I have 22 and 24, but since I’m running low on both it makes more sense to just try 23 and get it while on sale. That shade has been sold out the last two times I tried to get it though, so we’ll see how long it takes. The only concealer I already purchased in 2022 was the KVD Good Apple concealer. Concealers are my least restrictive category because my needs are so particular that so few out there meet all criteria. So, I don’t mind buying several of them if I can actually find some to match all my personal requirements. Concealers are also the number one makeup items I use up regularly (out of the ones that suit me).

Lastly, when it comes to eyeshadows, I will likely only get one or two single eyeshadows from different indie brand collection launches because I’m pretty satisfied with my single eyeshadow collection. Clionadh is the only exception and I will just trust my self control and not get everything from them. However, I do have a rule on Eyeshadow Palettes, which is that I will purchase no more than 2 each month (and yes they can roll over). In 2020, I bought a whopping 52 palettes which is basically one a week. In 2021, I bought somewhere between 38-40 palettes. This year, I’m hoping to make it no more than 24. I consider a palette to be anything with 4 or more eyeshadows.

Regarding skincare, hair care, fragrances, etc. I’m on a low-buy for those and intend to buy as little new products in those categories as possible. I purchased very few new skincare items last year anyway. Also, I’ve technically been on a fragrance low-buy for years and I try to make use of all the free samples I get and the ability to buy travel sizes of perfumes.

So, this is my plan for the year! I intend to do some decluttering too. I also have some ideas of picking 4 blushes, 2 highlighters, 2 bronzers, and 2 eyeshadow palettes to use every month in order to get more use out of my collection! Or I will pick entire brands for the month. It’s like a “Project Pan” but without expecting to actually hit pan on any of the products. I’d be satisfied with some dips though! Please, wish me luck!


New Propa Beauty Lipsticks and Lip Collection Declutter

Excluded from this Declutter post will be all lip balms, lip treatments, and my own custom and handmade lip products I’ve made. Also excluded are a few limited edition lip products I have hidden away that I’m keeping for the packaging. The Declutter portion is primarily to give swatches of old products before I toss them, so that section will be more about arm swatching and less about the reviews. Products that are still good will be lip swatched, but first, let’s start with the products that excite me the most: new Propa Beauty Lipsticks!

*This is the reason I’m deviating from my normal Monday scheduling. Propa Beauty is having a sale and I didn’t want anyone who keeps up with my blog to miss it! This review and declutter was 99% completed anyway, so I decided go ahead with this surprise Saturday post! Credit to Brit Clarke on Youtube for writing about it on her community tab. Her code is BRITCHES15, but I have other codes listed further below as well, and affiliate codes do stack on top of the current sale! A non-affiliated link to the Propa Beauty website is here. And just in case it needs to be said, I have no affiliation with Propa Beauty. I have not been paid to review them, nor received PR. I just think their lipsticks are fantastic and lip products normally don’t excite me, so that’s a testament to the brand.

My first review of Propa Beauty can be found here. The brand’s satin lip formula has been highly praised. They were created to be brown-skin friendly in the undertones, while still offering shades for everyone. The lipsticks appear much darker in normal lighting than they actually appear on the lips. How they look with flash on in photos is a more accurate depiction of the shades.

I love all the new shades I picked out, as well as the “old” ones. They are so comfortable and can go from sheer to fully opaque depending on how many layers are added. Moxie is a pink-toned Mauve. It’s a little lighter than I usually go for, but it’s a nice addition to my collection. Prowess looks a lot more pink-orange brown in person, though my camera just picks up the terracotta tones to it. Prime Time is probably my favorite red in a long time. It’s a bright rosy red that looks like it has a touch of orange in some photos, is more red in some photos, and more of a deep pink in others. Of the three, Prime Time looks the best on me on camera, but I think Prowess looks the best in person. However, I don’t think I can chose a favorite among them. There are plenty of discount codes available and domestic shipping is free for purchases over $25 ($45 for international). I highly recommend them, but if you live in a warm climate like I do, please be aware that this formula is soft and they may get hot while in transit. I recommend not immediately opening them or wearing them upon delivery, as the lipstick bullet could be too warm at that point and move or break from the pressure of being used. Some people recommend putting them in the fridge or freezer to re-solidify, but I haven’t tried that myself. I just let the products sit in a cool area for at least an hour.
One more thing to note is these have some staining power. I didn’t have the swatches on my arm for long but after quite a bit of rubbing with a makeup remover it still left some outlines that only came off with more vigorous rubbing.

When deciding the shades that were best for me, I found it helpful to see how it was on a variety of skintones and over different colored bare lips, so I will link some of the videos I watched below.

Pale/Fair: Original and New from Amy Loves Makeup code AMYLOVES
Light-Medium: Original and New from Angelica Nyqvist code ANGESCHKA
Medium-Tan: Original and New from Kelsee Briana Jai code KBJ15
Tan: Original and New from Karen Harris code KHMAKEUP15
Tan-Medium Deep: Original and New from The Fancy Face code FANCYFACE
Deep: Original and New from Oheema code OHEEMA

Lip Liners and Lip Crayons

On my lips, the Tarte Tartiest Lip Crayon in Latergram looks similar to the Wayne Goss The Essential Lip Pencil in Mauve. These are colors that don’t look the best all over my lips on their own, but I like to use them to cover the darker pigmented parts on my lower lip, almost like spot concealing. While my lips are in their typical dry and unmoisturized state, these pencils don’t glide on the skin easily. In the case of Latergram, it’s because this sample has dried out a little from when I first got it. For the Wayne Goss, it’s because it has more of a waxy (rather than creamy) texture, which gets caught on every raised/partially peeled dry patch. When working with a surface that will have friction, creamier formulas are better. The MAC Lip Pencil in Nightingale is another wood pencil. I had an easier time applying it to my lips than the Wayne Goss, but the Wayne Goss was less patchy and more pigmented. I don’t know if that’s just because the MAC pencil is older or if that particular shade performs differently to other MAC pencils. I’m keeping it for a little longer because it was a gift. I’m also keeping the Wayne Goss pencil, but I tossed the Tarte one as there wasn’t much left anyway in the deluxe sample I had.

I don’t know how I got the Colourpop Lippie Pencil in Starship. I can’t locate it in my Colourpop order history, so I’m wondering if it was a free gift with purchase. I also have no clue how long I’ve had this because I found it still in the box, but in a lip drawer I never check. I could have gotten it six months ago or up to two years ago. I thought it was a twist up pencil based on the color, but it’s the kind that needs a pencil sharpener. It was the first time I ever saw a wood pencil that wasn’t black or brown. The texture of the product, how it glides and spreads all feel nice, but this shade of pink is too light for my taste, so I decluttered it.

I love the tone of pink in this Mented Lip Pencil in La La! It’s complimentary to both the darker and lighter parts of my lips. It’s a retractable pencil, which is my favorite form of lip liner. If you try to take it off before the end of the day, it will require some oil because this will not come off with water alone! The same can be said of the Nyx Retractable Lip Liner in Nude Pink and Dark Red. These are very easy to use, creamy, pigmented, and budge-proof. The Nyx liners are described as long lasting on the Ulta website, but the Mented pencils are cited as being waterproof. I’ve always liked the Nyx Pencils, though they don’t offer as many shades that compliment my skin tone as the Mented. However, they are $5 compared to $12. So, I recommend the Nyx for a great budget-friendly option, but I do prefer the Mented because of the tones of shades. When it comes to matte formulas, these are my top 2 favorites of all the lip liners I’ve ever tried.

I bought this particular Palladio Waterproof Lip Liner in Coffee nearly two years ago from Amazon. However, the first one I ever bought was years earlier when the brand was still available at Ulta. The smell and consistency are unchanged, but because it’s currently the oldest lip liner in my collection, I will need to replace it soon. I believe this was closer to $4 when I first bought it at Ulta, and my thoughts when using it was that it “just works.” I didn’t think it was particularly special beyond the fact that it’s dark, waterproof, and doesn’t skip when I line my lips. A shade like this would only ever be used by me to outline, so I don’t need it to do anything else beyond that. The price on Amazon is $6.99, so I’m not sure if I will repurchase this again, try to find a warmer or neutral dark brown like the shade Bare from Mented appears to be, or see if Cocoa from Nyx is more to my liking. I do like to just have one dark brown liner in my collection as that’s all I need.

This mini of the Bite Beauty Lip Crayon in Glace came from the Play by Sephora Isle of Beauty boxes (July 2019) that they sold outright in December 2019, which is when I bought it. I love the satin formula, which isn’t surprising considering it’s from Bite Beauty. The color is a touch too light for me to wear all over my lips, but I like spot concealing my lips with it. Unlike the Nars Satin Lip Pencil in Rikugien, which is similarly creamy but much more emollient, I don’t have to worry about the color moving around as much. The color of the Nars pencil always shifts around and moves back off the pigmented parts I try to cover, but it was the perfect camouflaging shade for photos, which is why I used it for so many years. In fact, I’ve been replacing these in my collection every 2 years, but I’ve only paid for it one time. This particular pencil and shade from Nars tends to be available as free gifts with purchases or point perks.

Unfortunately for me, I discovered that my newest replacement of my full size Nars pencil (still about a year and a half old) was not the same shade of Rikugien I was used to. The replacement is even more sheer and the shine is more reflective in the light, which works to still cover the pigment spots through light, not opacity. When looking at the actual pencils, I see visible shimmer on the tip of the new one and the shade is isn’t as pink as it used to be. It appears that the minis and/or full sizes of Rikugien were reformulated. I don’t like the newer one and if the full-size is the same, I wouldn’t be interested in repurchasing this anymore. It’s for the best because Nars might be discontinuing the Satin Lip formula altogether. I saw them in the “Last Chance” section of their website, which rather than discontinuing the product, could just mean they’re trying to get rid of their old stock and intend to release new batches or repackaged/reformulated batches in the future.

My old pencil from Nars smells waxy now, so I’m getting rid of it. My newer pencil smells like mineral oil, so I’m also getting rid of it. I’m glad I have the Bite Beauty Glace shade as a satin lip concealing alternative, but I’m going to have to toss it soon as well. Because I have lip liners that do the job, I won’t be replacing it.


I am of course keeping all six of my Propa Beauty Lipsticks in the shades Limitless, Victress, Her Magic, Prowess, Moxie, and Prime Time. Because I have these, I’m finally ready to get rid of my expired Bite Beauty lipsticks that I had been keeping for nostalgic reasons. What I have remaining is from the original Luminous Creme Lipstick collection in Shiraz which was the first nude-pink lip that I felt was perfect for me from the shade to the formula. From the Amuse Bouche collection I have Jam, which was sent to me from a friend. It was the first item I ever had available to me before being released to the public. Lastly, I have Kale which I just kept because I never had a lipstick in a shade like that before. I wasn’t confident enough to wear it publicly or share photos online, but it was my one “fun” shade. I decluttered the rest of my Bite Beauty lipsticks long ago, but those three were the most sentimental. Now, I’ve let them go. They were so old, but somehow still smelled nice. Kudos to Bite Beauty for making more “natural” and “food-grade” products that preserve so well.

I’ve also let go of the Anastasia Beverly Hills Lip Palette Vol. 1, which I’m fairly certain is the only lip palette the brand ever produced. Despite how useful this kind of product would be to makeup artists, it wasn’t well received by the masses and ended up on the shelves of TJMaxx, where makeup goes to die. I bought it at the height of my makeup experimentation days. I intended to teach myself how to mix unique custom shades and see the changes to undertone by blues and yellows on pinks, purples, and reds. Despite my initial excitement, I only used it once. The downside to mixing custom shades was that I was wasting tin pans putting only a few drops worth of lipsticks into them. If I was supposed to make a custom color each time I used the palette, instead of mixing it and setting it aside to use again, there would be no way I’d remember the combination of shades I used, nor the proportions. If there was a well that contained 4 empty spots to hold custom shades, I think that would have improved things. The palette came with a dual ended brush with a lip brush on one end and a cosmetic spatula on the other. It also came with a metal mixing palette. Mine smells very strongly of crayons so I won’t even be swatching these, just throwing them out. Because this launch didn’t do well, I was surprised to see Makeup by Mario come out with a lip palette too and I foresee it not selling well either.

The Urban Decay Vice Lipstick in (Sheer) Plaid was one of my favorite reds. It was the combination I liked of giving good color payoff without being too opaque, for making an impact but not as boldly as a more pigmented matte version would. The Urban Decay Sheer Revolution Lipstick in Sheer Ladyflower was discontinued, but I held onto it so I could try to find a replacement shade from a different brand. Both products are too old to wear, and as much as I liked them, they weren’t worth replacing at full price. I only bought these while Urban Decay was having issues selling them, so they were discounted to like $9. I think Urban Decay has great formulas, but anyone could find as good (or even better) lipsticks for less.

The MAC Matte Lipstick in Chili is new to my collection and was a free gift with purchase from Ulta. The color is stunning, but very bold. I don’t think this particular shade looks as nice on me as Limitless or Prime Time from Propa beauty do, but perhaps in the future I could find a blush or eyeshadow look that will compliment this lipstick shade. It’s also nice to have a MAC lipstick I can actually wear. All other MAC lipsticks I’ve bought have been as gifts or for collecting limited edition bullet lipsticks.

Sephora Frosted Kisses Lipstories Set

I forgot to change what I was wearing before taking lip swatches. Teal and mint color clothing makes my skin look red/orange on my camera for some reason.

This set contains the shades 36 Spring Break, 31 Golden Gate, 71 Treat Yourself, 23 After Hours, 69 Werk It, and 58 But First…Coffee. My first ever Lipstories Lipstick was Yum Yum, which is part of their satin formula. It’s another example of keeping a lipstick that’s too old in order to find a color dupe in the future. Her Magic from Propa Beauty is even closer to the kind of shade I wanted, so I’m now able to let Yum Yum go.

Other than Yum Yum, which I did get a few uses out of, the lipsticks in this set remained unopened since I bought them in December 2019! I’m finally trying these shades out for the first time, which means it’s also my first experience with the matte and metal versions of the lip stories. The only reason I’m not fond of the metals is purely how they look on my lips. I’m a bit picky when it comes to glitter in gloss, and I definitely don’t like the look of it as lipstick. I decided to keep Treat Yourself because of how beautiful it looks as a topper shade. I’m not keeping Werk It, because there isn’t as much color to that shade and it doesn’t show as well as a topper either. After Hours, Golden Gate, and But First…Coffee are the matte shades, and despite being called “matte” they all have a sheen to them, which I like. I decided to keep the latter two because they’re more unique in my collection. As gorgeous as After Hours is with Treat Yourself, I don’t want to keep a red shade I know I wouldn’t use on its own. It’s the kind of red I used to be drawn to, but now I prefer ones that lean a little brown, as I think it’s more flattering on me. Spring Break is a satin that’s a bit more sheer than the others and I haven’t made up my mind about the color, so I’m keeping it for now.

Overall, I recommend checking out the Sephora Lip Stories because the packaging is cute, the formulas are great, and they retail for the low price of only $9 each! Plus, I’ve seen them go on sale fairly often. My holiday set was $14 for 6, plus it stacked for an additional 20% off!

Liquid Lipsticks and Lip Stains

I remember liking the formula of the Maybelline Super Stay Matte Ink in Seductress and Self-Starter because they did not budge. It used to drive me nuts getting lipstick on my teeth or transferring onto other things, which liquid lipsticks generally help avoid. The downside is that I didn’t like these shades on me. Occasionally I used Seductress to cover the darker pigmented spots on my lips, but that was it. I did not get enough use out of these and they are very old by now.

For a time, the Dose of Colors Matte Liquid Lipstick in Mondaze was my favorite liquid lipstick. It was mostly transfer resistant but still pretty comfortable on the lips. I purchased mine from Ulta, but they are no longer available there and this is also too old now.

The Kat Von D (KVD) Everlasting Liquid Lipstick Minis in Sanctuary, Hawkwind, Madrid, Exorcism, and Damned were part of a set many years ago, along with a black shade I got rid of already. Even though these have been too old to use, I kept them around in order to remember which shades I liked or to find color dupes. Sanctuary was the kind of shade I never thought I would like, but I thought it was so pretty on me. Hawkwind and Madrid were also my favorites, though I mostly used Sanctuary. The KVD formula was less drying to my lips than some of the other liquid lipsticks I tried in the past, however, it wasn’t the most comfortable and sometimes I used a balm underneath, which affected the ability to be transfer-proof. I still liked Sanctuary and Hawkwind enough that I considered buying the full size many times, however, I knew I wouldn’t use it enough to be worth. I couldn’t even finish up the minis before they went bad!

The Nars Powermatte Lip Pigment in American Woman was either a deluxe sample or 100 point perk redemption from Sephora. I didn’t like the color, so I never used it.

My thoughts on the Juvia’s Place Wahala Mini Liquid Lipstick in Shakara hasn’t changed from my review in December. It’s a pretty color, but I only like it with a lip liner and gloss on top. Because I don’t feel comfortable wearing this kind of shade on its own, I admittedly haven’t used it again since that review. I think I’ll keep it anyway.

The MAC Perpetual Holiday Versicolour Stain was a gift from one of my best friends (along with the MAC Lip Liner mentioned earlier). There was a time when I was very into purple lip products, but they didn’t survive past declutters. There was also a time I was interested in lip stains, and this one from MAC is on the better end of formulas I’ve tried, but not enough for a repurchase. I like having at least one dark reddish purple in my collection, so I’m happy to have it while it’s still good.

I think this may have been the first time I opened the Colourpop Lux Liquid Lip in Prince Naveen. The color is pretty, but I only bought this as part of a set with a Tiana Blush because I wanted the box it came in. I can’t say how I feel about the formula because the smell was too offputting to try, like rotting broccoli. I can’t find record of when I purchased this anywhere, but the collection launched October 2019, so perhaps this did go bad and doesn’t normally smell like this.

It wasn’t too long ago that I reviewed the Ofra Long Lasting Liquid Lipstick in Baroque, but the shade Refine is new to my collection. The Refine shade is part of the Jen Luvs collaboration with Ofra, which I always wanted to support, but I didn’t want to pay for shipping. The Ofra formula is very comfortable on the lips, but the top layer is not transfer-proof; the topmost layer leaves an imprint. However, to actually take the lipstick completely off without lingering residue, an oil-based product is required. Refine was intended to be a mixing shade to make lipsticks more neutral. As a mixer, it does change the color in a way that improves it, but never enough to make a shade I’ve deemed unwearable to become wearable. The change isn’t dramatic enough, so perhaps I should have chosen the darker mixing shade from the collab instead. I like that you can make touch ups and layer without leaving any discoloration. It’s a good formula, but I can’t find a shade to suit me.

Beauty Bakerie Lip Whip Liquid Matte Lipstick in Syruptitious is still good considering I forgot I had this in my collection and it was still in the box in the back of a lipstick drawer. The Beauty Bakerie formula is another that requires an oil remover. I love how this particular shade looks when wet, but the color it dries to is not my taste. Just like with Ofra, I wish I could find a shade to suit me, but for $20 each, it can stay a mystery. I don’t wear liquid lipsticks enough to justify the price except when there is a sale, which I believe is how I got Syruptitious.

Lip Glosses, Toppers, and Oils

I really should toss my older Fenty Gloss Bombs, but I don’t have the heart to do it yet. The older minis are 13 months old but the full size is 19 months. I still want to get more use out of them. I specifically tried to use up the Full Size Fenty Glow, but as I discovered, there is way more product in the gloss bombs than a typical lip gloss. Despite how much I’ve used it, the tube is probably still half full. After I toss Fenty Glow, I will likely use Taffy Tease more often for that pink tinge. Because I have Ruby Milk, I will have an easier time getting rid of Cheeky. I don’t have a good brown gloss replacement for Hot Chocolit, which is why I’ve held onto that still as well. I’m still keeping Cake Shake, even though I doubt I will wear it again due to the more visible glitter specks.
I reviewed the Fenty Cream Gloss Bomb in Honey Waffles already too, and even though I didn’t like how this shade looked on me, I’m not decluttering it and I still want to find a combination (pairing it with something else) that will allow me to find a nice use for it. I don’t like the cream formula as much as the regular gloss because it’s thicker, the color is patchy, and it has a 9 month suggested amount of use as opposed to the 12 months from the original formula.

The Tower 28 lip glosses are 0.13 oz/ 3.9 mL. According to a google search, 3 mL tubes are the industry standard, but not at the mid through luxury tiers. I have the ShineOn Milky Lip Jelly Gloss in Cashew, and while I’ve only been using it semi-consistently for four and a half months, I’m halfway through with it, which has never happened to me before! I’m glad I’ll be able to use up a full size lip product, but that’s what caused me to wonder if I was doing very well or if there isn’t as much product as it appears. While I was able to find some glosses like Pat Mcgrath, Buxom, and Too Faced between 0.14 and 0.15 oz, the Fenty Gloss Bomb for $5 more has over twice the amount of product at 0.3 oz/ 9 mL. The only one I found smaller than the Tower 28 at mid-range is the 3.1 mL MAC lipglasses.

In my initial review for this, I wasn’t a fan of the texture and the dripping sensation from the mix of the “sticky” substance with the oil contained in the gloss. However, when I go to use this product I swirl the bottom and then swirl at the top before I pull it out, and the resulting consistency became almost a non-issue. Perhaps my tube wasn’t mixed properly, though it still wears the same way throughout the day (not feeling sticking until the oil layer fades), but it’s a more tolerable feeling now. I no longer have the feathering issue, but I also I don’t try to build up the color anymore either. Over time, I’ve actually grown to like this gloss for moisturization/occlusive benefits. As for the actual look and shine to my lips, I still prefer the Gloss Bombs.

I have zero clue when or where I bought the Becca Beach Tint Lip Shimmer Souffle in Papaya/Topaz. I remember leaving it untouched in the box because I was debating whether or not to keep it, gift it, or sell it. It was still in the box when I made the decision to declutter it in my 2016 Lip Product Declutter. So, imagine my surprise when five years later I found this in that lippie drawer I never check! This product has been discontinued for years, but I was curious enough about it to at least swatch it on my hand. I really wish I could have used it while it was still good, but this reinforces the idea to myself why I need to seriously cut back on lip products and why I’m on this lip product no-buy for 2021. The same goes for the Jouer Skinny Dip Long-Wear Lip Topper in St. Tropez that was a past Beautylish Lucky Bag item. I never used the Jouer topper because I planned to sell or gift it, but ended up doing neither. I am decluttering this too because of how old it is.

The Estee Edit Flash Photo Gloss in 01 White Flash was also in the lost drawer and I also never wore it. I think I used a Sephora promo code to get it. I thought the concept was brilliant having a product that could keep teeth looking white while wearing a warm toned lipstick, but I have no clue if it worked or just gave the lips a cool toned tinge. Since the Estee Edit brand was terminated in 2016 or 2017, I didn’t have the guts to test it on my lips considering its potential age.

Because it wasn’t written on the mini size tube, I had no idea the Buxom Full-On Lip Polish in Celeste was a plumping gloss until I put it on. The burn was immediate and so intense that I instantly took it off. I had just finished fifteen lip swatches prior to trying it out, so my lips were probably extra sensitive. The gloss is very pretty, but I decided not to keep this because I’m happy with the size of my lips and my lip skin is sensitive enough as is, so I don’t want to subject it to unnecessary things.

I think the mini Anastasia Beverly Hills Lip Gloss in Moon Jelly was a free gift with purchase or promo code redemption. I believe I could have gotten this sometime in 2019, but I’m not sure. It felt minty and very cooling, but I think that sensation was intensified because I applied it right after removing the Buxom plumping gloss. When I tried this a second time, it felt faintly minty but not nearly as much. The shade is like a prettier version of the Sephora Werk It Lip Story.

The BareMinerals Marvelous Moxie Lipgloss in Maverick is one I used to love and use quite often! At some point I lost it and eventually forgot about it. Of course, I found it years later in that wormhole of a drawer. I switched my acrylic 36 slot lipstick holder for a smaller one, so that must have been how certain lip products ended up in the backs of multiple acrylic drawers. This is a beautiful gloss, but not enough for me to repurchase. I think this might have been a minty gloss too, but it has been so long since I used it, that I don’t remember. It’s too old to keep and even too old for me to want to lip swatch.

I didn’t remember having the Prada Candy Lip Gloss because I stuck it in the Drawer of Doom the moment it arrived. It was part of an Ulta free gift with purchase set from October 2019 that included a deluxe mini of the perfume. I don’t believe this is available for purchase anywhere, and only pops up in gift sets, which is a shame because the shade is very pretty and the gloss feels nice on the lips. It has a strong fruity and slightly floral scent that I surprisingly like! I’m definitely keeping this for now.

The Charlotte Tilbury Jewel Lip Gloss in Rose Jewel was part of a mini set that was my 2020 Birthday Gift from Sephora. I only started using it recently and I really like how it looks and feels on my lips! I’ve rarely thought high end lip products were worth buying for the formula, just the packaging, but the shine level rivals that of the Fenty Gloss Bombs! However, the full size is $32 versus the $19 from Fenty, so I’m okay with enjoying this sample while I have it but not purchasing a full size in the future.

The Colourpop Lux Lip Oil in Local Time smells like licorice or anise. I wasn’t sure if all of the Lip Oils smelled like this or if it was just this particular one, but I saw some comments around reddit and other sites where people mention that some people can smell the licorice smell but others don’t. There’s barely any color to this, but I bought it as a lip treatment anyway. It feels nice on the lips and makes them look juicy and hydrated. The consistency feels like a less slippery/goopy version of the Juvia’s Place Nubian Glow Lip Balms, but also less oily than the Tower 28 Lip Jelly. It gives my lips a little bit of the prune look like the one from Juvia’s Place, but not to the full extent. Despite the scent, I’m keeping this in my collection. I will probably use more of it when I finish my tube of the Tower 28.

My opinion of the PUR x Barbie Gloss in Boss Gloss hasn’t changed since my review. I prefer the Fenty Gloss Bombs over this because of PUR’s pink metallic looking glitter, but the two are quite similar. This has a nice fruity scent and I will happily keep it in my collection. In the reverse, since reviewing the Juvia’s Place Wahala Mini Lip Gloss in Petty Betty, I like it a bit less. I still think it’s pretty on its own, but only in a very light layer. If too much is applied, it looks extra milky and cool toned. The main reason I liked and kept it was to keep Shakara wearable, but I haven’t even worn them together again since the review. I haven’t tried this on top of other lip products either. I’m tempted to declutter it, but I won’t as long as I still have Shakara in my possession.

Lastly for the lip glosses, I bought the Pat Mcgrath Labs Mini Lust Gloss Trio in Sunset Seduction that contained the shades Love Potion, Sunset Rose, and Flesh 6, but I set Love Potion aside to give away. Once again, I forgot about my lip product No-Buy and purchased it during the April VIB sale, which brought the price below $10. Just like with the Charlotte Tilbury, I thought it probably wouldn’t live up to the hype, but I was wrong! Now, I understand why people like it. It feels lightweight on the skin but has such a shine to it. The tone of Flesh 6 is so beautiful. This is the prettiest shade of gloss I’ve ever had. I love it! I love how shiny it is without large particles of glitter. I love the level of pigmentation where it’s still sheer but has just enough color to be distinctive on the lips in that warm medium-rose shade. If I didn’t have so many lip glosses already, I would want to purchase the full size. Perhaps during a sale in 2022, after half of my remaining collection will likely be decluttered, I will buy it. It’s the lack of glitter that puts it over the top for me! Sunset Rose looked more cool toned on my lips than I thought, despite this being described as a warm shade. Perhaps it is the shimmer and how light it is that is effecting how it looks on me. I will still keep this anyway, along with Flesh 6.

Last Minute Add-Ons

As much as I try to gather everything together for declutters, I always seem to misplace something. I forgot to check my traincase for lip products, so these are the ones that were in there, in addition to the Oden’s Eye Alva Matte Lip Stain in Ripe Papaya that was part of my mystery box that came as I was finishing this post. My Oden’s Eye review was supposed to be up before this one, but I posted this early. It will include more details on Ripe Papaya, but from my first impression, this formula is not comfortable on the lips. It looks and feels drying, but it looks amazing under a gloss. It doesn’t budge or transfer. I needed oil to remove it. Also, my first thought when I applied Ripe Papaya is how similar it looked to Propa Beauty’s shade in Limitless. This is essentially a matte version of it. They call this a “lip stain” but it’s not the watery formula lipstains are known for having. These are definitely liquid lipsticks.

Oden’s Eye has the Alva Cream Lip Stain version as well. They look stunning on the website, and appear to be more of the lip stain consistency I was expecting, so I will likely try one in the future.

Two mini lippies were from the Best of Rare Beauty Lip and Cheek Set that I reviewed here. The Lip Souffle Matte Lip Cream in Transform has gotten no use since that post. The Gratitude Dewy Lip Balm in Support has been used a few more times since that point, but I thought I would have finished it by now. I was so ecstatic about it in my original review, but as soon as I got my Propa Beauty lipsticks and Tower 28 Cashew gloss, I reached for those over the balm. It’s still the best tinted balm I’ve ever had and I will still keep and use this up. I’m also keeping Transform, but I doubt I will even use up that mini before it goes bad, just purely based on the infrequency that I wear such bold red lips.
The Colourpop lip products were from the Sailor Moon Daylight Kit I reviewed here. I bought it mainly for collector purposes, so I didn’t expect to get much use out of the Ultra Blotted Lip in Usagi. If I kept the Ultra Glossy Lip in Moon Tiara out of the box, I would probably use it more because it’s a pretty gloss that feels nice, smells nice, and adds a nice warm gleam on top of other lip products.

Declutter Results

I kept 44 lip products and decluttered 31 (I found more to declutter after this post). It had been so long since I was able to hold all the lip products, excluding lip balms, that I own in the topmost visible container and not need the extra drawers! This is very exciting for me!

The Declutter Pile

Of the remaining 44, 12 will need to be tossed before the year ends due to age, Prince Naveen is only being kept as a collector item and will be moved to my retired collectables shelf, and 4 might not stay in my collection because I’m not crazy about how they look on me. So, I’m expecting to have my collection drop below 30 by 2022.

Thank you so much for reading!


My Eye and Face Primer Collection and Declutter

I have tried my best to post consistently every week for a year, and in order to do that, I have to work on posts in advance and have them scheduled and ready to go each Monday. In doing so, I sometimes run into issues where I say I’m not going to buy something but end up getting it by the time that post is due. Or I just need one more item to review, but the shipment was delayed and I have to postpone it. Sometimes I’m further ahead and sometimes I’m further behind than anticipated.
In this case, I forgot to swatch some of these primers and take close up photos before decluttering.

Below is what the collection looked like at the start of 2020, though I couldn’t find one of my MAC Paint Pots at the time and took the photo anyway. I also have the deluxe sample of the Tatcha liquid primer in the photo and forgot to include the larger Mini Size that I also have. Lastly, the MAC NC45 Foundation Stick I skipped reviewing in my foundation declutter will be included here as an eye base.


There are only a few categories of makeup that I use up enough that I have to replace them. Eye primers are one of them, though it’s rare to go through an entire tube or jar before the textural changes (drying up or oil separating) force me to replace them. When I do run out of products, I tend to replace them with something new, but this is one category that I have made repurchases of my favorites.

Also, my tube of Nars Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base is not pictured above because it has the same rubberized packaging as other Nars Products and it became so sticky and gross to look at that I didn’t want to show it. I threw it out, but the tube was pretty much empty anyway. I like that it was clear-white (though they have tinted versions) and it did the job well enough, but I have others I like more and for a lower price.

MAC NC45 Foundation Stick

I got the idea to use this as an eyeshadow primer when I was looking into the Make Up by Mario Master Eye Prep and Set in Deep. The ingredients between the two products are so similar but I knew I could get the Stick from MAC for significantly cheaper. This was Mario’s most universally liked product from his initial launch, so I was curious. Is it possible he intended for it to be similar to the MAC stick? Personally, I think so considering his Master Metal Manipulator liquid may as well be Mehron Mixing Liquid.

I don’t have the Mario one to compare with, but this MAC stick works beautifully! I find that if I leave it unset, I can get a very pigmented application of product right away, but it takes a bit longer to blend. Because it’s easier, I just prefer to lightly set it with powder first and then I have no issues with blending. I’ve used concealer before as an eye base and I was never really a fan of that, so I’m surprised this works. The Paint Pot is creamier and more opaque than the foundation stick. However, the foundation stick doesn’t need to be fully opaque considering the shadows will cover the skin there anyway. If I just want to cover the pigmentation spots on my eyes with a liner and mascara, I can layer the stick enough to give me the coverage to do it. It’s important to note that this does not crease until too much product is packed on the eyelid.
While it’s usually cheaper to purchase an eyeshadow primer, if anyone has their perfect foundation match in MAC, it would save you from having to buy two separate products!

MAC Paint Pot in Groundwork, Layin’ Low, and Rubenesque

In the last year or two, Groundwork became my favorite eyeshadow base. It deposits enough color to easily conceal my hyperpigmentation without altering the tone of the eyeshadow that gets applied on top. One of the issues I had with concealers as primers, for example, is I felt it altered the shade color. I recall there being one time that the Groundwork color made the eyeshadow darker, but I can’t remember which eyeshadow formula it was. I believe it was a pastel shade. That’s why, to be safe, I figured I should probably go with the Layin’ Low shade next. However, I’ve only used it a few times because I’m trying to use up the rest of Groundwork first. Rubenesque is a beautiful shimmery shade that does brighten up shadows applied on top of it and it’s such a beautiful shimmer shade on its own that I prefer to just use it as an inner corner eye brightener or like a cream shadow. As beautiful as this color is, I’ve had it far too long. By the end of 2021, I will only have Layin’ Low, unless I cave on my primer no-buy and order some of the new limited edition Paint Pot colors MAC released this year.

Gerard Cosmetics Clean Canvas in White and Cocoa

This primer is really hyped among some of the “smaller” creators in the beauty community. I bought the White shade as a replacement for my Nyx Milk Jumbo Stick and ABH primer. At the same time, I purchased Cocoa because I wanted to get a shade closer to my skin tone and in case I wanted to mix it with White to create a custom color. Cocoa is such a close match to my skintone that I’ve actually used it as concealer and it works amazingly well for that purpose! I prefer how it looks without powder though under the eyes. As a concealer, it isn’t full coverage, but it conceals enough that I could see myself continuing to use it that way.

As an eye primer, these are quite nice as well. The ultimate test was using the white shade with my notoriously troublesome Nomad Cosmetics Toyko palette. It couldn’t make the palest shades work, nor did it make me like the shades I originally struggled with, but this primer helped them perform the best of all the ones I tried. I could actually blend the shadows and layer them with each other! That really impressed me. I need to use these bases with more eyeshadow formulas though because it seems that although I can blend the shadows easily and it can make more subdued shadows pop, this also has the reverse effect and can actually dull some of my shadows. I believe this happens when drier eyeshadow formulas are used on top of this base because this product isn’t very tacky or emollient, so there’s less for the shadow to stick to. I will need to continue testing this out. So far though, this seems like the type of primer that will be amazing with some formulas, but not all of them.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Deluxe Sample Eye Primer

I love how bright the shadows look with this on. It definitely helps eyeshadows that are harder to see on darker skin tones to pop and also with pastels. For an every day kind of primer, I wish this came in other shades because I look crazy if I leave any area where this is applied without putting an eyeshadow on top of it. Meaning, applying this isn’t just cancelling discoloration on my lids. It’s very much a shade to cut the crease with. A little goes a long way. The absolute tiniest amount is needed to cover the eyelid and crease. Also, unlike regular primers where I can seamlessly join shades where it is and isn’t primed, there is a clear demarcation between where the primer stops and my bare eyelid begins. Even if I try to blend the edges to the thinnest layer, it still shows a major difference. That’s why this is better for lining and cutting the crease. Also, I wish this primer didn’t emphasize the texture of my eyelids and make them look so dry. While some shadows stick to this just fine, certain eyeshadow formulas have a harder time adhering to this as a base. So, for this reason I both like and dislike this product. When I finish using up this sample, I will not be purchasing it.

Urban Decay Primer Potion

This specific tube was part of a gift set from a friend and is only five months old, but the first eyeshadow primer I ever bought was the Urban Decay Primer Potion. I used it for quite a while until discovering the Too Faced primer, which I felt worked a little better for me. In using this tube again, I see why I liked it but certain eyeshadow formulas don’t work as well with this one, whereas I rarely have to worry about an incompatibility between primer and shadow when I use the MAC Paint Pot. I still intend to use this tube until it’s completely done. Despite being in such a large tube, I feel like I’ve used up a significant amount already. One very important thing to remember when using this, if you have a darker skin tone, is that this doesn’t dry completely clear. It has a beige tinge that will effect how the eyeshadow looks on top of it if it isn’t spread in a thin even layer. If there are any areas when applying that is thicker than the rest, be sure to blend that part out or else color deposited on that spot will show up lighter than the rest of the eye.

Nyx Glitter Primer

Too Faced Glitter Glue Eye Shadow Primer is highly praised. I’ve only used samples of it, but I think the Nyx Glitter Primer is an amazing and affordable alternative that works just as well. It is a must-have when it comes to using flakier shimmers and multichromes. Of course, anyone who has visited my blog before knows my stance on glitter and that I have not used this with loose glitters. I apologize if that’s something you were hoping to know. I suppose this would be great to use with loose glitters considering that’s the intended purpose of this primer. This primer dries clear and since it’s incredibly sticky, I do not recommend using natural hair brushes with this. Honestly, I have used some of my Sonia G brushes with it, and while my brushes are still fine, it does risk the bristles being stiff and breaking off. I have noticed a slight prickly feeling with my Builder Three Brush that wasn’t there when I got it, which is probably due to a snapped bristle. This is why I don’t condone it, even though I’m guilty of doing it myself. Synthetic is safer, or allow the glue to dry down to a slightly tacky consistency and finger pat a light layer of shimmer onto the lid with the finger first before using a brush after (that way less wet primer gets on the bristles).

Nyx Pigment Primer

My tube is very old and partially dried out, so I won’t be using this on my eyes to test further, even though I only used it a few times. The reason I bought it is because I was using Nyx’s Loose pigments and wanted something that would work well with them. I also thought this would be nice to use with my pressed pigment shadows. I honestly did not see any special results when using this, which is why I quickly returned to my usual go-to primers instead.

Nyx Proof It Waterproof Eyeshadow Base

The waterproof claims are legit! I put a Viseart shadow on top of this primer, ran it under a faucet, and when I rubbed the swatch with my finger it stayed put! It basically takes an extreme amount of rubbing with a cloth to get it to start wearing down, but it removes fairly easily with my Bioderma Micellar water. When you place a shadow on top of this, it goes on very pigmented and true to color! Despite being so stuck into place where I can literally feel when my brush drags across this primer, I can still get a decent enough blend. I tried this against the UD Primer Potion with the Club Nebula palette, and I was surprised that I liked the Nyx side better! Although the UD side was more emollient, that didn’t make it easier to blend. Also, the lightly tacky base caused the shadow to show better because the colors deepened up slightly, whereas the Nyx primer could get good color payoff without changing the shade.

Nyx Jumbo Eye Pencil in Milk and Black Bean

I still don’t know what these pencils are really intended for. Nyx describes them as an eyeshadow and eyeliner all in one. The first of these pencils I ever purchased was Cottage Cheese because it was a little darker than the Milk shade and I thought it would go better in my waterline the way I’d seen Beauty Gurus use Milk. I thought it was the shimmer in the product that made it look awful on me, so I purchased Milk next. I realized it was too bright of a white and my eyes looked very unnatural with it on. Plus, the pencil was way too large to apply directly to my water line. I used a thin pencil brush, which was more precise, but the formula never dried down and wouldn’t stay put on my eyes. I started using Milk as an eyeshadow base instead to brighten up eyeshadows or help pastels show better on me, but the fact that it wouldn’t set on my lids became problematic with certain eyeshadow formulas. I somehow convinced myself it would be a great idea to purchase Black Bean as a dark base for multichromes. While I did prefer it to the other shades, I just did not like the consistency and finish of the product. So, I threw them away. I wish I remembered to take shots of them swatched before I tossed them.

Too Faced Shadow Insurance

I’ve owned many sample sizes and full size tubes of this primer, in addition to the discontinued Lemon Drop shade. The consistency and performance reminds me of a slightly less emollient Urban Decay primer potion. The fact that I kept getting these in gift sets is why I originally stopped purchasing the one from Urban Decay. This was my eye primer of choice until I started using the MAC Paint Pots. I don’t have a swatch of this because the tube was nearly empty, so I threw it out after taking the primer group photo.

Face Primers

I previously owned one color correcting primer from Make Up For Ever. I used it almost exclusively under my eyes. It was very sheer, but it gave that extra bit of help to conceal my dark under eye circles. I liked it, but not enough to repurchase it once it was too old to use.

Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Skin Booster Serum Deluxe Sample

Although it has serum in the name, it’s marketed as a skin prep for makeup. It has hyaluronic acid to hydrate the skin and it does say to use this before a primer. I have used it on its own and there’s no difference between this and a moisturizer as a primer. When combined with another primer on top, I don’t see any added benefits either. This primer is very similar in texture to the Too Faced Hangover, but the one thing I didn’t like about the Too Faced one is how quickly the coconut scent turns and hence why it isn’t shown in my initial stash photo.

Sisley Paris Double Tenseur Sample

This gel primer has the consistency of a serum. It is nice and lightweight. I’m happy I received this sample in my Beautylish order because I’ve always been curious as to why the full size bottle costs $200. After using this three times so far, I still don’t know why it’s so expensive. There are many positive skincare ingredients in this product that are supposed to tone, firm, and lift the skin after four weeks of use. I’ll never be able to see results like that from a sample, if it even works at all. I’d like to think that skincare benefits aside, I would notice my makeup lasting longer or looking smoother or something special. My makeup always looked nice with it on, but I haven’t seen anything extraordinary.

Milk Hydro Grip Primer Deluxe Sample

I despised this primer initially because the first few pumps were incredibly sticky. Everything was harder to blend on top. Perhaps this was just due to the sample bottle because the rest of the time I’ve used it, I no longer had that problem and began to enjoy it more with every use. This adds a slight dewy finish that is a little noticeable even with a matte foundation, but not enough to make it truly glowy. I believe this does extend the wear of my makeup, as products do seem to grip more to the primer and appear more full coverage on the skin. This deluxe sample that I have is almost finished and I’ve debated whether to buy the mini, but I don’t believe I will. I still have plenty of other primers to go through and between the Tatcha and Milk, I still prefer the Tatcha. I will keep this until I use it up.

Guerlain L’Or 24K Gold Radiance Concentrate Base / Hydrating Primer

This is the most expensive primer I own in the full size. When I visibly watched Tati Westbrook’s skin lift in a video when she wore this, I was sold. Well, I at least waited until a VIB sale from Sephora and then I purchased it. In the beginning, I really did think this was essentially contouring my face wherever I put it. I honestly don’t know if it was a placebo effect or not. I continued to see results until I started gaining weight. Naturally, I blamed my weight gain for why the product no longer worked. I told myself, “There’s too much skin to snatch!” Perhaps it just lost its efficacy as it had been around the year mark that I questioned if it was still working.
The product description does claim to have hydrating and tightening effects. Perhaps the alcohol in the primer made my skin feel tighter and I imagined my skin looked tighter too. I don’t know. I’d like to think what I saw was accurate over the course of that year that I regularly used it. At the same time, I remember how confident I felt when I used it, and that fact already made this product worth the price tag.
The texture is similar to the YSL Touche Eclat Blur Face Primer in that it feels like a gel and also comes in a version with flecks of gold. I had the YSL as a mini and I remember liking the Guerlain much better because of the firming element and how the Guerlain sunk into my skin better. These brands say the gold flakes add luminosity but that element is just a gimmick and an excuse to bump up the price. There is no evidence that gold as an ingredient helps the skin and whenever I get some of the flakes on my face, it looks accidental and not intentional. It’s the kind that someone would walk up to you and say, “Hey you have a speck of something on your face!” It does have a knack of showing up in photos too. There are many times in the past that I had to retake pictures because it looked like I had some glitter fallout on my face and it didn’t look cute.
The other thing I didn’t like about this is that it contains fragrance. The perfume smell is okay and fades quickly, but I wish it wasn’t present at all. My bottle smells even more strongly of perfume, which is an indication that mine is too old. Even though I’m no longer using it, I’m keeping it on my vanity because it’s admittedly so pretty with the glass bottle and gold elements.

As a primer for makeup, this worked well with every product I’ve ever put on top of it. I rarely wore makeup longer than 8 hours, so I can at least say everything I wore over it lasted at least to this point. The texture left on the skin didn’t make for the smoothest application process though, but it always looked nice in the end. I can’t say for sure whether it’s worth the price, as that comes down to the individual’s needs and if someone would get the same results I did.

Bobbi Brown Vitamin Enriched Face Base Deluxe Sample

I’ve heard this primer raved about almost as much as the Tatcha Silk Canvas. While it does help my skin to feel moisturized, I don’t see any additional benefits in terms of wearing it under my makeup. To be fair, the product description only promises it, “hydrates, softens, and cushions skin…and fends off environmental damage.” I also didn’t realize, until I checked Sephora’s website, that this product is recommended for normal, combo, and oily skin. Perhaps I’m failing to see what makes this special because my skin type is dry-normal (leaning more dry), but my personal experience with this product is that it’s just okay. I would never spend over $30 for the full size, yet this retails for $62 at 1.7 oz/ 50 mL.

Tarte Timeless Smoothing Primer

This is another Tati Westbrook recommendation, although, by the time Tarte sold this in the mini size it was said by Tati that the formula was already different. I tended to love 75-80% of her recommendations, so I had high expectations that this primer failed to live up to. For one, it didn’t do anything for my makeup. It gave me the same results I would have had if I applied foundation to my bare face. I don’t like the texture of it either. It’s difficult to smooth onto my skin (warming it up by rubbing it in my hands doesn’t help) and will pill up if I have too many moisturizing ingredients on my face. I didn’t like it with my initial first uses and now that I’ve had this for a long time and tried it again recently, my opinion hasn’t changed. I’m not keeping this. This has a little bit of a lemon scent.

ELF Poreless Putty Primer

In my ELF review, I mentioned that I liked using this in the smoother areas of my face and that I would continue to use it. Honestly, I haven’t. I’ve been working on finishing my MILK Hydro Grip Primer and Tatcha ones (which look nice no matter where I put them), so I haven’t had the desire or chance to use this much. I still stick to my belief that this is a decent primer. I do feel it helps my makeup stay put longer, but it doesn’t have the added benefits of making my skin look smoother or looking nice over fine lines, so it’s not on my list of favorites.

Tatcha Silk Canvas Mini in Original and Liquid forms

Deluxe Sample of 5g versus the 10g Mini

What I love about the liquid form is that it has all the benefits I loved from the Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer but without the white cast. This one is a white liquid as well, but it melts fully into the skin to leave no trace of white behind. My foundation and blush looks so much smoother when I apply them over this primer. The Silk Canvas in the jar form performs the same way, but it takes a little more effort to smooth it and absorb into my skin. I’ve continued to use this up, but I put it exclusively under my eyes to add extra hydration and help my concealer look a bit smoother. Also, this had a light non-overpowering lemon scent that I can smell when I hold it up to my nose, but it doesn’t linger once it’s on my skin.

Cover FX Illuminating Primer Base Deluxe Sample

I have no idea how long ago I got this sample because I believe this is a discontinued product. This looks shiny when I first put it on my skin but as I rub it in, the shine disappears and I’m left with a barely detectable shine that disappears when foundation is put on top of it. Since it’s probably old and doesn’t work well enough anyway, I’m tossing it.

MAC Strobe Cream Deluxe Mini in Pinklite

I have this sample in the original shade. Although I’ve never been a fan of pink highlighters, the pink isn’t very strong on my skin. This is the kind of product I’d wear on no-makeup days to just add a bit of luminosity to my face. As a primer, it has more of a shine than the CoverFx primer I mentioned earlier, but it dulls down quite a bit with foundation over it. This is unlike the Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Flawless Filter which I can wear under foundation and still have a glow to my skin. This product can also be used as a liquid highlighter, not just as a primer, so adding it back on top of my skin looks nice and works too. It doesn’t disturb my liquid foundation too much, but I did try it once over powder and it definitely lifted my foundation off that time. I’m tossing this tube but I have another more recent sample. I may or may not continue to use this because my skin does look very smooth with this as a primer, but I don’t think I like this enough to buy a full size bottle. I’m happy with the Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Flawless Filter as my glowy base primer and liquid highlighter.

Becca Backlight Priming Filter Base Deluxe Sample

While this does give a mild glow to the skin, it emphasizes texture a bit when used on its own. When under foundation, the glow is even more minimal and by the end of the day, my skin actually looked dry. I got this in either a subscription box or mini set. While mine is currently too old and should be thrown away, I used it on two other occasions when it was still new and I wasn’t impressed. I held onto it so I could give it another chance in the future, but time didn’t change my mind.

Becca Skin Love Brighten and Blur Primer

The texture of this primer is what I imagine a liquid version of the Tarte Timeless Smoothing Primer would be like, but better. I didn’t notice any blurring or brightening, but it made a smooth base for my foundation to glide on top of it. I was expecting at least a glow, considering the “brightening” claim, but my skin just looked matte. I’m not impressed with how my skin looks until I put other glowy products on top of it. It still doesn’t look its best until a few hours later when a little oil begins to show. I will continue to use up this sample, but I don’t think it does enough to make me want the full size. Unfortunately, Becca Cosmetics will shut down in September 2021, so I’d rather not get used to their primer anyway.

Laura Mercier Pure Canvas Blurring Primer

This primer is more liquid-like than the Becca Skin Love, but when it’s rubbed into the skin, this reminds me even more of the Tarte primer than the Becca! It starts to pill on itself the more it’s rubbed into the skin, so I’m careful with how much rubbing I do to get the product to stay on my face. This primer is mattifying. Other than that, I don’t see any special results when I use this, blurring or otherwise. I don’t want to let this go to waste, but I’m also unwilling to keep using it, so it’s being decluttered.

Smashbox Original Photo Finish Primer

This reminds me of the Too Faced Primed and Poreless Pure (discontinued). It’s a standard silicone primer. There are plenty like this on the market and if your skin works well with silicone primers, this is pretty much guaranteed to work too. I purchased a mini of this once but between subscription boxes and free gift with purchases, I’ve never had to buy another of these again. In fact, I tend to save these minis and samples for one of my best friends who loves this primer. This was a holy grail pairing with the Make Up For Ever Ultra HD foundation I used to use. This always kept my foundation in place and while it’s one of those dependable products that are great to have, I prefer to use primers with additional benefits. I gave this unopened tube to my friend, so I don’t have photos of what it looks like swatched but there isn’t much to see anyway. It’s clear and goes onto the skin perfectly clear as well.

Good Molecules Silicone-free Priming Moisturizer Travel Size

Although I have dry skin, I cannot have too heavy or too many moisturizers on my face or else I will start to get pimples. This product definitely moisturizes my skin and isn’t totally lightweight, but it isn’t a thick cream either. It’s basically right in the middle and enough that I wouldn’t apply an additional moisturizer to my skin if I was going to use this. I would apply this to my bare skin (plus sunscreen) before putting my makeup on. Besides the Bobbi Brown Base, the only other skincare-like primer I’ve used before is the Embryolisse Lait-Creme Concentre, which was much thicker than this. The Good Molecules primer is very smoothing and hydrating. The skin looks moisturized without adding dewiness. Although this has a silicone alternative, I don’t believe this helps extend the wear of my makeup the way a typical primer would, so I recommend using a setting powder or setting spray with this if you need your makeup to last a full day.

End Results

I intended to have a section for primer foil samples, but I have no idea where I put them, as they’re not in my usual sample spots. In any case, these photos show how the declutter ended.

Although I kept the Layin’ Low and Groundwork Paint Pots (and got rid of Rubenesque), I estimate that I will have used up the entire jar of Groundwork in a month or two. My Urban Decay primer also feels like it’s half empty and the ABH sample is almost finished as well. So, I’ll have even fewer by the end of this year.

Because it’s so easy to get a free sample or mini of primers, I don’t foresee myself getting a new full size one anytime soon. It will still take a while to get through the samples I’m keeping (though the Sisley and Milk only have a few uses left), and I’m holding onto the L’Or because of the bottle. So, realistically, I expect to run out of primers by the end of the year and I will likely buy another travel size/mini Tatcha liquid silk canvas to use in addition to the samples I feel will likely accumulate again.

Primers aren’t super exciting, but I hope this has managed to be a useful post!


My Powder and Setting Spray Collection and Declutter

I tried my best to keep my powder and spray collection to a minimum after 2018 because I know I never run through these categories of products and, to my knowledge, setting powders are one of the cheapest (if not the cheapest) makeup products to produce. The huge markup makes me reluctant to spend a lot on them. Some powders are more finely milled than others or I need one that won’t leave a cast on my skin or in photos, or one that isn’t too drying, so this is where the slight nuances in formulas can get me to spend more or keep trying to find one that I love enough to call a holy grail product.

All Over/Setting/Finishing Powders

Some powders I’ve used in the past have been the Make Up For Ever HD Setting Powder, MAC Translucent Setting Powder, Ben Nye Banana Powder, Besame French Vanilla Brightening Powder, etc. There haven’t been any setting powders (other than getting a better shade) I liked enough to repurchase. I don’t set my entire face with powder anymore (unless I need to wear foundation for an extended period of time), so I’ve been trying my hardest to just use what I have.

NARS Light Reflecting Pressed Setting Powder in Sunstone

This powder was my favorite of 2019. I was so happy to finally have a version (previously owned the loose version in their translucent white shade) that didn’t leave a cast on the skin or give Flashback. At the time I bought it, they didn’t have the loose version yet at Ulta. Sometimes I wish I waited to get the loose form in order to avoid the hardpressed-looking spot/film that appears onto the surface shortly after the initial use. At the same time, I didn’t want to deal with powder floating everywhere for once, as can happen with loose powders depending on the sieve.

The Sunstone shade is a great match for my skin tone in both depth and warmth. It never occurred to me, until I read Nikki’s post, that this powder can look noticeably orange on different skin tones, so I thought it was important to mention. I’ve linked her blog for anyone who wishes to see this powder swatched on her. I recommend taking a look as she posts great content!

I could have built up the color in my swatches but I wanted to show the kind of coverage one or two swipes with my finger can give. In most cases, that amount is enough to show visibly on my arm. In the case of the Sunstone shade, it’s such a close match to me that it’s harder to see. As for the original shade, I don’t have it blended in the swatch but when I used a light layer on my face, it remained translucent and also photographed well.

I’ve been holding onto the original (I stopped using it years ago) but I will toss it now, as it is quite old. I’ve only had Sunstone for a year and a half, so I’m keeping it. Plus, I still really enjoy it!

Beauty Bakerie Face Flour Baking Powder in Yellow (Cassava)

Beauty Bakerie has a lot more colors available now than when I purchased this. I prefer yellow, peach, orange, and brown powders over white or pink. In this case, there isn’t a strong enough yellow base, so it still comes off as practically white on my skin tone. I really wanted to love this powder because it was hyped up and I like supporting not only small brands but especially black-owned ones. I gave it several tries but this is just too drying for my under eyes, the place I need powder the most. So, it’s leaving my collection.

MAC Sunny Side Mineralize Skinfinish (Discontinued)

This is one of those products that I probably should not still be using, due to its age, but I like it and I’m unwilling to let it go just yet. For color correcting my under eyes, I tend to use just the three lightest colors to give myself a brightening effect. If my concealer is a bit too bright and I want to tone it down a bit, then I use either all four shades or just the darker powder on its own. Since this has been discontinued for a long time, I won’t spend anymore time describing it. However, if the other Mineralize Skinfinish powders work like this one, perhaps I should explore the line at some point in the future.

Chantecaille Perfect Blur Finishing Powder

I bought this at 30% off during the anniversary/birthday sale and it’s still the most expensive powder I own. While this does have a slight blurring effect, the overall finish isn’t anything spectacular. It doesn’t give my skin a more natural finish or a glow nor brightness. This one just mattifies me. It doesn’t give me anything else to warrant even the discounted price. I will give some additional credit that despite being pale in swatches, this does not leave a cast on my skin (though if I use too much it can lighten it). While I can make use of the blurring on days when my foundation and concealer are on the sheerer side, if I just conceal my imperfections then I don’t need to worry about blurring. Perhaps there are additional benefits I cannot see on my particular skin tone. There are rumors that Chantecaille is working on a darker version of this powder, which is admittedly intriguing to me. I want to see the full magic everyone gets so enthralled by when it comes to this powder! If a significantly deeper shade becomes available, I might sell this one on Mercari and use that money to go towards the newer one.

There is of course the charitable aspect. The Chantecaille family/brand are strong supporters of animal welfare and humanitarian work. A certain portion of the sale of this powder was donated to support “land conservation and women’s empowerment in the Amazon.”

Koh Gen Do Maifanshi Brightening Moisture Powder

I could have put this powder in the future highlighter declutter post because I use it for that purpose. The reason I did not is because my other luminous face powders have fine, yet more visible shimmer in them, such as the Guerlain Meteorites and Hourglass Finishing Powders. The shimmer in this is almost imperceptible but still gives a brightening effect.
I wish they created a deeper version and I was a little disappointed to learn that rather than make a darker shade, they recently created a pink version instead. With this one, I have to either use a very light application or blend it in very well if I want to avoid the white cast it leaves on my skin tone. Using a normal amount doesn’t just brighten, it completely lightens the look of my skin. Even though I can only use it as a highlighter/brightener, I’m unwilling to declutter this one.

Becca Under Eye Brightening Setting Powder Deluxe Sample

I don’t like this. I’ve only tried it once but it was so drying and not translucent on me. This will be given away.

Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Instant Retouch Setting Powder Deluxe Sample in Honey

When this powder was first released, I had a hard time deciding between Honey and Hazelnut. I even went in-store, but still couldn’t decide. I was able to get this sample as a free gift with purchase. The actual powder looks darker than some of my other yellow toned powders, but it looks very light in the swatch. I’m glad I didn’t buy this because it doesn’t do anything for me. It doesn’t make anything look worse but it doesn’t increase the longevity of my makeup or keep my concealers from creasing. Whenever I’ve used this powder, I always felt the need to add more product before setting it with something else. Fenty Foundations don’t pair well with my skin, so it doesn’t surprise me that the powder doesn’t work for me either. From my observation, those with combo or oily skin tend to really love Fenty complexion products (which are always too dry for me). I’ll be giving this away.

Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder Deluxe Sample in Translucent and Honey

I received Translucent and Honey as free gift with purchase samples. I’ve had several samples of the Translucent shade over the years, so I decided not to open this one and I will be finding a new home for it. I can say that the shade did look nice under my eyes but I had the issue of flashback with it, so I never bought the full size until the shade Medium Deep was released. At the time, Medium Deep was a bit too dark for me but it’s a great color match now. However, I’ve had that shade for a few years now and I moved it out of my collection rather than completely getting rid of it. When I got the Honey shade, I was worried it would be too light, but I like how it looks. Both Honey and Medium Deep don’t give me issues with a cast or Flashback. Even though the powders are distinctly different shades, I can’t tell which is which when I use them on my face. I will continue to use the Honey shade, but I will not be purchasing the full size, purely because I like the Charlotte Tilbury powder better.

Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Filter Setting Powder Deluxe Sample in 03 Dark (now called 03 Tan)

When I received this sample from Sephora, I was a bit shocked to see that a powder this light was called “Dark.” I didn’t have any hope for it, but it has become my new favorite setting powder in my collection! It’s smooth. It has minimal kick up. It works nicely with all my concealers. I love the fact that Charlotte sells this in a mini size because it’s debatable whether I could even finish a small one before the 30 month period-after-opening date, considering how little I use. When I run out of this one and the Laura Mercier sample, I may purchase the mini in the slightly warmer version called “04 Deep.” When deep was released, “03 Dark” was renamed “03 Tan.” Miss Sydz on Youtube has a video showing them both together and how similar they look.

Below is a picture showing what the powders look like over a layer of concealer. The Charlotte Tilbury and Chantecaille were truest to color. The rest look similar except the Koh Gen Do, which dramatically lightened it.

Pat Mcgrath Labs Sublime Perfection Blurring Under-Eye Setting Powder in Deep

I completed my declutter and had this scheduled and ready to post, but when Pat Mcgrath had a Valentine’s Day sale I decided to purchase this powder. That’s why it’s not included in my original photo. Because it’s so new, I admittedly don’t have much experience with it.
It’s an ultra fine powder that is silkier than the Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Filter. Here is how PMG compares in color to CT:

Charlotte Tilbury’s 03 Dark aka 03 Tan is slightly warmer than Pat Mcgrath’s Deep, despite how they look in their compacts. Although I purchased this specifically to use with the brand’s concealer, this has worked fantastically to set my other concealers as well, and not just for setting my under eyes. The only downside is that it can emphasize fine lines a little bit and it can look a little dry. This powder may be perfect on someone with a different skin type, but as someone with dry skin, I have to find a balance with the amount of skin prep and moisture I use if I want to apply this powder on top. Also, I have to use this with my same skin tone concealers and not with my lightening/brightening concealers because the powder has a brightening effect and with my lighter concealers it’s overkill. I’m very surprised PMG chose to call this one their “deep” shade and to have this be the darkest one available. This powder isn’t going to be deep enough for everyone.

This is the updated collection summary:

Setting/Finishing Sprays

When it comes to setting sprays, I use them even less than powders. I usually don’t wear makeup long enough in the day for me to need something to lock it in place or prolong the wear time. Since I powder less, I have less use for MAC Fix+ or the Morphe Continuous Setting Mist (not featured or reviewed here today) as a product to add life back to the face after using powder. My spray finishers are being utilized mainly to just dampen my eyeshadow brushes. The reason I have even this many sprays left in my collection is because of the various scents. Even though I try my best to avoid fragrances in skincare and makeup, when it comes to setting sprays it’s something that I’m drawn to and I don’t know why! It’s a bit of an impulse which I can sometimes resist until it’s in a product I enjoy like Fix+ and All Nighter.

Skindinavia Makeup Finishing Spray

I’ve had this in the back of my drawer since my 2018 Lucky Bag, but I only used it a few times in that amount of time. Skindinavia, “in an exclusive partnership” made Urban Decay’s setting sprays, so one could save $4 getting a bottle of this and feel confident that if you like the Urban Decay sprays, you’d likely enjoy this. I am a fan, but I have such little use for setting sprays that it doesn’t make sense for me to ever purchase a full-size bottle. I’ve kept it this long simply because I forgot about it, but I’m throwing this out.

Urban Decay Honey Scented All Nighter Spray

I love honey as a food, a theme, and a scent. However, I bought this at the end of 2019 and hadn’t even opened it until this February! I’ve used travel sizes of the All Nighter in the past, so I knew I’d like this for extending the wear of my makeup. I just haven’t had a need for it in the little over a year that I’ve owned it. It think it’s still okay to use, considering it’s been shelved this whole time, but it has a 6 month period-after-opening, so I will be throwing out whatever I don’t use before the year is over. Also, this smells vaguely of honey. I would have assumed it was a generic fragrance, and not intended to actually smell like something, if they hadn’t specifically labeled this as “Honey Scented.”

MAC Fix+ in Pineapple, Cucumber, and Coconut

A few holidays ago I bought several Fix+ sets that had mini trios of Coconut, Rose, and Lavender scented sprays. The Coconut mini (bottle with the mostly clearer liquid) is my last one. I love these tiny bottles because they have a fine nozzle and I’ve been able to reuse them with other facial mists that don’t have a good sprayer. The Cucumber one smells alright, but I prefer to reserve that one to spray my eyeshadow brushes. The Coconut and Pineapple smell fantastic, so I use those for my face to give myself a dewier appearance from the glycerin inside it. This is good for 24 months, and I’ve had mine for 18 months, so these will also be gone before the year is over. I intend to replace it when I run out.

Gerard Cosmetics Slay All Day Setting Spray in Dreamsicle

This spray smells amazing! In the 17 months that I’ve had this, I’ve never actually used it to set my makeup until I began working on this post. I used to use this like a facial spray and mood booster, even though that’s not what this is. This is a full on setting spray with alcohol as the second ingredient. I really shouldn’t use it like skincare, especially considering my stance on trying to minimize the number of fragrance products I use, but I have a childhood attachment to concept of creamsicles and dreamsicles. I purchased this bottle as soon as it was on sale. I thought it was strange that it didn’t come with a spray nozzle, but I didn’t mind because I had empty mini MAC Fix+ bottles I could use as the sprayer and they work wonderfully for that purpose. There is no PAO symbol or expiration date on my bottle, so I’m not certain how long this is supposed to be good for, but based on other sprays on the market I can only assume it’s at least 24 months. After I declutter this bottle, I will not be repurchasing this purely because of the added fragrance. The Fix+ scents aren’t very strong, but I imagine the fact that this is so much stronger than Fix+ has to mean there’s more fragrance in it, and that increases the risk of skin sensitization.

As an actual setting spray, this has a form of glycol in the ingredients which would explain why my face looked so dewy after loading this on. I have a blush which fades quickly on its own, so I wore that one during my 8+ hour wear test and it kept the blush on my face all day! The areas of my face where I used the Pat Mcgrath concealer didn’t fare as well, but that concealer is very finicky on me regardless.

My goal for this year is to end it with only Fix+ and perhaps one small bottle of a traditional setting spray.

That’s all for now! Thank you for taking a look. I hope you visit my blog again!


My Concealer Collection and Declutter

This is the next installment of my Declutter Series! Concealers are the only category of products that never go ages without being tried, so everything I’m discussing here (besides the concealer sample card swatches) have been tried at least once before. It’s also easier to tell whether I like one or not because my needs are very specific. For me to like a concealer it has to be pigmented enough to cover my intensely dark undereye circles (like nearly black under eyes) and have minimal settling into my fine lines. I might hold onto multiple foundations if I’m in the mood for one that is dewy or matte, sheer or full coverage, etc. With concealers, they either meet the requirements I need or they don’t, so there isn’t any reason for me to hold onto as many as I currently have.

As I noted in my Foundation Declutter post, I use the Dermablend Flawless Cover Drops as concealer, and it is currently tied with the Pat Mcgrath Concealer as my favorite product to cover my dark undereye circles. I have hyperpigmentation and scarring on my face, but I’m not nearly as self conscious about those areas as I am with my under eyes. For that reason, my favorite concealers will always be full coverage ones. Since I discussed the Dermablend product in my foundation post, I will be excluding it in this one.

MAC Pro Palette Studio Finish Skin Corrector x 6

Although I hardly use color correcters, I got an incredible deal on this palette and thought that not only could I get the Ochre and Pure Orange shades I used to have in the liquid form, I could also use the Orange color as concealer on its own because it’s deep enough to pass for brown. I also figured Deep Brown would make interesting eyeshadow base, particularly with multichromes. I didn’t take into account the fact that cream complexion products are extremely finicky on my skin. There isn’t a single cream foundation stick I’ve tried that I’ve liked. I also have a high rate of failure with cream concealers for under my eyes. I lucked out with this product that I can get a decent 5-6 hours out of the shade Orange if I set it. However, I like this better when paired with another concealer and actually used on top of it instead of underneath it.

Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Eraser and Dark Spot Corrector in Tan and Caramel

I was surprised to see that Tan is actually darker than Caramel, and is a decent shade match for me. It has been a long time since I bought these and despite severely disliking them, I kept them in the hopes that I could find a way to make them work. I did not succeed at that. The biggest issue, beyond settling into my lines, is that there just isn’t enough coverage. I find it ironic that this is specifically a “dark spot” corrector and supposed to help with aging eyes, yet mine looked pretty terrible using this. I was even more disappointed because this is one of the most hyped concealers in the Beauty community. I waited years for Maybelline to finally expand their shade range so that I could see for myself what made them magical. Instead, it was a complete waste of money. I think the powdery/velvety finish is interesting and I can see why others with less problematic undereyes could like this. I should have gotten rid of them when I knew I wouldn’t use them anymore, but now that they’re very old I definitely have to toss them out.

Pat Mcgrath Skin Fetish Sublime Perfection Concealer in MD22 and MD24

PMG’s Concealer in shade MD24 is a great match for my under eyes. When I used it in other areas of my face, I noticed it turned into more of an olive color. I love the high pigmentation and natural looking finish so much that I bought MD22 in the hopes that this would work better for me in all areas. I like that it’s light enough to brighten my under eyes, and it does remain neutral in other parts of my face. Because it is a little lighter than my skin tone, I still prefer to use other concealers elsewhere on my face and keep this one exclusively under my eyes.

I’ve only recently begun to experiment with mixing the Pat Mcgrath Concealer (MD24) and Tarte’s Shape Tape (Tan Deep Sand). The results are that I get a better shade match that neither alone can provide. The combo dries down to a semi-matte finish that gives me the lasting power of Shape Tape without the dryness and without needing to powder it. This might become my new favorite mixture, but I need to continue to test it out. Plus, I have to admit that it’s a bit excessive. I’m not sure I can recommend others spend $57 (if full price) to follow my example.

If I’m using the Pat Mcgrath concealer by itself, it sets on its own quickly, but it will fade within four hours. With a powder, it lasts until the end of the day, but not all powders will work. I’ve only seen good results with powders that contain cornstarch as a main ingredient, such as the Pat Mcgrath Under Eye Setting Powder, Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish Setting Powder, and Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder. When I tried this with the Chantecaille Perfect Blur Finishing Powder, Fenty PRO FILT’R Instant Retouch Setting Powder, and Nars Light Reflecting Pressed Setting Powder, the concealer faded quickly. I had this post ready to go when I decided at the last minute to buy the PMG Under Eye setting powder, so I don’t have a lot of experience with it, but I wanted to note that if I add extra moisture to my under eye (like an eye cream) I like the way it looks better than if I just apply concealer and powder with no skincare underneath. However, using extra moisture leads my concealer to break down in 6-7 hours whereas I’ve worn it “drier” for up to 9 hours and it was still going strong.
Essentially, when I use this concealer under the perfect conditions, it looks amazing, but getting it that way is a bit of a challenge. Skin discoloration is the prime source of insecurity I have when it comes to my face, so I’m willing to take my time with the concealer step in my routine. The end result is worth the trouble to me, for now, but it’s possible I might get tired of the inconsistent results and just stick to the Dermablend Drops and/or Shape Tape. But when it’s good, it’s so good!

If you’re interested in purchasing this one, it’s important to know that the bottle is made of glass. This is not something I’d feel comfortable taking with me traveling. I’m afraid I might even break it at home! Also, the $32 price tag is a lot, but I waited for the brand to have a sale and got it for 30% off.

Tarte Shape Tape in Tan Sand, Tan-Deep Sand, Deep, and Deep Sand

As mentioned earlier, this got partially unseated as my favorite concealer after many consecutive years. When it comes to using PMG’s Sublime Concealer with a powder versus Shape Tape alone or with a powder, I like the results of PMG more. In any case, Tarte expanded their range to include Tan-Deep Sand, Deep Sand, and a few others. Knowing Tan Sand is super light and Deep can sometimes be darker than my skintone when I get less sun, I was hoping Tan-Deep Sand would be a nice middle ground shade. Unfortunately, there is barely a difference between them despite their jump in number from 42S to 47S. The reason I have a light color at all is because I needed it to mix with Deep. I guess I should be glad my new mixing shade is slightly less stark? As for Deep 53N and Deep Sand 53S, I expected them to be the same shade with different undertones. While I’m happy Deep Sand has more yellow in it, it’s also a little darker than the shade Deep, which I absolutely didn’t want. This only has a PAO of 6 months, so when it’s time to get rid of my Deep shade, I’ll have no choice but to mix my remaining Tan-Deep Sand and Deep-Sand concealers together if I want to continue using them. I kept Tan Sand past its date because I wanted to try and use it up, but I’ve thrown it out now.

One of the biggest complaints I’ve heard about this concealer is that it’s too drying or it looks scaly under the eyes. While it can do that if the under eyes aren’t prepped and hydrated properly, I realized that this concealer doesn’t need to be set with powder. Skipping setting it has definitely helped to make it look less dry.

Despite having new favorites, Tarte Shape Tape is like a comfy blanket. I don’t feel secure with my concealer collection without having it there as a backup. At least once a year, Ulta puts these on sale for half off, so that’s the time when I stock up. Tarte does that at least once a year as well on their own website. The travel size is also available for every shade, but the full size is 10 times the product for less than 3 times the price. The full size is way more cost effective.

Hynt Beauty Duet Perfecting Concealer in Dark and Deep

Ulta had a sweepstakes of sorts and I won these two concealers! The jar is made of frosted glass. Dark is an outstanding shade match and the product inside is super creamy, but that is why it doesn’t work for me. It doesn’t matter if I leave it alone or use powder, this concealer gathers alarmingly quickly in the lines under my eyes in a very unflattering way. Matte liquid concealers tend to set fast. The only cream concealers I’ve had success with are stiffer, less emollient ones, which is why the wonderful texture is what keeps me from using products like these. If you typically opt for cream concealers, you might like this one and it does have great coverage. Since I can’t use them, I’m not keeping them in my collection.

Nars Soft Matte Concealer in Amande

This concealer has a whopping 30 month period-after-opening! I admittedly have owned this for a bit longer than that. It’s one of the few cream concealers that stays put and doesn’t crease as badly. I prefer leaving it unset but if I do use powder, less is better. Amande is the best shade match I have in Nars concealers I’ve used in the past (though the formula of the famous Radiant Creamy Concealer was terrible on me). Even though I like this, throughout the years I kept reaching for Shape Tape instead, so this product was hardly used, which I think is why it’s still in such good condition. I’m not willing to get rid of it yet. I want to hold onto it for one more month so I can form a more solid opinion of this concealer. If I don’t, I have a feeling I’d repurchase it in order to find out, especially since I’m such a fan of the Soft Matte Foundation and I’m curious to see how the two work together.

Too Faced Peach Perfect Matte Instant Coverage Concealer in Nutmeg

I thought this product looked so beautiful under my eyes, but the scent they have in the Peach Perfect line is so overwhelming and headache-inducing that I couldn’t handle it. I tried to wear it twice, but hours later the smell remained. Each time I wore it, I ended up washing it off because I could not deal with the fragrance. It’s a shame because this is one of the few cream concealers that work for me and this had the potential to be in my top 3 favorite concealers. It’s being phased out of Sephora, so anyone who wants this can pick up some of the few remaining shades for 50% off. It’s creamy but somehow doesn’t move on my face. The finish is natural and it has the amount of pigmentation that I need. If Too Faced releases an unscented version in the future, I’d buy it. Unfortunately, I don’t foresee that happening.

Maybelline Super Stay Full Coverage Under-Eye Concealer in Tan

I bought this on a whim in-store. I knew the shade was too light but the only other shade available was too dark and I really wanted to try the formula (and also use a coupon with a spending minimum). I was pleased with the amount of coverage it provided. I heard it was supposed to be less drying than Tarte Shape Tape, but I did not find that to be the case. For this reason, I didn’t use it ever again. I’m fairly certain it’s old now, so I’m throwing it out.

Benefit Boi-ing Cakeless Concealer in No.9

I bought this because I wanted to test out the formula but didn’t want to commit to a full size and this was the darkest shade available as a mini. Even though it’s a liquid, this settled too much in my not-so-fine lines, so I did not test this further or try to get a better shade.

Amazing Cosmetics Amazing Concealer in Dark Caramel

When I mentioned before how all my concealers get tried as soon as I get them, this one is the exception. Every so often, I would get a sample of this concealer as a gift with purchase, so I knew I liked it. When Ulta put it on sale for 50% off, I bought it…three years ago. I hadn’t even removed the safety seal until the day I started working on this post.

The shelf life of unused makeup isn’t that long, so I’m surprising no one by saying this was expired when I finally opened it. The smell of crayons was extremely strong. On the bright side, I can at least say that I liked this concealer based on the samples I tried earlier in my makeup journey. It’s full coverage, which I need. Clearly, though, I didn’t like it enough to actually start using it once I had the tube in my possession. I wish I could remember why, but I’m not going to put this on my face or buy another one. If I get hold of a sample again, I will update this post with my findings.

It Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eyes Concealer in 35.5 Rich W

I bought this after seeing PopLuxe’s rave review. He often cites this as one of his favorite concealers. The shade match was atrocious (I fully blame websites for making this appear darker online than in person). Even the name implies that this is going to be a dark shade. 35.5 Rich W is darker than my Shape Tape mixing shades, yet if I wore those under my eyes (which I have), they don’t look anywhere near as lifelessly grey as the one from It Cosmetics. I’ll give this some credit for being medium-full coverage, but It Cosmetics is notoriously terrible at making shades darker than medium. I’m glad I only bought the mini size and didn’t pay full price.
Aside from their brushes and mascaras, I haven’t had much luck with their other products. I think I’m going to take a long break from this brand.

Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place High Cover Concealer SPF 35 in 5N Deep

This is an extremely old and discontinued concealer that I kept around for shade comparison purposes (I haven’t used it on my face in many years). It’s the best shade match I’ve ever had, or at least in the top two, and it was a favorite for a long time. I found better products since then, which is why I never repurchased it. Since it’s so dried out that I could barely swatch it, I can’t even use it to compare the color, so it has a new home in the garbage.

Samples and First Impressions

Estee Lauder Double Wear Radiant Concealer in 5N Deep and 6N Extra Deep

The texture of this sample reminded me of how my discontinued Double Wear concealer used to feel, which is a bit strange considering this is in a liquid tube and I can’t imagine it’s supposed to be this thick. That’s the trouble with samples and full sizes sometimes; it’s possible they could be different due to the container. I tried the 5N Deep sample anyway, and it creased too much for my liking.

Rare Beauty Liquid Touch Brightening Concealer 450N

I actively watched this fade over and over in the area of my smile line. I applied more and set it, but it refused to stay over my smile line and still partially faded around my mouth. Ironically, the place that the majority of the time fades, under the eyes, is where it remained the best for a short time. Without powder, this lasted about two hours. This still only lasted about four hours on the powdered side before the fading was unflattering. Even if this lasted longer, I’m not crazy about the dewy finish, and I mean real dewiness not the natural finish or semi-matte kind. I don’t want my under eyes to shine because it brings attention to the sunken hollows of my under eyes, which isn’t so bad as long as the dark circle stays covered, but not great if the concealer starts to wear off as the day goes on.

Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Light Capturing Self-Setting Concealer in 41 and 52

Shade 52 creased within minutes. When set, this still barely lasts an hour. It settles in lines and fades and just does not work for me. I was very disappointed considering how well MUFE products usually work for me, and this is supposed to be self-setting. It’s honestly one of the worst concealers I’ve tried, so even though this is just a first impression review, I can’t recommend it.

Too Faced Multi-Use Sculpting Concealer in Chai

I used this sample for swatches, but I’ve purchased the full size concealer before and in this same shade. This is a much loved product that did not work for me. It didn’t give me the coverage or finish I wanted. It settled in my lines. I swiftly returned it.

Final Thoughts

After the decluttering process, this is what I’m left with:

I’ve going on a low-buy and no-buy for a lot of product categories, but the concealer category isn’t one of them. I don’t mind continuing the search for the ultimate concealer that works for me and could potentially be even better than Dermablend Drops, Shape Tape, or Pat Mcgrath. I’m not in a rush to get anything new and I still don’t want a large concealer collection, but it makes sense for me to expand the area that combats my biggest insecurity.

Thank you for reading.


My Foundation Collection and Declutter

I don’t always post about it, but every December I compile a list of my favorite beauty products of the year. I had a first draft completed for, “Products I loved in 2020,” but I decided to scrap that idea. Although I tested more makeup in 2020 than ever before, calling something a favorite has more impact when it’s compared to the twenty or more other products I had at my disposal, as opposed to just a handful.

‘Shopping my Stash’ has become increasingly important to me. I believe I will purchase fewer things if I am more familiar with the products I already have. I also want to feel the satisfaction of using up a product until it is empty. At the same time, there’s no need to keep the products I know I won’t use due to an incorrect shade match, being too heavily fragranced, not meshing with my skin type, etc. So, I will be disciplining the inner makeup hoarder in me and condensing my collection as well!

I also decided that in the swatch portion, I’ll include some foundation sample cards in case anyone is curious about additional shade matches from other brands!

Nars Sheer Glow in Macao – Nars Sheer Glow unseated the Make Up For Ever Ultra HD, which was my favorite foundation for 3-4 years. I love this product and whenever I wore foundation in 2020, at least 80% of the time, I was using Sheer Glow. I use the tiniest amount for light coverage and utilize concealer to cover the areas where my hyperpigmentation shows through. When I use a normal amount, which gives me medium-buildable coverage, I tend to skip concealer everywhere except under my eyes. I love the natural finish it leaves on my skin and it works amazingly with any tool I use, whether I use my fingers, a brush, sponge, or Blendiful. It lasts all day until I’m ready to remove it. My only complaint is about the packaging. This comes in a screw cap jar, which from experience, the exposure to air from frequently opening and closing the bottle will start to cause the foundation to get darker well before the expiration date or open canister number. So, I bought the pump that’s made specifically for this foundation in order to keep it as airtight as possible. However, when you put the pump cap on, the original bottle cap no longer fits. So you have to keep it as shown in the photo without a cap. Considering the $47 price tag and $6 pump, it’s a bit ridiculous that Nars doesn’t provide a pump cap with it, so I can store it like a normal foundation. Expensive items shouldn’t be poorly packaged.

It has been about 13 months since I bought this, and I have felt that the color is a little darker than before, so I may be getting rid of this foundation soon. However, I’m not fully ready to part with it, even though the PAO date has passed.

Cover Girl Clean Fresh Skin Milk Foundation in 600 and 620 – I can talk at length about this foundation because I started working on a post for it when it was released in December of 2019. It gave me so much trouble that I ended up abandoning the project. First, was the issue of the shade match; which 600 looked much darker in the original promo photos. 620 is still a bit light for me but it’s workable as this foundation is intended to give sheer to light coverage. It leaves a veil over the skin, like a tinted moisturizer, and it feels like a moisturizer in texture as well.

In the beginning it doesn’t feel greasy at all. It leaves a nice dewy finish at the start. I have normal-dry skin, leaning more on the dry side. The fact that within 2 to 5 hours this foundation turns me into a oily mess is shocking. I found that whatever primer I paired it with effected how quickly it took before my face would freak out and start producing oils at a rate I’d never seen before. I tested this foundation about seven different times and the end consensus was that I don’t recommend using any primer with it, and to set it heavily with powder after applying. Perhaps a mattifying primer would work. I can’t test that theory out since I have dry skin, so I don’t own any mattifying or oil controlling primers. The best result I had was mixing 600 with my Lancome Teint Idole Foundation (which was too dark and very matte) in a ratio of 75% Covergirl and 25% Lancome, in order to have enough pigment to lighten the Lancome shade. However, I still couldn’t get a decent look past 5 hours. There’s something in the Cover Girl foundation that causes my skin to produce an alarming amount of oils. Even still, it’s not worth the hassle for the low coverage this product provides.

I would say perhaps this foundation would work better for someone else, but as time went on more YouTubers started trying it out and two of the ladies I watch had strong allergic reactions to this foundation. In addition, I think this has a bit of a bread-like smell combined with milk or lite cream. However, I’ve seen some reviews where other people found the smell to be repulsive. So, I don’t even recommend giving it a try. I kept the bottles in case I ever did want to make a post about them, but now that I have the photos I need, they are in the garbage.

Shiseido Synchro Skin Self-Refreshing Foundation SPF30 in 440 Amber – I purchased this shade based on my Sephora Color IQ number, the complexion product matching system. Based on the initial color that comes out of the bottle, it looks like a good match. However, once it settles into my skin I can see a grey cast. I initially thought it was because the product was too light for me, but I believe it’s due to the addition of sunscreen in this.

The product claims sounded amazing and the beauty gurus were raving about this when it was first released. When I used it myself, I was impressed with how it wore around my smile lines. I have one specific crease that a lot of foundations settle into. However, this foundation really did keep that area looking smooth and covered up better than any other I’ve tried. With all that being said, I still hardly use this foundation purely because the grey tinge makes my skin look so dull and lifeless. Instead, I use a different foundation everywhere on my face but I will occasionally blend in the Shiseido foundation just onto my smile line. Since it’s such a tiny area, there isn’t much of a color differentiation. My bottle is going to expire in March 2021, so I will hold onto it until that date. SPF in makeup is notoriously an issue for those with darker skin tones, so if you have a lighter complexion where it wouldn’t be as much of an issue, I would recommend this one.

Laura Geller Filter First Foundation in Pecan – I bought this foundation when it was 90% off (only $3.80) at Ulta because they were dropping the brand from their stores. The shade match is a little more golden-orange than I liked, so I only wore it once. Based on that first impression, I believe it could be a decent foundation if I had a closer shade match, but there weren’t many other shades available for purchase. This foundation’s time has run out though, and I’ve disposed of it.

Clinique Even Better Makeup SPF 15 in WN 124 Sienna – As one of my Diamond Rewards from Ulta, I was able to redeem a free Clinique foundation. I was color-matched by a store associate, but Sienna is still a bit too light and not golden enough. Out of the 56 shades in the line, there are only 3 darker than my shade. The next one up was too dark, so I went with Sienna and figured it might work better in the winter months, which unfortunately it does not. I’ve had it for nearly a year, so I’m getting rid of it.

Tarte Face Tape in 53S Deep Sand 54G Deep Golden – I had help from an Ulta associate getting shade-matched to Deep Sand, which tends to be my closest match in Tarte’s foundations. I really loved the finish and coverage. I still felt like the tone was slightly off, but there wasn’t anything better suited for me in the range. So, I wore this a few times and went back to my other foundations.

Because I bought this in-store and can’t see past January 2020 in my account records, I’m not sure when I purchased this. I remember at some point the color seemed even more different than I remembered, which led me to purchase the travel size version online in Deep Golden in January 2020. I realized this shade was a bit too golden and didn’t look better on me than Deep Sand, so I never used it more than once.

I know there are a lot of people who don’t throw foundations away immediately after the PAO date. They continue to use them until it starts to be too long (going on two years), change in smell/consistency/performance, or until the bottle is used up. I try to be good about disposing of my liquid products, but sometimes I hold onto them for longer too. I bring this up because my older Face Tape foundation developed an extremely sticky consistency. I was a bit repulsed by that, so I checked the bottle and realized it only has a 6-month period-after-opening. That’s pretty shocking considering the price point and the amount of product you get. Foundations are usually good for at least one year.
My newer one is 11 months old and hasn’t changed its texture, but I’ve thrown it out as well. Purely based on the PAO issue, I don’t recommend this foundation.

Make Up For Ever Ultra HD in Y505 – I finally let this one go. I’ve been a fan of the original MUFE HD when my shade was originally 177 Cognac. When the Ultra HD version came out, I went through 2 other bottles of that. I loved the coverage and how beautiful my skin looked on camera. It had a nice natural/soft matte finish. If powdered, it was fairly transfer-resistant. My shade was a little more neutral than yellow/warm, but it still looked great on me. It was the shade I always referenced as my perfect skin tone before using Macao from Nars. For some reason, Y505 was discontinued, and that is what led me on the hunt to find a different “holy grail” foundation. When my color was discontinued, MUFE introduced Y508. I’m not sure if it was supposed to replace mine or how similar it is to what I used. What I do know is that Y505 in some of MUFE’s other foundations are slightly different across the board. I may try to investigate this further, but for now, I’m happy with Nars foundations.

Nyx Born to Glow Naturally Radiant Foundation in Nutmeg – This gives me a grey cast because the one I bought was too light for me. I didn’t try to buy another shade because Nars Sheer Glow feels lighter on the skin than this, while simultaneously giving more coverage, so I prefer that. This foundation also does not dry down as much as I’d like. This one definitely isn’t bad. It’s just a preference thing. January marks 12 months of having this foundation, so I removed it from my collection.

Beautyblender Bounce Liquid Whip Longwear Foundation in 4.10 and 4.35 – In June, using the same Sephora Color IQ, I ordered shade 4.10 even though it said “cool olive” and I’m always “warm golden” or “warm yellow.” I thought perhaps the matching system was intended to be like MAC with NC being my shade range instead of NW. I was wrong.

In November 2020, the foundation went on sale and since I did enjoy how the foundation looked on my skin, I decided to get a darker color to mix with. Without being able to see or test it in-store, or decipher in photos online, I didn’t want to try to and guess at a shade that was still too light for me and be unable to use yet another one. In the photo below, I was able to compare them to shade 4.30 thanks to a foundation sample card that I got with one of my online orders. It’s not too far off from my skin tone, just a touch too dark. As I already have two bottles though, I’m not going to buy a third.

If someone is able to find their match, I do recommend this foundation, although I think they may be discontinuing it considering the severe price drop. The formula is a bit thick, but I think that makes it perfect for using with the Beautyblender, since the damp sponge will give it a slightly thinner consistency. I’m keeping both.

L’Oreal Infallible Fresh Wear Foundation in Hazelnut and Copper – I bought this based on Tati’s rave review. I did really enjoy the beautiful dewy finish. I wasn’t satisfied by the shade matches, as I felt like they oxidized towards the end of the day. I also felt like they didn’t dry down as much as I liked. Also, this foundation smells a bit like perfume. I kept using them initially but eventually I grew tired of how long it took before I could no longer smell it on my face. Ironically the newer bottle I bought, Copper, expired a few months ago. The first bottle, Hazelnut, expires soon. I went ahead and got rid of both.

Uoma Beauty Say What Foundation in Brown Sugar T1W – I absolutely love how lightweight this is and the gorgeous finish it leaves on my face! Despite being thin, it can be built up to full coverage. It feels so hydrating to my dry skin! The brand calls the finish a “vibrant matte” but on me, it still has a glow. Although the Brown Sugar and Bronze Venus categories cite oily/combo skin as the most common skin type, which would lead me to believe this formula wouldn’t be as nice on someone like me, it still somehow feels like there are oils in it even though it’s a water-based product. If I’m able to find a less orange shade match that better suits me, this could potentially become my new favorite foundation! It’s my understanding that the Brown Sugar shades tend to have a lot of orange in them in order to correct hyperpigmentation, which is a common issue for those within this skin tone range. This makes me wonder if getting the neutral T1N might still be too orange, or if that shade might be too dark for me. I’m within the Bronze Venus range for the contour and highlighting stick, but the Bronze Venus T3W and T3N looked like it might be too light for me based on photos. I’m waiting for a sale before I try to pick up a second bottle, which will likely be Bronze Venus T3N. My local Ulta doesn’t carry this brand in-store, so I will have to guess blindly. Shade matching in-store doesn’t always work for me anyway.

Because this foundation is the runniest one I have (even thinner and more watery than Dermablend drops), I dispense it directly onto my face before strategically dotting it in other areas with my finger. Then I either use my fingers or a brush to blend it in. The Blendiful soaks up too much foundation if you apply it directly onto its surface before putting it on the face. However, if the foundation is applied to your face already, the Blendiful works well to smooth it out. I do not recommend using a damp sponge, for fear of further diluting the product, unless you plan to use extra pumps of foundation with it.

*NOTE: At the time of posting, this is currently 40% off at Ulta! I ordered Bronze Venus T3N. Wish me luck!

Dermablend Flawless Creator Lightweight Foundation in 70W – This foundation has the closest consistency to the Uoma Beauty one, however, it doesn’t give the same finish and doesn’t have quite the same texture. It also looks light in the swatches above but when it fully dries, the color darkens to a very close skin tone match for me. Although I can use this all over my face, my favorite use for this is as a lightweight but full coverage concealer with a natural/semi-matte finish. I got the idea from Marlena Stell, Makeup Geek founder, who frequently uses this foundation as a concealer in her live makeup videos on Youtube. Once I bought the Pat Mcgrath concealers, I stopped using this for a few months, but now I’m using it again to cover my dark circles and hyperpigmentation. A little goes a very long way and if the tiniest amount isn’t used, it can look almost mask-like. They weren’t kidding about this being full coverage, which is why I prefer to use this as a spot concealer. 1-4 drops can be mixed with moisturizers, serums, sunscreen, etc to create a sheerer complexion product but I haven’t done that yet. I like the formula as is.

I think it may be time for me to toss my bottle of 70W, due to some perceived changes, but I’m not ready to let it go yet. Ulta had this for 50% off a week ago, but they don’t carry 70W. I still bought 72N hoping it could work for me, and it does as an under eye concealer, but being slightly darker and slightly more orange is enough to be mismatched for the rest of my face unless I use one of my light yellow setting powders (such as the Laura Mercier Honey shade) to balance it out. However, it looks too drying if I set it with powder. Unlike other complexion products I own which aren’t intended to be mixed, the Dermablend drops are a multi-use product. I’ve only had 72N for a few days, so I will experiment with it some more to find out the best way to utilize this shade in the future.

Milani Conceal + Perfect 2 in 1 Foundation and Concealer in Amber – Because the shade match was off, I honestly didn’t give this product enough of a chance to be able to review it. I’ve had it for 16 months, so it needs to be tossed out.

Lancome Teint Idole Ultra Wear 24H Long Wear Foundation in 500 Suede W – This is the oldest foundation I have in my collection and it survived multiple declutters because I kept saying to myself I was keeping it to mix with any foundations that were too light. How often did I actually do that? Less than a handful of times! I’m absolutely getting rid of it, though it’s such a shame that I didn’t use it enough. It was part of my 2000 point redemption order via Ulta, and I heard doing exchanges on items purchased with points is a hassle, so I didn’t try to get a different shade. It was supposed to match me based on my Sephora Color IQ, but I only have a 50% success rate with Sephora’s recommendations. Based on my limited experience with this, I can say that I like how full or near to full coverage it was. However, it didn’t impress me enough to repurchase when I had MUFE and Nars foundations in my possession.

Kosas Tinted Face Oil in Tone 7.5 – I mentioned in the Uoma Beauty section that the Say What foundation felt as though it had some oils in it. This foundation is actually oil based and feels very similar to that one. The finish is nice and because it gives light coverage, the imperfect shade match is more forgiving. I believe Tone 8 is my actual shade. I’ve enjoyed this sample so much that I’ve been tempted to purchase the full size ever since. However, I’ve held back because I prefer the Uoma formula a little more. Considering the similar price points and how they look on my skin, I would rather get a buildable foundation that I can have at full pigmentation or sheer out, as opposed to one that only provides low coverage.

Nars Soft Matte Complete Foundation in Macao – Considering my skin type, I’m so surprised how much I love this foundation! I like how smooth this looks on my skin and the consistency is watery (but not as thin as Kosas or Uoma), yet it provides full coverage. It appears lighter and more neutral than the Macao version in Sheer Glow, but I still like how it looks on my skin (and especially in photos). It also sets without needing powder. It isn’t completely transfer-proof but if I press a napkin to my skin, it is minimal. It settles into my deeper smile line, so this may not be a great foundation for someone with mature skin. I still like it though and it is so smooth everywhere else. This foundation is the reason I have no plans to repurchase Sheer Glow. If I buy another one, it will likely be this. I’m still going back and forth on it.

Pat Mcgrath Sublime Perfection Foundation – I only had this foundation in the form of a sample card, so I can only say from my single sample use that it looks pretty on the skin and is on the light to medium side. I think I would like this foundation, but not for full retail price. Even 30% off would be too steep for me, so I don’t think I’ll ever be adding this one to my collection.

Fenty Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation in 420 – I still don’t know my correct Fenty shade. I’m supposed to be 420 based on the color IQ, but 420 pulls a little darker and noticeably orange on me. When the foundation initially launched, I went to Sephora to get samples of 390, 410, and 420. I could not tell a difference between 410 and 420. 390 looked like a better shade, even though it looked a little on the pink side to me (despite the description). I didn’t investigate further because I did not like how this foundation looked on my skin. It looked very drying and showed texture and lines I didn’t know I had. When the hydrating version launched, I went to my local JCP-Sephora and tried those same three shades again. In the hydrating formula, 390 was lighter than the matte version, but once again, I couldn’t tell a difference between 410 and 420. I didn’t investigate further this time because I still didn’t like how the foundation sat on my skin. Despite being a “hydrating” formula, it was still too drying on me and looked like it was just sitting on my skin. Now that there’s a powder version, I am tempted by it. However, my local Sephora isn’t getting them and I will not blindly buy a powder foundation when they are notoriously tricky to shade match as they often don’t match the color in the pan. I have a hard enough time purchasing the right shade of liquid online, let alone a pressed powder foundation. Plus, I imagine it would be even more drying on my face, so I will skip it. Fenty Foundations just aren’t suitable for me.

Make Up For Ever Matte Velvet Skin in Y505 – This shade looked even lighter and more neutral in the swatch than the Nars Soft Matte foundation. However, when it has time to sink into the skin, it becomes a little warmer and matches my skin tone very well. It’s a bit on the thicker side in terms of consistency, so it doesn’t blend as easily or smoothly across my face, and powder products don’t blend as easily on top of the foundation, but once it’s blended it looks great. The coverage provided is medium-buildable to full. I prefer the Nars Soft Matte a little more than this one. I will give it credit for not settling as deeply into my smile lines. That factor is what keeps me waffling a bit about how I feel, but the blending issue is why I will ultimately not purchase a full-size of this product.

YSL All Hours Foundation in Warm Mocha and Warm Hazelnut – YSL has an option on their website to try 2 deluxe sample sizes of their foundation for $10. One was too light and one was a touch too dark. There are no shades between BD70 and BD75, so I never bought the full size and didn’t want to mix. I can’t find a date for when I purchased these, but I’m certain they are too old. I remember that when I initially tried them (mixing the two shades to get a wearable color), I liked the formula. However, it’s not worth $54 and I wasn’t even excited enough to continue using the samples.

Now we’ve reached the section that are purely foundation sample card swatches. The only points I can make about these is that the Too Faced Dew You Fresh Glow Foundation has fragrance in it. None of those ABH foundations match me, and I was surprised by how dark the Estee Lauder 6W1 Sandalwood shade looked on my arm. A few years ago I used to wear that shade in the Double Wear formula.


This is what I’m left with at the beginning of 2021! I don’t have swatches of the MAC foundation stick because I don’t want to open it yet. I bought it to test as an eye primer because the ingredients are so similar to the Makeup by Mario Eye Prep and Set in Deep (and I’m darker than NC45 right now).

If I remove the three shades that need to be tossed at some point this year due to age, and the products I’m still holding onto as shade references as well as foundations used for other purposes, I would only be left with the Uoma Beauty Foundation, Beautyblender foundations, my Nars Sample, and MUFE sample! I can’t remember the last time I’ve had such few foundations at my disposal, but it’s a bit exciting to me! I only want to keep products that work for me and a reduced collection will allow me the satisfaction of finally being able to use up more products!

My goal is to end 2021 with no more than five full-size foundations in my possession (multiple shades of the same foundation formula just counts as one). We’ll see how well I stick to that!

Thank you for reading!