Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Thinning the Hoard

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Someone once asked me how I decide what to keep and what to get rid of when sorting through my accumulation of makeup products. Now seems like as good a time as any to write a post about that process, since I just realized that I'm going to have to move in less than 6 weeks. Ugh! I mean, I'll be glad to get out of my current shithole of an apartment, but apartment hunting and moving are huge pains in the ass.

Before I pack everything up and move it somewhere else, I'd really like to eliminate as much of the useless shit I have lying around as possible. My piles of unnecessary belongings extend far beyond just makeup, but since that's what I mainly talk about here, that's what I'll stick with right now. Writing it all out is a useful process for me, because it forces me to come up with realistic rules for myself about what I should or should not hold on to, and to spend the time to consider whether or not I really have room for various items. So I'll go through a few categories of cosmetics here and lay out some guidelines upon which I'm basing my decisions about what to keep and what to set free. If you can think of any other suggestions, I'd love to hear them.

Trash or Keep

There are certain items that I can easily decide to hold on to, such as products that I use on a regular basis and/or one that are unique and well-loved, and there are those that I can easily dispense with, because they are of no use to me.

Trash: There are some things that I'm never going to use, and that I also don't think anyone else should use. I tend to come into the possession of shit that falls into this category through subscriptions (Ipsy, in particular), free samples/gift-with-purchase deals, or the occasional impusle purchase. For example, in a recent Ipsy bag, I got some "Mark Fading Pads" by Proactiv, and the first ingredient in them after water was SD alcohol. No thanks. I don't want to use them, and I don't want to subject anyone else to them, so bye bye.

Practical, non-perishable stuff: This category includes products that will get used up eventually and won't expire in the meantime, like eyebrow pencils. Yes, I have too many of them. But they don't take up a lot of space, and they will be fine waiting for me to get around to finishing them. Just don't pick up any new ones in the meantime, self.

Those categories are pretty straightforward. But I also have a lot of things that are more difficult to classify. They may or may not be superfluous. They probably are, but it's helpful to think carefully about why, so that I don't regret passing them along to someone else, because I am ridiculous.

Eyeko Skinny Liquid Eyeliner and Urban Decay 24/7 Velvet Glide On Eyeliner
Eyeko Skinny Liquid Eyeliner and Urban Decay 24/7 Velvet Glide On Eyeliner
Dupes: I confess that I own a lot of unnecessary dupes and products that perform basically the same function as one another. One example is black eyeliner. Everyone has a favorite black eyeliner, and so I've picked up quite a few along the way that I've heard good things about. I don't really like to open something that I don't yet need, so I have several brand new black eyeliners just sitting around waiting for attention. And I don't even fucking wear black liner very often. Why did I buy them? (Anxiety?) I'll hold on to a couple in addition to the ones I'm currently using, but the rest must go.
I've gone through some other categories, like eyeliners and lip products, in the past and weeded out a few things that I don't need.

Urban Decay Dangerous Palette, TheBalm Balm Jovi Rockstar Face Palette, Pixi Glow Fairy Face Palette
Urban Decay Dangerous Palette, TheBalm Balm Jovi Rockstar Face Palette, Pixi Glow Fairy Face Palette
Dupey palettes: Palettes! Who can resist? (Sensible people, I imagine.) A major draw is getting many colors for a more reasonable price than you would pay by buying them all individually. A problem with them, however, is that even when they are really great, they tend to take up a lot of storage space. If you already own most or all of the colors in the palette in the form of smaller palettes/quads/singles (etc.), then by holding on the large palettes as well, you are (i.e. I am) either behaving like a hoarder or an avid collector. I am not an avid collector, so the redundant palettes must go, even though I almost never throw powder products away, because I don't believe that they expire.

In my case, I have three palettes that I've designated as superfluous so far. The first one is my Urban Decay Dangerous Palette, which I compared to the smaller MUA Smokin Palette in a previous post. I determined then that I preferred the MUA version, and the few slightly different shades in the Urban Decay palette aren't enough for it to be worth holding on to.

I also have two Pixi palettes, for some reason: the Fairy Face Palette and the Eye Glow Cube. The eyeshadows in them are pretty close. The shades aren't identical, but I compared the shimmery eyeshadows in the Fairy Face Palette to others I own, especially Wet N Wild shadows, and I have alternates for almost all of them. Fairy Face also the bulkier of the two Pixis, the more obnoxiously twee, and it contains pans of lip creams that I will never use, so of the two, it's the clear choice for deaccessioning.

Another palette with useless (to me) cream products is TheBalm's Balm Jovi Rockstar palette. It has two lip/cheek creams. I don't love the colors, and I really don't like using lip products that come in this format. They're too messy when applied with a finger and too finicky with a brush. Other than those two pans, I really love this palette, so it's rough to let it go. It's totally unnecessary in my collection, though! I compared eyeshadows, and I have dupes for them all. I have a similar enough peachy blush to the one here, and I own a full size TheBalm MaryLou Manizer, which is almost the same as the highlighter in this palette. So it's just something taking up unnecessary space. Sure, if I didn't own so many other eyeshadows, it would be nice to have them all in one place. But as it is, the other dupes are dispersed among a number of smaller palettes, so the only way to get rid of them is to get rid of this one palette. Sadface.
MUA Luxe Velvet Lip Lacquers in Atomic, Criminal, and Funk
MUA Luxe Velvet Lip Lacquers in Atomic, Criminal, and Funk
Products that just don't work for me: Then there are a number of things I own that I bought in good faith, with great hope, but that just don't work for me for one reason or another. Yet they don't belong in the trash pile, because there's nothing wrong with them, per se. They are just not right for me personally. I know other people would (and do) enjoy them. A couple that I've posted about previously include the matte Revlon crayons, and this pretty Revlon lip butter. Another type of product that I just can't get along with are matte lip creams that set to a dry finish. I already gave away the NYX one that I used to have. For some reason, I decided to buy a few MUA Velvet Lip Lacquers a few months ago, against my better judgement. And indeed, I can't wear them. I mess with my lips too much and they end up looking like a patchy mess - even though I know other people wear them with great success. It's not meant to be.

The saddest part is that the orange one, Atomic, is an excellent man-repelling shade. Seriously, the only time I tried it, my boyfriend took one look at me and started backing away from me saying, "No no no no no no." He looked exactly like this:

It was glorious.
Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain in Darling, Maybelline Color Tattoo in Fierce and Tangy
Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain in Darling, Maybelline Color Tattoo in Fierce and Tangy
Then there are colors that I foolishly hope will work on me, but don't, like orange eyeshadow or purple lipstick.

Nail Polish

I was in this weird mindset for the longest time that I needed to own one example of every color of nail polish. Every color. All the colors. Even the ones that I don't really like or that don't look good on me. And all the finishes. It was not a realistic or healthy attitude. The result is that I have a large number of nail polishes that I just don't wear, and that I am not likely to wear in the future. I'm no longer interesting in just having a collection (and it was always about the acquiring more than the having anyway), so it's time to thin them out.
e.l.f. Cranberry and OPI I'm Not Really a Waitress
Dupes: Even when I buy colors that I really, really like (which shouldn't be the exception! ugh), I end up with things I don't need. Because I'm repeatedly drawn to the same shades, I have a lot of things that are similar. Sometimes when I thought I was branching out, I have inadvertently bought dupes. A recent example was OPI I'm Not Really a Waitress, which I picked up because I had heard so many people rave about how it's the best red ever. Turns out that it is very similar to e.l.f. Cranberry, which I already had. Not an exact dupe, but close enough that when I'm looking for a deep, shimmery red, I have one already - and the e.l.f. one is a gorgeous one coater, so I'm not excited about the superiority of OPI's formula or anything, either. After swatching I'm Not Really a Waitress, I haven't even bothered to use it. (It's also quite similar to e.l.f. Red Velvet, which I also swatched for comparison below.) The OPI should belong to someone who will appreciate it more. There are other examples. I need to ditch some of my extremely similar blue nail polishes, too.
e.l.f. Cranberry, OPI I'm Not Really a Waitress, e.l.f. Red Velvet
Not-exciting nail polishes: This is a bit more of a subjective and silly basis on which to decide whether or not to keep a nail polish, but it works for me. If I wear it, am I weirdly mesmerized by my nails? Do I keep looking at them? Or do they bore me? If it's the latter, then it can go. The polishes that look really fascinating in the bottle aren't necessarily the ones I really love on my hands. I mean, no one else gives a shit about my nail polish. I'm wearing it purely to entertain myself. It might as well be something I want to look at. (I will keep some tame shades for more "professional" occasions, but even those should be appealing to me.)

The big question, once I've sorted through everything, is what to do with the stuff I don't want to keep? Giving it away to friends and family is one option, and I'll definitely put aside things I know people will like. At this point, though, I've sort of overwhelmed the people I know with random cosmetics to play with, and I don't think they'd be thrilled to take on much more. My local (mostly grad school) friends either already know what they like when it comes to makeup and nail polish, or they're really not interested in it at all. I've taken sacks full of stuff home to my mother and sister over the last couple of years, and they've complained that they no longer have space for it. There are lots of makeup swaps out there, but doing that wouldn't help me to reduce the number of things I currently own.

So here's the plan: Blog sale for the things I think people out there might be interested in. I'll also post a bunch of stuff for free on the blog sale, so long as someone wants to pay the shipping costs. I'd like to just send it out to people, but I am unemployed and can't afford to do that at the moment. Then whatever's left when it's time to move . . . not sure. I've looked for shelters and other organizations to donate to in the past, but I had a hard time finding anything local. It's understandable that they wouldn't want used makeup. I might do another search and see if somewhere further afield will take it, if I can get someone to drive my carless ass there.

Secondary plan: Stop accumulating things just for the sake of having them. Easier said than done, but I'm working on it.


  1. As an extreme eyeliner enthuisiast I'd argue that there actually can be significant differences between black eyeliners: Pencil/gel/liquid? Waterproof or non? Matte or shiny finish? Soft black or deep black? Smudgeable or OMFG YOU NEVER COME OFF? And so on. That said, the possibility of dupe-dom is high. Whenever I get a black liner in a beauty box I kinda sorta wish they would have sent a color one instead, because I actually don't own 50 teal liners (yet).

    Anyway, good luck. Getting rid of stuff is hard. Both mentally and for practical reasons.

    1. Oh, never fear, I have liquid, gel, pencil, brush, felt tip, etc. etc. etc. etc. amongst those that I'm keeping! But I don't need doubles of each one, especially since I am definitely not a black eyeliner enthusiast. I just need to occasionally fill in the gaps between my lashes or do a nice cat eye. I'm sure whatever I get rid of right now would have been the best thing ever, but I have to just suck it up and let go of them, and never know for sure. Too much stuff!

      And thank you!

  2. So I accidentally bought a second bottle of a nail polish color, Sinful Colors in Love Nails, and the original bottle was still mostly full and perfectly viable. So I feel you on the whole buying close dupes issue.

  3. Ideas for getting rid of makeups, from personal experience:

    1) Find a childhood friend or two that has since become a makeup artist. Dump everything on her/him/them.

    2) Every time you decide you don't want or need something, but it in a drawer/box. Then, anytime any of your friends come over, point them over to the box and tell them to have at it. Like a doctor's office toy bin.

    The second option has really helped me. I've dumped a lot of dupes off on them this way. Also, a strict rule of the toy bin is that I never tell them why this particular product has been sent away to the bin. They have to take it and find out themselves. MWA HA HAAAA.

    1. Those are good options. I don't think #1 is going to work . . . as for #2, I never invite people over to my hellhole of an apartment, and my friends here are nerds who aren't interested in free makeup. Boo. But I will have to keep that in mind because it sounds fun.

  4. Honestly I just dump my stuff on my brothers gf ...it's terrible to say but she's just as good as throwing it away in the first place, she's the ONLY person I've ever met that loses makeup left and right...or destroys it...she likes to scrape those God awful applicators that come with eyeshadows all over everything and wonders why she gets 10 uses before she sees pan (unless she lost it, of course) So my friend and I are doing a swap (Bc it defeats the purpose of getting rid of shit and she won't accept anything without getting rid of anything) so that will at least get rid of things that a beautiful but unflattering as hell on me...and I get to dump my nail polish accendental dupes on her Bc shes just getting into polish (score!) But I don't have any other tips...I commend you for your blog sale idea though...I'm far too lazy, but I'm excited for yours! Oh and don't let me buy that balm jovie palette...thanks ;)

    1. I wish I had someone around to give it all to! I need to hook someone else local on makeup and nail polish.

  5. Free cycle them? Do you have that in the states?

    1. OF COURSE. Thank you! How did I forget about that? It's extra stupid, because that's what I did with all my unwanted makeup right before I moved from Canada to the US. Duh.


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