I started 2015 in a way different place than 2014, beauty wise and overall, I feel like I really improved both my makeup collection and spending habits this year. Obviously, improving upon myself in any REAL kind of way is too much of a feat. I think this is my fifth year in a row resolving to lose 15 lbs and get serious about learning more Russian. But if I involve beauty shit? It can be done.
For 2015, I had two goals for makeup: to shop for makeup that I didn’t “need” less and to shop consciously, with my skin tone in mind. For the former, I say “need” because obviously it’s not like I really NEED any makeup in the way I NEED to pay my rent so I can have a roof over my head or NEED to buy cat food to keep my pet alive or NEED to fill up my SmartTrip so I can get to work in the morning. But in terms of "Frivolous Spending, Makeup" there are things I want (a new eyeshadow palette, glitter for my Halloween costume, a new lipstick because I was having a bad day) and things I “need” (my foundation which is one of my bare minimum products I wear, a new mascara once I run out). I’ve been buying wants like crazy for the past couple years. I have something like 20 palettes which is like… what the fuck, how are you feasibly ever going to use all of that? I have 800 nail polishes and I haven’t even bought any in plural years by this point. It’s obnoxious and I have a whole IKEA Alex shelving unit holding them in my closet. It feels excessive. But then, how many eyeshadows do I have by now? PROBABLY 800. I wouldn’t be surprised. But because all my palettes “only” take up one drawer in my vanity, it feels like less. But it’s not!! Especially considering I have even less of a range of color in my eyeshadows. I’ll wear any color nail polish but on my eyes I wear browns, purples and nudes almost exclusively. No one needs that much!
My “Holy shit, Vanessa, TAKE A LONG LOOK AT YOURSELF” moment was when the LORAC MegaPro palette came out in October of 2014. I set several alarms in the middle of the night so I’d be able to wake up, see if it had gone on sale and grab one before it sold out. I ended up getting one after spending my whole morning refreshing the website. After that I was like, “Wow, I even feel to old to be doing this at this point for concert tickets like I did when I was a teenager… why am I doing this for eyeshadow?” I went on a six month no buy starting that day. I gave myself some leeway: I could shop when I went to Paris because that was a one time kind of thing, I could repurchase any “necessities” (foundation, mascara, brow product, concealer) I ran out of if I had really run out and didn’t even have any backups, I could receive makeup for Valentine’s Day (but not Christmas or my birthday). So, for the first 3 months of 2015, I didn’t buy any makeup at all. After that finished up, my biggest goal was to quit buying products impulsively, like by walking into Target for toothpaste and leaving with 3 lipsticks just because they were on sale or shopping at Sephora because my week was shitty. It seems like you’re “just” spending $20 at the time but it adds up quickly, especially if a product doesn’t work for you and never gets touched anyway.
|I should have never bought another palette after this.|
Which brings me to the idea of shopping consciously. Shopping consciously was a resolution focused around the revelation I had in 2014. It only took me almost 24 years but I realized I had warm olive skin as opposed to just plain warm skin. Olive skin is such a bitch to work with but just knowing you have it is a whole new world. I bought a handful of olive friendly blushes and lip colors in 2014 and after that, most of my collection just looked wrong. I can’t even describe what having a lip color that matches olive skin vs one that doesn’t does for you. Wearing a color that doesn’t work for my olive skin just feels like I’m accentuating my features in entirely the wrong way. Like I’m taking a marker and just drawing a circle around my lips or just grinding up pink sidewalk chalk and dusting it on my cheeks or something. I can see more than ever how it looks garish and off, how the color coral is making my skin look sallow and sickly and my skin is making the color coral look radioactive and obnoxious. But if I wear a terra-cotta or a dusty rose, something that I hate the look of in the tube because, let’s be real, those are just detailed descriptions of BROWN? It makes my lips and cheeks look like they have life because it’s just communicating with the green in my skin is a way that’s not completely unappealing to the eye. I feel like a million bucks. So the problem once you know you have olive skin becomes
- Talking yourself out of buying a product just because it looks pretty on the shelf. I’m really drawn to Barbie pinks and blue purples and orangey reds but I have to come to terms with the fact that those will look like a mess on my skin. It will inevitably be a waste of money because I’ll never wear it.
- Similarly, you’re pretty done with impulse buying products. You have to research pretty much everything you buy. Study the names of products that work for color names that are reoccurring in things that look good. For olive skin, these are names like rose, terra-cotta, mauve, brick or peony. And brown. Always brown. Swatching becomes everything, too: looking at swatches online, preferably by people with olive skin for online shopping and drugstores without testers, swatching things in stores on yourself every other time. Any time you want a lipstick, you have to rub it all over your arm first and devote a half hour of your time to making sure it won’t look radioactive.
- And even if you’re careful, you’re still going to fuck up and waste your money on something that falls on the scale somewhere between “Ehh, this looks a little off, the color isn’t QUITE right” to “Holy shit, this color looks awful and makes my skin look like my liver is failing”.
So, I wanted to tread very carefully this year with my new purchases. Meanwhile, I put about 30 lip and face products into a box to give away so my makeup collection could be cleansed of anything that didn’t work for me and was just taking up space. My goal was to replace them with a small collection of products that I was confident I could reach for and feel good about how they worked with my olive skin.
A selection of the day-glo pinks I've purged in the past few months. I have a type, apparently, when it comes to purchasing lipsticks that don't match olive skin.
So, initially, I wasn’t expecting much as I was pulling out the new makeup I acquired this year. I was rooting through my vanity, like, “I’ve BARELY bought makeup this year, I shopped SO consciously and hardly impulse bought.” But as a variation of that Jurassic Park quote: “Makeup… uh… finds a way.”
On to the goods.
Urban Decay Lounge, Urban Decay Solstice, Urban Decay Scorpio, Colourpop Bae, Urban Decay Naked, NARS Dual Intensity Eyeshadow in Himalia
|Colourpop Bae, NARS Himalia, Urban Decay Naked|
|Urban Decay Lounge|
Urban Decay Naked: I debated not including Naked at all because that was a purchase born out of necessity - I’ve used up this color completely in about 3 separate Urban Decay palettes. For light olive skin, this is a great contour and eyeshadow transition shade. I use it every time I do my makeup. I only purchased it in November and have panned it pretty significantly.
Urban Decay Lounge: Both Urban Decay Lounge and NARS Himalia were in the Sephora Superstars box set. Lounge reminds me a lot of MAC Blue Brown pigment but is a lot easier to work with just because it’s already in a pressed form.
NARS Himalia: AHHHmazing and something I reach for all the time. It would have been worth the $29 price had I bought it on its own. NARS is so hit or miss - when they’re good, they’re amazing but when they’re bad, they’re pigmentless chalk - and this is definitely one of their better products.
Colourpop Bae: My Colourpop order only came in right before Christmas and I haven’t tried this eyeshadow yet but it’s a bestseller and sparkly. That's my review. I heard it's good and it's shiny. This is me.
|Urban Decay Lounge, Solstice, Scorpio|
Urban Decay Solstice: Both Urban Decay Solstice and Scorpio are from the Moondust line (irresistible to me, my favorite color is sparkle) and were new for 2015. I love Solstice, especially for the summer - it’s like a lighter, pinker version of MAC Club.
Urban Decay Scorpio: Scorpio was more of a disappointment, I was expecting it to be sparklier rather than just looking like a black with gold glitter suspended in it. As a November birthday, the name honestly factored in a bit there. I was hoping for a gold/black duochrome which would have made for a perfectly mysterious Scorpio eye look.
Urban Decay Solstice in action back in May, just all over the lid with Urban Decay Naked in the crease. A relatively no fuss way to have obnoxiously shimmery eyelids.
Too Faced Semi Sweet Chocolate Bar: There are a billion swatches of this so I’m sure no one needs to see any more. My one “real” palette acquisition of the year. I feel like the Too Faced Chocolate Bars have reached the Naked palette tier in terms of mainstay, high performing, neutral palettes.
KIKO Color Fever in 101: I went on a trip to Paris and I think I went to 4 different KIKO locations looking for this palette. It had been sold out everywhere in Italy when I visited the year before and it was my goal to not leave Europe without it. I think I found it after walking miles out of the way in a rainstorm. It was all very dramatic. And then I felt like an idiot afterwards because 2 or 3 months later a KIKO store opened up in America. 10 minutes away from me. SMH. I was that gif of Doc Rivers when I visited my mall and saw the storefront, the one where he's just staring with his mouth open as the camera slowly zooms in on his dumbfounded face.
KIKO Custom Clics Palette and Infinity Eyeshadows: 229 (coral pink),270 (olive) and 251 (blue lavender) (I owned 246 already, the pearly wisteria color). Another purchase from Paris when I was thinking, "When will I get to a KIKO again? A year? Longer??" Again, I could take a leisurely walk and be there within an hour. I'm never been so mad about anything that conveniences me so much in my life. I love these custom palettes KIKO sells, where you buy the pans individually and casing individually and snap the colors in and out. However, I definitely would have been a bit pickier with my shade selections if I knew I'd have access to the store in America - I probably would have only purchased 270 just because the other colors are a bit too cray-z for my olive skin and hazel eyes.
Urban Decay Urban Vices: A 500 point perk from Sephora from back in November. I didn't swatch this because I feel like it's low key kind of rude of me to swatch anything that isn't available anymore. Urban Decay eyeshadows are such a weakness of mine so this was worth cashing in a bit of my hoarded points.
|KIKO Infinity Eyeshadows in 251, 246, 270, 229|
|KIKO Color Fever 101|
From the bottom to the top: Colourpop Supershock Cheek in Butterfly Beach, BECCA Shimmering Skin Perfector in Rose Gold, Laura Mercier Matte Radiance Baked Powder in Highlight 01, KIKO Soft Touch Blush in 106, Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Mood Exposure, Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Incandescent Electra
Colourpop Supershock Cheek in Butterfly Beach: I’ve been looking using illuminating products as blush this year and this is super glowy (especially with the creamier formula) without being too red, pink or orange. I love this product for my olive skin. It's brown and just champagne-y enough without looking wrong.
BECCA Shimmering Skin Perfector in Rose Gold: BECCA is getting a ton of hype for their highlighters so I decided to check one out this year. I was a little disappointed that BECCA doesn’t carry anything more olive friendly than this. I love the formula, the way it applies, how you get such a big pan but only need to use a teeny bit (aka this will last forever) but it’s a littttttle bit too orangey on my skin. Just a click too gold. You can see this next to Butterfly Beach pretty well. I try to remedy this by using an extra light hand just because I love the product so much but I know I’m not being entirely ~true to myself.
Laura Mercier Matte Radiance Baked Powder in Highlight 01: This Laura Mercier highlighter came in the Sephora Superstars set. I like it but wouldn’t have purchased it on it’s own just because I’m sure I could get a highlighter that performs just as well for a fraction of the price.
KIKO Soft Touch Blush in 106: I picked up this blush online during the KIKO 50% off sale this past month - super pleased with how well it works for my olive skin for something I ordered without swatching it first.
Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Mood Exposure: These blushes, especially this shade, are another product getting a ton of hype in the makeup community. I was expecting it to be a lot more plummy rather than red but I think I still like the look for my skintone. I think I’ll probably end up needing to use a much lighter hand with it for my NC15/MUFE 117 skin to make it work.
Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Incandescent Electra: I honestly think I’ll be returning this Hourglass blush - you can see in the swatches how jarringly bright it is compared to the olive friendly colors. Even though this is definitely a blush for warm skin, it looks kind of clown like on me - way too pink and orange at once. This was just a miss for my olive tones although it’s really pretty. This is just a lesson in what happens when you’re too impulsive in Sephora.
Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Water, Tarte The Sculptor Contour sample, beautyblender
All of these products were included in the Sephora Superstars set so I'm still feeling them out. I can say that I love, love, love the beauty blender, though. You can see it's filthy because I've been using it a ton. It's one of those products that I held off on purchasing because the price was off putting ($20 for a foam sponge?), used once and was like, "Uhhh, well, I should have bought this years ago, why did I sell myself short here?"
Eyeliners and Other Eye Products
Elf Cream Liner in Coffee: I impulse bought this in a TJ Maxx checkout line because it was a dollar and I don’t think I’ve used it once. This is the kind of purchasing I was trying to be smarter about in 2015 but I wasn’t 100% immune. That’s a dollar that should have been spent on McDonald’s or something rather than a product that’s just taking up space in my vanity. Think of how many chicken nuggets I could have had instead. Like, four.
KIKO Long Lasting Eye Shadow Stick in 38: Another product I picked up during the 50% sale. I’d been wanting to try these for awhile but hadn’t been $10 wanting to try them. I jumped at the $5 sale price point, though. I’m really happy with this - it goes on smoothly and smudges nicely and will create a nice base for any purple eye looks.
Lancome Drama Liqui Pencil Liner in Noir Intense: I can’t really wax poetic, it’s black pencil liner. In the Sephora Superstars set.
Stila Stay All Day Liquid Eyeliner in Black: My favorite eyeliner for creating wings, pretty much an essential of mine at this point. I think I'll always end up buying a new one when I run out.
Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On Pencil in Lush: I like these pencils for creating smudgy liner, especially because they go for $10 on sale all the time. I found this purpley dark brown at Nordstrom Rack just because I needed a basic brown pencil liner.
StretchX Mascara: In the Sephora Superstars set, haven’t even tried this yet. I think mascara is a conspiracy and they all essentially work the same anyway, whether they're drugstore or Dior. Maybe I'm just biased because of my short stubby eyelids.
Urban Decay Heavy Metal Eyeliner in Gunmetal: My mom got this for me as a stocking stuffer. Because glitter.
Here’s where I went crazy this year.
Colourpop: Ultra Matte Lip in Chilly Chili and Tulle
Lippie Stix in Grunge, Mosh Pit, Baewatch, Choker, TGIF, Too Sexy
I waited until I was making my Christmas list to get on the Colourpop hype train. I was mostly interested in the lip products, although I had heard they were kind of drying. I haven't had any problems with that and overall love the formulas and colors.
|Colourpop Chilly Chili (lips) and Butterfly Beach (cheeks), Laura Mercier highlighter and Urban Decay Naked as a contour also included|
Sheer Lipstick in Dolce Vita: My holy grail "my lips, but better" lipstick for light olive skin. Something you can just slap on while riding the bus or 3 drinks in in the bathroom of a bar or something without having to worry about being too precise.
Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Dolce Vita: I'm slightly annoyed by the color difference between all of NARS' Dolce Vita products. I haven't tried the lip gloss (or nail polish) yet but this lip pencil makes me a bit nervous. It's a lot less brown and a lot more watermelony than I'd like for the green tones in my skin.
Satin Lip Pencil in Rikugien and Cruella: A year where the Sephora birthday gifts were NARS pencils. What a time to be alive. Rikugien is a bit too frosty and pink for me but I love Cruella. I don't normally wear a red lip but I feel like this one is suitable for a lot of skintones. Protips: 1. Don't put this on BEFORE putting on a beige sweater unless you want red smears all over the collar and 2. If a 2 year old you're supervising so much as uncaps this you better have cat like reflexes because she's about to draw all over her face. And this stains. In both situations.
Crystal Sheer Lipstick in 414 (the first two swatches are this, one swipe and then multiple), Luscious Cream Lipstick in 513, Velvet Mat Satin Lipstick in 610, Smart Lipstick in 813, Smart Lip Pencil in 704, Precision Lip Pencil in 302, Intensely Lavish Lip Pencil in 02
All of these lipsticks besides the Smart Lipstick are a struggle to open - you have to push on the bottom like they're a Push Pop and then yank the lipstick out of the casing. I'm also not sure how good ANY of these lipsticks are for my skin, especially Luscious Cream in 513 (yikes, the perils of ordering online come to life). They're all a bit too shimmery and a bit too pink. I was patting myself on the back this year for quitting my habit of popping into drugstores for a drink and leaving with a handful of lip glosses - but I still clearly went to the KIKO store near me and made just as many $5 impulse purchases. Lesson learned - if I'm going to shop there I need to spend so much time swatching that the employees become suspicious that I'm a shoplifter and start hovering around me.
However, I love every lip pencil that I picked up from KIKO this year. I feel like the swatches next to each other show the variety you can get in your lip products while staying in olive friendly territory. I fill in my entire lip with these, as seen below with the Precision Lip Pencil in 302 (excuse the worn off application) and even more below with the Smart Lip Pencil in 704:
Medieval, Trance and Saint Nude
This set was a splurge for me this year. I definitely balk a little at the price point of these lipsticks but I'm still always on the verge on impulse buying them. I just love the company. It's named Lipstick Queen. They have a butterfly collection. They have a lipstick (Medieval, above) that's meant to mimic the look of lemon juice patted onto your lips in the way Medieval beauty addicts would do things. They're pretty and sheer, but buildable. The packaging is gorgeous. Like, stop, I can only get so aroused.
I bought this because of Kylie Jenner and I’m maybe only 5% ashamed about that. Kylie Jenner wants to look like Kim Kardashian pretty bad and as a result is really trying to trick everyone into thinking she has a more olivey skintone. I don't even know what kind of messy process she's going through to pull it all off. I just know it makes keeping tabs on her shopping list super beneficial if you have olive skin. She's like a purveyor of the brown or brownish mauve matte lip which is a great companion for olive tones. I hope she continues to be super stylish this year so the whole warm, browny lip trend keeps on keeping on. One of the only fashion trends from 2003 that I look back on in horror is glossy, pink lips. That was a bleak time to have olive skin. I hope that's not coming back. Let's stay obsessed with Kylie Jenner while she stays obsessed with becoming her older half sister.
YSL Rogue Volupte #3
This was definitely my treat yo self moment this year. I bought this lipstick as a birthday gift to myself. I only paid $3 for it after cashing in my spare change from the year to Coinstar for a Sephora giftcard. Genius move, feel free to steal it. It was a feat because this thing is $36, almost as much as my $42 foundation which I ABHOR. $36 is obscene for a lipstick. I was prepared to return it if I wasn't the least bit satisfied with it but god fucking damn, this is a $36 lipstick. I cannot even describe how creamy and smooth it is, how easily it applies. It feels like you're applying something as hydrating as a lip balm but fancier because it also smells faintly of roses. I'm so, so happy with this. I wanted a really nice, wear anywhere lipstick that actually matched my olive skin and this was the perfect choice. It's the perfect rose color and has a perfect, creamy formula all in a gorgeous casing.
Things I Forgot I Bought When I Was Initially Writing Out This Post And Had To Take Pictures Of Afterwards
Creme False Lashes in 102: I bought a bulk set of cheap fake lashes from Amazon. They're so long and full that I've only been able to wear them by cutting them into thirds and wearing them on the outer edge of my lash line. Even on Halloween.
ELF Flawless Finish Foundation in Almond: I bought the same concealer, primer and foundation this year every time I ran out but I consider all of those to be "needs" in terms of my makeup budget. I don't really experiment or stray from the products in my face routine. The only real difference between this year and any other is that I bought this cheapo $5 ELF foundation to mix in with my regular foundation for the summer. I actually got tan enough this year to do that! It's like winning a New Jersey merit badge.
My analysis of my 2015 makeup acquisitions
- I’m really surprised by how much shit I was pulling out of the crevices of my vanity because I was like, “Wow… I really don’t remember buying this much.” The thing is that I didn’t… I just ended up asking for makeup as a gift for every possible occasion. Or cashing in my Sephora VIB points for productsI was really surprised at how it added up - asking for the Semi Sweet Chocolate Bar and some eyeshadows for Valentine’s Day, asking for the Sephora Superstars Set for my birthday (about a dozen of my new products are from that set alone), making a list of the Colourpop items I wanted to try out - that was about half of all of my makeup “purchases” this year. Math is hard but I counted up 54 new products and only bought about 26 of them, 21 if you don't count things packaged together in sets (the Lipstick Queen lipsticks, the KIKO Clics palette). Theoretically, I saved money but still, I ended up with a ton of products that I didn’t necessarily need. I don't count any of the olive friendly products I ended up with against me but I don't know that I did a stellar job of not buying shit I didn't need, even without those.
- A good thing is that aside from a few of my KIKO purchases, all of the purchases I made myself were either on sale, purchased with a giftcard or purchased at a store where they were marked down (like Nordstrom Rack).
- That being said, I'm obviously still pretty susceptible to thinking, "This is only $5 so obviously I need it" at places like KIKO and TJ Maxx. That's money that could be thrown away on Starbucks lattes or something.
- This really hammered home my resolution to not buy (or ask for) any eyeshadow this year - I haven’t even panned any that I’ve gotten in the past 12 months, how could I need any more?
- I really did a much better job this year of purchasing products that work for my olive skin rather than just pretty blue pinks or corals that look nice in the lipstick tube but awful on me. Still, I had a few misses and there’s definitely room for improvement. I should take better care to really swatch every possible cheek or lip purchase I make to see if it looks off in the slightest. Ordering online isn’t convenient if it means I end up making a trip to the brick and mortar store to return things half the time. But, I feel like I have a well curated collection of lip colors that work well with the olive tones in my skin after this year.
As of right now, I'm considering another no buy, especially considering I have a Sephora order from December 31 en route as I type. This post doesn't even contain my "necessities" like foundation, mascara, concealer, individual fake eyelashes, primer and brow products and there's still a really aggressive amount of products listed here. I stopped buying nail polish cold turkey back in 2013 - maybe 2016 should be my year of that for makeup.