Quarter 4 Beauty Product Consumption Accountability Checkin

Posted on December 31, 2017 under Lists

Here is my last checkin of 2017! This was year zero of tracking my spending, which meant that I didn’t know what to expect. I’ll crunch the final numbers and at the end of this post I’ll reflect a little on what I learned during this year of tracking.

And a few notes before we get started…

  • I’ve listed all prices in either CAD or the currency they were purchased in and a conversion into CAD that was accurate at the time of purchase.
  • I list products that were ordered online on the date that I received the package.
  • In order to consistently track my spending, I’m listing all totals in CAD. Since I have shopped in both Canada and the UK this year, conversion is necessary so that I can see how much I’ve spent in total. Prices in CAD make more intuitive sense to me than GBP (unsurprisingly), and I’ve purchased a lot more in Canada than in the UK this year anyway.
  • Not everything is pictured – I’m in Canada right now and some of this stuff is in the UK.

With those points out of the way, let’s get into it!

Products purchased between October 1, 2017 and December 31, 2017

Eye makeup
  1. 10/13: Barry M Glitter Rush Body Glitter – Aquamarine – £4.49 ($7.47 CAD). I bought this because I was going to a drag show and I just felt like I needed blue glitter in my life. A total frivolity, of course, but not one that I regret.
  2. 10/13: Ardell Wispies Lashes – £5.49 ($9.13 CAD). I have never been a false lash enthusiast, but in undergrad my outrageous going out looks (think black lipstick, purple blush up to my temples) were never complete without a set of big falsies. Now that I’m a student again, clearly it is necessary to have a set of lashes on hand.
  3. 10/13: MUA Kohl Liner – Black – £1 ($1.66 CAD). To use with black lipstick.
  4. 10/20: Barry M Glitter Fixer Gel – £4.99 ($8.35 CAD). I realized that I couldn’t use my teal glitter without some sort of fixative. This is the only one I could find in-store, but I like it!
  5. 11/03: John Frieda Sheer Blonde Tone Correcting Shampoo – £3.95 ($6.61 CAD). A gal can’t live without her purple shampoo! It’s rare that cosmetics are less expensive in the UK than in Canada, but full price on this stuff in Canada is $13.99. Definitely a bargain!
  6. 11/20: Collection Lasting Gel Nail Colour in Blackjack 2 – £3.19 ($5.45 CAD). I needed new black nail polish so I went with the cheapest one I could find, of course.
  7. 11/20: Vaseline Lip Therapy in Aloe Vera and Original – £1 each – £2 total ($3.42 CAD). I ran out of lip balm. These are normally £2.09 each but Superdrug had a 2 for £2 offer which I thought I might as well take advantage of.
  8. 11/20: Supderdrug Cleansing Facial Wipes – £1.29 ($2.20 CAD). Bought for my trip to Prague, since I knew it would be easier than properly washing my face.
  9. Face products
  10. 11/25: John Frieda Sheer Blonde Go Blonder Lightening Shampoo (mini) – £2 ($3.42 CAD). I was delighted to find a mini of my usual shampoo at the Edinburgh airport Superdrug, since I’ve never seen John Frieda minis in Canada. I’ll definitely use this up travelling.
  11. 12/05: PS… Pro Blending Brush – £2 ($3.42 CAD). PS… is Primark’s house makeup brand, and you will be seeing a review of some of these products in the future!
  12. 12/05: PS… CustomEyes Eyeshadow in Cranberry – £0.60 ($1.03 CAD).
  13. 12/05: PS… Lip Scrub – £3 ($5.14 CAD).
  14. 12/05: PS… My Perfect Colour Liquid Concealer in Nude Beige – £2 ($3.42 CAD). Replacement.
  15. 12/05: PS… Get Lippy Glitter Collection in Heaven Sent – £3 ($5.14 CAD).
  16. 12/05: Golden Rose Ice Chic Nail Colour in 44 – £2 ($3.42 CAD).
  17. 12/11: The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid x2 – $6.80 each – $13.60 total. Replacement.
  18. 12/13: The Body Shop Coconut Body Butter x2 – $20. The Body Shop was doing buy 3 get 3 so my mom and I pooled our products. The total was $62, split 2 ways, making each Body Butter $10 and the next product $11.
  19. 12/13: The Body Shop Pink Grapefruit Exfoliating Body Scrub – $11. See above for notes on price!
  20. 12/13: The Ordinary Squalane – $7.90. Replacement.
  21. 12/15: NYX White Liquid Liner – $9. Replacement for my Stila white eyeliner.
  22. 12/15: NYX Epic Ink Eyeliner Pen – $12. Backup – I want to see if this is good enough to replace my $29 Stila liner and bought it in Canada because I knew it would be cheaper and easier to access. I probably won’t be done with my current Stila liner for awhile, but once I go back to the UK I’ll be there until September so it makes sense to stock up now while I can.
  23. 12/28: ELF Crease Brush x3 – $3 USD/$3.77 CAD each – $9 USD/$11.32 CAD total. ELF was doing free shipping with no minimum, so I jumped on the chance to grab more of this amazing and inexpensive crease brush. It can be hard to hit ELF’s free shipping minimum without just buying a bunch of crap I don’t want, so I was really glad to flesh out my brush collection without having to pay for shipping.

Total value (CAD): $182.78
Total spent (CAD): $154.10

Year-to-date value (CAD): $1540.53
Year-to-date spent (CAD): $899.55

Products received at no cost between October 1, 2017 and December 31, 2017

As I mentioned previously, I recently took a lot of Aisling‘s makeup castoffs off her hands. I took some of these items knowing that a friend or my mom would enjoy them. I ended up passing a lot of stuff on, so this list only includes what ultimately made it into my collection on a full-time basis.

Skincare products
  1. 10/31: The Body Shop Sparkler All Over Shimmer – £14 ($23.42 CAD). Gift.
  2. 10/31: Lancôme Bi-Facil Eye Makeup Remover (~50% full) – $39 full price, $19.50 value. Gift.
  3. 10/31: Benefit That Gal Brightening Face Primer – Deluxe Sample – $40 full size, $27.45 sample value. Gift. Also, can we note that the full size of this product is 10mL and the deluxe sample is 7.5?!
  4. 10/31: Rimmel Fix and Perfect Primer – $8.99. Gift.
  5. 10/31: The Ordinary Coverage Foundation – 1.1N – $6.70. Gift.
  6. 10/31: Urban Decay All Nighter Foundation – 0.5 – $49. Gift.
  7. 10/31: The Body Shop Shade Adjusting Drops – $22. Gift.
  8. 10/31: Tanya Burr Everyday Flutter Lashes – £5.29 ($8.85 CAD). Gift. I had a pair of these which I wore into the ground, so I’ll definitely use them.
  9. 10/31: Fleur de Force by Eyelure Lashes in Fleur Loves – £5.45 ($9.12 CAD). Gift.
  10. 10/31: Sleek Highlighter Palette – Midas Touch – £9.99 ($16.71 CAD). Gift.
  11. 10/31: Kiko Radiant Touch Creamy Stick Highlighter – 100 – £10.90 ($18.23 CAD). Gift.
  12. 10/31: Topshop Glow Highlighter – Polished – £9 ($15.06 CAD). Gift. I have and love this highlighter, so a backup is always welcome.
  13. 10/31: Makeup Revolution Liquid Highlighter – Liquid Starlight – £6 ($10.04 CAD). Gift.
  14. 10/31: Seventeen Instant Glow Shimmer Brick – Pink Bronze – £4.99 ($8.35 CAD). Gift.
  15. 10/31: Lancôme Hypnôse Drama Mascara – Sample – $34.50 full size ($11.50 value). Gift.
  16. 10/31: Sleek Eyeshadow Palette – Original, Vintage Romance, Garden of Eden – £8.99 ($15.04 CAD) each = £26.97 ($45.11 CAD). Gift.
  17. Sleek palettes
  18. 10/31: Bella Pierre Shimmer Powder – Snowflake – $19. Gift.
  19. 10/31: Revlon Photoready Eye Art – Burnished Bling, Prism Peach, and Topaz Twinkle – $11.49 each = $34.47. Gift.
  20. 10/31: Lancôme Kohl In Love – Jade Crush – $26. Gift.
  21. 10/31: Maybelline Colorblur Lipstick – Partner in Crimson – $11.99. Gift.
  22. 10/31: Maybelline Color Drama Lipstick – Keep It Classy – £4.99 ($8.35 CAD). Gift.
  23. 10/31: Kiko Face Brush – 104 – £1.70 ($2.84 CAD). Gift. I feel like this kabuki brush has to be worth more, but this is the price I found when I looked it up online.
  24. 12/08: Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder – Luminous Light – $55. My mom bought this for herself but found it a bit too shimmery for her liking and passed it on to me.
  25. 12/13: The Ordinary EUK 134 0.1% – $8.80. I was in the Deciem store with my mom and she kindly picked up the tab for this one.
  26. 12/21: Bioderma Sensibio H2O Micellar Solution – $6.95. I needed a mini Bioderma to bring with me to Quebec for Christmas, and my former boss let me have one of the GWPs she had floating around. Apparently the perks of working in cosmetics don’t end when you stop working in cosmetics…
  27. 12/25: Urban Decay Naked 2 Basics – $36. Christmas gift from my mom!

Total value: $526.14
Year-to-date value: $2274.53

Miscellaneous products

So, in order to visualize all this data I made some Excel graphs.

Money spent vs. total value:

This one shows how much of my own money I spent:

And this one shows the breakdown of all the products that made it into my collection:

(By the way, the “Etc” category is my MUFE magnetic palette that I bought back in the summer.)

I’ll have an inventory update post coming soon so I won’t go into that – I just want to talk about the actual spending. This was my first year tracking my spending, so it was a blank slate for me. I am happy that the total was under $1000, though I didn’t factor in taxes here so with taxes it’ll be just about $1000. Less than half of my total of $899.55 ($449.91) was spent on makeup, which surprises me – I thought my percentage of (relatively) frivolous purchases would be higher. As I suspected, I don’t overspend on haircare, skincare, or nails – I tend to buy the first two categories on a replacement-only, as-needed basis, and while I do occasionally impulse buy nail polish I have reduced that habit significantly.

What really surprises me is the total value of the products that came into my life in 2017. I spent only about $900 of my own money (“only” – that’s still too high, really), but the total value was $3815.06. Obviously, I saved a lot by using my employee discount and because I got a lot of gratis in the first 9 months of the year, when I was still working in cosmetics. And it’s safe to say that the only reason I acquired a lot of this stuff was because it was gratis. I will receive much less free stuff in 2018!

Now that I know how much I actually spend on beauty products, it’s easier for me to set a specific budget for myself. I’m not going to worry too much about most of the categories because, like I said, I don’t feel I’m overspending in most of them. However, I’d like to cut back on the makeup and brushes for sure. I would love to reduce my spending in those categories by 30%, which gives me a budget of $392.27 (combined), down from their combined total of $560.39. Let’s just call that $400…

In 2018 I don’t think I’ll do these posts anymore – it was nice to try them for a year, but ultimately I don’t think they’re that helpful. I will track my purchases throughout the year and post an update at the end of 2018, but I’m going to abandon the quarterly updates.

And that’s it for today! Happy 2018, everyone!

Inventory: Lip Products

Posted on August 27, 2017 under Inventory

Oh, Lord. This post has been a massive undertaking. I don’t think I’ve ever spent so much time on a blog post. I put this one off for a long time because it was such a daunting task, but here we are: a catalogue of all of my lip products. There are a lot, because I’m a lipstick kind of gal first and foremost.

I’ve categorized these roughly by colour, and according to how they look on my lips. (They may pull slightly lighter or less intense in arm swatches.) Some could have fit into more than one category or don’t fit easily into any categories; I used my best judgment for those. Human error is evident in my categorization. These are all swatched in the same order that the tubes are arranged. Tubes are wound up all the way to indicate usage unless otherwise noted. I’ve also indicated approximately when I got each lipstick.

I’m thinking of doing a series of lip swatch posts by colour family as well, but that will depend on how ambitious I’m feeling. I don’t know how YouTubers swatch like 50 lipsticks at a time because my lips pretty much force me to stop at 10. If I do this I’ll include notes on the products – this time I didn’t do mini reviews because the post is long enough as it is. This is what happens when you have too much lipstick.

Anyway, let’s get on with it…

Neutrals/MLBBs

Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche – Honeycomb* (Mini) (February 2017)
Rimmel Lasting Finish by Kate Moss – 017 (July 2013)
Little Mix by Collection – Jade (March 2015)
Buxom Plumpline Lip Liner – Hush Hush* (December 2016)
Marc Jacobs Le Marc Lip Crème – Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (Mini) (June 2016)
Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution – Secret Salma (June 2017)
NARS Audacious – Anna (April 2017)
Maybelline Creamy Matte – Touch of Spice (Summer/Fall 2016)

Total: 8

L-R: Bite Honeycomb, Rimmel 017, Collection Jade, Buxom Hush Hush, Marc Jacobs Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Charlotte Tilbury Secret Salma, NARS Anna, Maybelline Touch of Spice

Notes: My most-worn out of all of these is Hush Hush – I find the rosy brownish pink very flattering and pretty much a no-brainer. Bite Honeycomb (a beige) and Rimmel 017 (a light peachy pink) are not colours I would instinctually assume are my most-flattering, but I like them a lot. Out of all of these, NARS Anna is my least favourite – it’s just a little too cool to be easily flattering on my complexion.

Light and Medium Pinks

Buxom Plumpline Lip Liner – White Russian* (December 2016)
Buxom Plumpline Lip Liner – Ransom* (December 2016)
MAC Matte – Please Me (Summer 2014)
Maybelline Creamy Matte – Lust For Blush (Summer 2015)
Lise Watier Rouge Gourmand Velours – Cake Pop (Summer 2014)

Total: 5

L-R: Buxom White Russian, Buxom Ransom, MAC Please Me, Maybelline Lust For Blush, Lise Watier Cake Pop

Notes: Not my favourite category – when I’m going for pink, I tend to go for something more vibrant. That said, Maybelline Lust For Blush is one of my favourite lipstick colours ever.

By the way, for some reason those two Buxom colours did not want to photograph as the pinks they are, but you can see how they actually look (on my face) in the full review post.

Fuchsias and Bright Pinks

NARS Audacious – Angela (August 2017)
Lancôme Color Design – Wannabe (August 2014)
Lancôme L’Absolue Rouge – Pourquois Pas? (April 2017)
YSL Rouge Volupté Shine – 28 (May 2016)
Revlon Colorburst Balm Stain – Lovesick (November 2016; my second tube)
Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick – Fiore (December 2014)
Lancôme Matte Shaker – Pink Power* (May 2017)
Joe Fresh Long Wear Liquid Lipstick – Fuchsia x2 (May 2014)
Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution – Electric Poppy (October 2016)
ColourPop Lippie Stix Matte X – Poppin (March 2016) (Not wound up all the way because the bullet broke off)

Total: 11

L-R: NARS Angela, Lancôme Wannabe, Lancôme Pourquois Pas?, YSL #28, Revlon Lovesick, Stila Fiore, Lancôme Pink Power, Joe Fresh Fuchsia, Charlotte Tilbury Electric Poppy, ColourPop Poppin

Notes: Fuchsia lipstick was my original love when I was 19. I remember looking at myself in Revlon Lovesick and thinking, “That looks good on me!” Maybe it’s the fact that I had brown hair then or maybe it’s just changing preferences, but fuchsia is no longer my favourite lipstick colour. Though I still have Lovesick (which is long-discontinued), I lean towards slightly warmer, brighter fuchsias now. Lancôme Pink Power and CT Electric Poppy are two of my favourites.

NARS Angela is very hard to categorize, so I stuck it in here.

Peaches, Oranges, and Corals

ColourPop Blotted Lips – Sucker (August 2017)
NARS Audacious – Brigitte (November 2016)
ColourPop Blotted Lips – Candyfloss (August 2017)
Buxom Plumpline Lip Liner – Covert Affair* (December 2016)
Tony Moly Cat Chu Wink – Orange Pop (February 2014)
Buxom Plumpline Lip Liner – Intrigue* (December 2016)
ColourPop Blotted Lips – On A Stick (August 2017)
Rimmel Lasting Finish by Kate Moss – 06 (Fall 2013)
ColourPop Lippie Stix – Trixie (August 2017) (Not wound up all the way ’cause I was afraid of it breaking)
Marc Jacobs Le Marc Lip Crème – So Sofia (August 2017)
Revlon Super Lustrous – Fire and Ice (June 2017)
ColourPop Ultra Matte Lips – Tuesday (January 2017)
YSL Rouge Pur Couture – 57 (May 2016)
Lancôme Color Design – Posh Pink (Summer 2014)

Total: 14

ColourPop Sucker, NARS Brigitte, ColourPop Candyfloss, Buxom Covert Affair, Tony Moly Orange Pop, ColourPop On A Stick, Rimmel 06, ColourPop Trixie, Marc Jacobs So Sofia, ColourPop Tuesday, YSL #57, Lancôme Posh Pink

Notes: Peach, orange, and coral are all colours with which I have traditionally had a rocky relationship. It’s funny that this is my biggest category, although I guess technically it is three smaller categories. I have definitely been appreciating these types of colours more recently, but in the beginning of my makeup collecting days I would never have given most of these colours the time of day.

In retrospect I’m not sure why I put YSL #57 or Lancôme Posh Pink in this category, since I always say they’re not quite coral but rather warm pinks. ColourPop Tuesday is borderline, here – I’m not really sure how to categorize or even describe it. Dark coral? Reddish coral?

Reds

Revlon Colorburst Balm Stain – Romantic (Summer 2013)
Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick – Beso (Mini) (October 2016)
NARS Audacious – Annabella (August 2017)
Clarins Rouge Prodige – Fusion Red (December 2013)
Little Mix by Collection – Leigh-Anne (Fall 2013)
Joe Fresh Matte Lipstick – Raspberry (May 2014)
Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution – Red Carpet Red (October 2014)
Lancôme Matte Shaker – Kiss Me Chérie* (May 2017)
NARS Satin Lip Pencil – Cruella (Mini) (March 2015)

Total: 9

L-R: Revlon Romantic, Stila Beso, NARS Annabella, Clarins Fusion Red, Collection Leigh-Anne, Joe Fresh Raspberry, Charlotte Tilbury Red Carpet Red, Lancôme Kiss Me Chérie, NARS Cruella

Notes: I do love red lipstick, but I find it pretty easy to keep this section of my collection fairly pruned. In terms of true blue-based reds, CT Red Carpet Red has been the only one in my life since I bought it. All of the others are warmer or deeper. I used to be a staunch blue red fan, but I have opened my heart to warm reds recently. NARS Annabella is a new find which I am really enjoying.

Berries and Plums

YSL Rouge Volupté Shine – 17 (June 2015)
NARS Audacious – Audrey (November 2016)
Joe Fresh Matte Lipstick – Scarlet (March 2016)
Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche – Beetroot (Mini) (June 2017)
MAC Cremesheen – Hang-Up (December 2013)
Buxom Plumpline Lip Liner – Mystery* (December 2016)

Total: 6

YSL 17, NARS Audrey, Joe Fresh Scarlet, Bite Beetroot, MAC Hang-Up, Buxom Mystery

Notes: “Berry” is a pretty broad category, as you can see here. It’s also a little vague; the difference between a dark red and a berry can be fine. YSL 17 is my lightest berry and one of my favourites – it’s easy, flattering, and more of an everyday berry than the others I have, which are more dramatic. I always think I like berry lips on myself more than I actually do – I was surprised to see how few I had in comparison to other categories. Maybe it’s the nebulousness of “berry” that I don’t like – I prefer something more distinct, like a red or a magenta. Speaking of which…

Magentas

ColourPop Ultra Blotted Lips – Split (August 2017)
Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick – Lume (Mini) (October 2016)
Wet N Wild Liquid Catsuit – Nice To Fuchsia (April 2017)
MAC Satin – Rebel (Summer 2015)
Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick – Aria (May 2014)

Total: 5

L-R: ColourPop Split, Stila Lume, WnW Nice To Fuchsia, MAC Rebel, Stila Aria

Notes: Some of my favourite colours to wear! I think magenta is so flattering on a variety of skintones, mine included. MAC Rebel is my favourite lipstick colour ever.

Purples

Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick – Viola (Mini) (October 2016)
ColourPop Ultra Matte Lips – Lychee (January 2017)
Little Mix by Collection – Perrie (Fall 2013)
Revlon Colorburst Matte Balm – Shameless (February 2014)
Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick – Chianti (March 2016)

Total: 5

L-R: Stila Viola, ColourPop Lychee, Collection Perrie, Revlon Shameless, Stila Chianti

Notes: I used to be a huge purple lipstick fan. I actually still really like it in concept, but I guess I’ve become picky and purged a lot of my purples because they weren’t quite right. I find that purple tones are apt to make me look quite sickly if just a bit off. That said, I adore Stila Chianti, which is the most amazing dramatic blackened purple.

Browns

Maybelline Creamy Matte – Burgundy Blush (March 2017)
ColourPop Ultra Satin Lips – Prim (March 2016)
Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche – Whiskey* (Mini) (February 2017)

Total: 3

L-R: Maybelline Burgundy Blush, ColourPop Prim, Bite Whiskey

Notes: This category would not have existed prior to my purchase of ColourPop Prim. As it turns out, I like dark brown lipstick. I still have not ventured into the territory of more 90s mid-toned browns, though I like them on other people.

Unconventional Colours

ColourPop Ultra Satin Lips – Marshmallow (March 2016)
ColourPop Ultra Matte Lips – Dr. M (January 2017)
Essence Matt Matt Matt Vibrant Shock – 09 (March 2017)
Barry M Lip Paint – Black (Fall 2014)

Total: 4

L-R: ColourPop Marshmallow, ColourPop Dr. M, Essence 09, Barry M Black

Notes: These are all very fun and very impractical. I am not the kind of person who wears colours like this in public regularly, but I feel good having them on hand. All of these were inexpensive, and I have worn them all in public at least once, so I think that’s all we can ask for.

Lip Liners

Bite Beauty The Lip Pencil – 020* (February 2017)
Milani Color Statement Lip Liner – Nude (April 2017)
ColourPop Lippie Pencil – Contempo (January 2017)
Rimmel Exaggerate Lip Liner – Enchantment (2016 sometime?)
Arbonne Lip Liner – Berry* (September 2015)
Clinique Quickliner For Lips – Intense Jam (January 2016)
Lancôme Le Lip Liner – Rose Lancôme (August 2017)
ColourPop Lippie Pencil – Heart On (January 2017)
Rimmel Exaggerate Lip Liner – Red Diva (Late 2014/Early 2015)
MUA Lip Liner – Brooding Plum (Late 2014/Early 2015)
Collection Lip Definer – Damson (March 2015)
ColourPop Lippie Pencil – Nevermind (January 2017)
Bite Beauty The Lip Pencil – 044* (February 2017)

L-R: Bite 020, Milani Nude, ColourPop Contempo, Rimmel Enchantment, Arbonne Berry, Clinique Intense Jam, Lancôme Rose Lancôme, ColourPop Heart On, Rimmel Red Diva, MUA Brooding Plum, Collection Damson, ColourPop Nevermind, Bite 044

Grand total: 70 lipsticks, 13 lip liners

Notes: Obviously, this is a lot of lipstick, and you will soon be seeing a declutter post. I have to say I don’t feel super great about the 70 mark – 50 seems like the largest number I could have and still reasonably use everything. Somehow it doesn’t seem like that many lipsticks when I actually look at them, of course.

The mean number of lipsticks per category is 7, the median is 5.5, and the mode is 5. Yes. I do math now. (No I don’t.)

43 of my 70 lipsticks were purchased in 2016 or 2017, which seems pretty absurd but which I guess is a good thing because it means there’s not too much old, crusty stuff in my collection. Honestly, I don’t think that I’ve purchased more than usual in the past year and a half – if anything, I’ve decreased my consumption. I declutter often, though, so most of the stuff I bought way back in the early days is long gone. Still, I should probably chill with buying lipstick. I clearly am not hurting for it.

Nail polish declutter + inventory

Posted on June 06, 2017 under Declutter, Inventory

I’m getting to the point where I’m close enough to moving across the ocean that the metaphorical weight of all of my possessions is becoming rather burdensome. I’m itching to divest myself of material goods. I have a bin I’ve been filling up with clothes as I realize I no longer want them; there’s a makeup bag sitting on my vanity that serves the same purpose. I’m becoming rather ruthless by my standards.

I’ve actually been thinning out my nail polish since September, because it takes some time to really put your polishes to the test. I usually change my manicure once a week, so when I counted up my stash and realized I had 41 bottles of the stuff, I knew I’d have to start early.

I have never considered myself a nail polish person. I tend to purchase it on whims and never hem and haw over a $10.99 bottle of Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure the way I do over a $10.99 Maybelline lipstick.

Now, I suppose I am a nail polish person in some ways. I vividly remember sitting in the back of a grade 11 biology presentation and painting my nails out of sheer boredom. (I had a brief fever dream of becoming a paleontologist, and it took about half a biology lesson to talk me out of that one.) Since then I’ve scarcely been without painted nails; I’d estimate that since late 2010 I’ve gone maybe 15 days with bare nails. I began religiously painting my nails months before mascara ever touched my eyelashes and two and a half years before I got into makeup in any real capacity.

But I’m not the type of person who tracks new nail polish launches, knows about indie brands, can justify luxury nail polish purchases, or can name ten dupes for any given nail polish colour. I just think having colours on my nails is fun. Yet for a fairly casual nail polish wearer I think I have a lot of nail polish.

When it comes to moving, I view nail polish as one of the most frivolous things I could bring with me, a staple though it may be in my life, and so I’ve committed to decreasing my collection significantly. My goal was for everything to fit into my two acrylic nail polish holders (each of which holds 15 polishes) with no overflow. I think ideally I’d like fewer than 30 polishes, but that’s a good, practical place to start.

The mighty stash, before.

My first step was to cull everything I knew I didn’t like enough to even try on, which did not yield the most fruitful results. The second step was to test every polish I owned. This process took me a good 7 months. I used coloured dot stickers to designate each polish I tried as a for sure keeper (green), a for sure purge (red), or undecided (yellow). Once I finished this first round of testing I removed all the red dot items from my acrylic holders and found that everything fit much better, with minimal overflow.

Then I tested out all of my yellow dot items. I designated most of these polishes this way because I didn’t love them but still didn’t want to get rid of them for whatever reason. A few were given yellow stickers because I thought I had dupes for them within my collection, in which case I tried one on each hand and kept the best one.

In the end I got rid of 21 polishes. I did buy three more during this time period (with one gifted to me on top of that), but I tried to curb my nail polish buying significantly. I now have a total of 25 polishes, one base coat, and one top coat.

Here’s what I got rid of:

Stuff I just plain didn’t like: two polishes from the long-discontinued Wet N Wild Fergie collection, in Dutchess and Tonight’s Gonna Be A Good Night.

Things that are getting old: YSL Bleu Majorelle, Essie Cocktail Bling, Wet N Wild Party of Five Glitters, Orly Go Deeper, Joe Fresh Mist, Joe Fresh Oyster.

Colours I don’t like: Misslyn Rose Sublime (thought it was going to be more of a dusty mauve), Essie Bahama Mama (looks more wine than purply-berry on my nails), Sally Hansen Pucker Up (I never wear red nail polish), Essie Tart Deco (I tend to stick to cooler colours), Revlon Chroma Chameleon in Topaz, Nicole by OPI A Million Sparkles, Sally Hansen Grape Shifter, Sally Hansen Carnival.

Colours that are close to things I like better: Sally Hansen Coin Flip (I prefer a more white gold), Sally Hansen Wined Up (I only wear wine nails around the holidays), China Glaze Merry Berry (ditto). I’m also tossing my bottles of Seche Vite and Essence The Gel Nail Polish Top Coat because I like the Sally Hansen Miracle Gel top coat better than either.

Here’s a quick look at what I’m keeping – you’ll see that I really meant it when I said I like cool colours on my nails.

Revlon Parfumerie Scented Nail Enamel in Bordeaux (does kind of smell like wine); Sally Hansen Gem Crush Nail Colour in Lady Luck; Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure in Rosy Outlook.

Barry M Gelly Hi-Shine Nail Paint in Kiwi; L’Oreal Color Riche Le Vernis A L’Huile in Vert Époque; Barry M Gelly Hi-Shine Nail Paint in Sugar Apple; Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure in Barracuda; Sally Hansen Miracle Gel in Let’s Get Digital; Deborah Lippmann Mermaid’s Eyes; Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure in Sugar Fix.

Sally Hansen Hard As Nails Xtreme Wear Nail Polish in Pacific Blue (x4, because I’m a freak); Barry M Gelly Hi-Shine Nail Paint in Damson; Sally Hansen Miracle Gel in Byte Blue. YES I HAVE A PROBLEM.

Sally Hansen Miracle Gel in Midnight Mod; Orly Nail Lacquer in After Party; Essie Play Date; Sally Hansen Miracle Gel in All Chalked Up.

Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure in Gilty Party; Lancôme Nail Polish in 003; Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure in Blush Over Hue; Beauty UK Nails in Black Out; Sally Hansen Hard As Nails Xtreme Wear in White On.

And my standard base and topcoat duo: Witchcraft Be Strong, which helps prevent my nails from peeling, and Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Top Coat.

And here’s how I’m going to keep my collection under control:

  1. No more buying nail polish on a whim. The same care and research should go into buying it as I put into buying makeup.
  2. No more buying near-dupes of Sally Hansen Pacific Blue which I know will never live up to the original. You know what, I will spend $30 on a bottle from Ebay because I know it’s the only thing I will ever love!!!!
  3. No more buying Essie polishes. They have some beautiful colours and always have stunning seasonal collections, but I just never get on with them. I’ll use the ones I do have because I like the colours, but I have to stop myself from buying more no matter how alluring the colours!
  4. In that vein, buy only from lines that I know and trust. My favourite nail polish formulas are Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure, Sally Hansen Miracle Gel, and Barry M Nail Gelees. Those lines have enough colours to keep me covered and I know I love the formulas.
  5. NO MORE GLITTER POLISH! It’s always disappointing and more trouble than it’s worth in both application and removal.

Anyway, I reduced my nail polish collection by 40%, which I think is a pretty good amount. I really can’t see any clutter in what I’ve kept, aside from the fact that I own four bottles of Sally Hansen Pacific Blue, all of which are necessary.