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!

Pre-moving declutter part II: Face and Eye Makeup

Posted on August 31, 2017 under Declutter

Throughout the years I have hauled my ever-expanding makeup collection back and forth between various locales. I’m never going to be a makeup minimalist, because I think it’s fun to try new products and to be able to do lots of different looks, but in preparation for my upcoming move back to Scotland I’ve been slowly weeding out useless products from my collection. There are things that I’ve been moving with me for years that I never touch. When I have to move my entire life via plane, I have limited space for the most important things I own. I don’t want to waste space transporting stuff that I hold onto only out of some strange, nebulous compulsion and not because I actually use it.

Since my last declutter, I’ve continued to put things aside to pass onto more loving homes, and finally I am ready to share my latest ruthless round of culling with you. Some of these items are products which I’ve had almost as long as I’ve been a makeup user but which I can no longer justify keeping. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – there’s nothing like a transcontinental move to help you declutter!

Because there were a lot of products, I’ve decided to do lip stuff in a separate post. Today we’ll be going over eye and face things (and a few other random bits).

Face Products

Paul and Joe Illuminating Primer: I don’t see myself using up this DS size; I don’t think it does much and I won’t miss the extra step.

Maybelline Fit Me Matte + Poreless Foundation in 110 Porcelain: Despite my dry skin, this formula works quite nicely on me – it’s lightweight, medium coverage, and not too drying at all. It’s also a great colour match for me as it’s a very fair, yellow-based shade. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this product, especially since it’s one of the few foundations at the drugstore that’s actually still cheap. But I have too much foundation as it is, and this one didn’t fill any specific niche for me. I want to use up what I have before it goes bad, so out this goes.

NYX Colour Correcting Palette: These colours are a bit too creamy and crease-prone for me. The only one that I got any use out of was the peach, and even then it didn’t layer nicely with other liquid and cream products. You can see that the yellow and both of the concealer shades are totally untouched.

Sleek Blush By 3 Palette in Lace: This was a longtime favourite; I have no complaints about the formula of either the mattes or the shimmer shade in this palette. But I only ever used the middle shade, Guipure, a warm pink which has the prettiest sheen thanks to its gold shimmer. When I think about it, I rarely reach for Guipure over, say, Hourglass Luminous Flush or my LE Chanel blush, both of which give a similar – though not identical – effect on my cheeks.

ELF Illuminating Palette: These powders are terrible and look like nothing on me.

ColourPop Super Shock Cheek in Rain: A lovely warm lilac which I used to have good fun with. Looks great applied heavily to the cheeks and up the temples. However, I don’t love cream blush, and this product taught me that I won’t wear purple blush on a regular basis. I pretty much bought it to test that hypothesis, so I consider it money well-spent.

Eye Products

L’Oréal Voluminous Base: The last time I bought a mascara primer I concluded that I would never work this extra step into my routine, and that has held true. Lesson learned, belatedly.

Revlon Mega Multiplier Mascara*: This mascara did basically nothing for my eyelashes.

Lancôme Grandiôse Extrême Mascara in Bleu Nuit*: I was never impressed with this mascara, and the unremarkable effect it had on my lashes was not mitigated by the colour. The navy blue barely showed up on me, leaving me with a mascara that read as a rather boring black. Pass!

NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil in Milk: Once upon a time NYX was impossible to get in Canada and I made my mom buy me not one but two of the 2013 staple Milk when she was in New York. (Now there are two NYX stores in Toronto.) Let’s see – this creases like a bitch on me when used as an eyeshadow base and is too thick to reasonably use as an eyeliner. I used up that much of the shorter pencil when I was trying to make me and my two friends look dead on Halloween and otherwise it has not been useful.

Stila Smudge Sticks in Halfmoon, Purple Tang, and Lionfish: I use these liners very rarely and see no point in keeping them around.

Maybelline Colour Tattoos in Tenacious Teal, Electric Blue, and Inked in Pink: The days of cream eyeshadow are largely behind me, though Inked in Pink was once a daily-use product for me. Tenacious Teal and Electric Blue are not colours that I ever wear. I probably shouldn’t have bought Electric Blue in the first place, though I believe it was on clearance for a reasonably $2.50. Tenacious Teal served its purpose in replicating David Bowie’s “Life On Mars?” video.

ColourPop Super Shock Shadows in Beverly and Stereo: At a year and a half old, Beverly is completely dried-out and useless. I enjoyed it while it worked! Stereo, a dark plum with gold shimmer, was never the colour I wanted it to be – which is my fault for trusting the (Photoshopped) swatches on the ColourPop website. Realistically, I’m not going to use it – out it goes.

Lancôme Color Design eyeshadow in Infinitely Indigo: Four years after this eyeshadow made its way into my collection c/o Aisling, it’s finally time to say goodbye. I’m actually at a point in my makeup-wearing life where the colour this eyeshadow appears in the pan appeals to me, but it shows up much more muted on my eyes. Unrelated, but I wonder when Lancôme is going to repackage their eyeshadows: the black and clear plastic looks quite cheap.

Stila Eyes Are the Window Palette – Spirit: These are nice sheer, buildable shadows, but I have a lot of neutral eyeshadow and this is the palette I reach for the least. All the shades are dupeable within my own collection, so I won’t miss it.

Sleek i-Divine Eyeshadow Palette in Ultra Matts V2: I begged Aisling to send me this from England when these palettes were all the rage in 2013. These are nice enough matte eyeshadows – they don’t live up to, say, ABH or KVD quality, but for a $15 palette I have no complaints. There were a few colours I really liked in this palette, too. The plum, Villan (sic) was a particular favourite. But these colours just don’t speak to me these days.

The Body Shop Eye Palette in Smoky Plum: This palette is constantly almost getting destashed, and then I use it and remember that I really like it. These taupey purples really appeal to me, and each shade in this palette is carefully-selected. But I still never seem to reach for it, and when I want a neutral purple eye look I have other options.

Lancôme Color Design Palette – GWP: I held onto this quad for the peach shade, Kitten Heel, which really is beautiful. The other shades, though they complement Kitten Heel perfectly, are utterly generic and not especially great quality. In the end, I don’t use Kitten Heel enough to justify keeping this quad, and I can get similar looks from other products.

Lancôme Color Design Palette in Blush Sweetness – GWP: I did at one point really enjoy these pinky shades – and they are incredibly soft, smooth, and blendable – but I pulled this palette out after at least a year of neglect and found that I didn’t like the look I got from it. Save for the middle shade, every other colour in the palette is easily dupeable, and I don’t really like the middle shade on myself anyway: it makes me look a bit ill, whereas a more saturated pink looks like a deliberate statement.

Wet n Wild Silent Treatment Trio and Comfort Zone Palette: After literal years of saying I would, I finally bought an empty palette (one of the tin ones by MUFE) and depotted the Wet N Wild eyeshadows that I actually use. The depotting process warped the plastic so the compacts don’t shut, so I’ll have to toss these.

Fragrance Samples

I had no idea I had collected so many fragrance samples that I will never use. I’m not big on fragrance anyway, and my tastes lean towards the very simple. I’m passing on these samples of Givenchy Dahlia Divin, Narciso Rodriguez For Her, Jean Paul Gaultier Classique, Paco Rabanne Olympea (x2), Dolce and Gabbana Dolce, Burberry Brit, Lacoste L.12.12 (x2), Thierry Mugler Alien Eau Extraordinaire, Prada Candy Florale, and Prada Candy Kiss.

Miscellaneous Products

Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure in Rosy Outlook and Essie Play Date escaped my big nail polish declutter, but when I wore them again I felt very “meh” about both. Rosy Outlook is a little too saccharine a pink for my tastes, and I wish Play Date were a tinge warmer. It’s not the most flattering colour on my nails.

I’ve never found a use for my Real Techniques Pointed Foundation Brush, but perhaps one of my friends can.

That’s 27 makeup products, 12 fragrance samples, 2 nail polishes, and one brush. Not bad – and wait until you see the lipstick declutter!

Inventory: Blush

Posted on April 18, 2017 under Inventory

I wonder if any of you can relate to the consumerist cycle I often find myself in. Once upon a time, my big makeup vice was lipstick. I’d still consider myself first and foremost a lipstick lover, but I hit a certain point where I had so much lipstick that my acquisition really tapered off. Then, my attention naturally shifted towards blush, and I began to accumulate a lot of that. I’ve cycled through a few product categories that get all my attention (and dollars). It’s like I need something to be interested in makeup-wise, and when I max out one category I naturally meander on over to another. I’ve gone through all the interesting categories and I’ve wound up at foundation, currently. But let’s talk about blush today instead, because I love blush a lot more than foundation.

Clearly, when it comes to blush I am a brand snob. At this point I only own two drugstore blush products, and both are from Sleek. I do really enjoy blush, but at this point I don’t feel the need to bring more into my life. The last time I purchased a new blush was 11 months ago and I haven’t felt any urge to expand my collection since then. A gal can only go through so many blushes in her lifetime, and let’s be honest – once they’re on our faces, a lot of the apparent differences all but disappear.

I’ve arranged these by colour family, and I did this by using the very scientific process of “sort according to the colour in the pan”. You’ll see that some of these straddle multiple categories or might fit better in a different one than I’ve put it in, but I think we will survive my shortcomings.

By the way, I’ve slightly underexposed the swatch photos because I think the colour accuracy is a bit better when I do that.

First up, some of my peachy blushes!

Sleek Blush by 3 Palette in Lace

Sleek blushes are very, very nice, and if you live in a place where you can saunter on down to the drugstore and buy one then you should consider yourself very lucky. Some of us have to have to order them online like savages.

The Blush by 3 palette was a Christmas 2013 present from Aisling. I requested it because I was in a phase where I only watched British YouTubers and everyone talked about Sleek all the time. (Uh, does that really obviously date that phase in my life to 2013?) I use the middle shade in the palette, Guipure, the most. Actually, it’s the only shade I really use at all. I don’t normally go for shimmery blush, but this one gives a beautiful glow: just check out the swatch below! The two matte shades are so pigmented that they easily verge on clownish on my skintone, and I definitely would not normally wear straight up orange blush anyway. I take a pretty firm anti-orange stance on most things, generally.

Chanel Sunkiss Ribbon Harmonie de Blush

This late 2015/early 2016 LE blush was one of my absurd Optimum points luxury purchases. You know how it is, or maybe you don’t because you’re a better person than me. I’m not really sure what compelled me to buy it, because I’ve never been interested in Chanel makeup and prefer cool-toned makeup most of the time. As with most multi-tone products, I apply this by swirling my brush around the entire pan, which generally gives me a peachy glow. Sometimes it leans pinker and sometimes it leans more orange depending on what exactly my brush picks up. It’s quite sheer, which I find delightfully user-friendly, and the end result is always pretty. But is it worth $70 CAD? Absolutely not!

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Luminous Flush

It’s funny, swatched next to all of these blushes Luminous Flush appears quite pink, but on my cheeks it definitely reads as peach. This is easily my second favourite of my Hourglass blushes, which, as you may know, are my all-time favourite blush formula. In the summer I probably use this blush 2-3 times a week, which is pretty high proportionally.

L-R: Sleek Crochet, Sleek Guipure, Sleek Chantilly, Chanel Sunkiss Ribbon, Hourglass Luminous Flush

These are my two neutral, go-to blushes appropriate for pretty much any occasion.

Benefit Boxed Powder in Hervana

Benefit seems to be a rather polarizing brand: I know people who swear by the line as a whole and who love the kitschy aesthetic, but I’ve read a lot of backlash against the brand for having subpar products masked by cute packaging. Personally I’m not wowed by Benefit overall, but other than my arch-nemesis They’re Real! mascara (which I’ve mentioned so many times that I’m sure you are all aware of how much I despise it) I’ve never had a dud product from the brand. I’ve had several Benefit blushes in the past, but destashed most due to the bulky packaging. I kept Hervana only because it’s the perfect natural blush for me. Swirled together, on me it reads as a soft, slightly warm brownish pink. It’s truly one of those products that goes with everything. Sometimes I forget I have it because it’s not very exciting, but I’m currently going through a phase with it. It’s hard to mess it up, really! I just wish it were more travel-friendly, because I could easily get through a month-long trip with this as my one and only blush.

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Mood Exposure

You may remember that Mood Exposure is my favourite of the ALBs, and probably my favourite blush of all time. If you were to simply look at it in the pan, you’d probably wonder how something so dull could possibly be somebody’s favourite. But on the skin it transforms: it’s an incredibly brightening, flattering mixture of plum and brown with the healthiest luminosity. If I lost all my blushes this is the one I would repurchase immediately. Because Hervana is so bulky, Mood Exposure is the blush I always take travelling with me. For a weekend trip I need a minimum of five lip colour options, but I can get through ten days with just Mood Exposure, easy.

L-R: Benefit Hervana, Hourglass Mood Exposure

Bright blushes! Yay!

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Diffused Heat

This was my very first ALB, a hand-me-down from Aisling because she found the hot red-coral too intense for her tastes. I’m so glad she passed it on to me, because I don’t know that I would have discovered this formula otherwise – it’s surprisingly unhyped on ye olde internette. Generally I like to apply this with a stipple brush, and it’s more of a summer shade for me, but it’s stunning. It’d look great on darker skin too.

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Radiant Magenta

I think Radiant Magenta was a bit of a mistake of a purchase on my part. There’s nothing wrong with it: it’s just as finely-milled, glowy, and long-wearing as my other three ALBs. But it’s pretty similar to Diffused Heat (although Diffused Heat ironically appears more magenta on the skin – the tan swirls in Radiant Magenta tone it down significantly), and I don’t think I really need both. As I’ve said, that’s my sole gripe with the ALB line. It’s not extensive, and many of the shades are quite similar. I don’t know if I can bear to part with Radiant Magenta, even so, because I paid a pretty penny for it and I just love the ALBs in general.

Tarte Amazonian Clay Blush in Natural Beauty

I first laughed when I saw that the name of this bright pink-red blush was Natural Beauty, but applied lightly it actually does make me look how I naturally do when I’ve just come out of the cold. This formula isn’t my favourite; it’s rather stiff, and I prefer something softer and more finely-milled. However, I like that it’s not too pigmented (with a colour like this that would be a real killer), and the colour is one of my favourites.

L-R: Hourglass Diffused Heat, Hourglass Radiant Magenta, Tarte Natural Beauty

Finally, plums and purples and berries, a category which I love maybe a little too much…

ColourPop Super Shock Cheek in Rain

You know, I bought this to see if I would actually wear lavender/lilac blush, and the answer is no, not often. (Don’t be fooled by the pan you see. This is the result of perhaps five applications.) However, I have on several occasions been very happy to have this on hand, as when I go out with my friends I usually do pretty funky makeup and enjoy applying this with a very heavy hand all the way up to my temples. It’s a fun product! But I’m not going to upgrade it for a more expensive lavender blush, probably.

Sleek Blush in Flushed

This was another Aisling hand-me-down, and it’s one of my favourites for fall and winter. It’s a warm berry shade with a satin finish and very subtle gold flecks running through it. It looks absolutely beautiful and glowing. I think this would look even better on deeper skintones that can take more colour. You’ll see in the swatch that it does come off warmer than it looks in the pan, but that’s also because it really doesn’t photograph true-to-colour. That’s been one of my ongoing struggles with this product! If you’re in the market for an affordable, warm-toned plummy blush… this may be the one!

Guerlain Rose Aux Joes Blush in Wonder Violette

Another absolutely wild Optimum points purchase! This is a soft, warm pinky plum. It’s another one which appears warmer on my skin than it does in the pan. I do not think it’s worth $60 and will not buy another Guerlain blush, with Optimum points or otherwise. I mean, there’s nothing wrong with it: the formula is nice and I like the colour, but there’s better stuff out there for cheaper. Speaking of which…

NARS Blush in Sin

Personally, I think NARS blushes are a little overrated formula-wise, but some of the colours are to die for. Sin is the colour of a bruise, which sounds very unappealing but which I adore. I have nothing else like this and I rarely see anything similar on the market. This blush doesn’t go with every makeup look, but I love having it on hand. I doubt I’ll become a NARS blush collector, but if any of the colours call my name I’d be willing to buy another one. (And yes, I felt like I truly belonged in the makeup community when I bought this. I mean, are you a real beauty blogger if you don’t own a NARS blush?!)

L-R: ColourPop Rain, Sleek Flushed, Guerlain Wonder Violettes, NARS Sin

And that, my friends, is the extent of my blush collection. Fourteen total if I count the shades in the Sleek palette separately, twelve actual products. I think that’s pretty manageable, and I don’t think I could realistically trim it down much. I genuinely use and like everything I have here. I can also easily list every product in my blush collection off the top of my head, which I think is a pretty good benchmark.

Next time shall I do a more boring category? I don’t want to exhaust all the interesting ones too early on…