sunday beauty ramble

Growing up, I was a tomboy. I played with dolls only because I wanted to play with other girls, and other girls didn’t want to play with cars and other ‘boy stuff’. My parents never prohibited the usage of makeup (my parents never prohibited me anything, now that I think of it), and I could play with my mother’s stash any time, but most of the time I didn’t care. I remember my mother gave me her old eye shadow kit with a peculiar selection of colours. I ended up scraping out every shadow pan, making a colourful powder, and drawing with it.

I think 13 or 14 was the first time I have ever consciously used make-up. It was a really bright orange red Max Factor lipstick. Unfortunately, my peers laughed at me, so I haven’t used makeup for a while after that. I started using make-up more or less regularly when I was 18 or 19. I had this brilliant shade of L’Oreal lipstick. I wish I remembered its name, because it was quite pretty and would really work great with today’s 90’s revival and everything.

When I was 20-21, I went through a very 80s blue shadow phase. Thank God that passed – though in hindsight the shade wasn’t the problem, the application was.

Over the years, my love for makeup (and nail polish) has intensified. At times I tried to fight it, since makeup can be a very expensive hobby. I tried trimming it, rotating it, only using certain products at a certain time. I would feel bad whenever I’d buy something, because I already had so much. No one needs 200 lipsticks.

But recently it hit me that I am rather at peace with this side of my life these days, as long as I use makeup almost every day.

And in one way or another, I do. I play with it and compare it every single day. Even on those days when I don’t wear anything on my face, my arms are usually covered in swatches when I’m home. I love writing about makeup and reading about makeup. I love discovering new brands and old favourites. Luxury makeup interests me as much as the cheapest of the cheap – you never know where you can hit the gold mine.

And really, it’s not that I shouldn’t spend less (most of us who have the time to while away on the internet should spend less) – but it’s not like I take money for the food of my cats and buy a lipstick instead.

Over the past month or so, however, I noticed that I am very happy with the selection of products that I currently have. I will never stop wanting more, and my wishlist is still a mile long (as I’m writing this, I’m thinking whether I should buy the entire set of MUR x Friends eye shadows and Colourpop Limoncello), but I’ve been getting tremendous satisfaction from using my stash. What used to discourage me in the morning seems exhilarating now. I’ve been coming up with new combinations of liners, lipsticks, and shadows, combining them into ‘kits’, then starting over.

It feels good.

What still needs work is maintaining a healthy balance between the amount of things I buy and things I use up. My stash is big for the average person. Way big. I want to make sure that the amount of things I use up is bigger than the amount of things I bring in the house. It doesn’t even have to be corresponding categories. Using up two eye shadows is a long venture, and bringing in just one to replace the two finished might feel very limiting for someone like me.

It just has to be the overall number.

I might just do the points system. Most likely 2 for 1.

Much as I dislike the overuse of word ‘curate’, what I eventually want to achieve is an organised and curated beauty stash. I will never be someone who can live with one neutral palette and one eyeliner, but I can certainly become more intentional with where my beauty money goes. Lately I noticed that I’ve been getting better at it, though of course there’s still ample room for improvement.


My Egyptian Make-up Kit: Base & Face

all the face makeup i took with me to Egypt

Elf Poreless Face Primer

A silicone primer that feels so slippery, I always doubt whether it does anything in terms of prolonging makeup life – but it does. You need the tiniest amount of this – I use a pump because I hate half-pumps, but if you’re okay with those, then maybe try a half and then go from there.

Maybelline Fit Me Concealer in 05 Ivory

Purchased during my trip to Bucharest well over a year ago, but still going strong. I’m about halfway done I’d say. 05 is a good shade for me, but I wish they had something just a touch lighter, to brighten the undereye. This one does a fine job of concealing, but sometimes I want more brightness. Ah well. #palepeopleproblems Nevertheless, this is as close to a shade match for me as I found in a very long time, and I love how it performs – minimal creasing, good staying power, doesn’t affect my mascara. So until I find another option, I’ll be repurchasing this.

MAC Studio Fix Fluid Foundation in NW10

My perfect year-round shade. In the dead of winter I sometimes wish for something paler, but this works fine. At first can be a touch tricky to work with. A good thing to remember that with this formula, a little goes a long way. Start small, and then build coverage where you need it. Rather unforgiving towards any dry spots you might have, so prep your skin well, and prepare to blend, blend, blend. But the result is great.

MAC Studio Fix Powder + Foundation in NC10

My brother bought it, thus the NC instead of NW, but it works okay, just a little pinker than I would have liked. We didn’t have MAC in Moldova for the longest time, and sometimes there’s still trouble with shades – and prices. Overcharge much? But yes, the powder. A great medium to full coverage powder foundation. You can use a light dusting, and you can also go all in. With good blending and a finishing spray it won’t look cakey and/ or powdery at all.

Oriflame Colourbox Face Powder

A powder that does little. It’s almost transparent – at least on my face. I keep it in my purse for some oil control throughout the day, but it doesn’t work well for that. It mattifies, but for a short time. I bought it with the hopes that it’s going to be a workhorse, but no. Oriflame quality deteriorated over time. Colourbox sub-brand is no longer, too.

Avon Mark. Translucent Setting Powder

Now this, I love. I am on the fence whether I would like to continue supporting Avon as a brand though, so I am not sure if I will be repurchasing. This loose setting powder is not the most finely milled out there, but it is transparent (again, I am pale, so perhaps on darker skin it will show up), and it sets makeup well. You don’t need a lot, so I expect this to last me at least another 6 months.

I Heart Revolution Blushing Hearts Peachy Pink Kisses

I believe the brand no longer makes these particular blushers/ highlighters, and it’s a pity too, because the quality is really nice. You can achieve a natural look, or you can make it visible from a plane above. You can use it as a blush topper, or you can use it as a stand-alone highlighter, or a blush. You can mix shades together, you can use each of the three individually. I love this. The only downside is that it can emphasise texture if you’re not careful.

Mary Kay Shy Blush

Some time ago somewhere on the internets I read that this MK blush is a great dupe for NARS Orgasm blush. I’ve no idea, I’ve never had the latter – but the MK one is a pleasant product. Mine is on the older side so it’s losing its pigmentation just a touch, but it’s still workable. It’s a pretty universally flattering shade, though on deeper skin tones you might need to layer it thicker. Once this is done, I will not be repurchasing, as I no longer support MK.

Elf Blush & Bronzer Duo in Fiji

A light bronzer with a good (neutral) undertone for me. Not very pigmented, which in bronzers is always a plus, from where I stand. Blends well, looks natural. Blush is completely matte and fairly neutral. I’ve only used it a couple of times so I can’t say anything bad or good about it, apart from, “I like using it”. If you’d like a deeper review, holler in the comments, and I’ll move it higher up my list of ‘products I want to write dedicated posts about’. 😀

Elf HD Undereye Setting Powder

Absolutely love this setting powder for concealer. It sets, but it also has the tiniesttiniest amount of reflection for brightening. Unfortunately, it’s discontinued. There’s another undereye setting powder on the official Elf website now. I’m going to try it, but I have no idea when, as Elf is hard to come by in Moldova. There are a couple of sources, but the choice of products is limited.