Convicted of Purgery

Convicted, rather, of truly painful punning. Sometimes I just can’t help it.

Welcome to my very first purge post! It will probably also be my last in a while, since it saddens me so much to throw anything out. I’m both a sentimental hoarder and an incorrigible cheapskate–a deadly combination where makeup collecting is concerned. But after I came home from England last week, I embarked on a massive apartment-cleaning project, in the course of which I managed to fill a bag with makeup I should have thrown out long ago…

The condemned, in more or less chronological order:

1. Revlon Nail Polish in Silver Screen

Date of purchase: 2009 or 2010

Crime: I haven’t used Silver Screen in about four years, though it was the first nail polish I really coveted, which gives it a special place in my heart. Throughout college, the idea of wearing nail polish made me uncomfortable. I didn’t want to seem frivolous or childish (I was a Serious Intellectual, dontchaknow), and I also had a bizarre fear of drawing people’s attention to my hands. I’ve spent the past two minutes trying to articulate the origin and nature of that fear, but it turns out that I can’t. Anyway, in my first semester of graduate school, a girl in one of my classes had amazing silver robot nails. It occurred to me one day that I could have silver robot nails, too. I believe I initially bought another brand of silver polish, but I soon upgraded to Revlon. Eventually I realized that silver robot nails weren’t really my style, but I kept the bottle of polish for sentiment’s sake…and now I don’t want to purge it after all. Damn it!

Replacement: None, though I’m reminded that I should wear Essie Good as Gold more often. Gold robot nails are slightly more my speed.

2. Revlon Perle Eyeshadows in Lilac Shimmer and Glistening Snow

Date of purchase: I don’t even remember, which is a bad sign. Sometime in 2011? 

Crimes: Coarse texture, meh colors, general mediocrity. I’m not sure I’ve ever actually worn either of these, but here they are swatched on my arm. Glistening Snow is on the left and Lilac Shimmer on the right, not that it makes much difference–as you can see, they’re almost identical.

Replacements: Kiko 251 for Lilac Shimmer. No replacement for Glistening Snow, because I don’t really need a ’90s-esque white frost with huge glitter particles.

3. Revlon Colorstay 12 Hour Eyeshadow Palette in 12 Sultry Smoke

Date of Purchase: 2011 

Crimes: It’s pretty obvious, isn’t it? My favorite shade in the palette, a shimmery gunmetal gray, crumbled and died long ago, leaving me with three colors I didn’t really care for. (The second missing color was yet another lavender frost.) Then the lid fell off. Then I kept the palette for two more years, because I’m insane.

Replacements: Milani Bella Charcoal for the gray shimmer, despite its traitorous crumbling.

4. Revlon Moon Drops Lipsticks in Persian Melon and Orange Flip

Date of purchase: May 2011. 

Crimes: Advanced age, colors I’m not crazy about, headache-inducing floral smell that has only worsened with time. It saddens me to get rid of these, because I remember the thrill of buying them one bright spring afternoon early in my makeup-collecting life, but I don’t think I’ve worn either of them in over two years.

Replacements: Wet n Wild Purty Persimmon is a similar color to Orange Flip, though more matte. No replacement for Persian Melon, since I’ve figured out that this particular shade of hot pink is not my color.

5. L’Oreal Colour Riche Lipstick in True Red

Crime: Putrid L’Oreal smell. I can put up with most lipstick smells, but L’Oreal is beyond the pale for me. I also find the formula somewhat drying. I feel guilty getting rid of this one–it was a gift from my mother, a longtime L’Oreal devotee–but I just can’t wear it.

Replacements: I don’t often reach for satin-finish blue-reds (they seem more ~sexy than matte blue-reds, and it’s rare that I aim to look ~sexy), but I do like wearing Maybelline On Fire Red now and then.

6. Revlon Super Lustrous Lip Gloss in Bordeaux

Date of purchase: September 2012.

Crime: Tragic expiration. I opened the tube a few days ago, and found that the gloss smelled off and the pigment had separated from the rest of the formula. Bordeaux est mort.

Replacement: Revlon Super Lustrous Lip Gloss in Embellished, which I bought during Ulta’s sale on NYX and Revlon yesterday. Bordeaux wasn’t available at Ulta, but Embellished looked similar, though a bit more purple. I bought six items in total; expect reviews when the package arrives!

7. Maybelline Color Tattoos in Audacious Asphalt and Electric Blue

Date of purchase: Summer 2013.

Crime: Excessive dryness. Audacious Asphalt was almost unusable when I first got it (I have no idea why I didn’t return it), and now it’s so dry that it’s even developed a crack. Electric Blue has always been difficult to apply and blend, which is especially unforgivable in an eyeshadow this bold.

Replacements: Milani Bella Navy and Bella Charcoal.

8. Wet n Wild Megalast Lipstick in Bare It All

Date of purchase: September 2013. 

Crime: Ugliness, at least on me. I thought this would be a nice pinky-brown MLBB color, but it has a strong orangey undertone that doesn’t play well with my complexion. Then there’s the smell, simultaneously musty and metallic, and the thick, dry texture. My other two Wet n Wild lipsticks have perfect formulas, so I don’t know why Bare It All is so unpleasant.

In my defense, I bought this while drunk. Bless American drugstores for staying open late enough to enable tequila-fueled lipstick purchases. It was the day of the first meeting of my dissertation seminar in Washington, DC, and because nerds who have just met each other can’t converse normally without the help of alcohol, we’d all had a few. On our way back from a Salvadorean restaurant where we had capped the evening with an ill-advised margarita pitcher, we stopped into the CVS near Eastern Market so someone could pick up tampons. I took this as a sign from Party God that I should buy not one but two lipsticks. (The other one, Wet n Wild Stoplight Red, was a much better choice. I wore it to a Janelle Monáe concert last October!)

Replacement: NARS Cinematic Lipstick in Last Tango, shown here on the right.

9. NYX Hot Singles Eyeshadows in Burlesque, Dayclub, and After Party

Date of purchase: March 2014.

Crime: Utter shittiness. I’ve said it before: these are some of the worst eyeshadows I’ve ever tried. Coarsely milled, poorly pigmented even over primer, just terrible in every way. I was an idiot not to keep the receipt, but here we are.

Replacements: Kiko Infinity Eyeshadow in 250 (olive shimmer); Kiko Eyeshadow Stick in 16 (dark purple). No replacement for Dayclub, as I ordered it expecting the “dark gold pearl” promised on NYX’s website and not a terra-cotta nightmare.

Writing these mini-reviews has made me nostalgic. I’m turning 27 in just over a month, and exploring makeup and beauty has been one of the defining activities of my mid-twenties. I bought most of these products before I really knew what I wanted makeup to do for me. I can’t even recall the reasoning behind some of my purchases, which is frightening. They’re the material remains of lost thought processes, faded magazine images, transient moods and whims. But I learned something from each one of my disappointments. I learned to avoid ordering makeup sight unseen. I learned that cool fuchsia lipsticks flatter me and warm hot pinks don’t. I learned not to buy lip glosses I can’t use up in two years. I learned that it’s better to spend $30 on one really nice thing than on four indifferent things. Though these lessons seem trivial when I write them out, they helped me take control of how I presented myself to the world. The stakes of makeup may be low, but the rewards are incredibly high. So I can’t hold a grudge against any of the products I’m throwing away–not even those appalling NYX eyeshadows. Ave atque vale.

12 thoughts on “Convicted of Purgery

  1. You're so witty and smart! The title of this post just makes me smile. ;)I can certainly relate to the pain of purging. There IS a moment of \”Oh, I wish I had that thing I got rid of months ago.\”, you know? ;p.I have a tube of Bordeaux as well, and it is actually another way to make Revlon Black Cherry work (wearing Bordeaux on top). Otherwise I'd have to wear Black Cherry as a stain as you mentioned. :)And please keep the Silver Screen! Nail polishes are practically paints and they don't really go bad if you store them properly. You never know. ^-^


  2. Loved the anecdotes, particularly \”silver robot nails\”. Also, I adore this particular sentence in the last paragraph: \”They're the material remains of lost thought processes, faded magazine images, transient moods and whims.\” Beautifully worded and apt.


  3. Nooo, I already threw Silver Screen out! Oh well, it will live forever in this post. And I wore Black Cherry as a stain yesterday with a brownish berry gloss on top (Poppy King x Boots No. 7 Seduction), and really liked the effect. I can't wait for Embellished to arrive so I can play around with it. I was never interested in layering liners and lipsticks and glosses until this fall!I'm very prone to regret, but I think it's fair to say I'll never regret purging Bare It All. 😉


  4. Aww, thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed the post. I'm very interested in how memories lodge in objects, and I started this blog mainly to relive and preserve the thoughts and feelings behind the makeup I'd bought over the years. It's easy to dismiss makeup as a thoughtless hobby, and sometimes it *is* thoughtless fun, but it can also be complicated and profound. We all have reasons for wanting to look the way we do and buying the products we do, and those reasons are worth examining!


  5. Your tequila-fueled shopping spree is hilarious. Ahhhh, I still remember the pungent smell of Revlon Bordeaux going bad on me less than 5 months into the purchase. I had two other glosses from the same series that all went bad at once and I hadn't worn any of them more than 7 times. I wash my hands of those ColorBurst Glosses forever! And maybe it's just because Revlon has so many products, but they make so many terrible ones. I also remember that shadow palette and green tubed lipsticks!And agreed on the scent of the L'Oreal lipsticks. I like their texture and colour selection but the smell caused me to toss out my remaining two tubes and I never look at them now.


  6. What a shame about your Revlon lip glosses! Mine took much longer to go bad–I was able to use Bordeaux for at least a year and a half, though Peony bit the dust a little earlier than that. I really like the Revlon ColorBurst gloss formula–it's pigmented without being sticky, which is a hard balance for drugstore glosses especially to pull off. And I don't wear lip gloss often enough to go for the higher-end stuff. The most impressive lip gloss I've ever tried, like IN MY LIFE, is Revlon Adorned, which is basically a liquid lipstick.I have a fondness for the Moon Drops lipsticks because my grandma bought me a clear Moon Drops lip conditioner when I was twelve, and the smell still reminds me of being a preteen. But that doesn't mean I actually want to *wear* the lipsticks regularly. And yeah, I've never been impressed with Revlon eye makeup. Anything they make that isn't a lip product feels like an afterthought.


  7. I have absolutely no idea how I didn't see this post O_o But I've seen it now, so REMEDY TIME!I love reading posts like these – it makes me feel better about my own little box full of things that really need to leave my makeup chest. Funnily enough, I have another box somewhere at my parents' palce that I'd really like to find, as it has random bits of makeup in it from like 10-15 years ago, at which point I think things have started to become interesting again in a 'museum piece' kind of way ;-).You know…I don't own any L'Oreal lipsticks, I never have, and something always turns me away from the alcove before I can really get into it. Maybe it's the smell, hissing quietly out of all those tubes of lipstick, creating an uneasy miasma around the alcove…<_<>_>Anyway, your punning is rogue approved. Go forth and pun! 😀 Do it. Have pun!


  8. It has to be the chemical-floral miasma. That or the unappealing gold packaging. I don't know why, but I find L'Oreal lipsticks so…ugly.You should find and post about your vintage makeup! (I'm going to go ahead and say that any makeup older than a decade is \”vintage.\”) Since I started wearing makeup so recently, I have nothing old enough for antiquarian interest except a set of mini Pochacco nail polishes, a birthday present from 1999. I really hope my mother hasn't thrown those away, because skateboarding Pochacco needs to be immortalized on the blog…


  9. Wait, you were in London, and I'm here in London, and we didn't meet up to paint our faces together?! Why did I have to declare RSS feed bankruptcy?! Next time you're here, give me a bell.I did a big clear out of purge-worthy makeup before I left the homeland, yet still managed to bring around 8kg of cosmetics over with me. I know what you mean about learning from disappointments, yet I still keep finding myself making bad choices, especially with the buy-one-get-one-half-off and similar deals.


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