Eight Beauty Products I Didn’t Buy in the Last Six Months

I made my stage debut at the age of eight, in my elementary school’s production of The Phantom Tollbooth. I had two roles: the Spelling Bee (marred by a wardrobe malfunction: part of my headband fell off and I pouted for the rest of the scene) and the Senses Taker. For the second role, I wore a severe bun, a prim, high-necked brown dress, and a pair of fake glasses, and asked Milo and his companions to tell me “when you were born, where you were born, why you were born, the schools you’ve attended, the schools you haven’t attended…”

Years would pass before I understood that the name of my role was a pun on “census taker,” and that the adult world didn’t actually contain a career path based on taking people’s senses, except perhaps anesthesiology. Years would pass, too, before I understood why asking someone which schools they hadn’t attended and which people they hadn’t met was so funny.

In the spirit of the Senses Taker, I thought I’d write up some negative reviews: not bad reviews of products I own, but musings on products that I decided to leave on the physical or virtual shelf. An anti-wishlist, if you will. I’ve assigned each item a “regret level” from 1 to 10, with 1 being “phew, dodged a bullet there,” and 10 being “YOU PENNY-PINCHING FOOL.” Any product with a rating over 6 warrants future reconsideration.

NYX Wicked Lippies in Wrath and Power

Date of non-purchase: Oct. 2014

Reason for non-purchase: At the end of last year, I decided to stop buying lipsticks that I couldn’t see myself wearing often. Would a bronze metallic lipstick look really cool? For certain values of “cool,” yes. Would I wear it more than a few times over the fall and winter? Probably not. Power seemed more traditionally wearable, but I couldn’t decide whether it would read “cyborg grunge” or “Avon lady in 1992,” so I gave it a pass. I have a strong suspicion I’ll buy Wrath for next fall, though. (By which time I’ll be consumed with teaching, grading, dissertating, and applying for jobs, and will probably feel like wearing a lipstick called Wrath all the goddamn time.)

Regret level: 6 for Wrath, 3 for Power

Kat Von D Studded Kiss Lipstick in Poe

Date of non-purchase: Oct. 2014

Reason for non-purchase: I’ve done a lot of silly things for my love of beauty, but not even I can bring myself to spend $21 on a sparkly navy-blue lipstick. Plus, the Studded Kiss formula has received terrible reviews (though Poe seems better than most), and Kat Von D herself kind of sucks.

Regret level: 1

OCC Lip Tar in Lydia

Date of non-purchase: Nov. 2014

Reason for non-purchase: I’ve never tried an OCC Lip Tar, but as I explained in my last post, a gap in my collection is not necessarily a gap that needs to be filled. Too often, beauty bloggers seem to think that if they don’t own MAC Ruby Woo or NARS Orgasm or whatever cult product, they’re not doing their job. I don’t want to fall into that trap! I own just two liquid lipsticks and almost never wear them because they’re so inconvenient to apply, and the Lip Tars look even fussier. I’ve also heard that they can be drying. Lydia looks beyond perfect on Xiao, but it probably wouldn’t suit my needs, though I might eventually try it on at Sephora to see if the formula is comfortable.

Regret level: 3

ColourPop Super Shock Cheek in Holiday

Date of non-purchase: Feb. 2015

Reason for non-purchase: Some of you blush fiends will consider this blasphemy, but I find that one warm pink looks much the same as another once blended out (granted, I think I blend more vigorously than necessary). Yes, Holiday is pinker than Sleek Life’s a Peach, but it won’t produce a dramatically different look. Not that I judge anyone for their blush collection, no matter how large it is! I’ve lost count of the number of plum/fuchsia lipsticks I’ve amassed because they’re totally different okay.

Regret level: 2

Revlon Matte Balm in Unapologetic

Date of non-purchase: 500 BC, it feels like Mar. 2015, most recently

Reason for non-purchase: I first experienced a pang of desire for Unapologetic last summer, but I was wearing Maybelline Vibrant Mandarin so often that I convinced myself I didn’t need another bright coral. Since then, I’ve managed to non-purchase Unapologetic on several occasions. I’ve walked into drugstores in three different cities, seen it on the shelf, and walked back out. I’ve added it to my online Ulta cart two different times, then deleted it before paying. The one time I did make up my mind to buy it, I couldn’t find a pristine tube. Maybe the universe just doesn’t want me to have Unapologetic. Or maybe the universe is testing my devotion, and Unapologetic will turn out to be the most flattering lipstick ever on me. Though it’s a coral-pink, not my best color historically, so I doubt it. (Why does the Revlon product shot make it look fuchsia?)

Regret level: 6

OPI That’s Hula-rious

Date of non-purchase: March 2015

Reason for non-purchase: “No near-dupes” was one of my New Year’s resolutions, and I’ve done my best to stick to it. I have a mint nail polish, Essie Fashion Playground, which satisfies me perfectly when I’m in a minty mood. “Near-dupe” is a tricky concept, though, and That’s Hula-rious is a noticeably different color: yellower and more muted, pistachio to Essie’s seafoam. If I find myself in an Ulta in the next few months, I might have to surrender.

Regret level: 7

ColourPop Super Shock Cheek in Rain

Date of non-purchase: March 2015

Reason for non-purchase: I got very excited when I heard that ColourPop was releasing a true purple blush in their limited-edition spring collection. If you’ve been following this blog for any length of time, you’ll know that I’ve wanted a purple or lavender blush for a while, but the purples available to me have so far been sneaky secret pinks (a problem I used to have with purple lipstick before it became popular), or nearly invisible on my skin, or sold in an inconvenient loose powder form. So I was certain that I was going to buy Rain, and then I just…didn’t. The fact is, I never stand in front of the mirror in the morning and think, “Damn it, this look would be perfect with purple blush.” I also knew that I couldn’t make much of a dent in Rain’s cream formula before it started drying up. Probably not worth the $8 plus shipping–though I do think I’ll check out Urban Decay’s new purple blush, Bittersweet, once it’s released. If it can look nice on someone as warm-toned as Christine, it probably won’t look hideous on me.

Regret level: 5

Believe me, this is not a complete list of all my non-purchases over the past half-year; these are just the ones that that managed to stimulate my organ of obsession (wherever that might be located). Sometimes I think the makeup obsessions I develop are more pleasurable than their fulfillment. The more I build up an item in my mind, the less impressive it turns out to be. Perhaps that explains why I get so attached to products that I buy on a total whim. In just the last two months, my favorite products have been Butter London Fruit Machine, Topshop Plastique, and Milani Matte Naked, all of which ended up in my life somewhat accidentally. By contrast, I spent months or even years longing for Butter London Trout Pout and Face Stockholm Paris, only to experience something of a letdown once they were finally in my hands. Does this happen to anyone else? And have you non-purchased anything interesting recently?

11 thoughts on “Eight Beauty Products I Didn’t Buy in the Last Six Months

  1. I have three Lip Tars and I like them, but they are very inconvenient. At least with a regular liquid lipstick you can touch up on the go easily with the doefoot applicator; with lip tars you're forced to bring the dinky little brush along with you. I rarely reach for them for that reason, even though I love the colours I have. So I'd say that you probably did a dodge a bullet there.I was rather relieved when I started reading the bad reviews for the KVD lipsticks; some of the colours are very interesting, and I find the packaging alluring… I love having a solid reason not to buy something!Tangent, but The Phantom Tollbooth is a book that just gets better and better with age, for exactly the reason you described – there were so many jokes and puns that went over my head when I first read it age 8 that I love now. I think \”jump to Conclusions\” is my favourite.


  2. I have a coppery metallic lipstick somewhat similar to Nyx's Wrath (mine is Topshop's Armour) and I love it with a love that is fierce but I scarcely ever wear it. I feel like I can't really get behind metallic lipsticks because I remember them from the last time around and I remember them being passé. Maybe I should leave them to the 17 year old tumblr kids. Also it's the same colour as my hair which is all kinds of awkward. But it's so pretty. Also, to me, Rain just looks like a really cool pink when blended out. UD's Bittersweet looks far far far more purple. Not that I could ever wear either, being basically yellow.


  3. Love this post because I can so relate. I have some regrets about passing on gorgeous LE item from years back or stupidly getting rid of things I liked just for the sake of streamlining the stash or whatever. OCC Lip Tars gave me brief bouts of turmoil until people on Twitter talked me out of them. I am never going to pick up an itty bitty lip brush to apply lip paints that will never set properly and probably end up all over the front teeth. And I want Revlon Sultry but like your Unapologetic, it's never left unmolested in the stores. People are animals.


  4. Ah, the Phantom Tollbooth! One of my favorite books, to this day. I should read it again, but I'm not sure where my copy has wandered off to. They do that, you know.


  5. This is such a cool idea, things you didn't buy. I've almost bought that dark purple revlon matte balm so many times but then I think hard about whether I would actually wear it, and I don't.


  6. Yeah, I'm just not interested in bringing a lip brush everywhere. I have some lipsticks that I do prefer to apply with a lip brush, but at least I can use the actual bullet for touch-ups. The weirder colors in the KVD line looked so intriguing, and I was happy to have a concrete reason not to buy them, too! I still look up swatches of Wonderchilde, though, and sigh at what might have been.I actually haven't read The Phantom Tollbooth since I was a kid! Writing this post made me want to take another look at it.


  7. I missed the first wave of metallic lipsticks, though less because of age (I have the feeling we're around the same age?) than because of total obliviousness to everything pop-cultural. That said, there's a difference between appreciating the existence of metallic lipsticks and actually wearing them in public. By the way, I think a coppery lipstick that matched your hair would look amazing!I had the same impression about Rain vs. Bittersweet, so thanks for confirming. Definitely going to give Bittersweet a swatch when I'm next in a Sephora.


  8. Your last sentence reminds me of one of my favorite lines from Adventure Time: Finn wonders if another character is a human like him or \”just another wild animal,\” and Jake says, \”We're all wild animals, brother.\” Though I doubt the writers were thinking specifically of Revlon Matte Balm displays…I've definitely gotten rid of things I now wish I'd kept. Last year I tossed Maybelline Make Me Pink because I \”never wore pink lipstick,\” and this year I'm all about the pink lipstick, sigh. I think blogging sometimes encourages us to be overzealous about purging. You just never know when you'll circle back around to loving something!


  9. For a very short time I had a tumblr which was something along the lines of \”things I did not buy, so I'm really feeling this post! The last beauty product I didn't buy was the Max Factor creme puff blush in gorgeous berries. I'm a big fan of the colour but I suspect it would end up like the other purplish blush in my collection, Vintage Grape — making me look like I have erythema.


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