Thanksgiving Medley: No-Buy Update and 2016 Wishlist

When I first declared my no-buy three weeks ago, I predicted that my willpower would be tested severely. Instead, I immediately felt a sense of unaccustomed freedom. I’d grown used to thinking of my beauty purchases as stress relievers, but I hadn’t considered that they might actually be a source of stress. Every new purchase brought pleasure and excitement, but never without an undercurrent of guilt and worry: can I really afford this? do I really need it? will I really use it, or will it end up gathering dust? And now those anxious questions are gone. My no-buy has liberated me to play with the makeup I already own instead of constantly plotting to buy something new. I mean, ask me in a month whether I still feel this way, but for now? I’m pretty content, and I’m glad I caught an incipient problem before it became more serious. My plan for 2016 is to try a Monika-style low-buy (no more than two new items per month), but with a couple of no-buy months thrown in.

Stepping back from consumption has also given me a better sense of my actual makeup preferences and needs. Too often, we buy makeup because some alternate-reality version of us insists we’ll use it all the time. Well, the alternate-reality Zoe may wear sparkly teal eyeshadow, but the real-life Zoe invariably reaches for matte or barely shimmery eyeshadow in taupe, gray, brown, and plum. I’ve been doing a lot of neutral looks in the last couple of months (sadly, my no-buy hasn’t encouraged greater creativity!), and I’ve been noticing genuine gaps in my collection. At least half a dozen times this month, I’ve wished for a light matte brown eyeshadow for an all-over lid color, but the closest thing I have is ColourPop Bill, which is more pink than brown. I don’t own a matte highlight shade, either. I mean, this is some pretty basic beginner-makeup shit that I overlooked in my pursuit of the eccentric and cyborgian. Before my no-buy, most of my makeup desires were sparked by blog posts about cool new stuff. I wouldn’t feel the need for a lipstick like X before I saw the rave review by blogger Y, but after reading Y’s post, I’d think of nothing but X until I bought it. Or I’d idly browse the Sephora website until something in particular caught my eye, and before long my mild interest would sharpen into an active desire. I haven’t indulged in my online-browsing habit since my no-buy began, and I find reviews of new products less convincing because, well, I know I can’t have them. Instead, I’m paying more attention to what I actually need (so far as one can “need” any beauty product).

Of course, this means that my makeup wishlist has been growing. And since it’s Thanksgiving, a holiday all about spending time with loved ones manic consumption, I thought I’d give you a sense of the sort of thing I’ve put on the “buy in 2016” list recently, in order from most to least desired.

1. Urban Decay Naked2 Basics Palette ($29)


I’m on a real Urban Decay kick these days, aren’t I? I never paid much attention to Urban Decay until this year, largely because I couldn’t get into the Naked hype. Naked Palettes 1, 2, and 3 were too sparkly for my tastes, while the first Naked Basics palette was too warm-toned. Until last week, I had no idea that Urban Decay had released a cool-toned Basics palette in August 2014that gives you a sense of how little I used to care about the brand. But in a recent search for the aforementioned matte brown, I decided to take a second look at the original Basics palette, only to discover that it had acquired a taupier sibling. I guess Urban Decay will just keep throwing Naked palettes at us until the last stubborn holdout has found one that suits her. Come to think of it, the last holdout may have been me.

Serious question: would it be cheating to ask my boyfriend for this as a Christmas presentor early Christmas present, since the Urban Decay site is having a 20%-off sale tomorrow? (Edit: I decided that it wasn’t cheating.)

2. NARS Audacious Lipstick in Dominique ($32)


Despite my ambivalence toward the Audacious formula (and for that price, one really shouldn’t feel ambivalent), I’ve been attracted to this color ever since the Audacious line came out. Dominique is one of the ten shades exclusive to NARS freestanding stores, the NARS website, and Barneys, so I didn’t get to see it in person until this month, when I visited the NARS boutique in New York. I’d always assumed that Dominique was similar to MAC Up the Amp, since they’re both midtone purples with a hint of gray. But it turns out that Up the Amp is brighter and pinker (that is, more wearable for most people), while Dominique has that zombie undertone I find oddly flattering:

The Audacious swatches above Dominique are (L-R) Silvia, Audrey, Bette, Deborah, and Anna. Sorry for the lumpy Dominique swatch. 😛

I might wait to buy Dominique until I’ve finished my tube of Up the Amp, which is nearing its end. Or I might buy Dominique on Jan. 1, 2016. We’ll just have to see.

3. ColourPop Super Shock Cheeks in Rain and Sticky Sweet ($8 each)

I’ve wanted a true purple blush for well over a year now, and it doesn’t seem like I’ll stop wanting one anytime soon. But I’m reluctant to spend too much on a wacky color that might prove unflattering, so instead of shelling out $26 for Urban Decay Bittersweet, I’m going to do the semi-responsible thing and order ColourPop Rain.


ColourPop also makes a metallic magenta-leaning purple blush called Sticky Sweet. The website classifies it as a highlighter, but it’s way too opaque to deserve that name. It is, however, gorgeous. I like the two ColourPop highlighters I have, so I doubt I’ll be disappointed here.


4.  NARS Blush in Gaiety ($30)

I want a pale candy-pink blush for spring, something lighter and cooler than NARS Mata Hari, maybe even with brows to match (yes, this is a kpop-inspired lemming):

Jiwon of Spica for BNT International (source).

The closest blush I’ve found to my Platonic ideal is Gaiety, NARS’ lightest, coolest pink, but feel free to point me in other, preferably cruelty-free, directions! (I’m fairly certain that NARS’ website photo of Gaiety leans too dark and warm.)

5. Smith & Cult Vegas Post Apocalyptic ($18; added 12/2)


I almost never wear glitter topcoats, so of course I want to drop $18 on a luxury glitter topcoat. The densely packed lavender holo glitter is magical, but it’s the name I find most appealing. “Vegas Post Apocalyptic” might be my favorite polish name ever (another Smith & Cult offering, “Gay Ponies Dancing in the Snow,” is a close second). The grammar stickler in me wants to point out that the name should be “Vegas Post-Apocalyptic,” but am I really going to quibble over a compound-adjective fail? I am not.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving, if you’re celebrating! And many thanks to all of you for reading and commenting. ❤ I wish I could give you some of the pumpkin-bourbon ice cream I made this morning, but alas, a photo is the best I can do:

15 thoughts on “Thanksgiving Medley: No-Buy Update and 2016 Wishlist

  1. I should seriously consider not buying makeup (or even a low buy, since two items per month sounds really doable, especially if I really want them). I think my problem is with really cheap makeup – drugstore makeup that goes on significant sale. Drugstore prices where I live are normally pretty high, so when a chemist has 40-50% off sales, it's just bringing things more in line with US prices. I don't really contemplate all that hard on a $10 lipstick that I think is a nice formula/shade, or a $6 eyeshadow that I like the look of, if the usual price is double. Though really, they're all such unnecessary, mindless purchases that do nothing but give me a short-lived spike of happiness, only to languish unloved and largely untouched with the mound of near identical lipsticks/eyeshadows I have. I like the idea of focusing more on what makeup one already has, and allowing that to naturally suggest gaps in one's collection. The other day, I suddenly had this strong desire for a mustard (or distinctly yellow-toned brown) eyeshadow, but nothing I had really came close. And then I wanted a matte violet eyeshadow, which seems impossible to track down (I did try a Makeup Geek blush on my lids over NYX Milk, which I guess was the closest thing). I've wanted a lavender-toned blush for ages and even put in an order for a cream one from a Korean brand a while ago, but they shipped me the wrong shade and then the replacement shade never reached me. I guess some things aren't meant to be.


  2. I'm proud to say that the ice cream was a hit at the Thanksgiving get-together I went to last night! Of course, having spent so much time making and tasting it, I didn't feel like eating very much of it when everyone else was. Funny how that happens…


  3. Yeah, I think I'd be a lot more susceptible to sales if I lived in Australia or New Zealand! Makeup lovers there have it rough. Even living in the US, I'm certainly guilty of buying things because they're cheaper than usual, and not necessarily because I'd want them if they weren't on sale. It's a hard habit to break, but stepping back from mindless consumption for a bit has certainly made me more content (or at least more insufferable…).A mustard eyeshadow sounds beautiful, though I personally could never wear that color on my face! And why are lavender-toned blushes so hard to come by? My Tony Moly Milky Violet is decent, but more sheer than I'd like.


  4. I am so with you on the grey-toned purples. I'm increasingly finding that my favorite lipcolors have a muted grey tone to them and, now that I think about it, that it probably why I've been able to improve otherwise failed nude lipsticks with black lipgloss. Isn't Bite Beauty Cava a greyed-nude? Damnit. Dominique looks like it sits right in between 60s lavender lipsticks and Illamasqua Kontrol, which is not something I knew I wanted until just right now. Damnit!!I keep thinking I'm approaching cosmetic saturation and then losing it completely. More dangerously, the things I'm attracted to now aren't new releases, but generally absurd luxury products I never even looked at before because I knew they were out of my reach. I still can't buy them, but I'll occasionally have actual dreams about these things. It's so absurd!


  5. Yes, Bite Cava is a grayish nude with a hint of lilac! It's been tempting me for a long time, but I almost never wear nude lipstick and Bite's Luminous Creme formula is very slippery and prone to fading, so I can't imagine that a nude in that formula would last long. And I didn't know I wanted black lipgloss until just now, so I guess we're even! Which one do you use?I fear that for people like us, there may be no such thing as cosmetic saturation. There are so many different colors and formulas out there that we'll always be able to find something we don't have! Lately I've been reminding myself that \”don't have\” =/= \”need.\” Yes, I suppose it's a shame that I've never worn a metallic bronze lipstick, but has that decreased my quality of life in any meaningful way? Nope. (And yet.)


  6. Urgh, my make up obsession and consumption waxes and wanes. After 3 months of happily no-buying my consumption this month has gone through the roof. Black friday sales have made me antsy for sparkly indie shadows 😦 At least I'm somewhat self aware and not buying stuff like sparkly teal shadow, and also panning stuff as well. Recently I've really wanted a white/black base, so I'm going to go the cheap route for nyx black bean and milk. It's funny how much basic shit we never had huh? I have Naked Basics og, my first non-drugstore purchase and it was great when I was a makeup muggle and still is now. I wanted 2 but I'll only get it if I erm, pan my 1. Hahaha. I think you will like it, it covers your matte highlight and matte all over shade and also has great crease shades! I love dominique too, i will probably buy it…. one day. I hope one day I will be at an equilibrium instead of swinging wildly between disdain and fervent consumption.


  7. I'm exactly the same way with my own consumption (when I'm not on a conscious no-buy, that is). There will be a few weeks when I'm in love with the stuff I already own and nothing new catches my eye, and then I'll suddenly come across five things that I absolutely must have. I don't think that kind of fluctuation is necessarily a bad thing (better than buying new stuff every week, at least!), but going forward I'd like to pay more attention to the moods and events that trigger my \”omg must buy all the things\” urge.I did end up asking my boyfriend for Naked 2 Basics for an early Christmas present, so I should be getting it in the mail pretty soon! I'm excited. Even if it does feel a little like cheating. 😀


  8. Wow, those purple eyebrows on Jiwon. It's one of the few images lately that sparks any sort of interest in makeup. You're making me want to wear purple, so today I'll put on MAC Heroine (which amazingly survived an intense purge). Alternate-version of us is a really good way of naming a particular image issue. I think that's why so many people buy eye-searing red lipsticks but are afraid to wear them. You get this mental image of being glam and boss but it's something else to sport it in daily living. Good luck with the no-buy and your plans for 2016! I am going to scale down consumption to bare minimum levels for next year, but I did pause while considering scented candles on sale the other day. It's a daily battle but one well worth fighting for introspection like these.


  9. I'm salivating because of your ice cream photo… looks amazing!!! Anything with bourbon is a win in my book 🙂 Thank you for the link love, and good luck on your no/ low buy! I think those limited spending projects are a great little exercise, but recently I've also been thinking that they have a tendency to take the fun out of make-up shopping a little bit. Sure, mindlessly acquiring new lipsticks/ eyeshadows every few weeks is not for me, but banning myself from getting something that's genuinely fun for me once in a while isn't that healty either. Have you read Claire's (landoflorp) latest post recently? I think she has a point in saying that being preoccupied with stuff that we already own and the different ways we can use it up/ dispose of it is a bit like the opposite of minimalism/ simple living. Sorry for the unrelated ramble, just something I've been thinking about.


  10. I haven't read that post (though I will after I write this comment!), but it seems that Claire shares my feelings about the destashing/panning craze that seems to have overtaken the blogosphere recently. I'm all about reducing my consumption and using what I have, but not to the point of obsession. It makes me sad to read about people forcing themselves to hit pan on products they dislike; makeup should never be a chore. Allowing beauty products to become a source of stress for *any* reason is a kind of materialism, even if it may look like minimalism.Honestly, I don't think I'll be super-strict about my low-buy next year; two products per month will be a benchmark instead of a hard limit. I just want to be more conscious of my spending habits and avoid buying new stuff when I'm anxious or sad.


  11. Do you think you'd ever try colored brows? I've seen tutorials for them, but they're still a bit outside my comfort zone. And I'm glad Heroine survived the great lipstick purge of 2k15! It's been on and off my own wishlist since MAC made it permanent.I think most of us want to see ourselves as more aesthetically daring than we really are, and beauty brands capitalize on this impulse (witness the sudden abundance of royal-blue lip colors this year). I've certainly succumbed to this tendency, but in the future I don't want to buy anything I can't see myself wearing outside the house, unless it's for a specific purpose (e.g. a costume). Makeup should suit our lifestyles, not vice versa. By the way, I'm really enjoying your new blog! You're such a good writer and it's nice to hear your thoughts on topics other than beauty.


  12. Compared to past years, I feel like this year has kind of been a low-buy… even if I did drop some big bucks! It has been a little hard, mostly due to moving here and suddenly having access (and an actual paycheck beyond subsistence level stipends) to makeup brands I've only seen and read about online, but I feel like I've fared reasonably well. I've really ENJOYED the products I own, and have hit pan on a couple of things which pleases me greatly. By the way, if you're searching for a mid-toned matte brown, I would heartily recommend Bobbi Brown (hur hur) Taupe. It's more warm than taupe, and you may find that the Naked Basics palette you mention covers that particular base, but it's one of the items I've hit pan on and I use it just about every time I wear eye makeup. A bit of a staple workhorse for me!


  13. I really hope that I won't go crazy with makeup when (if) I finally get a salary above subsistence level! My first order of business will be a new wardrobe, though. Oh, and non-Ikea cutlery. And some real wine glasses. And fancy booze.I think I bought roughly the same amount of makeup this year and last year, but I've had far fewer disappointments in 2015! Last year I was able to list 14 disappointing products I'd bought throughout the year, but this year I can't think of more than a few. I've gotten much better at predicting what will actually suit me and perform well, so at least there's that.My Naked Basics palette arrived today. I can't wait to test it out! That Bobbi Brown color might be just a bit too warm for me…


  14. I admire people who can pull off coloured brows but it's not a trend for me beyond Halloween or stage. Today I saw a salesgirl rocking red eyebrows (to match the red streaks in her hair) and it was awesome! I should have told her so.And thanks so much! I'm debating whether to squeeze in a few posts on beauty or not, but I am still in the weaning off stage… so maybe later, after the strict no-buy ends. I almost bought some nail polish today because 'tis the season for all things sparkly.


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