I went to Boston for a Renaissance-studies conference on Wednesday and just got home last night, so my monthly roundup post is a bit late. I was born in Boston and lived there until I was almost eight, and I’ve returned periodically since then, but the city still feels foreign—the more foreign for being slightly familiar, I think. (One familiar thing: insanely high winds. I had to stop walking at one point for fear of being blown over.) Most of my time in Boston was taken up with attending academic papers, delivering my own paper on a seventeenth-century antiquarian treatise, and navigating an awkward Q&A session (you haven’t been mansplained to until you’ve been mansplained to by an elderly Italian art historian). I also created and promptly began neglecting a professional Twitter account. Livetweeting academic conference panels has become very much a thing in the last year or two, but my brain is incapable of listening and tweeting at the same time, so I’m afraid I won’t be sitting with the digital-humanist cool kids anytime soon.
By the way, I have two enthusiastic Boston recommendations: Ribelle in Brookline for French onion soup and grapefruit-vodka-Peychaud’s cocktails in the cutest mismatched glasses…
…and, obviously, the Museum of Fine Arts. Their permanent collections are stellar (and overwhelmingly huge: so many John Singer Sargents!), and they currently have a cool exhibit called #techstyle, about the overlap between fashion and technology. The irony of America’s most proudly unstylish city sponsoring a fashion-focused exhibit is not lost on me. I say this with love.
Have a Manish Arora:
And now to our monthly business!
NYX Butter Gloss in Tiramisu: $3.70
OCC Stained Gloss in Dune: $5 + $3 shipping = $8
Topshop Matte Lip Bullet in Wink: $10
This is, of course, excluding my $30 splurge, Marc Jacobs So Sofia. But since I’m planning to return So Sofia to Sephora in April, I decided not to count that purchase. That’s fair, right? My favorite of the three products above is Tiramisu: I’d been without a nude gloss for over a year, and had forgotten how much I liked both nude glosses and the Butter Gloss formula. Dune has turned out to be a disappointing layering gloss—the formula is so viscous and the shimmer so dense that I can’t apply it over lipstick without smearing the base color—but I really like it on its own, so no harm done. My experience with Wink has been a helpful reminder that I shouldn’t blind-order products with no reviews or swatches online. I thought I was safe because of my love for the Matte Lip Bullet formula, but Wink is unaccountably crammed with glitter. Not just shimmer, but big-ass glitter particles that stick to my lips after the color wears off. Oh, and Topshop doesn’t accept makeup returns. I don’t hate Wink, but like…why? The only other glittery matte lipsticks I can think of are NARS La Paz and Peloponnese, which have understandably mixed reviews. It’s an unpopular combination for a reason, Topshop.
3 Tony Moly sheet masks: $9
Aura Cacia cold-pressed rosehip oil with Vitamin E: $15
I’m proud to say that I’m not one of those sheet-mask hoarders you find on r/asianbeauty: I used all three masks within a few weeks of buying them. I don’t think I’ll buy more Tony Moly masks in the future, however. They’re cheap and convenient ($3 each at Urban Outfitters), but they just sort of dampen my face without imparting any lasting moisture or glow. And the tea-tree one has a horrible antiseptic smell. Beware!
I bought the rosehip oil to wear under my CeraVe PM at night. In the first couple of days, I went a little crazy with it (morning AND night applications) and I broke out slightly, but I’ve scaled back my usage to every other night and it’s been working well for me.
e.l.f. Shadow Lock: $2
I forgot my NYX eyeshadow primer at home when I went to Boston, so I picked up this one at a CVS near my hotel. I was excited at the prospect of having discovered a $2 gem, but this stuff is…not great. It’s better than nothing, but only just. Come to think of it, the NYX primer isn’t stellar either. Should I try the $12 Urban Decay Primer Potion mini from Sephora?
Total beauty spending for March: $47.70
In March, two different people sent me unsolicited makeup and skincare. I am the luckiest. First, I received Glossier’s Balm Dotcom and Generation G Lipstick in Jam from Renee:
And earlier this week, my Instagram pal Amanda (mythofmirth) sent me six Glossier mask pods, the Bite 100-point perk that eluded me on my recent Sephora visit, and STICKERS:
So excited to try all this stuff! I’m going to use one of the Mega Greens mask pods tonight.
Overview: I made two mistakes this month: I bought a $30 lipstick without being totally sure that I loved it, and I ordered a lipstick I’d never seen except in an obviously inaccurate product shot on the Topshop website. Frankly, Dune was also an impulse purchase, but it happened to be a good one. I kept my overall expenses low, but I can feel myself slipping into BUY ALL THE LIP COLORS mode. It’s no coincidence that March was a high-stress month. In fact, this entire semester has been a real bummer in a number of ways. I’m still not sure where I’ll be living in six months, or whether I’ll need to defend my dissertation before then, or whether I’ll be able to get my current fellowship renewed for next year. Ironically, if I were less worried about finances, I’d probably be less tempted to buy makeup. But here we are, and all I can do is keep a close eye on my spending habits, because I really can’t afford to neglect my budget.
I’m also going to keep pursuing methods of self-care that have nothing to do with materialism. Getting my work done on time, for instance, is self-care because it reduces stress in the long run. Exercise, pleasure reading, and phone calls with friends are all forms of self-care. Experimenting with the crazy amount of makeup I already own is self-care! As is finishing this blog post, so:
ColourPop Super Shock Shadow in Bill: I loved the pink-lavender-taupe color of this eyeshadow, but it dried out in just a year. I’m going to be all the more diligent about using up my remaining ColourPop potted products now that I know what a brief shelf life they have. Bill looked truly tragic before I tossed it—look how it’s pulling away from the sides of the pan:
Face Stockholm cream blush in Paris: This was such a good product, but the color just didn’t suit me—it was the blush version of So Sofia. So when Renee mentioned wanting more Face Stockholm blushes, I sent Paris to her. Now I don’t have to feel guilty every time I notice it on my shelf.
NYX Liquid Suede in Amethyst (~$7):
Instagram indicates that this bright blue-purple looks weird on 99.9% of human beings, so of course I’ve persuaded myself that I’ll be in the lucky 0.1% who can pull it off. I went to CVS just today to buy it, but it was out of stock—and it was the only Liquid Suede out of stock. It was sold out in the CVS near my hotel in Boston, too. And let me assure you, intense blurple lipstick is not a common sight in either town. Who is buying this color?!
Marc Jacobs Le Marc Lip Creme in Je T’aime ($30):
Je T’aime is on this list not because I expect to buy it anytime soon, but simply because I want to try it on. I had So Sofia tunnel vision during my last Sephora visit and didn’t notice Je T’aime, which is more of a muted, toasted reddish coral (Marc Jacobs describes it as a “rum raspberry”). But a reader mentioned it in the comments of my So Sofia post, and now that I know I like the Le Marc formula, I want to check out Je T’aime when I go to Sephora to return So Sofia.
Shiro Custom Lip Gloss ($9-$13)
Did you know that the indie makeup company Shiro, best known for its loose eyeshadows with geeky pop-culture themes, also makes custom lip glosses? You choose from a long list of lip-safe eyeshadows, then pick an intensity (sheer, moderate, or opaque) and, if you wish, a flavor. Pricing varies according to intensity and flavor, but an unflavored opaque gloss would be $10, which is really not bad. The color I’m leaning toward is The Largest Moon of Still Not a Planet, a “rose-tinged taupe with intense turquoise shift and copper-gold sparkle”:
I understand that Shiro has an anniversary sale every April/May, so I think I’ll pick up a lip gloss then.
ColourPop Ultra Matte Lip in Mars ($6):
Someone I follow on Instagram has been wearing Mars a lot recently, and the nearly fluorescent reddish pink is so tempting to me for some reason. I’ll probably hold off on making a ColourPop order for at least another month, though.
There are a few other things I kind of want, but in the interest of not reminding myself of my kind-of-wants when I reread this post, I’ll leave them off the list. Though perhaps putting them on the list is the key to not buying them: I didn’t buy anything from last month’s wishlist! Weird.