Low-Buy Progress Report #5: May

Hello from the UK! I’ve spent the last two days recovering from jet lag, with the help of some delicious scrambled eggs with smoked salmon and herbs (imagine me pronouncing the H):

Overview: This roundup is going to be brief, because I bought almost no new makeup in May. After several months on this low-buy, it’s become easier to postpone purchases, and even to postpone them indefinitely. No matter how much I want something, I can usually persuade myself that at least one of four things is true: 1) I already own a similar product; 2) even if I don’t, the shiny new product will still be around in a month; 3) even if the product is limited edition, something similar will be released eventually; 4) even if I don’t end up with the product or a dupe, life will carry on exactly as before. Granted, it’s also easier to avoid buying new makeup when I’m depressed, and I was fairly depressed last month. But I’d like to believe that depression isn’t the only explanation for my restraint, and that I’m finally internalizing healthier spending habits.

That said, I do expect to go over my usual budget this month, given that I’m in the UK and have access to so many brands I can’t get at home. But I trust myself not to go crazy, and it’s nice to be able to trust myself, even when confronted unexpectedly with a huge shelf of affordable nail polish from an unfamiliar brand (I bought nothing!):

New Makeup/Polish:

Essie Lounge Lover: gift from my mom
Bite Amuse Bouche in Lavender Jam: $27.82 (including tax)
NYX Liquid Suede in Stone Fox: $4.60
Total: $32.42


Dior Addict Ultra-Gloss in #765 Ultradior:

Your standard sheer warm pink gloss, enlivened with some very large sparkles. The gloss is supposed to be “plumping,” which made me worry for my poor sensitive lips, but there’s no tingling sensation: the plumping effect, such as it is, comes from hyaluronic acid instead of an irritant.


Bioré Aqua Rich Watery Essence SPF 50+: free with an Amazon gift card (usually about $10):

Revlon Volume + Length Magnified Mascara in Blackest Black (~$7.50, can’t remember exactly):

Total: $7.50

Let’s do some mini-reviews! I actually ordered the Bioré sunscreen in April, but it took about three weeks to arrive from Japan and I didn’t start using it until mid-May, so I’m including it in this roundup. Why can’t American brands make lightweight, non-greasy facial sunscreen? My usual Eucerin is fine for winter, but when the weather warms up it’s a disaster. It actually seems to make me sweat more than usual, and it turns into a nasty mess within ten minutes outside. The Bioré has more or less solved this problem. It has a nice mattifying, priming effect (it’s designed to be worn under makeup), it gives more coverage than the Eucerin (SPF 50 vs. 30), and it actually stays on my face in hot weather. It also lacks that distinctive sunscreen smell, delivering a hint of lemon instead. The only obvious drawbacks are the small size of the tube and the high alcohol content of the formula. I probably won’t use this sunscreen in cold weather when my skin is unusually dry, but it doesn’t seem to be drying me out right now. I did get a few small pimples during the first couple of weeks of use, but that seems to have settled down, so I’m going to chalk it up to an adjustment period.

I bought the Volume + Length mascara, one of five new Revlon mascaras, to replace another from the line: the Super Length mascara, which performed beautifully for about a month, then started flaking all over my cheeks. I’ve been using Volume + Length for just a week now, so I have no idea whether it will start flaking eventually, but so far I’m very impressed. I was wary of the volumizing claim, since I prefer natural-looking, well-defined lashes, but this mascara is even closer to my ideal than Super Length. As you can see, the brush has a large number of close-packed bristles, which help separate and define my lashes.


Sephora Flash membership: $10

Total beauty spending for May: $49.92 (let’s call it $50)


1. Illamasqua Nail Varnish in Facet (£14.50):

I’ve wanted this dark gray polish with gold flecks for over two years now. It’s sold out on Illamasqua’s website, but I’m hoping I can find it at the Illamasqua counter in Selfridges.

2. MAC Intoxica (£15.50) or similar:

Image via Temptalia.

I still haven’t bought ColourPop Mars, due to my uneasiness at ordering from the ColourPop website after its security breach during April’s sitewide flash sale. But I more or less forgot about Mars after seeing Temptalia’s swatches of Intoxica, part of MAC’s limited-edition Blue Nectar collection (why this collection includes no blue lipsticks, I couldn’t say). Intoxica looks roughly identical to Mars, but with the addition of a subtle shimmer that gives the color some depth. I’m not sure I can bring myself to spend the UK price for a MAC lipstick when it’s $17 in the States, but the collection is arriving in stores on June 9 and will probably be gone by the time I return home next month, so…we’ll see.

3. A dupe for the lipstick Eddie Redmayne wears in The Danish Girl

I saw The Danish Girl for the first time on my transatlantic flight two days ago. It’s adapted from the diaries of Lili Elbe, a Danish painter and one of the first transgender women to undergo gender-reassignment surgery, from which she died in 1931. Though I think the film has some glaring flaws (does Lili have a personality and inner life beyond her gender identity? why suppress the fact that Lili’s wife Gerda was openly lesbian?), it’s aesthetically gorgeous. I was particularly taken with Lili’s lipstick, a faded, burnt orange:

I assume the lip color for the film was a custom mixture, but there must be something similar in an existing lipstick line. MAC Chili is the first lipstick that comes to mind, but given the popularity of brownish lip colors these days, I’m surprised I can’t think of more. Suggestions welcome!

4. A bright, deep purple nail polish

Something similar to Smith & Cult Check the Rhyme, but less than $18. This shouldn’t be hard, but my casual browsing has yet to yield the perfect color.

Finally, I’m still contemplating Sleek’s Sunset Palette, but I’m not convinced I need it. In fact, I’m not convinced I need any of these things, because guess what: I don’t! It’s nice to feel material desire that stops short of urgency. Who knows whether my restraint will last, but I hope it does.

20 thoughts on “Low-Buy Progress Report #5: May

  1. I think I actually buy more when I'm depressed, because I can't make much real effort to do things I enjoy, so I think that just buying something might improve the situation (doesn't, really). I hope you're starting to feel better now! Those Illamasqua nail polishes show up now and then on HauteLook, if you don't manage to find it in a store there. That's a gorgeous shade!


  2. Hey there, I use that Biore too and I just wanted to let you know that the Biore isn't sweatproof so if you sweat a lot it might not be the greatest for Summer 😦


  3. I definitely buy more when im depressed. Thank goodness im busy as hell at work right now and can't shop 🙂 Please please don't pay the UK price for MAC. Angels will weep.


  4. I love the Biore sunscreen so far – I bought it last fall but really only started using it a couple weeks ago. I think I had Essie Lounge Lover at one point but it got purged in the great nail polish purge of 2015. I'm currently lusting after Viva Antigua from their summer 2016 release, though. It's so turquoise! I usually feel corals at this time of year, but not this year.


  5. I've been looking for a burnt orange too!!! I recently bought this [http://iherbholic.blog.fc2.com/blog-entry-102.html] but it has yet to arrive but it looks like a nice orange shade with brown in it. The only thing is that it's sheer and would be provide less pigmentation than LiLi's.I do have the Biore sunscreen and while it's nice and lightweight, I only use it when I'm outdoors for 2 to 3 hours or so. My typical day means putting on my makeup (and sunscreen) before the sun is up, so it's better for me to use a physical sunscreen instead to ensure protection.Since you're in the UK you can totally try Makeup Revolution from Superdrug which Maura wrote about, and the Sleek palettes are great. I heard their blushes are good too, but I only have an eyeshadow palette.


  6. Hello,The make up artist for The Danish Girl is Jan Sewell and she did make custom colours for the make up. However, if you fancy a field trip you couldn't do worse than going to her own pro artist shop in Hammersmith and talking to the people who work there. http://www.preciousaboutmakeup.com/I do not work there but I do go in from time to time to buy all sorts of stuff I never knew I needed.


  7. Maybe I'm unusual in this, but when I'm depressed, my general apathy extends to buying makeup, which is perhaps the only perk of depression for me. Anxiety, on the other hand, makes me much more likely to purchase impulsively.I was so happy to find Facet yesterday! There wasn't a tester of it on the display, which made me fear the worst, but the saleslady came up with a bottle.


  8. Thanks! Google Images tells me that's indeed the color I'm looking for, but I'd prefer a bullet lipstick. Looking up dupes for Miami Fever might help me out, though! It seems to be a popular lipstick, so maybe other brands will come out with similar colors soon.


  9. Wait, wasn't Lounge Lover released just this spring? (Not that it matters, since Essie has about 57 coral pinks that look roughly identical.)Ooh, I just looked up Viva Antigua and it's beautiful! I'm feeling less coral-inclined than usual this year, too. I'm not quite ready to give up dark gloomy colors.


  10. That's a beautiful color! A sheer lipstick might be even better for me, actually.I'll be honest, I don't know a lot about sunscreen, and I've never quite understood the difference between physical and chemical sunscreens. I should look into it, though! It seems you're saying that chemical sunscreens like Biore don't last as long as physical ones? At least I'm a grad student layabout and often come home in the middle of the day, which means I can reapply my sunscreen…I just read Maura's article! I'm usually a tad suspicious of super-cheap brands like MUR, e.l.f., etc., but I'll certainly take a look. I actually have two Sleek blushes (Flushed and Life's a Peach), and I love them both!


  11. I think you're right! It was another coral pink that looked basically the same and probably had a similar name. Close enough, haha.I found Viva Antigua this morning and it's so pretty. Once I get around to cleaning up my nails, I'll post a picture. The shimmer is subtle but beautiful.


  12. When I receive my iHerb order, I can let you know what I think about that tinted lip balm if you're interested! There aren't many online reviews written in English out there.Re sunscreen, to break it down into very simplistic and layman terms: 1. Chemical suncreen works when it is absorbed into your skin where the compounds create a chemical reaction and change UV rays into heat. This means that it will need reapplication throughout the day, because from what I understand, these compounds will wear out and \”expire\”.2. Physical suncreens provide a physical filter that is meant to sit on top of your skin to reflect UV rays away which therefore typically creates a white cast. However, physical sunscreens (titanium and/or zinc oxide) are photo-stable. That does not mean that it does not require reapplication for full protection, but for a sedentary job, it is won't be necessary so long as you're not rubbing your face constantly or doing sports outdoors. Physical sunscreen is also better suited for sensitive skin as it is known to be less irritating to the skin.


  13. Hi! I recently discovered your blog and wanted to say I really appreciate the tone and content, and I think you're lovely. In an Internet full of sameness and BUY THINGS focused blogs, it's refreshing to see detailed reviews and analysis of your spending and discussion of when splurges are worth it rather than finding disappointing dupes. I'm in the midst of bathroom renovations which is making me eager to pare down my stash and limit new purchases, and reading thorough reviews of products I'm interested in really help. I am also jealous of your brows and eye color and really enjoy seeing your travel posts. I look forward to reading more!


  14. I definitely buy more when depressed and/or anxious. It's like a temporary pick-me-up that never actually does anything significant for my mental health. I guess I've been doing okay recently because my buying has been very restrained!It bothers me how much more expensive mid-range to high-end brands are in the UK. With the exchange rate a MAC lipstick purchased there is almost 2x as expensive as it is here. When I lived in Scotland I always avoided brands I could get in Canada because the markup is ridiculous! But for an LE product I totally get it.I hope you have a good time in the UK!


  15. I don't think buying something small when you're depressed is the worst thing in the world, so long as it doesn't become a habit and the item doesn't remind you of your depression once you're feeling better. I suppose it's for the best that I don't feel tempted to buy a lot when I'm depressed–I like associating my makeup with pleasant experiences.I've more or less decided not to get the lipstick. It's not an unusual color: in fact, there are a couple of the new Urban Decay Vice lipsticks (Alpha and Psycho) that look similar. I'd rather focus on buying things from brands I can't find in the US.


  16. Thanks so much! I just try to write the sort of blog I'd like to read. Hauls and swatches are fun sometimes, but I'd much rather read someone's thoughts about why they buy what they do and how they plan to use the makeup they've collected. I haven't been terribly creative with my makeup in recent months, but now that it's summer and I'm not teaching I'm trying to get more experimental.I couldn't be happier that my brows are in fashion after a quarter-century of being \”too thick.\”


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