Low-Buy Progress Report #8: August

A lot of stuff here! Let’s get into it:

New Makeup/Polish:

Marc Jacobs Le Marc Lip Creme in Rei of Light: $30
Studded X mini duo (Kat Von D Studded Kiss + Formula X) in Mercy: $7.50
NYX Velvet Matte Lipstick in Midnight Muse: gift from my mom
NYX Jumbo Pencil in Black Bean: ditto
Total: $37.50

Rei of Light was my big-ticket planned purchase for this month. Having worn it a few times, I’m not sure it’s my Platonic rusty orange, as it pulls darker and redder than I thought it would. But I really like it and think I’ll wear it a lot this fall, so no harm done. By contrast, the Kat Von D/Formula X duo was a total impulse purchase. After I finished rewriting my third dissertation chapter, I slipped back into the habit of checking all my procrastination sites, including Temptalia. Christine posted about the Sephora end-of-summer sale, and I just couldn’t resist the Mercy duo. I wish every lipstick came in a mini version: I don’t need a full-sized metallic berry lipstick with pink glitter, but I’m pretty sure I’ll use up the sample size (which is actually quite generous: at ~1g, it’s almost as large as a Glossier Generation G). I’ve worn Mercy once now, and it’s such a cool witchy color for these liminal summer/autumn days. I’ve discussed Midnight Muse in detail here. Finally, Black Bean wasn’t exactly a gift from my mom so much as an ill-advised purchase that I appropriated for my own use. She bought this as an eyebrow pencil, guys. To her credit, she realized immediately that it wouldn’t work, but she never bothered to return it. So Black Bean hung out in the bathroom until I arrived in August and decided I’d try it as a primer for those smoky eye looks I wear so very often…oh, wait. I do plan to use it for that purpose, though! Eventually.

Clockwise from top: Midnight Muse, Mercy, Rei of Light.

New Skincare:

Pure Smile royal jelly sheet mask: $3
Sephora rose sheet mask: $6
Freeman avocado/oatmeal clay mask: $4.29 (gift from my mom, recommendation from Lyn—thanks!)
Total: $9

After the recent Racked article about the inhumane and unhygienic conditions in some Korean sheet-mask factories, I feel a bit apprehensive about using my Pure Smile mask (made in Korea, though the brand is Japanese), and I certainly won’t rush to buy any new sheet masks. I think this scandal is a salutary wake-up call for beauty lovers in general. If you’re buying something cheaply, there’s a good chance that someone somewhere in the line of production is getting shafted. We hear a lot about animal testing and “cruelty-free beauty,” but a product isn’t cruelty-free if it was made by an exploited human. Just saying.

Beauty Tools:

Star-shaped nail glitter: $1.50
Nail dotting tool: $1.50
Total: $3

Glossier Boy Brow in Brown: $16
CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser: $13.50
CeraVe PM moisturizer: $6 (I had a $6 CVS coupon, score)
Bioré Aqua Rich Watery Essence x2: $30
Total: $65.50

I’ve been scraping out the last of my Boy Brow for about a month, so when Glossier offered free shipping on August 31, I pounced. I do wish the tube were larger for that price point: I got about five months of daily use from my Boy Brow, and I used it pretty sparingly. But it’s revolutionized my brow routine (if you’d told me a decade ago that I’d one day have a “brow routine”…), so I’m not that mad. What I am mad about is paying what I call the “ADHD tax” for new cleanser and moisturizer during our three-day road trip to LA. I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned this particular brain problem on my blog (like many girls, I escaped diagnosis until adulthood), but it affects my daily life in a number of infuriating ways. For instance, I almost always leave something essential at home when I travel and end up having to repurchase it. I suppose I could have lived without cleanser and moisturizer for three days, but LA was hot and dry and dusty and I wanted a clean, moisturized face at the end of the day, damn it. At least I had that coupon.

The store in Japantown where I bought my Bioré sunscreen is the only place I’ve ever seen it sold in the US. The bottles are on the small side (each one lasts me about three months), so I grabbed two in case I ran out before I returned to SF.

Total for August: $115


After my July low-buy ended, I sank into a pit of lipstick lust out of which I have yet to clamber. I did stay under my monthly limit of $40 for new makeup and polish, but I still acquired three lipsticks in August and two more yesterday (more on that in a bit). Five new lipsticks in the space of a month! That’s not a great showing for a low-buy. To distract myself from pining after shiny new things, I’m currently trying on older lipsticks that I don’t wear often and deciding whether I want to destash them or reintroduce them to my regular rotation. So far, I’ve made the painful decision that two of my priciest lipsticks—NARS Last Tango and Angela—are too drying to deserve a place in my collection. I asked a lipstick-loving friend of mine if she would adopt Angela, but she said she hated the Audacious formula, too! Do you think Nordstrom would take back a 1.5-year-old lipstick? God, I’m turning into my mom.

I anticipate working pretty hard this month (applying for academic jobs, writing my final dissertation chapter, turning an earlier chapter into an article), and I’m hoping that will distract me from checking out new makeup releases and idly Googling swatches. But I’ll inevitably have some free time, and I need to make the conscious decision not to misspend that free time. How about this for a plan: every time I feel tempted to look up new products or add something to my wishlist, I’ll work on a blog post instead. That will engage my makeup-loving side and help me appreciate the stuff I already own. Plus, I’ve been thinking a lot about the environmental costs of consumption, and I’d like to shrink my carbon footprint as much as possible.

Wishlist for September:

I’ve already bought two of the three items on my September wishlist: Urban Decay Vice Lipstick in Backtalk ($17) and NYX Matte Lipstick in Up the Bass ($6). That’s what I get for writing my August roundup in September! Backtalk is the ’60s-inspired matte dusty rose shade I’ve spent at least a year searching for. Here I am wearing it yesterday:

Up the Bass is a grayish purple along the lines of NARS Dominique and ColourPop Marshmallow. When NARS expanded its matte-lipstick offerings in January, Up the Bass was the shade that immediately caught my eye, but I convinced myself that it was more of a fall shade. Well, it’s fall now, bitches. Not technically, but certainly by beauty-industry standards.

The third and final item on my list is a burnt-orange nail polish, and the closest thing I’ve found to my ideal is Playing Koi ($9) from Essie’s Fall 2016 collection:

The collection is inspired by “the number one street style destination in the world: Tokyo. Japan’s electric capital boasts taste, flair and an uncanny aptitude for mixing fashion metaphors.” Sounds promising, but of course Essie had to cheapen the whole thing with clichéd shade names like “Go Go Geisha” and “Now and Zen.” I would have loved to see a collection of shades named after specific locations or events in Tokyo, but instead we get a grab bag of stupid puns on the most generic Japan-themed concepts. Rusty orange is a hard color to find, though! If you know of any non-Essie variations on this color, do let me know.

10 thoughts on “Low-Buy Progress Report #8: August

  1. Oh, I just gave away a bottle of rusty orange nail polish (Essence Gorgeous Bling Bling was the unfortunate name of it)! Too bad, because I could have sent it to you. It's lovely but didn't suit me. I think it's been discontinued, sadly.I hadn't read that sheet mask article. Ugh. I almost never use sheet masks, but it does make me wonder about the conditions of other cosmetics manufacturing. Hopefully things other than envelope-stuffing are more easily automated. I mean you want people to have jobs, so automation has its downsides too, but you don't want people exploited, obviously.


  2. Oh, that's all right! I just looked it up and it certainly is a lovely shade, but I'm sure I'll find something eventually. Floss Gloss Donatella is another option (it has gold shimmer like the Essence one), but I've had a mixed experience with the Floss Gloss formula.Yeah, one would hope the choice isn't between maintaining people in shitty jobs and forcing them out of jobs entirely, but who knows. The chain of production is often so long that you can't know for sure what's happening at the other end. I do try to buy American-made makeup when I can (the Urban Decay Vice lipsticks are made in the US, I noticed today).


  3. That lipstick looks lovely with your coloring. I hadn't read the sheet mask article but I'm about to. Ugh sounds bad. I got a pedi a few weeks ago with an OPI shade that I think is about what you're describing. I'll check the name of it next time I'm back there.


  4. That Racked article is so eye-opening, but I'm quite sad as I just got into the whole sheet-mask thing T______T. I do buy from larger brands, however, so I'm somewhat convinced they're produced in factories rather than someone's home. anyways…. Girl, you ALMOST got be buying Rei of Light, after looking at your photo/swatches. I'm not really on the hunt for burnt orange, like you were, just a nice red. But then I thought of all the other (rarely used) red lipsticks I have, so I didn't. I then turned my attention to red-orange nail polishes instead hahah. I spent this summer just admiring bright-red nail polishes without doing one manicure at all tho (SUMMER LAZINESS IS REAL). I'm intrigued by Essie Geranium, which is more of orange-red than a burnt-orange, and i'll probably eventually get it and rock the colour this fall, because why not ;p But Playing Koi looks more like it's right up my alley, I do like the idea of rusty, instead of loud and bright and of course, it is seasonally appropriate (but I don't care about that..??) Good luck for your job application and writing! 🙂


  5. I actually have Geranium! The formula is great, but I never wear it because I don't like the way bright orange looks against my hands. I do think it would be a good color for fall as well as summer–if the leaves are bright orange, why not your nails as well? And thanks! 🙂


  6. Having studied geisha culture for years, I just can't with that name. Tokyo has several geisha districts, so the name isn't completely random, but it could have been so much better. And let's be honest, when most Westerners hear the word \”geisha,\” they think of stereotypes that have nothing to do with actual geisha. At least the Japan collection is slightly less cringeworthy than Essie's India collection this past summer (\”Nama-stay the Night,\” etc). There are culturally sensitive ways to evoke a certain place with makeup and polish, but Essie is doing it wrong.And thanks! I look forward to wearing it once the weather turns a bit cooler.


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