Destashing makeup is emotionally hard for me year-round, but it becomes a little easier in the spring, as do most things. The lengthening days bring a new zest for self-improvement: I exercise more, I consume less sugar and alcohol, and I grow more decisive about streamlining my makeup collection. I recently decided to destash eight (!) neglected lipsticks, as well as a lip balm and an eyeshadow. Here are most of the victims:
In this post, I’ll outline my reasons for parting with these products, as well as the lessons each one taught me. I’ve linked to my original reviews where available: brace yourself for some potato-quality photos from 2014! (Not that my current photos are Temptalia-level clear, but they’re a little better.)
First, the lipsticks. L-R: NYX Amethyst, Maybelline Gunmetal, NYX Alabama, Kiko Chocolate, Revlon Fuchsia, & Other Stories Droguet Purple.
Swatches, same order:
Next, MAC Candy Yum-Yum (left) and Rebel. These are missing from my other photos because I took advantage of the Back 2 MAC program and traded them in, along with four empty MAC tubes, for a new lipstick. More on that in my next post! However, I scooped out the product and put it into a couple of tiny jars before I returned the tubes, in case of returner’s regret. (I’m not going to regret trading them in. I’m just crazy.)
Since I’m always curious what people do with their destashed makeup, a word on that. Unfortunately, I’m going to have to throw this stuff away. In an earlier destash post, I mentioned sending used makeup to Project Beauty Share, but I’m an idiot and didn’t read the instructions carefully enough: the organization does not accept used lipstick. I’d feel silly selling any of the lipsticks, since some of them are quite old and none of them was particularly expensive. As someone who grew up without much money (and still doesn’t have much money), I find it kind of excruciating to throw away perfectly good makeup, but it has to be done. Let this be a reminder not to add products to my collection willy-nilly!
1. Revlon Colorburst Lipstick in Fuchsia (Summer 2013)
When Revlon discontinued its glossy, moisturizing Colorburst formula in 2013, I bought a backup of Fuchsia, my favorite shade in the range. Well, here we are five years later, and I have yet to wear my backup more than once or twice. (I didn’t finish my initial tube, either, but tossed it because I’d bought it circa 2011.) The Colorburst formula is indeed great, but I just don’t wear bright colors in shiny formulas anymore, and I rarely wear hot pink lipstick at all. I wish I’d bought one of the MLBB Colorburst shades instead.
Lesson: Don’t buy backups of color makeup. Like, ever. Trends and personal tastes change constantly, and your holy grail at 24 will almost certainly not be your holy grail at 30.
2. MAC Matte Lipstick in Candy Yum-Yum (Summer 2013)
Another hot pink I bought in 2013. Candy Yum-Yum is a striking color in a comfortable, opaque matte formula, but I’ve come to realize that the shade’s white base clashes with my cool olive undertones. I tried on Candy Yum-Yum recently with no other makeup, and my undereye circles seemed to double in size and darkness. This isn’t a great photo, but it gives you some idea:
Plus, as I mentioned above, I don’t wear hot pink very often these days. When I do, I prefer a more reddish pink in a matte formula, like NARS Let’s Go Crazy.
Lesson: Avoid any lip color with a white base. (I’ve learned that lesson many times over, but I keep going back for more.)
3. NYX Matte Lipstick in Alabama (Summer 2014)
It’s amazing how dramatically lipstick formulas have improved in four years, and how dramatically my standards have risen along with them. What seemed like an exemplary drugstore lipstick in 2014 seems mediocre in 2018. I wore Alabama yesterday and, though I still loved the color, I was struck by how heavy and slippery the formula felt on my lips. The tube is as cheaply made and difficult to use as every other NYX lipstick tube in existence (the bullet twists down during application, for instance). And because we’re heading into spring and summer, I won’t have much use for a dark brick red in the near future. If I do find myself wanting a similar color, NARS Cruella will do just as well. I might buy a brick red in a better formula this fall, but for now, I feel okay about letting Alabama go.
Lesson: No more NYX lipsticks. (I’ve learned that lesson many times over, too. Maybe this time it will stick.)
4. & Other Stories Lipstick in Droguet Purple (Fall 2014)
I’ve held on to this lipstick for so long not because I enjoy wearing it (it’s given me trouble from the start), but because it reminds me of September 2014, when my boyfriend and I spent a halcyon few weeks house- and cat-sitting for his friends in London. The weather was perfect almost every day, we visited Borough Market once or twice a week and played lots of table tennis in Kennington Park, and I decided for some reason that I needed a dark purple lipstick. I decided to get one in a non-matte formula because I didn’t want to emphasize the dryness of my lips, but I erred in the other direction. Droguet Purple is slippery and a bit sheer, which would be fine in a lighter color but is not cute in a vampy purple. Also, despite my love for dark lip colors, I’m not a huge fan of straight-up dark purples. They’re not unflattering on me, but I prefer a little more warmth.
Lesson: Don’t buy dark lipsticks in shiny formulas, don’t buy dark purples period, and don’t let a lipstick take up shelf real estate for three and a half years because it reminds you of a nice time in your life. (Or maybe do. I’m not the boss of you. And it was a nice time.)
5. NYX Liquid Suede in Amethyst (Spring 2016)
I love this color, but it’s screamingly bright and I never reach for it. I’ve worn it out of the house maybe three times in two years. I considered saving it for Pride this year, but let’s be real: I hate crowds and have gone to an actual Pride event twice in my life.
Lesson: At this point in my lipstick-wearing career, it’s silly to buy a crazy color “just to try.” I’ve tried pretty much every color that I’d actually wear in public.
6. MAC Satin Lipstick in Rebel (Fall 2016)
This was a gift from a good friend from grad school, who sent me a lipstick of my choice in exchange for my shipping her some books. I requested Rebel because of my longtime love for magenta, and the color was indeed perfect, but the formula just never worked for me. Rebel’s top layer transferred and smeared everywhere, while its bottom layer stained my lips hot pink for a day or two after I removed it. I once spent ten minutes talking to my advisor in a coffee shop only to realize after he’d left that I’d had a smudge of Rebel on my forehead the whole time. How did it even get there?
Lesson: Be wary of magenta lipstick in general: this is the third magenta that’s behaved badly on my lips (the other two being NARS Angela and Revlon Crush). And avoid the MAC Satin formula.
7. Kiko Velvet Passion Matte Lipstick in Chocolate (Spring 2017)
I had no opportunity to swatch this color, but I fell in love with it online despite various bloggers’ warnings about patchiness. And…yeah, I should have listened. The bizarrely named Chocolate is a dusty brownish purple that complements my coloring (as you can see, it’s gotten some wear!), but it doesn’t apply smoothly and it clings to every dry spot on my lips. And now that I have Pat McGrath Madame Greige, I don’t need to keep a similar shade in an inferior formula.
Lesson: Don’t order a lipstick you can’t swatch first, unless it’s in a formula you trust, and it’s probably a bad idea even then.
8. Maybelline Matte Metallic Lipstick in Gunmetal (Winter 2018)
I’ve never mentioned this lipstick on the blog. Never even worn it out of the house. Everything about it fills me with embarrassment, not least the manner in which I purchased it: in the middle of my lipstick no-buy, because it was only about $2 with CVS coupons. The name “Gunmetal” led me to believe it would be a dirty silver, but it’s actually a grayish teal. It’s exactly the same color as NYX Stone Fox but with chunky shimmer, and it looks clumpy and unattractive on my lips. This is one of those “what was I THINKING” purchases that I assumed I’d grown out of. I guess not!
Lesson: Again, stop buying wacky colors like this. If I’m going to wear a shade just once or twice a year, I’d rather mix my own using products I already have. And don’t buy makeup just because it’s cheap. This is some Makeup Rehab 101 shit.
My other two destashes are Glossier Balm Dotcom in Birthday and ColourPop Super Shock Shadow in Eye Candy. After almost a year of occasional use, I have to face facts: Birthday’s buttery vanilla fragrance is just too strong for me. And I think I’m sensitive to some ingredient in the Balm Dotcom formula (lanolin, maybe?), because Birthday and the original Balm Dotcom not only fail to hydrate my lips, but actually dry them out further. Eye Candy is a nice lilac-pink glitter that I should have used more, but it’s now over two years old and completely dried out. Let’s hope I wear Ladybird more often before it suffers the same fate.
That leaves me with a fairly manageable stash of 43 lipsticks. And for the record, I’m still effectively on a lipstick no-buy. If anything, thinning out my collection has made me more excited to stay on my no-buy and enjoy what I have, which is exactly what destashing should accomplish.