For example, my pre-forum/blogging eyeshadow "collection" consisted of 1 face powder, 2 eyeshadows, one brow color, and a half dozen lipsticks. I didn't wear blush. I owned zero lip gloss. I used 2-3 brushes. Whatever I reached for went with every outfit, any occasion, because the makeup I purchased was an extension of my own coloring. Small as my stash was, I almost always wore makeup, even around the house.
Back then, I might add a new lipstick once or twice a year. I did almost all of my shopping at a counter, never online. I was selective, discriminating, and quick to get rid of items that did not work for me (such as lip gloss). I threw them away, some practically new. I never saved the boxes makeup came in--I didn't see the point. It never occurred to me to return anything that didn't suit.
Inexplicably, in the last 2.5 years, my makeup interests exploded. Suddenly, the goods were in a train case, tackle box, wicker baskets, and multiple shoe boxes. A friend and I would send each other USPS flat rate boxes of items we had barely used. I recently convinced myself that my continual pursuit of the perfect _______ was only because I had no idea what I already owned. So a few weeks ago, I went to Ikea and bought Alex (not affiliated) so I could gather everything in one location.
One of the first things I noticed was the volume. Embarrassingly excessive. The second thing that struck me was how similar a lot of it was. Near duplicates and significant overlap, mostly in color but also in formula and texture. And almost all of it was barely used, some not at all, especially those limited edition palettes I guess I am saving up for who knows what.
I realize the following photos might not look like much to the makeup artists and true curators among you, but is a huge amount for a person who used to see herself as just an everyday beauty lover who enjoys makeup. This looks like a LOT to me--especially because what I am showing below are the items I am keeping. At least the same amount has been put aside for my upcoming blog sale. So just imagine doubling everything you see, and you will realize I have truly gone off the rails.
|My nail polish, at least the ones I could find|
|Partial brush collection (rest on top of desk in a large brush holder)|
|Foundation, powder, blush, bronzer concealer (face stuff)|
|Compacts and palettes|
And even still, I maintained a separate train case for all my brand new backups.
And because it still didn't fit, I have a shoebox for the overflow, which holds the items I don't love but don't want to give away yet.
If I had to name the catalyst that led to my transformation from a minimalist to collector, I'd say Makeup Alley. Reading reviews was a lot like purchasing something at Amazon.com, where right under the item it shows you all the other things people bought after making that purchase. Makeup Alley led to forums and blogs, which fed the interest.
Now, each morning I have to decide which of my satiny taupe eyeshadows I want to wear, and sometimes it's paralyzing. Even Hannibal finds it exhausting, and he's a model of good saintly taupism.
|"All I need is my guyliner, and I'm good to go."|
I can't possibly be alone in amassing all this stuff. At least I hope I am not. What happens when makeup starts to feel like it's going to eat you when you are sleeping? Where and how do you draw the line between enough and excess, and what do you do to reduce?
How do you manage your beauty items when you've accumulated too much. Do you sell it, give it away, throw it out? Once free from the excess, do you put yourself on product probation for a while, or do you start right back in? I occasionally leave a box of gently-used makeup in the ladies room at work marked FREE. It's almost always gone by lunch.
And it must be said: This article is about my habits only. I do not judge others. If collecting every blush Chanel has released since 1992 makes someone happy, then there's nothing wrong with happy.