The Anti-Haul: What I Didn't Buy

For a very brief period I ran a tumblr blog called Things I Did Not Buy. The idea came from a frugal, beat-your-consumerist-tendencies tip I read somewhere: you see something you want but really don't need, put it on a 30-day wishlist, and if you're still thinking about it after that then you let yourself purchase it. The tumblr was pretty short-lived because I realised that Pinterest was a much cleaner way of presenting something like that visually, and the rest of it could just go on a list on my phone or notebook, which would make it easier to forget about whatever it was that I wanted to buy in the first place.

I've been thinking a lot about minimalism over the past few years, and have tried to not give in to the BUY BUY BUY urges I get every now and then. There seems to be a lot of this going around, spurred on I'm sure in no small part by Marie Kondo's Life-Changing Magic of Tidying, which many of the bloggers I follow have been talking about (read Liz's heartfelt review at the Beauty Reductionista). I haven't read the book, but I went through a phase of reading a bunch of minimalism blogs, and a lot of that thinking has stuck around in my brain. 

All of this to say: I have stopped myself from buying a lot of stuff over the past wee while, with the major rate-limiting factor being that I just haven't had the spare cash for it. Most of it has gone towards a personal trainer for the past couple of months, which has been amazing -- more on that another time, maybe. Anyway, I wanted to get my low-spend progress down on the blog to help spur myself along! So, here are some beauty-related items that I stopped myself from buying over the past few months -- an anti-haul*, if you will.

L'Oreal now have a Pink series to their Collection Exclusive range. I swatched them all in-store, and was almost tempted to walk away with the Blake and Liya (the latter is exclusive to Superdrug) by the 3 for 2 offer. I came to my senses though, and realised that I already have a ridiculous number of lipsticks. Time to give them more love instead of buying more!

My favourite MAC formula is the Mattene (previous mentioned here and in a swatch panel here), so I was super tempted by the recent Macnificent Me collection. Personal Pick, a mid-toned cool pink, turned out to be not that special when I swatched in person, and while I like the idea of wearing a deep purple like Own the Look, I'm not sure that I wanted to pay £17.50 for the privilege. 

H&M have recently launched a 700-odd piece beauty range. I have high hopes, especially considering they're the same people behind the & Other Stories brand, whose beauty range I love (previously mentioned here, here, and here). The Velvet Lip Cream in Le Beau Monde caught my eye because it reminded me of the Sephora Color Lip Last in West End Swirl, which, as previously mentioned, is completely awful to wear. I don't think I own any shades like the Gossamer Lip Stain in Centre of Attention, a bright fuschia. 

Other things that I put in the H&M cart (twice! I walked away from this stuff twice!) include the powder and angled blusher brushes -- I've realised that I much prefer angled brushes for blush to the normal rounded shape; the Revelation Shower Oil -- I thought this would be good for winter; the True Matte Finishing Powder, because I'm running low on my MAC MSFN and Bourjois Healthy Balance powders; two of the blushes -- the Pure Velvet Cream Blusher in Sunny Peach and the Pure Radiance Powder Blusher in Sunrise Pink; two of the Eye Colour-To-Go pencils in Plummy Tones (again, I don't own anything like this) and Chantilly (I've been wanting a white eyeshadow base). Problem is I currently have a 20% off voucher for H&M calling my name from my wallet...

I had a hard time choosing between the Nars Steve Klein One Shocking Moment Cheek Studio Palette and the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Edit for my one splurge in the leadup to the Holiday season. In the end I went for the Hourglass, but I may still yet change my mind and exchange it...

As for the Real Techniques Collector's Edition Eyelining Set -- I nearly purchased this from a TK Maxx for £15 (it retails for £20), but decided I had enough liner brushes at my disposal. FYI for UK purchasers, it's cheaper from the Real Techniques website, even after accounting for import taxes.

What about you? What have you put back on the shelf lately, literally or figuratively?

N.B. I used to spend a stupid amount of time on tumblr. It was a great little community, but a couple of years ago I started to spend less time scrolling through the dashboard, until half-way through last year when I just stopped visiting altogether. Here is my original tumblr blog, if you feel like a stalk through the archives!

*I know that this isn't an original phrase, but after it came to me I had a quick Google, and there doesn't seem to be consistent usage of it in beauty blogging or elsewhere. We're going with it.

Keep Calm, Carry On: What I Packed for Greece (Skincare, Makeup, Packing List)

Bangkok, around seven years ago: Will and I were about to head to the airport to go home. We struck up conversation with another Kiwi (who knew someone I knew, funnily enough - two degrees, etc) and went on to share a taxi.

I was impressed by how lightly she packed -- an everyday sized backpack and a tote bag, from memory, whereas I had been lugging around one of those big 60L backpacking monstrosities for three weeks around Tokyo and Thailand. Those packs have their place (tramping, festivals, or transporting your favourite possessions when moving across the world, like I did last year), but I couldn't help thinking how I would have been a much happier traveller had I not had to constantly schlep around a good fifteen kilos on my back.

Ever since then I've tried to pack light, with varying levels of success. For this trip, a week-long Greek sailing holiday, I went as minimal as I could. It helps that it was hot, and that we pretty much only fly with the budget airlines where you have to pay extra for checked luggage. This is SO NERDY, but here's what I packed, for anyone out there who obsesses over this stuff like I do:

Sunset in Aegina: the black & Other Stories maxi is a little boobilicious at times. Wearing the Soap and Glory Motherpucker in Super Nude over Marc Jacobs Nude(ist) Lip Pencil.

Sunset in Aegina: the black & Other Stories maxi is a little boobilicious at times. Wearing the Soap and Glory Motherpucker in Super Nude over Marc Jacobs Nude(ist) Lip Pencil.

  • Three dresses -- a long black maxi (similar to this one, but in stretch cotton) and a short racerback tank dress (similar to this one, but with a twisted back), both from & Other Stories, plus a white linen sundress with crochet panels from Country Road several years ago (second from left in this pin).
  • Soft white button up shirt from Miss Selfridges, similar to this, and denim shorts from H&M - I probably could have done without both of these.
  • Two pairs of shoes -- jandals from Muji and plain black chunky sandals (£10 from a local department store).
Same day I threw up my breakfast Greek yoghurt and figs over the bow of the boat.

Same day I threw up my breakfast Greek yoghurt and figs over the bow of the boat.

  • Two pairs of togs -- a one-piece and a bikini. Next time: two bikinis, which would double as bras.
  • Undies! And two bras.
  • Blue cotton towel from Sicily -- chartering the boat included towels but I used this as a sarong as well.
  • Two plain black singlets (H&M) and a pair of soft black shorts (Trenery) for sleeping.
Calzedonia bikini top and a blue cotton towel from Sicily.

Calzedonia bikini top and a blue cotton towel from Sicily.

  • My beloved Saben Tilly's Big Sister handbag for going onshore, and a backpack from H&M (similar to this) as my carry on "personal item" for stuff like my diary, camera, notebook, phone, and travel documents. The challenge for next time is a smaller personal item. 
  • Sunglasses, an aviator style. I dropped them in a dirty toilet just before we left for the airport BAHAHAHAHAH. Luckily they were $5 from Cotton On.
Evening in Hydra. Wearing the makeup in the next shot, applied on-deck! Mostly piled on the Korres Zea Mays Blush in Orange.

Evening in Hydra. Wearing the makeup in the next shot, applied on-deck! Mostly piled on the Korres Zea Mays Blush in Orange.

Cosmetics-wise, I tried to fit everything into this Muji case and the regulation-sized ziplock bag (although I cheated and put some stuff in Will's). It's a mixture of favourites and a few new things I've been playing with:

Muji travel case with everything shoved in it. Applying makeup on-deck while moored up in Hydra: Real Techniques Duo Fibre Face Brush, EcoTools Tapered Blush Brush, Estee Lauder Doublewear Eyeliner, Korres Wild Rose and Vitamin C Treatment, Korres Zea Mays Blush in Orange, Muji eyelash curler, ArtDeco Bronzing Glow Blusher.

Muji travel case with everything shoved in it. Applying makeup on-deck while moored up in Hydra: Real Techniques Duo Fibre Face Brush, EcoTools Tapered Blush Brush, Estee Lauder Doublewear Eyeliner, Korres Wild Rose and Vitamin C Treatment, Korres Zea Mays Blush in Orange, Muji eyelash curler, ArtDeco Bronzing Glow Blusher.

Maybelline Powder, Coppertone Facial sunscreen, Muji eyelash curler, ArtDeco Bronzing Glow Blusher in Queen of the Jungle.

Maybelline Powder, Coppertone Facial sunscreen, Muji eyelash curler, ArtDeco Bronzing Glow Blusher in Queen of the Jungle.

Soap & Glory Motherpucker in Super Nude, Sephora Rouge Infusion in Peony, MAC Mattene in Eden Rouge.

Soap & Glory Motherpucker in Super Nude, Sephora Rouge Infusion in Peony, MAC Mattene in Eden Rouge.

  • Maybelline Clear Smooth All In One Shine Free Cake Powder SPF25PA++ (£1 at the local pound store! I think this is an Asia-only release), applied using the Real Techniques Duo Fibre Face Brush (from the duo fiber collection). I know from past experience that liquids and BB creams would simply melt off my face in the 30+ degree heat, so I just used the powder over the top of sunscreen if I felt like a bit of coverage.
  • ArtDeco Queen of the Jungle Bronzing Glow Blusher (limited edition from a couple of years ago, but still available here and they seem to do a variation on the theme every now and then), applied with the EcoTools Tapered Blush Brush
  • Estee Lauder Doublewear dual ended eyeliner in Onyx and Coffee (I think this was a limited edition release; the full sized version has a smudger on the other end), smudged out with the Real Techniques Shading Brush, and the Makeup Revolution Awesome Double Flick Liquid Eyeliner. I probably could have done with leaving one of the liner options behind.
EcoTools Tapered Blush Brush, Makeup Revolution liquid eyeliner, Marc Jacobs Lip Pencil in Nude(ist), Real Techniques Shading Brush, L'oreal False Lash Telescopic mascara, Estee Lauder Doublewear eyeliner, Real Techniques Duo Fibre Face Brush

EcoTools Tapered Blush Brush, Makeup Revolution liquid eyeliner, Marc Jacobs Lip Pencil in Nude(ist), Real Techniques Shading Brush, L'oreal False Lash Telescopic mascara, Estee Lauder Doublewear eyeliner, Real Techniques Duo Fibre Face Brush

Soap & Glory Motherpucker in Super Nude, Sephora Rouge Infusion in Peony, Lush Solid Perfume in Karma, MAC Mattene in Eden Rouge.

Soap & Glory Motherpucker in Super Nude, Sephora Rouge Infusion in Peony, Lush Solid Perfume in Karma, MAC Mattene in Eden Rouge.

  • Coppertone facial and body sunscreens (these were three for £1 at the local pound shop; another Asia-only release I think), contact lens solution (FYI: no one seemed to sell solutions for RGPs in Greece, and mine got confiscated at customs because it was 120 mLs... woe), and mini shampoo and conditioner (I got the Charles Worthington Sunshine Protector range from Boots).
  • Collistar Glycolic Acid, previously reviewed here.
  • A freebie pack of Simple Face Wipes (although I've bought them in the past) to remove makeup and sunscreen, and then I would do a second cleanse with the (shock horror) freebie soap on board.
  • Lush solid perfume in Karma, in the old push up packaging -- such a gorgeous scent! It's an orange and patchouli blend, and almost smells fizzy, if that makes sense.
  • Skinny cotton buds from Muji, a few cotton pads, tweezers, and hair ties.

Looking back, I could definitely have gone lighter, but hey... [insert something about minimalism being a journey, not a destination]. What about you -- what can't you travel without? How many lip options would you be happy with? And would you mind if I write more travel posts? I've got a lot more to say about Greece!

Ahhhhhhhhh take me back.

Ahhhhhhhhh take me back.

Extras for experts: How to Pack Like Joan Didion (Into The Gloss).

A red lip for Sicily: Eva's Red from L'Oreal Paris Color Riche Exclusives

My friend recently turned thirty, and decided to spend the first May bank holiday weekend in north-west Sicily. Best. Idea. Ever.

Our base was a seaside town named Castellamare del Golfo, where we were welcomed by the apartment owner with a plate of pasticceria:

Cannoli on the right, and I forgot what the one on the left was called. THEY WERE AMAZING.

Cannoli on the right, and I forgot what the one on the left was called. THEY WERE AMAZING.

And I woke up to this view:

Note: not actually our pool -- that would be the hotel next door!

Note: not actually our pool -- that would be the hotel next door!

It was pretty damn balmy -- I'm grateful we didn't visit in the high season -- so most of what little makeup I did wear was pretty waterproof. I wish I had invested in some La Roche Posay sunscreen before I went, because that's the lightest, least offensive stuff I've ever used. Instead, I had to go with what was on offer at our local supermercato, which was your usual thick, white goop. Besides, most of the time I alternated between sweaty mess (let's go with "glowy") and salt-encrusted (or "beachy"). You've got to work with what you're given when you're on holiday. 

Scopello selfie: beach hair, sun rash.

Scopello selfie: beach hair, sun rash.

I don't know what the rest of Sicily is like, but by most accounts, the eastern side is a lot more tourist-driven. The spots we visited -- Segesta, Erice, San Vito Lo Capo, Zingaro, Scopello -- felt really relaxed, and seemed to be holiday spots for other Italians. 

We were there for three full days, and our routine went a little something like this:
- lazy breakfast
- decide on a main destination
- sightseeing
- long lunch
- find a beach
- freshen up
- three course dinner.

Let's face it, though, you're probably here for the makeup. I packed three different reds -- all from the L'Oreal Color Riche Exclusive range -- for the weekend, because I'm ridiculous but also because it was Italy! La dolce vita, etc. (Also L'Oreal was three for two at Superdrug, so.)

loreal color exclusive evas red

I wore Eva's brick-toned red on our last night in Sicily, where I had the best pasta of my life at the Ristorante del Golfo. I thought it was fitting, what with the dusty landscape and architecture. Channeling a terracotta pot, or something.

Wearing L'Oreal Paris Color Exclusive Eva's Red

Wearing L'Oreal Paris Color Exclusive Eva's Red

I don't have pictures of me wearing the other two, because I've had a mad case of angular cheilitis and it's not really something I want to immortalise on the internet. I'll post them on my Instagram at some stage and maybe do another red lipstick round up post here in the future. 

My favourite, Blake's Red, is what I would call the classic true red, maybe leaning ever so slightly cool. I wore this to dinner on our first night there, where I had some sardine pasta, a Sicilian institution. It's also proof that you should chuck the whole warm-skinned-people-should-wear-warm-reds thing out with the pasta water, because life's too short to play by the rules.

Julianne's Red is a cool-toned, blue based red, which I wore to dinner at San Vito Lo Capo, where we stumbled across a marching band festival.

l'oreal exclusive matte reds julianne eva blake

All three felt really comfortable on the lips. They didn't last through dinner, but when you're eating dishes generally covered with olive oil or sauce, most lipsticks won't stand a chance.

More to come: Sicilian skincare, makeup, and perfume finds!

Mascaras that make my lashes sad (and a few that don't)

I've noticed something recently -- people are doing their makeup without mascaraCarina brought it up in her comment on my Take It or Leave It post. Then Lisa Eldridge mentions that she saw a lot of looks in Korea where girls didn't focus on lashes. And just last night I read Paris B's post on going without. Common theme here? Asian lashes. 

Long, lush lashes are totally addictive -- I've been there with the lash extensions and false lashes, and I get it. They look good! But I've gotten to the point where I refuse to feel bad about my short, straight Asian lashes. It just feels like one of those beauty standard things that I will never meet, simply because I live in a place where you just don't see that many Asian people in mass media, so it is what it is. (In other news, Soo Joo Park signed on as the first Asian L'Oreal spokeswoman! Hell, she doesn't even have brows in that promo shot; how's that for bucking trends?)

All that being said, I'll probably always wear the stuff. It's not that I'm ruling out trying some looks sans mascara, but it just makes me feel better. I've tried a fair few, and I have OPINIONS, people. 

THE TAPERED BRUSH

I really like this brush shape, because it feels the most manageable -- you can get the inner lashes without getting mascara all over your eyelid, but you can also cover a lot of real estate lash-wise by using the body of the brush head. The Lancome Hypnose Star (6.5ml, £22.50) has a flattened shape, while the & Other Stories Curling Black (8ml, not found on their site but was £12 at full price) has a round cross section. The Lancome clumps slightly on me, and I find that the tube opening isn't small enough to get rid of excess product. But it holds a curl fairly well, whereas the & Other Stories doesn't; disappointing when it calls itself a Curling product. Also, the silver on the packaging chips and flakes off like crappy nail polish. 

THE CHUNKY PLASTIC BRUSH

Both the Makeup Revolution Awesome Lash (7ml, £3) and L'Oréal False Lash Wings Waterproof (7ml, £10.99) have giant plastic brush heads. The Awesome Lash has tiny, uniformly spaced bristles, with an opening that gets the excess formula off, but sadly the formula does nothing for me. Like, you literally can't tell that I have mascara on. If you had pale lashes it might work for you in terms of tinting them black, but it's not for me. The False Lash Wings has a curved, asymmetric brush head, with the idea that the wider bristles at the base fan out your lashes, while the short bristles catch the inner lashes. In practice, though, I feel like it's a little cumbersome to use. The formula is pretty good, being both voluminous and lengthening, as well as holding a curl (do you notice a theme here?). It does seem to make my lashes a bit crunchy though.

THE HYPED BEYOND ALL BELIEF  

benefit roller lash they're real

There is really nothing quite like the Benefit Cosmetics hype machine. People go nuts for the stuff on social media, so I try their products out because OMGWTFBBQ new things! However, very few of their products that I've tried have worked out for me -- I like the Girl Meets Pearl highlighter, and have a feeling Gimme Brow would suit me -- and I feel as if the hype just results in me feeling disproportionately disappointed, even though they probably have about an average strike rate in terms of dud products. Anyway, They're Real (8.5g full size, £19.50; I have the sample from this kit) is ok on me -- holds a curl, slightly lengthening, but is a little too clumpy for my liking. When you have about ten lashes, gluing them together into five just looks a bit silly. Roller Lash (8.5g full size, £18.50; sample from Elle magazine) looks pretty good immediately after application -- volumising and lengthening -- but it doesn't hold a curl, and it smudges on my under-eye area. The kicker is that it flakes off beyond all belief; big huge no-no with my sensitive contact-wearing eyes. 

THE FIBRE FORMULAS

I like the idea of formulas containing lash-building fibres. In reality, though, it doesn't always work out. Case in point: Eyeko Sport Waterproof (8ml, £18) has a nice lengthening and curl-holding formula, but much like Roller Lash it flakes off and wreaks havoc on my eyeballs. L'Oréal False Lash Telescopic (9ml, £10.99), however, has all of the things about the Eyeko, and it stays on my lashes. It's my favourite of all the mascaras in this post, and gives a nice fluttery lash.

The new-to-me luxury pick

kevyn aucoin the essential mascara

Instagram friends may have already seen a shot of this: I went kind of nuts at Liberty and bought all of the things, including the Kevyn Aucoin The Essential Mascara (10g, £26). I've been wearing it over the past couple of days, and it's a bit of an all-rounder. It performs very similarly to the Lancome Hypnose Star, right down to the fact that the opening isn't very good at getting rid of extra product so you can end up with random clumps clinging on to a lash. It's a proper, sooty black, and once it's on, it's on... until you go to remove it, and it slides off really easily. I believe it's meant to be a tubing mascara, but I didn't think to try sliding it off with just warm water. It is, however, the most expensive mascara of the lot, at least in terms of price-per-unit (Lancome Hypnose Star takes the cake in terms of price-per-ml; I don't have the density of the Kevyn Aucoin mascara so can't convert). It's good, but I don't think it's that good. Time will tell, because I intend on using this for, like, six months because holy hell that is a lot of money.

The One I No Longer Own

The original Lancome Hypnose was a favourite of mine. In fact, I went through a three-pack from duty free -- it was that good. The only reason I didn't repurchase it was because I found the L'Oreal False Lash Telescopic, which is a lot more affordable and I was trying to wean myself off ridiculously-priced luxury makeup at the time. If I wasn't such a product-junkie I'd probably buy it again!

Next up I would like to try mascaras from Japanese and Korean brands, because I feel like they would have the formula down pat for Asian lashes. Any recommendations? I've heard DHC and Fairy Drops are good!

Ace of Base: What's On My Face (Winter edition)

Ace of Base: What's On My Face (Winter edition)

Mornings are hard, and I've still yet to get into a good routine that gets me into work without rushing around. Adjusting to office life is hard, guys! Thank the makeup gods for flexi-hours.

One thing that's been getting me going is turning on some music, thanks to the free Music-Streaming-Service-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named. This week I've been on a 90s kick, hence the post title. As I write, Killing Me Softly just came on. Before that, Bittersweet Symphony, and my inner 90s child rejoiced at TLC's Waterfalls while I was in the shower this morning. 

I've also been adjusting to the dry weather here. I'm normally pretty oily, but now I need to layer on a moisturising toner (L'Oreal Paris Age Perfect Refreshing Toner) and a slightly thicker moisturiser (Olay Total Effects Pore Minimizer CC Cream). The upside of this is that I don't start looking shiny until maybe six hours into wearing makeup -- this is an unfamiliar experience for me.

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