• Makeup,  Skincare

    The Used Up 2020:2

    The time has come to to go through all of the makeup and skincare items that were used up by me during the second half of 2020, July-December, and to summarise the year. A total of 25 items and many of them old favourites and repeat purchases.

    For reference I am 39 years old with a dehydrated combination skin. I get the occasional breakout and can get quite shiny during the day. My skin rarely reacts badly to products and I have no allergies.

    Cleansers

    The Almond Soothing Cleansing Lotion by Weleda (75 ml, 149 SEK) was originally purchased as a mild option to use to cleanse my daughters face when needed. But we rarely used it and I felt that we were running the risk of it going bad before we used it up, so I started using it myself. It is a rich cleansing lotion and I loved the consistency. Easy to spread all over the face and I did not need much for a full cleanse. But despite that fact the tube is way too small to last me a longer period of time. The almond smell is not a favourite either but it was not a defining issue for me. I can see me buying this again for my kid but not for myself.

    The Moisturising Cleansing Cream by Lumene (150 ml, 99 SEK) is their option for dry skin and this was my first time trying this specific cleanser. It is a thicker cream, lovely to the touch, with a creamy and fresh yet mild scent that did a fine job as my only cleanser in the morning or as a second cleanser in the evening. The cream was quite thick and albeit that in-itself is not a problem I did find that it was not as easy to spread all over the face as I would like. I had to use more product than I prefer each time and the tube was used up fairly quickly. The low price point is of course appealing and compensates a bit. This was my first time using this specific cleanser from Lumene and I might repurchase sometime in the future, but until then my search for a new favourite cleanser continues.

    We have one bottle of Bioderma Sensibio Make-up removing micelle solution (250 ml, around 100 SEK), still a nice product to have for a quick cleansing solution or when I have stubborn makeup that need an extra round of cleansing before dissolving completely. I use this product more rarely these days but I rely on always having a bottle at hand.

    The Green Clean Makeup Meltaway Cleansing Balm by Farmacy (90 ml, around 400 SEK) is an established favourite and I shared my thoughts on it in this post from 2019. Apparently it is sold in an 100 ml jar nowadays and I would definitely buy this again. It is a dream to use and smells divine, but I still wish it would last me a little bit longer for that price tag.

    The Nordic-C Pure Glow Cleansing Balm by Lumene (125 ml, 179 SEK) was a new product for me and it was merely ok. I prefer to be able to use my cleansing balms around the eyes since I use them only as a first cleanser when wearing makeup and this balm is not suitable around the eyes (it also says so on the tube). This limits the product’s use for me so I will not be repurchasing.

    Toner & mists

    I usually mist my face after cleansing before I apply serums etc, both in the morning and evening. I must say I do enjoy the Nordic-C Glow Refresh Hydrating Mist (50 ml, 99 – 129 SEK) and the Nordic Hydra Facial Mist (50 ml, 99 SEK) from Lumene. They have a fresh smell and there has never been an issue with the mister function, a big plus in my book. This smaller bottle size is convenient when travelling, but Lumene also do both mists in a 100 ml bottle. These mists do the job and I have repurchased the Nordic Hydra one. But when that is finished I think I will switch to the Hydrating Accelerator from Josh Rosebrook again. I want to give it another go in the larger bottle.

    Essence & serums

    There seems to be a theme – two tubes of the Rose Caviar Essence by Pixi (45 ml, 399 SEK) emptied in six months yet again. I continue to use this product twice daily to layer hydration and this year I have used up a total of four tubes of this essence. I still make a point to only purchase it when I have a discount to lower the cost a bit, since I am not really interested in letting this baby go. I love the packaging, the texture, the scent and the effect. So I deem it worthwhile for now.

    Another recurring star is the Nordic-C Glow Boost Essence by Lumene (30 ml, 289 SEK). Nothing has changed with this one either, I go through these quite quickly and try to buy and even stock up when there is a discount. I have used up only two bottles this year but I think the truth could be closer to three bottles a year. As with the Rose Caviar Essence, I like everything about this product except the price. Despite that I have no intention to stop using it.

    Then we have more of a treatment serum – Salicylic Acid 2% Solution by the Ordinary (30 ml, 69 SEK I think but it is not currently available) is an BHA exfoliating product aimed at breakout prone skin and that is not really me. I have sporadic spots and the occasional large inflamed one but it’s not really a problem. I used this serum in the evenings on days when I had some break-outs, but I can not really attest to how effective this serum is since I ended up being a very infrequent user. I also think I prefer using a thicker spot treatment to heal an angry on one occasion so this will most likely not be a repurchase.

    Moisturisers & oils

    It took me a while to use up this tube of Natural Moisturizing  Factors + HA by The Ordinary (30 ml, 69 SEK) because I use it quite infrequently. For example I might wear it as a surface hydration layer it I use an SPF without any skincare benefits and want something layered under it. I might wear it as a last moisturising step when other finishing products do not seem appropriate (because they are too heavy or contain SPF for example), usually in the daytime. This is the third tube I have used up and I have another tube in line to take this one’s place. But I will most likely wait until spring before I feel the need to open and start using it.

    The Age Repair Eye Cream by Grown Alchemist (15 ml, 620 SEK) is another recurring product and albeit being expensive it lasts at least six months, maybe more. The pump makes it really easy to dispense the tiny amount needed for both eyes and it wears beautifully under makeup. It makes my eye area feel hydrated but never greasy. I have another bottle in use right now and as per usual I only purchase this when I have a 20% discount code to get the cost down a bit.

    I wanted to try the Nordic Hydra Day Fluid SPF 30 UVB/UVA PA+++ (50 ml, 219 SEK) by Lumene when it was first launched but only got down to business this past year. And I am so glad I finally tried it. I have combination skin and even as I get more dehydrated with age, I still have an issue with makeup melting off my face. So in the sunnier part of the year I have an issue with sunscreen under makeup, since it tends to make the melting issue worse. This day cream worked well for me in the daytime on most days since I spend so little time outside when the sun shines its brightest. Makeup layered beautiful over it and I felt that it did not leave a greasy film or a white cast or anything I normally expect from a sunscreen. The texture more creamy than fluid, the smell was fresh and I appreciated that is was in a tube. I will definitely purchase this again in the coming months when the sun makes a proper appearance again.

    The Overnight Retinol Oil by Pixi (30 ml, 399 SEK) is another new acquaintance. I have not used many retinol products so I cannot compare at all but as a night time treat is was very nice. The oil easily sinks into the skin and some nights I felt the need to add a cream on top and some nights I used it as my last or only layer. It leaves my skin feeling nice and healthy and I have had no adverse reactions. This oil smells amazing, like a sour candy, but it did begin to turn rancid when I was beginning to near the end of the bottle. So the 6 month shelf-life indicated on the bottle is about right. I used this product a few nights a week and when this bottle was empty I did purchase another one, currently in use.

    I’ve used the Hydration Rescue 24H Replenishing Balm by Lumene before and this time I bough the Hydration Recharge Overnight Cream (50 ml, 209 SEK) by the same brand and the same series, Nordic Hydra. A lovely cream for my hydrated combination skin. Perfect in the evening as a last step, over serums or over an oil. I have repurchased another one of these and use it daily,

    Masks

    The Active Enzyme Exfoliator by Josh Rosebrook (45 ml, full price unknown but I purchased it at a sale for 499 SEK) is a dark brown mask with particles that is massaged onto skin and then left for 10 minutes up to one hour. The smell makes me think of liquorice and I found that the application easily got messy. I must admit when purchasing this I did not realize that it had a mechanical exfoliation element to it. I normally prefer my exfoliants to be fully chemical so I have been a sporadic user of this product. Sad but true. It was a splurge purchase with money I received for my birthday and it did fill the purpose of a luxury treat. I’m glad I tried the product but I’m not going to purchase it again.

    Base makeup

    The Nabla Close-Up Smoothing Pressed Powder (11,5 g, € 22) has been getting rave reviews online and I was so keen to try it that I almost deemed it as a favourite beforehand. And I understand why a lot of people enjoy this powder but it’s not the one for me. I do enjoy the sleek rose gold compact, it is very beautiful and has a lovely sized mirror. I like Nabla as a brand and the price-point is nice. The gist for me is the finish this powder gives my skin. After using it for a while I started noticing that it ever so slightly changed the shade of my foundation after application. It made my skin look slightly darker and “flat” in a strange way. I have never experienced anything like it with a powder. The shade of the powder is not the issue but rather the appearance the finish gave, not my fave. I really wish I liked it more but this is sadly not the new favourite as I was hoping for.

    The Lumene Blur Foundation (30 ml, 199 SEK) in “00 Ultra Light” is way too pink for me to be a perfect match. I have previously used up the shade “0 Light Ivory” and repurchased and I love the formulation in general. But Lumene has changed the shades for this product (and the artwork) many times over these past years. Every time I repurchase there seems to be a new version of the same shade. I’m currently using a way too pink version of Light Ivory and it will soon be finished, so I recently purchased both shades again. The shades seems to be altered again so we shall see if they match me better this time around or if they are a bit off still.

    The Hydra Veil by Illamasqua (mini sample, gift with purchase) is a lovely hydrating primer, the type of primer I think really improves the application of foundation on my skin. This was my last sample size and I do not think I will repurchase since I still prefer my primers to be in a tube or something similar.

    The Viva La Diva conclealer in “2 Naked” (3 ml, 89 SEK) was an attempt to find a replacement for my old favourite, the Lasting Perfection Ultimate Wear Concealer in “Fair 1” by Collection, that I sadly cannot get a hold of in Sweden. I’ve tried the shade “1 Pure Light” as well but neither work for me. They turn up way too pink and a tad too dark. I also did not get along with the scent of this concealer. A no-go for me.

    The Hello Fab Bendy Avocado Concealer by First Aid Beauty (4,8 g, 240 SEK) was a better colour match and it is a nice and creamy concealer. However it started to go off quite quickly and before I could really finish it. I persisted despite the smell for a while and there was very little left in the tube when I gave up, but I consider it “done”. In all fairness I did have several concealers in use at the same time and might have had it open for longer than recommended, I do not really know or care. I do not see this product as one that go bad quickly and I might even repurchase in the future, but for now I’m trying other brands.

    Mascara & brows

    Two more empty Lash Power mascara in Black Onyx (6 ml, 245 SEK) by Clinique is standard for me. It’s been my go-to for a while now. It’s the one mascara that I’ve found that smudges the least and I really love the small brush applicator. But as I mentioned in my last empties post I feel like it has become more prone to smudging in recent years and I’m not sure if it has changed formulation or if there is another explanation. However this fact has led me to start the hunt for a replacement go-to mascara, a quest I’m not too keen to embark on. Mascara for me is a boring basic product that should work well but I do not want to spend any effort on it. One reason for that is the fact that tubing mascaras are the only ones that work on my lashes and tubing mascaras are generally very basic and unexciting. So here I am, looking to replace Lash Power but knowing it is a tough role to fill since I want something that does not smudge, has a lovely small brush AND I wish the price was less than the Clinique one. Tough indeed! We shall see how it goes but you can expect to see some new mascaras in coming instalments of The Used Up.

    Then finally, we have a sad story. I had just deemed this brow gel my favourite budget find and then it was discontinued! As mentioned in my last empties post, the Brow Perfector in “Espresso” by H&M (4 ml, approximately 80 SEK) is no longer available. It was a lovely affordable brow gel with an ok hold, a nice cool dark brown colour and a small brush. Generally a great product for me. As with mascara, I just want something nice and basic. Does not have to be all that but I just want something I can rely on. So as well as having to spend time and effort to find a new mascara I also have to try and find a new brow gel. Sad times for me (not really!). It’s just so boring to try new brow products and I’m really not looking forward to it.

    2020 empties wrap-up

    Now it’s time for my favourite part, the yearly statistics. This year we can compare the numbers with 2019 so I am including the numbers from last year in brackets.

    To summarise 2020 I managed to finish up 11 cleansers (8), 1 toner (0), 3 face mists (5), 8 essences/serums (11), 2 eye creams (1), 5 face creams (4) where one contained SPF, 1 oil (0), 1 mask (2), 3 face primers but two were minis (2), 1 eye primer (1), 2 powders (3), 4 concealers (1), 2 foundations (3), 4 mascaras (2), 4 brow gels (1), one lipstick, one lip primer and one cream eye shadow. 55 products in total for skincare and makeup compared to 49 in 2019. The categories are not exactly the same between the two years, for example one category I had last year that was missing this year was primers with SPF (3 in 2019) due to having the Lumene Day Fluid and other SPF’s.

    The above numbers are things that I consider to be skincare or makeup but it’s worth noting that I am excluding sunscreens for the face from this summary. Of course I use other sunscreens but unless it is a face cream with SPF and skincare benefits I’m not going to include them in the Used Up posts. The main reasoning for that is that I share my sunscreens with my family and I cannot be bothered to keep track of that in any way shape or form. Also, I have previously included the soap I’m using to clean my brushes with but I’m not going to do that anymore. It’s not something I’m interested in tracking.

    The value of the products used up this year (if purchased at full price) is around 13 500 SEK, and that is basically the same amount as last year. Of course all of these items were not purchased in one year and some were gifts from friends/family and many were bought with a discount. The point is not to conclude how much I have spent but rather to highlight the “worth” of the products I actually use up in one year. The average per item is still around 260 SEK so the average on consumables is unchanged at approximately 1100 SEK per month.

    I will continue to do these bi-annual instalments of the Used Up so that I can keep track on how many products I go trough, how long they last me and my opinions on them. I find it to be a fantastic way to chronicle what I use and spend my money on. I will keep on focusing on skincare for the face and makeup and exclude other SPF’s and products for body, hair and nails.

    Thanks for reading!

  • Makeup

    My Makeup Audit: December 2020

    This December I participated in the tag #redlipsdecember created by @luvanloud on Instagram as I have done for a few years now. The main goal is to wear a red lip on every day of December and I tweaked my ambition slightly so that I at least wore red lips on every day that I wore makeup, which was not everyday by any means. Last year I chose neutral eyeshadows to audit in December to make my job easier when creating looks to go with a red lip. This year I unintentionally chose a different approach. Since I have been going through my seasonally appropriate loose shadow collections by Meow Cosmetics for a few months I had in advance picked what to use for December as well, not even thinking about #redlipsdecember. But I did feel up for the challenge and it turned out to be a fun month creativity-wise.

    Besides shadows from several Meow Cosmetics collections (Santa Baby, Ghosts of Xmas Past, 4 Horsemen, End of Days, Xmas Trees, Holiday Wishes, Reindeer), I chose loose pigments by MAC and Bare Minerals, single shadows by Illamasqua, Urban Decay and & Other Stories. In addition I picked one fixed palette by Linda Hallberg and one magnetic palette with singles from brands such as Lethal Cosmetics, Nabla, KvD, Makeup Geek and Neve Cosmetics. A whopping 50 shades for the eyes. Cheeks was not a big category this month since I am currently down to my last two highlighters to audit, both by Phee’s Makeup Tips. This means I can start with round 2 for blush, contour and highlighters in 2021. Not sure exactly how to proceed with that yet, but it should be fun.

    Part One – Eyes

    Top Row L-R: Quadrifoglio, Hipster, Radikal, Chiaroscuro

    Middle Row L-R: Brownie Points, Lotus, Devil, Petra

    Bottom Row L-R: Frantic, Cascade, Imago, Delirium, Martyr

    Every month need some core shades such as mattes and neutral shades. Some of them were assembled in this magnetic palette. One depotted Neve shadow (Quadrifoglio), two by Makeup Geek (Hipster, Brownie Points), four by Nabla (Radikal, Chiaroscuro, Lotus, Petra), two depotted by KvD (Martyr, Devil) and four from Lethal Cosmetics (Frantic, Cascade, Imago and Delirium). Some colour and some basic neutrals – a good mix.

    Top Row L-R: Heroine, Cubica mauve

    Bottom Row L-R: Velvet Nude, Smokeout

    To complete the core lineup I added some single shadows to cover the holes left by the other palette. Two crease shades, one by Illamasqua (Heroine) and one by & Other Stories (Cubica Mauve), one beige shade by Bare Minerals (Velvet Nude) to use as a diffuser and a satin black by Urban Decay (Smokeout) to use as liner and to darken any eye look.

    Metallic Mysteries II by Linda Hallberg

    This Linda Hallberg palette is full of typical Christmas shades so I thought it would be appropriate to use it this month. I got this as a gift when it was released two years ago. I’ve worn it a few times but not enough to feel like I’ve had a proper relationship with it, if you know what I mean. A good audit contestant.

    Top Row L-R: Basic Red, Kitchmas, Pink Pearl

    Bottom Row L-R: Delicate Drift, Stylishly Merry

    Some MAC items of varying age were also included due to being very seasonally appropriate. Kitchmas is one of my oldest pigments and it might even have been from when I lived in Brighton in 2000-2001. I’m a little unsure of the exact year but lets just say it is extremely old. Basic Red and Pink Pearl are from between 2012-2014 I think. The two shadows in compacts are newer from the Snow Ball collection from 2017. The are both shifting pink bronzes, a type of shade I am extra drawn to.

    Top Row L-R: Duplex, Winter Coat, Grinch

    Bottom Row L-R: Ornament, Fa-la-la

    Moving on to the Meow Cosmetics collections. Here we have the Santa Baby (Duplex) and Ghosts of Xmas Past (Winter Coat, Grinch, Ornament, Fa-la-la) collections.

    Top Row L-R: , Cedar, Spruce, Noble

    Bottom Row L-R: Love, Serenity, Peace On Earth

    Then we have the collections Xmas Trees (Cedar, Spruce, Noble) and Holiday Wishes (Love, Serenity, Peace On Earth) also from Meow Cosmetics.

    Top Row L-R: Death, Famine, Violence, Pestilence

    Bottom Row L-R: Dancer, Comet, Donner

    Then we have the 4 Horsemen (Death, Famine, Violence, Pestilence) and Reindeer (Dancer, Comet, Donner) collections by Meow Cosmetics.

    Top Row L-R: Doomsday, Hysteria, End Game

    Bottom Row L-R: Oblivion, Hopeless, Prophecy

    And finally we have the End of Days collection from Meow Cosmetics (all of the shadows above). Dark and murky yet colourful goodness.

    That was all of the eye products in Decembers arsenal, a hefty number of products. Let’s move on to swatches and a walkthrough of how I felt about each shadow during the course of the month, starting with the magnetic palette with matte singles.

    All shades side by side, se names in the next two pictures

    Quadrifoglio (Neve Cosmetics) is a shade I depotted from their Scurissimi palette but this shade can be purchased as a single as well. This shadow was fairly easy to use and kept its colour when blended. Even though it might be a shade I wear seldom I want to keep it to se if I can use it more often. Hipster (MUG) has turned a bit dusty over the years and that is one of the reasons I will not be keeping it. The colour was nice to wear but it simply does not have enough impact to be kept when I know I have other similar shades from other brands. Radikal and Lotus (both by Nabla) are beautiful colourful mattes that I want to wear more often in the future. I enjoyed wearing both and they were lovely to work with. Chiaroscuro (Nabla) was mainly used as a liner so I can not say too much on its merits as a smoky shade. The cool tone makes it very versatile for me and I would like to keep using it. The same goes for Brownie Points (MUG). It’s an interesting dusty purple brown that pairs well with other shades.

    All of the above shades will be kept. The ruddy pinks from Lethal Cosmetics are amazing to work with – Frantic, Cascade and the lovely Imago. The blend so well and keep their colour. Delirium (Lethal) is a nice shade as well, even though it is not as fun as the other Lethal shades included this month. But it is oh so useful! The Lethal shades are some of my newest eyeshadows (purchased in the Spring 2019) and I did not expect to get rid of any in this audit, but it was lovely to play with them some more. Petra is another Nabla shade and I do enjoy this one a lot. A ruddy brown that I think is rather unique in my total arsenal. Lastly we have two depotted KvD shades from the Sinner & Saint palette, Devil and Martyr. I used them mainly in the crease to add a bit of colour and warmth. They are both pretty and worked well. Both are the type of shade that I probably have ten times over but I will keep them for now.

    Heroine (Illamasqua) is a very useful crease shade for me and I really love the brand’s packaging. It is very impractical for me to have such a basic shade in a single compact but I will think about that later. For now I will keep it. Cubica Mauve (& Other Stories) is a shade that my love for has lessened. I have similar shades that I enjoy more so this is a single I’m ready to let go of. Velvet Nude (Bare Minerals) is a beige shade that is a smidge darker than my skin colour when applied to the face. I did use it as a diffuser around the edges of an eye look during this month, but i have no need to keep it in my arsenal. I have similar shades in pans that I prefer using for that specific purpose. Smokeout by Urban Decay is a lovely satin black that I reached for quite a lot. I used it as liner and to darken up the outer corner of my eye. I might depot this in the future but UD singles packaging is so pretty that I am a bit reluctant to disturb it. Out of these four I’m keeping Heroine and Smokeout and letting the other two go.

    Metallic Mysteries II by Linda Hallberg

    Since this was a gift that I had wished for I feel a bit sentimental towards the Metallic Mysteries II palette but one thing this month has taught me is that I have little feelings towards it other than that. The shades are fine but they are simply not special enough for me to keep this separate little quad. If I could have depotted them I might have considered it but as it is now I am letting the whole thing go.

    The image above is just so delicious to me. The shades go so well together. Let’s start with Basic Red (MAC). I used to fantasise about owning this PRO pigment back in the day when that assortment was hard to get a hold of in Sweden. I lusted after it and when I finally bought it many years later, did I ever use it? NO. The swatch above is beautiful but when I used it on the eyes it quickly became such a mess that I had to remove the whole thing. I love red eyeshadow passionately but a matte loose pigment is clearly not for me. The fallout was spreading pigmented stains of red/pink on my cheeks, making the pigment a nightmare to work with. I am glad to let it go. Kitchmas (MAC) on the other hand is a sparkly light silvery pink pigment that I still love. I have very sentimental feelings towards this pigment, since it was purchased at a significant time in my makeup loving life, and the fact that it still is lovely on the eyes make me want to keep it a little longer. Maybe not my most level-headed choice in this audit but I’m clearly not ready to just let it go. Pink Pearl is a beautiful pink shade with a blue shift and i enjoyed wearing it a lot. Keeper. Delicate Drift and Stylishly Merry are stunning shadows. I really enjoy the In Extra Dimension formula from MAC and these are no exception. I need to wear these a lot more often.

    Santa Baby and Ghosts of Xmas Past collections by Meow Cosmetics

    Duplex is a pretty colour on the eyes but it’s not special enough to keep. If it was a pressed shadow I might reach for it, but in loose form I’m sure it will never be used. Winter Coat is also out due to being a flat and boring shade on the eye. Grinch on the other hand is a magnificent green that I’m very excited to wear again. Ornament and Fa-la-la are both very happy and bright shades. They will go on to round 2 as well. So two out of five are out.

    Xmas Trees and Holiday Wishes collections by Meow Cosmetics

    Next we have three green shades. Cedar is a very pretty inner corner shade and Spruce and Noble are beautiful on the lid. I am very fond of green eyeshadow in general so all three can stay for now. Love, Serenity and Peace On Earth were all used as inner corner highlights and there is just something about them that I love. They are all staying as well.

    4 Horsemen and Reindeer collections by Meow Cosmetics

    Violence and Pestilence are beautiful dark but still colourful lid shades. Famine has a lovely delicate blue sheen not visible in the swatch above. I enjoy all three a lot. Death was the least exciting shade of the bunch, but still nice enough to keep in order to keep the 4 Horsemen collection intact. Moving on to the three reindeer shades, Comet was the only letdown. Somehow it had a weird blue base that came through when blending, a fact I had not noticed before (and I’m quite sure I have used it before this month). That feature made the decision easy since I know that it will keep me from using it in the future. Donner and Dancer are stunning though. Donner is a beautiful inner corner shade and Dancer is stunning all over the lid.

    End of Days collection by Meow Cosmetics

    I’m very fond of the End of Days collection primarily because of the shades Hysteria and Prophecy that I have use quite a lot over the years. Prophecy is a stunning white gold that is lovely in the inner corner and also as a cheek highlight. Hysteria is a potent molten gold that makes my heart sing. Then we have End Game, a very interesting muted green yellow. A very fun shade. Doomsday is also a hit, a strong popping purple. Oblivion is nice as well. A more muted dark red that I enjoyed pairing with darker pinks with great effect (see look from December 26). The dud of the lot was Hopeless. It has a blue base that makes it difficult to blend and the end result was not a shade that looked very appealing on me.

    Part Two – Cheeks

    L-R: Cryptic, Lasaia

    My last two highlighters are two cool shades by Phee’s Makeup Tips (Cryptic, Lasaia). Since I had no blushes left to audit I picked a selection of previously audited items to complete the cheek arsenal, see my choices below. This is also the last month I will be doing a cheek arsenal since I will have audited all of my blushes, highlighters and contour shades when December is over. In January I will start using all of my cheek products again and evaluate the entirety of my cheek collection simultaneously. Maybe I will let some go, or I will be content with keeping them all. We shall see.

    Top Row L-R: Legendary (MAC), Pink Cult (MAC)

    Bottom Row L-R: Baby Don’t Go (MAC), Flushed (Sleek Makeup), Rapture (Urban Decay)

    I wore each shade only once this month and that was enough to determine that these are not for me. These were too stark for me, I just know I will not reach for them. So both are out.

    That was it, the complete rundown of all the products I audited during December. Let’s move on to some of the looks I wore during the month, created with this arsenal. And all of my red lip products! Let’s not forget them.

    December 4

    Eyes: Pink Pearl, Cascade, Delicate Drift, Chiaroscuro

    Cheeks: Baby Don’t Go

    Lips: Velvet Dragon (Lisa Eldridge) and lip pencil in Brick (MAC)

    December 5

    Eyes: Arcturus, Frantic, Imago, Smokeout

    Cheeks: Lotus, Rapture, Prophecy

    Lips: Rouge Vie (Chanel)

    December 8

    Eyes: Ornament, Delirium, Love

    Cheeks: Flushed

    Lips: Rouge Vie (Chanel) and lip pencil in Redd (MAC)

    December 9

    Eyes: Stylishly Merry, Peace On Earth, Draco, Quadrifoglio

    Cheeks: Baby Don’t Go

    Lips: Velvet Ribbon (Lisa Eldridge) and lip pencil in Cherry (MAC)

    December 11

    Eyes: Famine, Donner, Brownie Points, Smokeout

    Cheeks: Rapture, Cryptic

    Lips: Devoted to Chili (MAC)

    December 13

    Eyes: Pestilence, Cedar, Imago, Delicate Drift, Chiaroscuro, Smokeout

    Cheeks: Pink Cult

    Lips: Velvet Jazz (Lisa Eldridge)

    December 19

    Eyes: Draco, Lotus, Collision, Chiaroscuro

    Cheeks: Legendary, Prophecy

    Lips: Devoted to Chili (MAC)

    December 20

    Eyes: Hysteria, Donner, Martyr

    Cheeks: Pink Cult

    Lips: Velvet Ribbon (Lisa Eldridge) and lip pencil in Cherry (MAC)

    December 21

    Eyes: Collision, Epsilon, Chiaroscuro

    Cheeks: Legendary

    Lips: Velvet Dragon (Lisa Eldridge)

    December 22

    Eyes: Fa-la-la, Doomsday, Prophecy, Hipster, Brownie Points

    Cheeks: Pink Cult, Prophecy

    Lips: Rouge Feu (Chanel)

    December 25

    Eyes: Kitchmas, Chiaroscuro

    Cheeks: Pink Cult

    Lips: Striking (Revlon)

    December 26

    Eyes: Violence, Oblivion, Lotus, Frantic, Cascade, Chiaroscuro,

    Cheeks: Baby Don’t Go

    Lips: Fiery (Revlon)

    December 29

    Eyes: Noble, Devil, Petra, Chiaroscuro

    Cheeks: Flushed

    Lips: Velvet Dragon (Lisa Eldridge) and lip pencil in Brick (MAC)

    All in all I let 11 items go, a total of 14 individual shades. I also felt like I had a very inspired makeup month and it was a fun challenge to do colourful eye looks to go with the red lipsticks. I had 9 lipsticks/crayons and three lip liners to play with and I used them all 2-3 times during the course of the month. It was very satisfying to utilise my red lip products to a maximum and get to know each shade’s potential a little bit more.

    Moving on to January I’m not going to continue with choosing Meow Cosmetics collections as such a big part of my monthly arsenal. It was fun to do it for the three months that I did, so that I could use the Halloween and Christmas collections at the “appropriate time”, but now I want to choose differently. I might include one whole Meow collection in future monthly arsenal, but I look forward to choosing a bit more freely from other brands as well in the coming months.

    Thanks for reading!

  • Nail polish

    Nail polish audit – The Twelve:8

    During the autumn months I’ve been really inconsistent with wearing nail polish. This lot of polishes were worn from September and all the way through November. Three whole months!

    Again we have a mixed bag when it comes to brands, three shades from Pahlish, two from Barry M and one each from A England, China Glaze, OPI, Powder Perfect, H&M, Mentality and Crows Toes.

    Hell yes!

    OPI – Nein! Nein! Nein! Ok fine!

    Nein! Nein! Nein! Ok fine! is a solid grey cream polish by OPI from the Germany collection dating from 2012. It’s a dark grey with a slight green tinge and I always enjoy wearing this shade and it is superb to layer glitter and shimmer polishes over.

    Mentality – Teacher

    I cannot get over how much I enjoy the colour of Teacher from Mentality. When I look at the bottle I feel nothing (could be due to the downfall of the brand) but on the nail the shade speaks for itself. The polish dries down matte, and I do not enjoy that look, but it can easily be fixed with a glossy top coat.

    Powder Perfect – Borders of The Forest

    This picture does not in any way shape or form show off how stunning Borders of The Forest is. The shimmer flakes look amazing in this muted green base.

    H&M – Cream Saffron

    Cream Saffron is a stunning yellow cream. It is difficult to find flattering yellow shades for my skin tone and this is lovely. I also enjoy the H&M brush a lot.

    CrowsToes – Indian Summer

    CrowsToes – Indian Summer

    Indian Summer is such a beautiful shifter that I had to include more than one picture of it. It shifts from purple to pink to red to orange. This a shade I usually bring out at least once each autumn and I’m always mesmerised by its beauty.

    Barry M – Block Orange

    Block Orange is a great orange shade on me. As well as with yellows, oranges can be difficult to find for me and this is a good one.

    Barry M – Rasberry

    Rasberry is a very unique shade and I have nothing else like it. A very juicy berry colour. I tend not to gravitate towards this pinker alternative to a bright red, but when I wore it now I really liked how it looked.

    A England – Sleeping Palace

    A England makes such elegant polishes. The bottles, themes, formulations and shades always feel so luxurious. Sleeping Palace is no different, a very elegant shade.

    China Glaze – Trendsetter

    Trendsetter is such a stunning and popping colour, I really love wearing it.

    Maybe

    Pahlish – Shallow Lands

    Shallow Lands is more interesting in the bottle than on the nail. All the fine pink, purple and gold glitter particles are just not that visible once applied. It looks nice but I’m not sure if it is special enough to keep.

    Hell no!

    Pahlish – Mad Man With A Box

    In theory I should love this Doctor Who themed Pahlish polish, but shiny metallic blue is just not for me. I would have loved Mad Man With a Box when I was 15, I remember loving this type of blue then.

    Pahlish – The Ghost Shift

    The Ghost Shift is ok but I have other silver shades that intrigue me more. I am not to glad to let any Pahlish polishes go but I have to be realistic. If I did not enjoy wearing it now, I will not reach for it later.

    So this round of the Twelve ended up in mostly keepers. But I am a bit surprised that the no’s and maybes ended up being from Pahlish, one of my favourite indie brands.

    Thanks for reading!