• Makeup

    My Makeup Audit: February 2021

    This months arsenal was actually picked out a few months in advance, when I was beginning to get a bit bored with only choosing Meow shadows. I chose January and February in one go and after that I decided on March and April the same way.

    February’s arsenal consisted of four fixed palettes and two quads assembled with single shadows. A lot of colour and shimmer with a solid base of matte neutrals by Urban Decay, Chanel, Illamasqua and MAC.

    The Afterdark palette by Urban Decay

    The Afterdark palette by Urban Decay was limited edition in 2017 and I was pleasantly surprised when I found it available in Sweden despite hearing rumours that it would not be sold here. So I bought it. The overall colour scheme is very appealing but it was a very long time since I last reached for it.

    The Moondust palette by Urban Decay

    The Moondust palette, also by Urban Decay, was bought in autumn 2016. I used it for a while and then it was overshadowed by newer items. I have not worn this for many years now.

    The Demise palette by Illamasqua

    I purchased this quad, the Demise palette by Illamasqua, as part of a bundle in 2018. I was purchasing a number of other products and this bundle consisted of a dark burgundy lipstick (that I never wore and then it expired), this quad (that I’ve never used) and a full size Gel Sculpt in the shade Silhouette. The Gel Sculpt is now my favourite contour and I’m very pleased that this bundle offer made me try it. But….all in all I feel like I might have been a shitty purchase.

    The Candeur et Expérience palette by Chanel

    This Chanel palette was part of a stunning collection in 2016 fronted by the equally stunning Kristen Stewart. I fell in love with the entire collection and received large parts of it as a gift from my husband. It consists of four warm satin mattes, three brown shades and a red.

    Top Row L-R: Strike While Haute, Farasha

    Bottom Row L-R: Indian Ink, Vibrant Grape

    To add a bit of colourful mattes into the mix I opted for four MAC singles in coral red, pumpkin orange and two shades of violet. These shadows are of varying age and the newest is probably from around 2014. Most of my MAC shades are quite old at this point.

    Top Row L-R: Brains & Brawn, Concrete

    Bottom Row L-R: Outré, Coquette

    Then finally we have another quad of mattes to fill in the colour gaps in the arsenal, some more neutrals including somewhat cooler crease shades. These are also all older MAC shades.

    Let’s move on to swatches and my feelings on these products after a month of use.

    All of these MAC mattes performed well for me even though I did not wear them as much as I initially thought I would (the warmer neutral shades in the Chanel quad was my primary source of matte crease shades during February). But I wore all of these shades one or twice and liked what I saw. A very pleasant experiment was on February 21st when I used Farasha and Strike While haute on top of a paler glossy lipstick (Luxurist by H&M) and made an amazing fruity lip colour (see look further down in this post). I will definitely use that technique again to customise a lip colour.

    The Candeur et Expérience palette by Chanel

    I have so many fond memories surrounding this palette and the collection it was part of. An entire collection seldom catch my heart but this one did. The shadows were warmer than I was used to and that warm red was intriguing. Many of my favourite lipsticks were purchased in relation to this collection as well. The shadows in the quad perform well and even though they are not as unique shades in my arsenal anymore I still want to keep it and keep on wearing it just for the nostalgia.

    The Demise palette by Illamasqua

    I only used this palette once, if we do not count that the black shade did liner duty quite a few times. It became apparent that I have no use for this quad. The cream shade is pretty but it creases on my oily lids and the burgundy is not up up to par quality-wise. The white gold is beautiful, but so is Alter from the Afterdark palette and I have limited use for numerous shades like that. I will let this one go in its entirety.

    The Afterdark palette by Urban Decay

    I really like the shade selection in the Afterdark palette (Urban Decay) but several shades perform badly. I do not think they have aged well because I can not remember Backfire and Paralyzed being so bland. The shade that stood out in a positive was Lounge. I tried to find a dupe in my collection but could not so after much consideration I decided to depot that shade and keep it. In doing so I also opened the possibility to keep some more shades. I decided on Supersonic, Sinful and Alter. Vibrant and very useful shades with a good formula. All of the others were poor performers except Scene, but I have no use for another pale gold pink.

    The Moondust palette by Urban Decay

    I fell in love with the Moondust palette this month. The texture of the shadows is just amazing and my preferred method of application is tapped on with a finger on their own or on top of another shadow as a sparkly transforming shade. I can happily wear all of shades in the palette and I am so glad that I have rediscovered this gem.

    So that was the rundown of the products in April’s audit. Let’s have a look at some of the looks I created with said products. 

    February 3

    Eyes: All four shades from the Chanel quad, Scene, Sinful and the bronze pink from the Illamasqua quad

    Cheeks: Bronze and Glow from the Filmstar Bronze & Glow palette (Charlotte Tilbury)

    Lips: Sultry (Revlon)

    February 6

    Eyes: Element, Lightyear, Vega, Galaxy, Brains & Brawn, black by Illamasqua, black cream base by H&M

    Cheeks: Stereo Rose (MAC)

    Lips: Muse lip pencil and Velvet Blush (Lisa Eldridge)

    February 14

    Eyes: All four shades in the Illamasqua quad, Outre

    Cheeks: Pomegranate (blush, Sleek), Silouhette (gel sculpt, Illamasqua), Phantoma (highlighter, Meow Cosmetics)

    Lips: Velvet Decade (Lisa Eldridge)

    February 19

    Eyes: Lounge, top two shades from the Chanel Quad and the black by Illamasqua

    Cheeks: Supernova (MAC)

    Lips: Beet lip liner, Burning Love lipstick (MAC)

    Februari 21

    Eyes: Strike While Haute, Farasha, black by Illamasqua

    Cheeks: Spring Flock (MAC)

    Lips: Luxurist (H&M) topped with Strike While Haute and Farasha eyeshadows

    In this audit I let go of two fixed palettes and a total of 10 individual shades. I’ve also rediscovered a great palette (Moondust), which makes me very pleased. Another focus this month, besides evaluating the eye arsenal, was my effort to wear as many of my cheek and lip products as possible. I actually managed to wear a whopping 19 blushes, 6 contour shades, 14 highlighters, 18 lipsticks, 1 gloss and 3 lip pencils. A damn good job!

    I’ve been thinking a lot about my audit project lately. I still think it’s a valuable way to evaluate my large and ageing collection of makeup by wearing things for a month to solidify my opinions on them. The monthly arsenal also gives me a creative push by having only a fixed set of tools to work with. But as I was picking out shades for May the other day I realised just how many shadows I have to go through still and if I keep doing the monthly arsenal the way that I have I will be doing this for way longer than I want to. I am a super keen to move forward to round 2 of the audit, where I compare similar items, but I really want to wear stuff on my eyes before I discard or keep them. A bit of a dilemma.

    Another thing I’ve noticed is that I’m running low on mattes. It says a lot that I’ve been able to do this for a year and a half and I’m only now running out of certain basic mattes to form a comprehensive monthly arsenal. I’m not completely settled on how I want to proceed, but I think I will have to switch up my approach in the near future.

    Thanks for reading!

  • Makeup

    My current cheek arsenal

    At the beginning of my audit project in 2019 I decided to go through all of my makeup items by using a monthly arsenal, a selection of products for eyes and cheeks that would be used for a month and then evaluated on their individual merits. Some products never made it into an arsenal (and were discarded prematurely) due to being expired and the like, but anything that was viable for use was to be audited using this method. This part of the audit was called “Round 1”.

    After the completion of Round 1, my plan is to look at all the items and look at my collection as a whole, see how many repeat shades I have and compare them to each other. That would be “Round 2”. The main goal with my audit is not to discard things in order to have an overall smaller collection but rather to weed out the duds, the old and expired and the things I no longer love and use. I am not a makeup minimalist by any means, but I want to be more aware of what I own and only keep the really good stuff.

    The first category to be completely audited in Round 1 was lipsticks (link to part one and part two) and the next category to be completed was colour cheek products (powder blushes, cream blushes and cream pigments) and light and shade cheek products (cream and powder contour shades, highlighters and and warming shaders), the focus of today’s blog post.

    I began the audit with 67 colour cheek products, 9 cheek shaders and 22 highlighters in October 2019, a total of 98 cheek products. Now that I have completed Round 1 I’m down to a total of 59 cheek products, all of which we are going to go through right now. I’m not going into details of each individual product (I covered that in my monthly audit reports) but my aim is to catalog my cheek arsenal and my thoughts on it as a whole.

    Colour

    My current blush situation

    Let’s start with my colour cheek products, aka blush. I’ve always enjoyed wearing blush and like having a lot of variety to choose from. At the start of the audit I had 67 individual shades and now I’m down to 38 of varying finishes. All of my cream blushes and cream pigments were discarded due to being old so all that is left in this category are powder blushes. Since I do prefer a powder anyway I have no need to replace anything in a cream formula.

    Clockwise from the top left: Pink Cult, At Dusk, Mocha, Breath of Plum, Sur by MAC

    Clockwise from the top: Supernova, Fever, Apple Red, Oh My!, A Little Lusty by MAC

    Top Row L-R: The Perfect Cheek, Legendary by MAC

    Bottom Row L-R: Spring Flock, Immortal Flower by MAC

    Clockwise from the top: Melba, Autoerotique, Baby Don’t Go, Buff, Stereo Rose by MAC

    Top Row L-R: Dandelion by Benefit, Rapture by Urban Decay

    Bottom Row: Havtorn by Idun Minerals

    Clockwise from the top: Kendra, Regal Mauve, Coralia, Habana by Nabla

    Clockwise from the top left: East by Makeupstore, Pinky Peach, Nude Blossom, Dusty Rose by Isadora

    Top Row L-R: Pomegranate, “Flame” Blush By 3 (Furnace, Bon Fire, Molten) by Sleek Makeup

    Bottom Row L-R: “Sugar” Blush By 3 (Demerara, Muscovado, Turbinado), Flushed by Sleek Makeup

    I tried to group my blushes into colour families and above we have swatches of the cooler rose-mauve family. No actual dupes in this lot and a nice variety of sheer and pigmented, shimmery and matte shades.

    Then we have the warmer family – neutral browns, peachy browns and some rosy browns. Subtle differences in tone and finish make them all useful but I doubt I have practical use for all of these in the long run. A couple might be redundant but for now I see no point in making any decisions. I want to get to know each shade a bit better first. One thing to note is that I have swatched the Bronze part of Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze & Glow as a blush, since that is how I tend to use it. But I count it and store it like one of my shaders.

    Above we have my more fruity shades and this is a nice and neat collection. These shades get a lot of wear time during spring/summer with the exception of Autoerotique, that one gets worn all year around. Love that blush. Such a shame that it was limited edition.

    And the last colour category is the intensely pigmented and colourful bunch. I’m very interested to observe this lot and see how much use I can actually get out of them. A bright blush is not my most used category and having so many is a bit much. But as with all the other blushes I am not in any rush to declutter anything at this point. I will wear them and evaluate them over time.

    My general feeling about my blushes is that I have a lovely and rich selection of shades, but many of them are quite old. Nothing that will stop me from using any of them, but I suspect some might show signs of expiration in the coming year. I lack nothing, but if a blush comes along that truly excites me I might buy one (or several).

    My current blush storage in all its glory

    I’ve recently moved all of my blushes to a single acrylic container that I’m keeping visible on the desk where I do my makeup. Cooler shades are in the front row. The middle row are warmer shades and in the back we have the brighter and darker shades. Having all of my options visible and accessible like that has really made a difference.

    Light and Shade

    All of my powder shade and highlighting products

    Moving on to my shade and light cheek products, categories I enjoy wearing but don’t need a large collection of. I was on the hunt for the perfect contour shade for my skin tone for a while and that resulted in the above shader selection. But then I found the Gel Sculpt by Illamasqua and the hunt was over. I still enjoy to use a powder product for a cool contour or a warmer shading of the face, so I have use for the shades above for now. I had 9 shader products before my audit and now I have 5. It is technically 6 shades, but as mentioned I do not really count the Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze as a shader on me but rather a blush. But in theory it can do both.

    Highlighters are fun but not my vice by any means. I started with 22 and we are now at 15.

    Gel Sculpt in “Silhouette” by Illamasqua

    The Gel Sculpt shading stick by Illamasqua is my one and only non-powder cheek product left and it is such a favourite that it was not included in my audit at all. It’s a staple product and when I run out or it expires, whatever comes first, I would like to repurchase.

    Top Row: Filmstar Bronze & Glow in “Light to Medium” by Charlotte Tilbury

    Bottom Row L-R: Gotham, Obsexed by Nabla

    Top Row L-R: Next to Skin, Taupe by MAC

    Bottom Row: Sculpt by MAC

    L-R: OMG, Deity by Illamasqua

    Top Row L-R: H&M Holo palette, Fireball by Urban Decay

    Bottom Row L-R: Phantoma, Chameleon by Meow Cosmetics, Original by Phee’s Makeup Tips

    Clockwise from the top: Play it Proper, Perfect Topping, Lightscapades, Here Comes Joy by MAC

    My cooler highlighters

    My warmer highlighters

    I enjoy wearing all of these but I find that the trio from H&M is a bit too glittery for my liking. However, the green and the blue shade are so unique in my arsenal that I want to hang on to it a while longer. All three shades double as eyeshadows as well so I feel ok keeping them. I do have more highlighters than I “need” and I might let a few go in the coming months, but before that I want to wear them a lot more.

    My powder shaders

    Gel Sculpt in “Silhouette” by Illamasqua

    I can see me only needing three shaders in the future, the Gel Sculpt and two powders – one cooler shade and one warmer. But since all products are useful and I’m not overwhelmed by the quantity I will use them until they go off or start performing badly.

    As with the blushes I’ve been keeping the shaders and highlighters visible on my desk. The visible placement works wonders.

    Shaders

    Highlighters

    I’ve been wearing all of my cheek products over the past two months and I’m quite content with what I have. I do not feel that I lack any option and I suppose that is the reason why I’m very rarely attracted to new cheek shades that are released. I look forward to getting more and more use out of these products in the coming months. In six months or so I might be ready to conclude a Round 2 and see if I want to edit out anything else or keep them all. Only time will tell.

    Thanks for reading!