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.
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.
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!