Starting Fresh

Would this qualify as a capsule collection? Not counting nail polishes but including brushes and tools my current collection totals 35 pieces. I feel like capsule collections are usually even smaller than this but I’m quite satisfied with how much I’ve eliminated from my makeup stash over the past two years. For a girl who started with 100+ blushes, 100+ lipsticks, and dozens of eye shadow palettes and highlighters, I think I’ve come a long way.

I’ve been gradually purging makeup since 2014 in an effort to streamline my makeup regimen. It had gotten to the point where I felt burdened by the sheer amount of makeup I owned. When I realized I could literally use a different blush or lipstick everyday for four months straight with no repeats I decided I needed to make a change. A kinder person (or an enabler) would’ve called me a makeup collector but the truth was I was a makeup hoarder. Even though I had so much makeup, I was really only using a handful of products regularly. I decided then and there that I had to edit my stash, keep only the items that I truly love and use, and get rid of everything else.

Letting go was, and is, a constant struggle especially when it comes to purging limited edition makeup but I’ve done it and I have no regrets. If you’re considering purging but feel hesitant, just know that the process gets easier the more you do it. It’s the first step that’s the most difficult.

For me foundation was the easiest category to purge. I have extremely dry skin and it’s easy to know what works and what doesn’t work for my skin type. Basically, if it doesn’t accentuate flaky skin it’s good. Anything containing ultra mattifying, oil-absorbing ingredients like talc, silica, starch, kaolin, and nylon-12 had to go. In the past couple of years I’ve also discovered that dimethicone is an ingredient that clogs my pores badly, so anything containing that also had to be eliminated. In the end this is what remained:

Gerda Spillmann Bio-Fond Foundation in Sand (12 g/0.4 oz, $59.99) I’ve been using this cream foundation since November and I’m only just starting to see a bit of a dip in the pan. I loved Bio-Fond the first time I used it and I’m still loving it now. The way this foundation settles into the skin and wears throughout the day is just wonderful. The powder scent is admittedly quite strong but I can forgive it because the finish is so beautiful and skin-like. Coverage is about medium but buildable.

Ingredients: Isopropyl Myristate, Mineral Oil (Paraffinum Liquidum), Copernica Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax, Octoxynol-5, Squalane, Montan Acid Wax, Polyethylene, Cetearyl Ethylhexanoate, Lanolin Oil, Lecithin, Tocopherol, Fragrance (Parfum), Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxides.

Note: Older reviews for the Bio-Fond foundation on Makeup Alley list parabens as ingredients but it must have been reformulated because the one I own appears to be paraben-free.

Baked Mineral Foundation in Dover Beige (9 g/0.32 oz, $29.50) I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned this powder before. A green beauty YouTuber that I used to follow raved about it so much that I had to give it a try. I don’t usually like baked products because of the distinctive texture but I’ll make an exception for this powder which can be used dry for a lighter application or wet for slightly more coverage. I prefer to use it wet with a damp beautyblender sponge because of the extra coverage. What I like most about this powder is its very natural looking satin finish. Dover Beige is the lightest shade and a bit too pink for me so I save it for the days when I’m really sallow as the pinkness helps neutralize/brighten my complexion. Several vendors sell this powder. I bought mine off of Amazon a long time ago but Makeup Artists Choice (MUAC) also carries it in both the full size and as a loose powder sample.

Ingredients: Mica, Serecite Mica, Jojoba (Simmondsia Chinesis) Seed Oil, Safflower (Carthamus Tinctorius) Seed Oil, Lavanduia Angustifolia Flower Extract, Thyme (Thymus Vulgaris) Extract, Green Tea (Camelia Sinensis) Extract, Vitamin E (Tocopheryl Acetate), Rosemary (Rosemarinus Officinalis) Leaf Extract, Magnolia Bark (Magnolia Officinalis) Extract. May Contain: Iron Oxides

The Conservatorie Pressed Mineral Complete Coverage Foundation in Lumiere, Natural and Vanilla (10 g, $10 each) This is the best higher coverage powder foundation for dry skin that I’ve ever tried, so of course they no longer make it. Just my luck. The foundation has a soft matte finish with medium to full coverage. The powder is loosely pressed and can get very powdery in the compact, so I just lightly dip my brush into the product to pick up a bit of powder rather than swirl my brush in the pan. I own three shades and switch the one I use depending on the season and my coloring. The lightest, Lumiere, works best when I’m at my palest (NC10-15) and the other two are perfect for the rest of the year when I’m darker (NC15-20). My skin’s so dry that I can only wear powder foundations when it’s extremely hot and humid, so I’m saving these foundations for the summer.Since these foundations have been discontinued, once I hit pan on them I’ll be down to only one cream foundation and one baked powder foundation in my stash.

Ingredients: Mica, Fractioned Coconut oil, Lauryl Lysine, DL-Alpha Tocopherol Acetate, Grapefruit Extract, Origanumvulgare Leaf Extract, Thyme Extract, Cinnamomumzeylancum Bark Extract, Rosemary Leaf Extract, Lavender Flower Extract, Golden Seal Root Extract. May Contain: Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxides, Chromium Oxide Greens, Ultramarines.

NYX Gotcha Covered Concealer in Light (0.27 fl oz, $5.99) I’ve been using this since May and it’s replaced my previous favorite concealers, IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye and Tarte Maracuja Creaseless Concealer, in my heart. If you ever wanted a drugstore dupe for those pricier concealers, this is it. It has the same thick, rich consistency with a satin/dewy finish and is waterproof. Gotcha Covered launched with 10 shades but has since expanded the shade range to 20, so if you couldn’t find a color match in the Bye Bye Under Eye or Maracuja Creaseless concealers, look into the Gotcha Covered concealers.


So long to all my pricey palettes. Adios to LORAC, Laura Mericer, Too Faced, Anastasia Beverly Hills, Viseart, Ciate, etc. I realized that I rarely ever use eye shadows so what was the point of keeping them? Much better to sell them off and get back a portion of what I paid for them. I also purged a lot of shimmery singles and duos because I’ve grown out of shimmer and sparkle shadows. These days I’m all about keeping it simple, natural and understated. The only “fun” or “wild” palette I kept is Milani Earthy Elements which contains a funky orange but on the whole is still very neutral and wearable.

In case you’re wondering, in terms of quality, color selection and formula compatibility with my dry skin I would say my favorite palettes ever were Viseart Cool Mattes, Ciate Smokey Suedes and Too Faced Chocolate Bon Bons. All are high quality, gorgeous palettes but I have a very minimalist makeup style and there were simply too many colors that I’d never use. I’m boring like that.

For eye shadows I kept Milani’s Everyday Eyes palettes in Bare Necessities and Earthy Elements, bareMinerals’ The Overachiever, bareMinerals’ Nude Beach Velvet and bareMinerals Vanilla Sugar. I was going to get rid of all my palettes but occasionally I have moments of weakness and want to play with some color and shimmer. On those days, I reach for the Milani palettes which are really great quality for the drugstore and they help curb my cravings. But 90% of the time I stick to the simple neutrals of the bareMinerals singles and duo.

I only have one mascara open in my collection, the discontinued Maybelline x Hello Kitty Volum’ Express Cat Eyes Waterproof. I love the skinny, comb wand which is great for separating and defining lashes.

And my favorite brow pencil is still Wet n Wild’s Color Icon Kohl Eyeliner in Taupe which I’ve worn down to a nub. This is the reformulated, second generation version of the Color Icon Kohl Eyeliner in Taupe. The first version was a golden taupe, the one I own is an ashier taupe, and the current re-reformulated version that’s being sold is a golden taupe. I’m not sure what I’m going to do when I run out of my pencil.


bareMinerals’ Your Highness, described as an earthy rose, is the only powder blush remaining in my stash. The color goes great with everything. I felt a momentary twinge of regret when I let go of my BECCA Mineral Blush in Bolero (it contains silica) but I feel like this color, although not a dupe in any way, is a good replacement.

For bronzer I have bareMinerals’ Faux Tan. I like it but the color may be a bit too dark for me. I haven’t been using bronzer this winter anyway so it’s acting as a place holder for now until I decide on a replacement.

I’m keeping both NYC Lovatics by Demi Lip & Cheek Tints in Cheeky Pink and Cheeky Red. I love the colors and the lightweight, fragrance-free formula which reminds me of Benefit’s Benetint except with better pigmentation minus the scent and so cheap.

bareMinerals’ loose shadow in Vanilla Sugar doubles as a peachy champagne highlighter with a subtle sheen but to be honest I haven’t been reaching for highlighter at all this winter.


You’re probably very familiar with these lipsticks by now as I’ve swatched them numerous times on my blog. The only new addition is the Soap & Glory Sexy Mother Pucker Gloss Stick in Plum Jam but the formula is exactly the same as Nudist which I’ve blogged about before; it’s just a different color.

I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m a chubby lip pencil type of gal. I simply love the convenience of chubby pencils. The ones I kept are Sally Hansen Spirited Spice (discontinued), Sally Hansen Health Nut (discontinued), Sally Hansen Pumped Up Plum (discontinued), Clinique Curviest Caramel, Soap & Glory Sexy Mother Pucker Plum Jam (discontinued), and Soap & Glory Sexy Mother Pucker Nudist (discontinued).

The only two lipsticks I’ve hung onto are Sonia Kashuk Shine Luxe Sheer Lip Colour Nirvana (limited edition) and Sonia Kashuk Shine Luxe Sheer Lip Colour Eden (limited edition). Sonia Kashuk’s Shine Luxe Sheer Lip Colour is my favorite lipstick formula ever because I love the comfortable, semi-opaque, glossy, fragrance-free formula.

The one lip gloss in my collection is bareMinerals Marvelous Moxie Trail Blazer. The formula is rather thick and slightly sticky but the the stickiness contributes to its excellent wear time. Trail Blazer is a gorgeous sheer cantaloupe with subtle shimmer.

My favorite lip balm is still NYC Lip Sliders Tinted Lip Balm (discontinued) which I’ve been using religiously since 2010. It’s long discontinued but shows up all the time at dollar stores or Big Lots. The formula is extremely moisturizing, thick, creamy and glossy with tons of natural plant butters and oils. I use it as an overnight lip mask and it stays on my lips and keeps them hydrated and soft until I wipe it off the next morning when I wash my face.

ETA: I’m looking at the photo of my current lip stash now and I think I can actually do an even better job of purging. I really love the Sally Hansen chubby pencils but not as much as the Soap & Glory chubby pencils. The Sally Hansen lipsticks more opaque but have a creme lipstick finish. The Soap & Glory pencils are sheerer but the shades are more flattering on my skin tone and I prefer the glossier finish.


When I started my purge I fully expected to keep my more expensive brushes but in the end the brushes I kept were some of the least expensive in my collection. Higher price doesn’t always equal higher quality.

My favorite brush for liquid and cream foundations is the Up & Up Complexion Brush from Target. I use it primarily for stippling and love it more than the Real Techniques Buffing and Expert Face Brushes and the Sigma F80 and F82. It’s fabulous and cheap.

For powder foundation, blush and bronzer, I love the e.l.f. Ultimate Blending Brush which reminds me of the fluffier side of the dual-ended IT Cosmetics Heavenly Luxe Complexion Perfection Brush.

My favorite brush for cheek stains/cream blush is the e.l.f Small Stipple Brush.

To blend out my under eye concealer I like to use this cheap, fluffy Wet n Wild eye shadow brush that I found at Dollar Tree.

For spot concealing the e.l.f Small Smudge Brush is fantastic.

For packing eye shadow onto the lid I like to use the cheapie $1 e.l.f. eye shadow brush.

The black beautyblender PRO which I feel like I’ve been using forever is just about to fall apart on me. I was washing it the other day and noticed some black bits breaking off in the sink. I like the beautyblender but I’m not particularly attached to it. I only use it dry to blot up any excess foundation that may have settled in the pores or fine lines. Using it damp sheers out my foundation too much for my liking. When it’s time to chuck it, I’ll probably replace it with a cheaper alternative. I’m curious about the Real Techniques Miracle Sponge and I believe Ecotools has just come out with a beauty sponge too.

My favorite eyelash curler isn’t Shu Uemura or Shiseido but surprisingly a Dermstore curler that I received for free as a gift with purchase. The width and curve are a perfect fit for my eyes.


Well, there you have it. That’s my entire makeup collection. I’ll still continue to buy and try new makeup but I hope to keep my collection small, manageable, well-used and well-loved from now on. In an ideal situation my makeup stash would include only one item in each category (i.e. one blush, one bronzer, one eye shadow, one lipstick, etc.) and that’s a goal I’ll continue to work towards.

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3 thoughts on “Starting Fresh

  1. This is so inspiring! I don’t think I could function with such a curated collection… but that’s me using hyperbole. I know that I can function technically but I would struggle ! 😛

    I know this is the opposite of the intended purpose of this post, but now I really want to buy those Milani palettes. If they’re so good that those are the ONLY palettes you kep?! 😮 I’d been eyeing the Earthly Elements version.

    • Thanks! I didn’t think I could do either when I first decided to purge but after doing it consistently for 2 years it’s become so easy. The whole editing process has forced me to understand what I really like and don’t like when it comes to makeup.

      The Milani palettes are great for the drugstore but I wouldn’t say you need to run out and buy them. The Earthy Elements has some excellent mid-tone shades but the two lightest shimmer shades are very sheer. Honestly, on most days I’m just a one or two eye shadow gal so I’d be fine with just the Bare Minerals loose shadows or duo. But every once in awhile I get an itch to play with a palette and instead of going back to bad habits and buying an expensive palette I reach for the the Milani palettes. If I were an ex-smoker, they’d be my nicotine patches. They tame my cravings on those rare occasions when I want to play with some shimmer and color. And then I go back to normal and my boring neutrals 😛

  2. This is very inspiring. I need to start purging too, but I’m reluctant. I have thrown away depotted colors from palettes over the years, but I know I can get by with a fraction of what I have now. Good to see that you’re happy with your well-curated stash!

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