Thursday, 17 May 2012

Cultivating the Capsule Collection.

Everything these days seems to be more fashionable when it's smaller.  Dogs, handbags, phones, wardrobes.  Everything is bite-sized, tiny, swallowable without even needing a glass of water, even knickers are getting smaller (sorry, Bridget Jones).   Stylists wax lyrical about this fabled 'capsule collection', the only clothes you'll ever need in your wardrobe, the LBD, the tailored suit, the pencil skirt.

It's kind of what I've been trying to do with my makeup collection recently.  I've been feeling this drowning feeling of too much: too much spending, too much excess, too much stuff.  I've been hankering after something easy-to-swallow, a few beautiful LBD makeup products I love and use regularly, which don't sit and gather dust like beautifully-coloured biohazards as the years of not using them wear on.

I'm not a good hoarder.  Well, I'll have to explain.  My level of hoarding is sort of what you'd call 'casual', I guess.  I mean, I'm excellent at accumulating 'things' and 'stuff', and for a while after, they glint proudly amid the rest of my makeup and the purchase is quietly justified.  They then stay there for around 6 months until I suddenly can't take it anymore and feel the need to get rid of them again. 

So, you see what I mean by the fact that I'm not very good at hoarding things: there comes this stage where I am no longer able to tolerate hoarding it for any longer.  And then as quickly as I have made space in my makeup collection, I fill it up again and casually hoard it for a bit.  After a long period of moving stuff around, having spectacular blog sales and just genuinely NOT buying anything from MAC anymore, I'm going to share a few of my well-intentioned tips for those of you who hanker for the makeup capsule collection:*

1. Use shit up. Seriously.

If you've bought something, try to use it the hell up before buying something that's exactly the same in a different scent/ever-so-slightly blink and you'll miss it shade of blue.  If you don't, you end up like me - swimming in bottles of body lotion I can't control.  Shower gel? I've got enough for two apocalypses, and for the horsemen too.  And if those horsemen are in need of a little primping and preening, I've definitely got a foundation for each of their skin types.

2. Don't be afraid to throw stuff away.

If you're as stubborn as I am and refuse to throw your hard-earned dolla in the bin in the form of a product you hate and decide to force yourself into a self-flagellating beauty penance for spending your money on something you bought for the sake of it and didn't need, then don't be afraid to throw the crap you hate in the bin.  This describes me down to a T, unfortunately.  When I buy something I end up hating, I usually try to force myself to use it up - but sometimes, a products is, unfortunately, irredeemably shit.  Bin it.

3. Stop buying back-ups.

Unless you're going to run out of something very soon (cleanser, moisturiser, lip balm), stop the hell buying back-ups. The hell. The reality is you don't need a back-up of a limited edition blush - because by the time you've even used half of it (at least by MAC's standards...), the colour will have either been repromoted, your affection for it will have waned, or you'll have found a better one elsewhere.  Limited edition does crazy things to the mind sometimes - but all I have to say is, watch this clip on Extreme Couponing:







You see those people going crazy over mega-deals on bleach and toilet roll? Yep. Nip it in the bud.  I am guilty of having had a HUGE stash of back-ups which I slowly got rid of - because I've had my Azalea Blossom Blush Ombre from MAC for a couple of years now (having bought 3 back-ups) and I've still not hit pan.  It may make sense to take no prisoners on the day, but I can say hand on heart, from one seasoned back-upper to another, you don't need 4 of the same blush.

4. Blog sale.

You know how hard it is to let go of that super-duper mega limited edition blush that you have with the special glittery Disney packaging and gold dust overlay? Well - do you use it? Exactly.  A lot of the time I've been hoarding makeup, I've been struggling to justify letting go of particular items for the only fact that I sharpened my elbows and employed some serious stealth refreshing-the-MAC-website-every-10-seconds to be able to get a hold of them. Even if they were a horrible colour (Candy Yum-Yum lipstick was a neon pink disaster).  And the thing is that I basically didn't use half the stuff I got - but kept onto it because everyone else wanted it, so I felt I should.  When I'm really being stubborn and sticky-fingered with a product I just never use, I have a strategy: put the product into a box of products destined for a blog sale.  After a week or two, I revisit.  If I genuinely haven't missed it (80% of the time), it stays in. If I mooned about it for 2 weeks, I take it out and replace it in my makeup collection.

5.  Swatch everything together.

Realistically, how many shades of pink blush do you need? I swatched every single one of my pink blushes together one day and found out a couple of things.  Number one, I'm a MAGPIE for a cool pastel pink. Number two, all of my blushes were basically the same colour.  I had so many that I genuinely had no idea I... had so many.  After that, it became easy to weed out the ones I didn't care so much for.

* Please note, those of you who are hardened, elbows-sharpened collectors should probably skip this post, because LALALA I CAN'T HEAR YOU.

 Nowadays I just try to only buy stuff I LOVE, not just like a bit. Have you got any other tips? If you want a few more, Stacey's post over here will give you a little scope!

52 comments:

  1. I would suggest, that instead of just throwing away products that *you* don't like, donate them to the less fortunate instead. Homeless shelters, refuges, and so on. They're always crying out for products, and won't mind if they're slightly used.

    Initiatives like, of course, http://www.giveandmakeup.com/ are a great place to start.

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    1. Great comment, I've done this myself with new products and I love the initiative of Give and Makeup.

      I suppose what I actually meant when I wrote this was binning the stuff that can't be given away - the stuff that's out of date that you keep hanging on to, half finished foundations that you find loathsome - that kind of thing. For the newer stuff, Give and Makeup is the most fantastic cause and I hope everyone takes the opportunity to go and read up on what they do.

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    2. I've tried doing this myself but they didn't want my products (they were nail polishes, some of them never used).

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  2. I actually did the lalala thing... I'm such a hoarder when it comes to my collection. I really admire that you can weed out what you don't need. I tried to once, I had a serious case of separation anxiety lol. I'm pathetic... But you're great to be able to do it :) x

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    1. haha, I used to be too, I can't do it to myself anymore though! I hate having so much stuff all the time :) x

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  3. Such a great post, my blush collection is getting out of control but I love them all so dearly but some I haven't probably worn for 6 months or so. I need to man up and get rid of some of them. x

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    1. haha, the first time is always really hard but it gets much easier all the times after that! x

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  4. I have been working on the not purchasing something that closely resembles something I've already got 3 or 4 variations of for the last year or so. I miss the 'thrill' of purchasing something though. So, I've been rotating what I do have - every couple of weeks, I'll swap stuff out so it feels new. I have to constantly remind myself that I've got several pink blushes that I like & no, I don't need another one! I do keep wishlists going on several websites - Sephora, Nordstrom, beauty.com, etc. Sometimes, just adding something to my wishlist satisfies my shopping urge. I'm getting better about reading reviews & checking out multiple swatches before purchasing. Doing this I've avoided some disaster purchases. I've found a couple of bloggers whose coloring & makeup style is similar to mine & keep notes on what works for them. I love the idea of a capsule collection of makeup. A well-edited selection of products I adore & work great for me. One of the hardest things for me to do is toss things. I feel like a failure that I couldn't somehow make it work. But sometimes there simply is no salvaging a product & it just needs to go. It is a relief once I actually do that though! Great piece! Reminds me I need to look through my stuff again & make some edits!

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    1. yes, exactly! I try not to buy things I already have! I've also been keeping a wishlist - if I want to buy something I'll note it down, and by the time it comes around for me to buy something I usually find I don't want it anymore anyway!

      The biggest change I've made is more conscious purchases. No buying things like random orange MAC lipsticks just because Temptalia said they would be the sell-out of the collection - I just don't care that much about them anymore :)

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  5. You have to be very careful though that you do not get the *throwing away* bug which is far far worse than the hoarding bug because you get a reputation for being an organised person and people like your mother and your best friend come to you and say *sort my wardrobe out I am drowning* so you do and they then complain they have nothing to wear. The number of times I have thrown away an item of makeup and ended up some hours later searching through black plastic bags in the vain hope that I will find that small invariably black tube...sorry an essay instead of a comment.

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    1. haha! Nobody would ever mistake me for being organised, thankfully! I'm the WORST at being organised, so I feel like micro-managing one aspect of my life (my makeup collection) makes it a bit easier.

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  6. Great post, as always Cami :) xx

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  7. Gah. Going through the exact same thing right now! Accumulation culture finally starting to seem grotesque :( Just ebayed what were essentially four versions of the same lipstick - none of which I really touched since buying; along with 20 bottles of nail polish I'd used once each then squirrelled away. Bad times!

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    1. Haha, oh dear! I'm not quite as bad as that - but I do recognise I probably don't need too many more red lipsticks when I only ever use one of them!

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  8. You are so right! Especially about the MAC limited editions. Fab post as usual my dear x :-)

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  9. Very strange I was just thinking how disgusted I was with the amount of make-up I have and don't use when I came to your blog and saw this. Great post, I think I might have to do a blog sale now! x

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    1. haha, I'm glad you enjoyed! And I will try not to visit your blogsale because I would probably want everything! x

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  10. I'm definitely like not - not a hoarder. I can't stand to keep products I don't like (I bin them) or keep things I barely use (they go to my sister).

    Great post!

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    1. I think you are like my idol. I aim to be you!

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  11. I have the habit of stocking up because that is what my mother does... I can have like 3 face washes at one time. But I do not open until I finish it up, so I do finish things.

    Good write. =)

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    1. I have quite a few too, though I try not to! Sometimes it's just hard to resist a deal :)

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  12. I have very recently had the exact same feelings as you. I went through a frenzy of buying all sorts of stuff for 1 year, to the point where it stressed me out just to even look at my makeup. I thought, why did i do this to myself? So, I have actually been very good and not bought a single item of skincare or makeup or nail polish for over a month now. I am going through my collection and using stuff up. I have more than 12 bottles of foundation (and that's just liquid). I am determined to finish every single one before I buy anything else, I suppose it's also sort of a punishment so that i never do this again. HAHA. Thanks for this post.

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    1. Wow, that's really impressive! I hope I can get to the same stage as you at some point! Since trying to make my collection smaller, I've used up a couple of bottles of foundation that were lingering on, so I'm so pleased for that :)

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  13. Very interesting! That's a philosophy I need to practise, for sure! My stash is ever-expanding and I forget about what I have, using only what's new/visible even when there is stuff that I love more in the back of the drawer!
    I must say that I absolutely love trying new things and overanalyzing them on my blog, so I'll probably always keep buying but I must part with what doesn't work more quickly!

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    1. It's quite hard, but once you've started it becomes really much easier! I'm kind of addicted to doing it now!

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  14. My makeup collection is totally out of control..you would think that I AM a beauty blogger by the amount that I have. I really need to go through it. I have already..but I need to be more ruthless. I like the idea of taking all of the the stuff that I really do use and packing up the rest. If I don't don't miss it then I can sell it off. This was an excellent post. I think what would help me a lot is if I stopped reading as many beauty blogs..then I would not be as apt to run out and buy as many products!

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    1. Haha, I think there comes a point when you can't take it anymore! I got rid of my favourite lovely things slowly at first, and it sped up on its own to the point where I can't stop getting rid of stuff now!

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  15. This is a great post. I think not buying more of a shade you already own is a really good rule. It has kept me from getting Nars Douceur and Tarte Exposed because I have Mac Blushbaby (swatches online just looked too close for comfort.) Still though, even though I know the shades are all similar I want both Douceur and Exposed, what is that??

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    1. It's quite hard - although not to enable you but Douceur and Exposed are a bit different from one another... ;)

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  16. This is a great post - I am trying to streamline too so this was super helpful!

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  17. Such a great post. I fell as though I have just read every thought that is going round my head with regards to my makeup collection. I'm not gonna lie, it hurts, but it's gotta be done! =) Xo

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    1. Haha, I know! It does get easier though! Promise :)

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  18. stop watching youtube videos! esp the haul videos.

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    1. Probably one of the best pieces of advice yet! I do love Youtube videos though :(

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  19. Fantastic post! I am quite guilty of a few (ahem, all) of the makeup sins above. I've been on a kick to minimize my collection to just the things I love in an effort to save money and pay off credit card debt. I think it's such a great idea to only buy things that you absolutely need and LOVE. I do NOT want to end up like the crazy extreme coupling lady!

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    1. So glad you enjoyed! I think one of the main things is to put the thing you want on a shopping list, and then the next time you revisit that shopping list you'll most likely wonder why the hell you put it on there in the first place! Gradually you can skip putting it on the list and waiting altogether as you'll be able to make an instant decision :)

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  20. I like to consider my makeup collection as some sort of a "private club" so to speak, and liken myself to a bouncer at said club. I only let really unique, interesting and truly beautiful pieces into my collection instead of what everyone else likes. I think it's super easy to get caught up in hype (especially on YouTube) and sometimes it's nice just to take a step back and ask myself if I'm really truly in love with "X" or do I just want it because everyone else does? I do have my makeup staples but I'm definitely trying to become more exclusive with what I purchase. I don't think I've ever bought a backup, even of my favourite LE items from Mac that I've finished oh so long ago (I'm talking to you Mehr lipstick from MAC!), simply because I think half the fun of makeup is trying to find HG products, or at least as damn close as we can get. Although it can be heartbreaking (first world problems at it's peak folks) to have your favourite ____ be discontinued, beauty is such a fast moving industry that you're bound to find something else you fancy just as quickly.

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    1. I love this comment! Private club - love that analogy :) I also like your philosophy on the LE items - I have one back-up left in what was once a huge collection - but you're totally right, I don't need it! By the time I've used up my current one, I bet there's another one somewhere else I'll like even better :)

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  21. I agree with all of your tips, love, and one more I wanted to share is to try and give away unloved and lightly used stuff to friends and family - we're actually organizing an 'exchange' with a couple friends this week :)

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    1. Yes, very true! I don't have anyone around me who really loves makeup the same way I do - so although I try to give makeup away, usually my mum isn't remotely interested!

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  22. I love this. Lately I've been seriously considering looking at my obsession with cosmetics and "collecting", and I think in some ways it's a disease that I've simply referred to as "just being a girl". However, I think it's more serious than that. Thanks for the tips :)

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    1. thanks :) I think I agree with you - there's a fine line between having lots of makeup and having a problem/addiction, and it's all in psychology - if you feel you're shopping for the sake of it then that's probably a symptom!

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  23. Absolutely BRILLIANT post! Thank you Cami :-)

    Lately I've been taking a long, hard look at the size of my makeup collection and what I ACTUALLY love and use from it. As with most things, the size of ones collection is relative. Someone may have a stash the size of a shoe box and think they've too much whereas someone else may have an entire room full of makeup (go on youtube and see for yourself) and all they can think of doing is adding to it. Me? Well I'm now at a point where I feel I just want to get stuck in and use and enjoy what I've have rather than adding to it.

    Thank God I'm not into MAC...

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    1. You're so welcome! I do the same on a daily basis and I think it's finally down to the point where everything I own is something I love, or am in the process of using up! It took many blog sales, and indeed there's still one to come! I feel a bit better though, I could never own a whole room full of makeup!

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  25. I am (was) exactly the same with all of your points! But I got myself together about 3 months ago and I couldn't be happier now. I'm using stuff up and can see my collection getting smaller and smaller. I am actually excited (instead of feeling guilty) about buying a new thing that I need. My choices are more thought through now too.
    I feel confident that products I use are working and my makeup/skin care is good! No more "oh, this foundation will look shit after two hours but I better use it up...".
    My blog got a bit boring without hauls but at least now I try to be a bit more creative with my posts :)

    So that's how using up my crap changed my life forever ha ha ha

    Sylwia xxx
    www.my-beautyful-world.blogspot.com

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    1. I know! It feels great! I'm now down to using up lots of foundations and skin care, which is great as I can finally get some perspective on what I actually like! It's also forcing me, as I use up my favourite foundations one by one, to use ones I don't like that much! :) xxx

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  26. I adore this post! My sister is 12 friggin years old and a makeup hoarding spaz beyond belief! I love her dearly but cannot stand her obsession with spending Thirty some dollars on something she has three of already! My collection is a small gathering of neccessities that i use atleast twice a months unless its a seasonal product like dark lipsticks and deep blushes... I have an obsession with dwindling my collection to something streamlined and useful. If it works it works and if its crap its crap! Nothing more!
    Check out my barely there blog please!
    www.thetrendynerd.blogspot.com
    XX Sarah Beth

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  27. Great post! I'm in the same position right now. I have loads and loads of beauty related crap, and I can't even walk into the bathroom without feeling overwhelmed by all of it. Not only do I go a bit crazy with limited edition collections (I'm looking at you, Hey, Sailor!) but I also get the same way about permanent products. I worry that they'll discontinue something I love, so I buy 3 backups. Right now, I just want to focus on using up stuff and clearing out space. Buying something and adding something to my collection used to be fun, now it just feels suffocating.

    I probably need to block Temptalia and Youtube...those make me want stuff hella bad!

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