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!

Friday, 4 May 2012

NEOM Sensuous.

I've started this thing of trying to use body lotion. It's been a long and slippery process, usually involving me wandering around my house in my underwear doing a John Wayne walk while I wait for the stuff to sink in, but we're getting there.  I'm at least remembering to do this ritual about 3 times a week and enjoying that extra softness - Kiwi's even told me my elbows are getting softer.

I'm never going to wax lyrical about body products in general because I'm all about the lipstick on this blog, however these new body releases from NEOM did catch my eye recently - if not least for the sleek, fancy-looking bottles which contrast starkly with my very ordinary bathroom suite.

NEOM's Sensuous scent is actually very pleasant and although I was far from a fan of the first scented NEOM product I tried, this one is by far an improvement in my book! I actually usually go for sweeter, fruitier scents in the bathroom - I love to create this kind of candy-fruity fug as I emerge from my day's ablutions - so this is very different to my usual tastes. 

It has notes of patchouli, ylang ylang and frankincense and has a soft powdery spicy note about it, but also a flip-side of clean.  I LOVE things that smell like clean (Philosophy Pure Grace perfume, laundry, most kinds of soap, the bathroom spray we just bought from Tesco...), so this is a hit with me, and it's not overly feminine either.  The scent in the body wash* creates a wonderfully perfumed fug in the shower, almost like that famed Radox effect from their adverts from the late 90's, but this is kind of the real deal - it's more subtle and lasts longer.

The Sensuous Organic Body Lotion* is a milky body lotion which sinks in instantly (which I like, I hate feeling greasy!) and contains shea butter, macadamia nut and rosemary to soften up the skin.  It feels richly, thickly moisturising and continues to deliver throughout the day.  I found the scent lingered quite a while on this one, which some may love for a light and lovely perfume, but it's not too strong for those that don't.

Both products boast an impressive mixture of both natural and organic ingredients and are formulated without parabens or other nasties.  The Body Wash is priced at £18, and the Body Lotion at £25 - and looking at them now I reckon they are a little expensive for my usual buy-one-get-one-free tastes, but the quality of the products has me wavering from my £1 shower gel, just the tiniest bit.

Are there any must-have body products for you right now? 

What would you recommend to a person like me who isn't so good at using them?

*PR SAMPLES. I am always honest and all opinions are my own!


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