#EmptiesChallenge Update 3

Yes, I am still trying to keep this up!

However, you could probably drop the “empties” term from the whole thing and just call it an “empties update” from now on. Because there really was no particular end goal in mind for this, my so-called Empties Challenge has developed into more of a general tracking and analyzing of spending habits.  So, this may be a little boring for you as a reader, but I’m basically going to lay out what my beauty spending has looked like for roughly the past three months and discuss what can be improved and what expenses lie ahead.  I’ll also match it against what I’ve used up and finished at home.

My last update was on January 29th, so I’m just going to focus on purchases and empties for February through April.

I’ve only had five complete empties for this entire time period, and they don’t amount to much: a mini Kerastase Masquintense, Davines Momo conditioner, Burt’s Bees Sensitive facial towelettes, another CoverGirl Clump Crusher mascara, and finally the Sally Hershberger keratin spray.  I am still almost out of a lot of things, like my Acure night cream, Clarins Beauty Flash Balm, UNITE 7 Seconds conditioner spray, my first Glossier Boy Brow, and my Shiseido Ultimune serum that I use at night.  My NARS concealer is still holding on for dear life, too.

It’s frustrating how slowly I manage to go through things (except the Shiseido- I manage to go through serums like water).  Part of what’s happened though is I’ve been trying to use other, lesser-used items in my possession, so that’s put some of the almost-finished ones on hold (especially in the hair department).  I’ve also been going through lots of samples like Kerastase’s Elixir Ultime conditioning mask, but I couldn’t abide the scent of it so I discarded it after one use.  Nevertheless, going through samples has slowed things down too.

This right is here is what a full, daytime skincare routine consists of for me if I’m firing on all cylinders.  Three of these items were gifted to me, two were purchases of the past few months, and one has been with me for a while and is nearly finished.  It’s just a mix of stuff I have going on, so getting through some of the bigger products without being wasteful is a challenge.

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Now, let’s look at what I’ve purchased.  And I’ve kind of blown it.  Or at least, it feels that way.

February was the worst.  I bought a BeautyBlender, cleanser for the BeautyBlender, a Becca Mineral blush, and a new Lancome Teint Idole Ultra Longwear Foundation Stick.  That may not sound like much, but it adds up.  I also bought my husband a fancy new beard oil to replace the nice IPA one that my mom got him for Christmas (Go Mom, and yes, IPA beard oils exist!).

March was a little better.  I got a bang trim and a blowout (booked an assistant stylist for a much cheaper price!), but I walked out of the salon with a new Denman brush.  Now, that brush has been exactly what I’ve needed for my bangs, but it was still something like eighteen bucks.  I also purchased the Phase 2 Glossier kit on the day it debuted.  Curse you, Glossier!!!

This month in April I’ve purchased an Ole Henriksen Truth Serum Vitamin C Collagen Booster, and that’s it.  Whew.  My mom and I went out for birthday mani-pedis while she and my dad came out to visit, but I don’t really count that toward this challenge.  Beyond this, I’m declaring a full moratorium on all unnecessary expenses for three weeks (beginning with this past Monday).  The moratorium will end on Monday, May 9th, just in time for  … my dental appointment.

I’m kidding; a dental appointment isn’t exactly a frivolity.  What I’m really saving for is my birthday in the middle of May; specifically, the hair appointment I’ve been thinking of gifting myself with once I’ve saved a little.  And because it’s now about that time, I’ll be needing to book for color, and that has got me a wee bit terrified.  Justin Kamm is the only stylist that has ever colored my hair and since he’s back in CA, I’ve been researching all kinds of options in Chicagoland for weeks.  We’ll see what actually happens within the next couple months, but it’s worth it to nail down a salon out here that I can trust either way.

There aren’t a ton of Davines salons out in this area, so I’ve been looking into a couple Aveda ones since I really love and trust the brand.  Then there’s the question of Do I go big and book a high-end salon in the city?  Or is it more a thing of Trust the junior stylist that did a great job with your bangs/blowout and just say a few prayers?  The junior stylist’s prices will obviously be much more reasonable, but there’s also the fact that if it doesn’t turn out the way I’d hoped, the loss wouldn’t feel so detrimental.  It’s one thing to have a junior stylist in the next town over make some boo-boos with your hair that you can easily have corrected, and that you paid a discount price for; it’s another thing to book an expensive salon an hour away, have crazy high expectations, pay a ton of money, and then, if the worst happens, have to awkwardly try and tell these highly-reputed folks that you don’t like what they’ve done.  And then if I had to make a second trip back into the city for corrections?  Quelle horreur!  But like I said before, we’ll see what happens.

All that to say, I’m still attempting to plug away at my current stash of goods and put off appointments when I can afford to.  Even though it’s hard and purchases have cropped up here and there, it’s going to feel good to get through these next three weeks without buying anything.  Along with the hair appointment, I’m hoping to save for Alterna’s Caviar CC Cream, Laura Mercier’s Secret Brightening Powder, and perhaps a lighter fragrance for summer.  You feel the sunshine coming out from hiding in such a powerful way out here; you can’t help but want to celebrate with all five of your senses!  xo, MR

 

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#EmptiesChallenge Update 2

Let’s see.  When we last talked about my empties challenge, I’d forgotten that I was doing it in the first place and got a blowout that wasn’t even worth it.  Kudos to me.  Over the past two months, I’ve managed to remember my challenge but Christmas, Sephora gift cards, and an appointment with my home hairstylist happened.  Yikes.  And I was silly and decided that I wanted to try ColourPop cosmetics, too.  I felt like I could justify it because ColourPop items are six bucks each, but add in the shipping and you’re basically at eleven bucks.  Oh well.

My main expenses, when it comes down to it, were the hair appointment and the extra money I spent at Sephora on top of my gift card.  Because you know how getting one item for free at Sephora somehow makes purchasing two more seem okay?  Yeah, I don’t know how that works in the brain’s economy, but somehow it makes sense, kind of like the real estate bubble of 2008 and subprime mortgages.  Oh and I also stopped by Lush Cosmetics and picked up their Eau Roma Water Toner, because I had a staff lunch right next door and I wasn’t sure when I’d be there next.  I’m really exercising such a great sense of self-discipline.

Anyhow, I have run out of a couple things this past month.  I’ve finished off my Origins A Perfect World Age-Defense Treatment Lotion With White Tea, A Perfect World SPF25 Age-Defense Moisturizer With White Tea, and another CoverGirl Clump Crusher mascara.  I’m closing in on the following: NARS Creamy Radiance Concealer in Custard, Unite Eurotherapy 7 Second Condition Leave-In Detangler, Sally Hershberger Hyper Hydration Super Keratin Spray, Acure Organics Argan Chlorella Night Cream, Burt’s Bees Sensitive Facial Cleansing towelettes, and quite possibly my BareMinerals SPF15 Original Foundation in Light.  Still little progress on any color cosmetics, but I have been doing better at applying more frequently.  I don’t exactly blast through stuff like this blue and purple eyeshadow duo from NARS quickly.

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So if I’m going by the ratio of the challenge (and not counting any of the things I received as Christmas gifts, because it’s just too difficult), I’ve “paid” for my hair appointment by running out of the two Origins products.  I purchased some Simple Micellar Water again too, so the mascara and one of the others that I’m almost out of will pay for that.  The two other things I picked up at Sephora and the Lush toner, however, are unpaid for until I officially run out of the rest of the almost-empty products plus one additional item.  Time to keep working.  And notice I’m just not even counting the ColourPop, I’m just that over it.  Whatever.

All this to say, it’s very easy for non-necessities to accumulate.  It happens quickly, and we tend to make purchasing decisions impulsively.  I need to learn to take my time.  It’s becoming much easier to see what I really need though, which is kind of neat.  I found I couldn’t do without the micellar water as a makeup remover after a couple weeks, and I repurchased my same Origins moisturizer with my Sephora gift card after deciding not to spend it on something more frivolous.  So, I’m learning, but I’ll keep hammering away at the color cosmetics in the meantime.

I have to say that the ColourPop decision wasn’t exactly the worst, though.  I took my time figuring out what color of their UltraMatte liquid lipstick I wanted to try and I finally landed on a shade called “Chilly Chili”.  Like the Stila kind I’ve mentioned before, this stuff does not come off but the color payoff is pretty great.  I can’t wait to wear this plum-brown in the city, and I like it with my bangs.

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All right, I’ll probably be back soon with a SAG Awards post, so see you then.    xo, MR

Old Reliables

I’ve been wearing some ugly clothes lately.  Mom jeans (hear me, they were literally labeled as mom jeans), Birkenstocks (the originals), and tapered track pants with mules.  There’s something freeing about forcing yourself to try and make good out of something known as “ugly” by conventional standards.  It’s a good challenge in personal creativity, and you sort of give up on how others feel about what you’re wearing.

One trend I haven’t been dabbling in, however, would be the return of overalls.  And by gosh by golly, even Olivia Palermo’s been wearing those and Lord knows how I drool over her!  I don’t know, I think it has to do with the fact that they bring back old memories of the cool girls in middle school who would wear their overalls (which were nothing short of a staple back in the day) with … tube tops.  Yep.  Hot pink tube top, overalls from some place now deceased like Anchor blue, top it off with an Etnies skater jacket, and you’re good to go.  Did we want to be Fred Durst video girls or farmers?  We didn’t know, but we had to have the best of both worlds or God strike us dead!

So, I’ll try a trend here and there (or in my case, more like here, there, and everywhere), but I’d say I’ve now managed to round up my set of old wardrobe reliables that I’ll probably keep in rotation until I die or my then-20-year-old child tells me it’s time to stop.  Such items include leather jackets, striped tees, a lot of denim, and a pair of leopard print pumps.

Now what, may I ask, would be the beauty equivalent of these items?

Old faithfuls

I’ve mentioned all of these items in previous posts, but if I’m buying them multiple times then they’re worth mentioning again.

I’ve used Bumble&bumble’s Prep Spray for years as a detangler once I hop out of the shower after washing my hair.  Speaking of washing my hair, it’s very likely that I’ve also just used Davines’ Momo conditioner for dry hair.  The scent (sort of gummy and cotton-y, yet addicting), the texture, and the long-term effectiveness of this balm have managed to give it a top space at an extremely long list of conditioners that I’ve tried.  I try to focus more on moisture with my wash as opposed to “damage repair” or protein (which I do every so often), because it can lead to more breakage as I’ve previously discussed.

So anyhow, after washing, I give a few sprays of Prep directly into my roots, sort of massage my scalp a bit, and then gently comb through with (only!) a wide-tooth comb.  I appreciate Prep for the vitamins and, again, the detangling qualities, but I don’t think it really serves a styling purpose.  That’s fine with me considering I tend to let me hair air-dry completely most of the time before laying any heat on it.

I keep a couple shampoos in rotation, but Rahua has been in my shower for two-and-a-half years now.  It is completely free of detergents and soap, is safe for color-treated hair, and has an almost wholly natural ingredients list.  It is not particularly cheap, but I love it so much.  My hair is noticeably less dry after using it, thanks to the lack of ingredients in drugstore shampoo that ironically do more harm than good for dry hair.  I love it, and it gives me an excuse to go to Bloomingdale’s.

Once my hair is dry and I decide to break out the hot tools, I spray a liberal amount of Sally Hershberger’s Hyper Hydration Super Keratin Spray on each section.  It works as a heat protectant, but also serves as an argan oil spray to smooth for blowouts.  The scent is phenomenal, and I love spraying it all over my hair once I’ve twisted it up in a bun at the beach, just to keep it hydrated.  The more concentrated versions of argan oil tend to be too heavy for me, unless I’m going for a pin-straight, shiney look.

And finally, once my hair is taken care of I move on to face and body.  I’ve often sung the praises of Desert Essence’s Tea Tree Oil Deodorant for the fact that it has no aluminum (which means it’s not an antiperspirant, and yes, your body can acclimate to this as all bodies once did a few decades ago), and it contains no propylene glycol.  Tom’s of Maine’s natural deodorant worked for a couple years before I found myself with red, peeling, burning rashes in both of my armpits that would not stop itching.  I discovered this to be the fault of propylene glycol.  Desert Essence is pretty much all oil, and yes, I do not go through my day sweat-free when I wear this stuff but you’re seriously not supposed to go through any day sweat-free.  Bad.

Once I’ve moisturized with some kind of somethin’ (still trying to nail down a favorite), I’ll move on to my precious BB cream from Boscia.  I loooooove this stuff like no other.  This will sound hilarious, but I cannot believe how good my skin looks after putting just a dab of this on!  I like to mix it with some kind of face lotion because it isn’t super spreadable, but I love how even and luminous it makes my skin.  There is a lighter version, a bronze version, and it contains SPF 27.  I recommend this one to anyone with a face.  Anyone.

Any mainstays in your own repertoire?  Holler at me; I’m always curious to know what others can’t live without, whether it’s a tube top or a good nail polish remover.  xo, MR