Sunday, 7 October 2018

A Day Off: Decluttering My Makeup Collection

One thing that I've been meaning to do for a long time is sort out my makeup collection. From about the age of seventeen, I've built a massive makeup collection, and some of those products that I bought all those years ago have just been sitting in a corner of my room for the vast majority of that time, unused and unloved. Today, that has changed, and I've ended up sorting most of my makeup into three piles: the stuff I'm throwing away because it's old, has gone off or is otherwise unusable; the stuff that I will never use again but is still in a good enough condition to donate, give away or sell; and the stuff that I am keeping and will continue to use. It's taken most of this afternoon to accomplish and I had to stop halfway through for a coffee break and a natter with my mum, but I've accomplished it nevertheless, and I feel much better for it. Now to review all that I've done today, which involves taking a trip down Makeup Memory Lane.

Look at how out of control my collection is! I had to mentally prepare myself for today's clear-out.

Eyeliner was one of the first makeup products that I remember getting into, especially coloured eyeliner that would provide a pop of colour on the lower lash line on boring makeup days. I didn't master the art of liquid eyeliner until years after I started developing my makeup skills, not that I'm even that skilled when it comes to makeup now! But these eyeliners that are pictured above are ones that have been hanging around, unused, in my collection for far too long. Since I rarely use colourful eyeliner anymore, these have all dried out or hardened, so they have to be thrown out. However, I'm keeping my brown No. 7 eyeliners that are still creamy and which I will still hopefully get some use out of now that I've swatched them and rediscovered how nice they are!

Going through your massive makeup collection inevitably involves a few 'Wait...why is this still here?' moments, and this Maybelline Vivid Matte Liquid Lipstick brought out one of those moments in me. I only tried this out a couple of times after buying it because I was desperate for a bright orange lip colour, and it didn't once dry down to a matte finish. Upon finding it at the bottom of my makeup box, I noticed that some of the ingredients had separated, so it immediately went into the 'to be binned' pile because it had started to look icky. Now that I've tried liquid lipsticks that perform incredibly well on my lips, I have no place for products like this that don't work for me.

This lipstick is one that I'm keeping around. When Maybelline get it right with their lipsticks, they get it RIGHT, and this was a go-to for me when I was getting ready for a night out during my uni days because it's just the most gorgeous shade of deep red. Plus the name rhymes, so the poet in me adores that!

This is one of those Makeup Revolution palettes that I desperately wanted back in the day, but ended up using very little once I actually got it because it's a palette full of shimmers with only a couple of mattes thrown in. The peachy matte shade (which honestly isn't very good) has been completely worn down after my many, many attempts to use it as a base. Today, I swatched a few of the shimmers from the Eyes Like Angels palette, and they were surprisingly pretty. However, this palette is one that I will probably never use again simply because it's not the sort of palette you can create a whole look with. I'll find a way to pass this slightly-used palette on to somebody who will actually use it and love it.

Fortune Favours The Brave was such a raved-about palette that I just had to get it. Of course, this was before Makeup Revolution were putting out collabs left, right and centre, so this was a big deal when it came out. I haven't used it in a long time, but clearly, I've loved it and used it so much that it now looks an absolute mess. Those transition and base shades are among the few shades I've ever used that I've hit pan on, and for good reason. This palette was the bomb, and I created so many looks with this. I'm sad to see it go, to be honest, but the handy little brush will remain with me. I have a thing for double-ended brushes, I guess.

Ah yes, my biggest makeup product regret. I bought this huge 120-shade palette because I saw a deal for it on Groupon, and I have barely used it since I bought it because the vast majority of these shades are straight-up AWFUL. I assume that it's at least better than the version of this palette that contains nothing but nude shades. If you can't create a palette with 120 unique eyeshadow shades when using literally every colour in the spectrum, there is no way that a palette that size can be made of nude colours without repeating many many MANY of the colours. Also, if you're going to blatantly rip off other brands (Laroc? Really?) then at least make sure that your products are good enough that people don't see the glaring problems with your branding. I'm sure someone somewhere will like this, but this just ain't my thing. I will never ever use this again, and the sooner I can get this clunky waste of space out of my bedroom, the better.

When I first got into the Makeup Revolution hype, I was super excited to try this colourful palette. I had never used a bright red shade on my eyes before, and I've been in love with red and orange shadows ever since, so I can at least thank this palette for that. However, when I compare this palette to the brighter palettes that I now own, I have to accept that the quality of this one was never exactly extraordinary. I feel like, when people first start to get into makeup, there is a tendency to buy cheaper makeup items and try to make them work, no matter how bad the formula or quality may be. At least, I feel like this was the case for me when I really started experimenting with my look. I tried to find ways that I could use the neon yellow shade that I've pointed to in the photo above and make it look as bright on my eye as it did in the pan. This could be seen as either a good approach to products (always trying to make the best of bad products and believing that any makeup product can work if you try hard enough) or a bad approach (making excuses for bad products instead of immediately dismissing them and moving on), but one thing is for sure: this palette will not be remaining in my collection because I'm done trying to make this old formula work, especially now that I know what a good formula can do for my makeup.

The number of samey lipsticks I have is due to the amount of Makeup Revolution advent calendars I have had over the years, and since there are so many of these lippies that I have hardly ever (or never) used, it would be a waste to keep them sitting around in my makeup box when they perform reasonably well and someone else could make good use of them. There are highlighters in this pile, also from those advent calendars, that are too dark for my skin tone but which would work beautifully on someone with a darker skin colour. The other items in the above photo are products which are either lightly used or have never been touched and which would be better off in somebody else's hands, so I will find a way to pass them on.

It was inevitable that I would have to throw some of my old makeup away, but I had no idea that there was this much that needed to be chucked. This is all the stuff that is now unusable and unsellable, stuff that is old and dried up and just a bit too 'off' and unsanitary to give away to somebody else. The only reason that this pile looks so big and wasteful is because I have never before given my makeup collection a thorough clear-out, and next time, I will not leave it so late to give away a product that I don't want. I won't leave a product that I don't like to sit around in my room until it goes off. 

On the plus side, my makeup boxes look so much neater and less cluttered in the above photo than they do in the first photo in this post. I feel the same satisfaction that I felt after I cleared out my wardrobe. Only my favourite items, the best of the best, remain in my collection, and I've even rediscovered some old favourites and some products that I'd love to try out again or use more often. I'm looking forward to my next day off when I can do my makeup with some of the products that I have unearthed today!


Thursday, 4 October 2018

National Poetry Day 2018

It wouldn't be right if I didn't say a quick few words about National Poetry Day. I know that there is pretty much a day for everything, but it surprises and delights me that there is a day set aside simply to celebrate poetry.

I should confess right now that I have not actually written a poem today. I haven't written any poetry in a while, come to that, and yet I still consider myself a poet, even now that my writing habits are becoming more sparse and any poems from me are few and far between. Poetry remains a very important art form to me, and it always pulls me back in, one way or another. Hopefully it won't be long before I am in the right mindset and have the free time and inspiration to start writing again. At a time like this, poems should come easily. It's October, a great month that begins with my birthday and ends with Halloween, with the changing of leaves and the chilling of the air in between. Autumn is always such a wonderful time for writing poetry in a way that the other seasons aren't.

But I digress. Poetry is a medium of endless possibilities, and I feel like there is so much that I have yet to explore. Luckily, I have a lifetime to experiment and play around with the written word, and I have a lifetime to pour my petty little feelings out onto the page and throw myself a little pity party whenever I want to. Poetry won't judge me for feeling jealousy or guilt or lust or anger. It won't tell me that I'm wrong because, with poetry, anything goes. That's both what amazes me and scares me about poetry: there is no wrong way to do it. Yes, everyone has their own opinions about poetry and what 'real poetry' is, but ultimately, there are very few rules. It's like art. If you visit a modern art museum with a cynic who doesn't understand the nuances of art, they will point out everything that they believe is wrong with the pieces, and they will always always ALWAYS use the phrase, 'I could do that'. But, no matter what they think, it's still art, whether or not it resembles it. It still means something to someone, and there is an artist behind the piece who put time and effort into it so that like-minded people would see it and understand. The same is true of poetry: a poetry cynic can read a poem and claim that it's nonsense and that they could do better, but that doesn't detract from the fact that it is still a poem. There are poems that exist that I don't think should count as poems, but does that make them any less poetic? No, because those poems mean something to someone, and art is important.

On the subject of art being important, this probably links back to the main reason that, were I ever to pursue teaching, I would be determined to run a creative writing club or to teach poetry in my classes. Writing poetry is such a therapeutic way of talking out your own feelings, regardless of whether your feelings are logical or irrational. I've written poem after poem about jealousy, an emotion that I hate to feel, in an attempt to figure out why I felt the way that I did, and although sometimes I couldn't find the source, just writing down how I was feeling in a creative way helped me rationalise the emotions. The feelings took on a form. I gave them life and a space to prove themselves. Poetry is such a powerful way to express emotions that you've had bottled up inside that I'd encourage anybody to try it, even if it makes you feel silly or you're not all that creative or you've never written a poem before in your life. Once you find the right words, your poem will not sound silly. Poetry can be as artsy and creative or as straightforward and blunt as you would like. If you have never written a poem in your life, it's never too late to start. Maybe it would be a good idea to encourage children in my care (again, IF I were to ever pursue a career in teaching) to express themselves through poetry, because poetry reminds us that our feelings are valid and that even the most negative feelings can be turned into something beautiful.

Okay, that's enough for now. Happy National Poetry Day, everyone! I'm going to read some poetry before bed tonight, and I might see if I can write a little rhyming something in recognition of today. Hopefully, inspiration will strike right before I go to sleep like it used to, forcing me to roll out of bed and write it down. Good times.
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