Sunday, March 26, 2017

I Miss the Josie Maran Coconut Watercolor Eyeshadows

Sometimes, when I'm wasting my time eating ramen and watching Keith Olbermann videos instead of grading papers like an adult would, I start thinking about things I usually avoid thinking about. And I realize that I whine a lot. I can be borderline nasty when it's not entirely warranted, and I probably spend too much time ranting about my weird pet peeves. I admit this about myself--nobody is perfect. But I don't think it's wrong for me to whine, yet again, "Why u discontinue dees, Josie Maran?!" They're so flawless that they deserve a monthly post, if not a weekly one, I swear.

The Coconut Watercolor Eye Shadows are one of two eye shadow products I've loved, the other one being Wet n' Wild's Brulee eyeshadow. That's it. In all my years of wearing makeup, even when I wore plenty of eyeshadow, there were certainly products I liked, but none that I borderline worshiped like these. They're easy to use (slap it on and go) and so fantastically metallic that I get asked what I'm wearing every time I use one. Also, unlike many frosty cream shadows, these have a super-thin, watery formula that feels weightless on the eyes.

And yet Josie Maran is discontinuing them.

The process of getting rid of them seems to be taking a while. As mentioned in my last "Whhhhhhy?!" post, linked above, these disappeared from Sephora some time last year. But yes, they are definitely fading from the public eye. Here is the Josie Maran "Good Buys" page as of today; of these listed shades, three are still available, including this purple shade I want for no apparent reason. I haven't bought it yet because it's purple and I need more makeup like I need a hole in the head, but there's a little voice inside me screeching, "GET IT BEFORE IT DISAPPEARS YOU WILL REGREEEEET THIIIIS!!!"

Why is Josie Maran discontinuing these if they're so beautiful and I'm a one-woman marketing campaign? I have a few guesses:

  1. Josie Maran Cosmetics is having trouble selling their makeup. I've noticed that people buy up their skincare, particularly the argan oil, like it's going out of style, but I heard very little about the makeup. Check their Good Buys section and you'll notice that quite a lot of their makeup is heavily discounted. 
  2. The applicators kinda sucked. Don't get me wrong, they apply the shadow decently, and the packaging is visually appealing. But the doe foot applicators in the lids quickly earned a reputation for snapping off, something I soon experienced myself. When I contacted the company, they sent me three replacement lids, which was amazing. Still, can't they just improve the packaging? Do they have to throw the  baby out with the shimmery bath water?
  3. Some people found them tricky to apply...? I guess? I know the Beautypedia review complains about how hard it is to get a "blended" look with them, and I'm so used to applying them that I maybe don't think about the learning curve. That said, you actually CAN get a soft look with them if you know what to do. Personally, I apply the product all over my lid first, then--as the last step--I run a little in my crease. Immediately after placing the shadow in my crease, I use a soft shadow brush to blend it out and fade it in to my skin. These do dry quickly, so you have to be strategic, but again, it's not impossible to do it.
Regardless, they're definitely discontinuing the Coconut Watercolor Eye Shadows, and I'm still trying to make my peace with the decision. I've poked around the web looking for viable replacements, but the closest possibility I've found--the Milk Makeup Eye Pigments--have been quickly shot down by others. Most of the people I've spoken to who have tried them have said that they're "pretty, but you can feel them on your eyes." Eh, no. That's not the same. I'm still waiting for a replacement.

So I've got two things on my mind. One, I'm going to try fiddling with eye makeup a bit more to try some new things and break out of my comfort zone a little. It's likely going to be atrocious, so please don't judge me too harshly. Two, if you have any recommendations for a viable replacement product, please tell me!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Return of the Lipstick Diaries #7: Lime Crime Bleached and NARS Charlotte

Sometimes, Lipstick Diaries posts don't help me cull my ever-growing lipstick heard. Instead, they remind me that I already own a number of shades I love and I should wear them more often. That was the case with these two (very different) colors!

First, Lime Crime Bleached. This is probably my favorite Lime Crime Velvetine; it's my perfect nude peach shade. Lulu was lighter, had more white in its base, and was less rosy than this one, which I think is why I liked it less. The Velvetines do have that modern uber-matte finish, and I don't always care for how it looks on me. But I find that the Velvetines play well with gloss and balm, and on days like this when I use shinier finishes in similar shades on other parts of my face (and I maybe overdid it there), I prefer the matte finish.

The other shade is NARS Charlotte, one of my beloved Audacious lipsticks. As I mentioned in my previous Lipstick Diaries post, I'm picky about cool-toned reds these days and seem to prefer something deeper like Charlotte. This color is a chameleon, too: you can make it more burgundy by layering it with a dark red lipliner, or more wine-colored by layering it over a plum lipliner. These lipsticks have great staying power and a really lovely satin finish, and again, this a formula that plays well with gloss and balm.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

VIDEO: Who Should Try This?, episode 3

Is there some reason why I took so long to film another episode in this series? (Actually, I can think of two or three reasons, BUT NOW IT'S DONE!) As per usual, we've got three products I've been using lately and a table of contents if you want to skip around. Also, a new set-up that's more comfortable for me. Hurrah!

(NOTE: To watch full-screen, start watching, then click the YouTube button at the bottom right.)


Ouai Wave Spray -- 4:30

Friday, March 17, 2017

Casual 2017 Project Pan

Two of my goals for 2017 were to complete $1000 worth of products this year and to go through as many samples as I could. With a full year to achieve these goals and no strict rules, I've been decidedly casual about finishing stuff, and I think it's working well for me. Therefore, I'm going to do another Project Pan. Instead of going on a buying freeze in the meantime, I'm just going to follow one rule: "Finish this stuff by the end of 2017."

So here's what I've picked for the year!
  1. any mini lipstick -- I have, I think, 5 mini lipsticks in my collection right now, and there are a couple in my sample box waiting to get pulled out. I'd like to finish any one of them. It's most likely that I'll finish MAC Creme Cup, since it's a light color with minimal staying power.
  2. Peter Thomas Roth Water Drench Hyaluronic Cloud Cream and Youth to the People Kale + Spinach Moisturizer samples -- These are small enough that I'd prefer to treat them as one item. Neither moisturizer has knocked it out of the park for me, but they're serviceable. Until I find my ideal daytime, under-makeup moisturizer, these are what I have.
  3. Glossier Perfecting Skin Tint in Light -- I've owned this product before and finished over half of it, but I became convinced that it was causing an adverse reaction on my skin, so I got rid of it. I later realized that another product was causing the problem. Repurchase, then! I really enjoy this product; I have no doubt that I can finish it by the end of the year.
  4. Maybelline Dream Lumi Pen in Ivory -- I bought this shade because I thought it would be a great stand-alone undereye concealer for low makeup days. It's okay, but I really do prefer the Radiant shade, which is a peachy corrector that I like to mix with another concealer on my undereyes. I'll go back to using Radiant once this tube is done.
  5. Glossier Balm Dot Com in Mint -- I've finished several tubes of (and have repurchased) the Coconut Balm Dot Com, and that's fine by me; the smell and flavor are unique and pleasant enough. The mint, though, is I greatly prefer Jack Black's lip balm if I'm going for mint, since that product also includes sunscreen. I didn't mark this tube, but you can see that right now, the product starts just about the word "Glossier."

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

REVIEW: Glossier Cloud Paint

I've snarked a lot about Glossier on this blog. I think their skincare is overpriced and overhyped with the obvious exception of the Milky Jelly Cleanser and, to some extent, their lip balm. I enjoy a lot of their makeup, but I also know the ingredients lists and sheer, fleeting formulas make them a hard pass for many. But somehow, I always get suckered in to their new product releases. Their marketing campaigns are clearly aimed at lazy, Instagram-obsessed mother fuckers like me, sure...but it's also the fact that I really like some of that makeup! I wear the Perfecting Skin Tint and Haloscope on the regular, and the Generation G lipsticks are my go-to lazy day lip colors. A tube of flavored Balm Dot Com lives in my work bag. Still, I apparently have unreasonably high expectations and a low tolerance for "all of our models are size 2 perfect skinned teenagers who never wear foundation because they use our amaaaaaaazing skincare!" marketing, so I crank and complain.

Then Glossier announced that they were releasing a liquid blush, and I was pretty excited. I tried to hide my glee beneath that veil of snark ("Are you fucking serious with boysturizer?!"), but I'm 99% sure I wasn't sneaky enough.

I'm not excited, I had a cramp.

Glossier's Cloud Paints cost $18 for each 0.33oz tube, though they're currently running a two-for-$30 promotion. The range includes 4 colors: Beam (peach), Puff (pink), Haze (raspberry), and Dusk (beige). Because I'm brown blush intolerant, I went with the first three shades.

The packaging is paint tube inspired, which is nothing new, as several others have pointed out. I'm not entirely sure I'd call it a blatant rip-off of K-beauty products, though; that packaging style has been around for a while. Remember MAC Paints in their heyday, when they came in a dozen different colors? (If you don't remember, I'm showing my age and you can ignore me.) It's cute, it's portable, and it works decently, although I will note that my tube of Beam blew up a bit when I first removed the safety seal:

I haven't had any more mishaps since, but this type of packaging is definitely prone to bubbling and bursting in my experience. Just a heads up!

Now, I figured I'd love these, because I'm a sucker for liquid blushes and they looked mad pretty on their models. But a few things made me go "eh?" before they even reached my doorstep. First, I have to do my usual thang and complain about the shade range: the only shade that really seems to show up well on their darker skinned model is Haze. The current color selection is geared toward light to medium skintones. A comment from the company on their own Instagram actually confirmed this: the only shade they suggest for those who wear the deepest Perfecting Skin Tint, Rich, is Haze.

Guys. If you're going to drop a new product, the least you could do is try to have more than one shade that works for your clientele with dark skin. You came out with a deeper highlighter shade and released darker Perfecting Skin Tint shades when people complained; clearly, you know this is A Thing.

Still, I did and do assume that they'll update the range. No problem, right? Except then they launched the Cloud Paints, and as per usual, the product page was a bit much:

The pillowy, gel-cream formula is designed to be the most user-friendly cheek color in existence...One-of-a-kind, lightweight gel-cream texture makes for silky, even application.

I said it when they launched the Generation G lipsticks and I'll say it again: these are not revolutionary, no matter what Glossier says. And I know I rag on them a lot for doing the "OMG SOOOOO NEEEEW!" squee game that most companies do, but I feel like they just go so hard with that line. Then again, I have to repeat that I'm weirdly snarky about this company for somebody who likes a good 50% of what they produce, so take my griping with a grain of salt.

I mean, really take it with a grain of salt, because I think these are pretty damn nice overall. The ingredients list is loaded with silicones, which explains why these have such a thin, soft texture and are so easy to blend. I was able to get a seamless, flushed look in less than a minute. And because they are so sheer, it's tough to overdo them or to get harsh lines. Granted, I'm used to applying cream and liquid blushes with my fingers, but I actually think even a liquid blush newb would have zero issues with these. Just dot the product where you want it, then tap it out gently with your finger--easy. (You can certainly apply this with something like a flat foundation brush, but really, it's easier just to use your fingers.) Cloud Paints certainly fit Glossier's "effortless, natural beauty" style. The formula is scentless, dries down completely, builds easily, and is just plain delightful for me.

The one exception to this is Haze. I found its formula a bit thinner and more watery than the other two shades, and I had to work a bit more to get a smooth application. I think you can actually see the texture difference between Haze and the other two shades in the above swatches. It wasn't terrible, and I think having to be very light-handed because the color was so bold factored in to it. Still, it's worth noting that you might get a slightly different experience depending on the colors you use.

From left to right: Puff, Beam, Haze.

Here they are on my actual face. Again, I think you can see that Puff and Beam applied a bit more smoothly for me, but the look of all three is generally consistent. It's natural, soft, and very pretty. Puff might be my favorite, which is sad, because I need another favorite powdery pink blush like I need a hole in the head.

Now, I don't usually talk about staying power when it comes to blushes, because that's not often a problem for me. As a dry-skinned person, color products tend to stick to my face like glue. But I want to note that I didn't have any problems with these fading throughout an 8 hour day. That's impressive, given how lightweight they are, and the fact that they're...well, Glossier. The company isn't exactly known for creating long-wearing makeup. It's not their gig. But these get a star from me for wear.

Overall, I think these are a solid addition to the Glossier lineup. Actually, they're more than solid: it's their best, most user-friendly makeup product yet. Update that shade range and be aware of formula inconsistencies, and you folks could easily have a five star product.

In the meantime, take my veil of snark, Glossier. I think it's time I said goodbye to it and embraced the rather good makeup you're least for now.

I've already included two gifs portraying Sassy Long-Dead White Guys in Wigs...might as well go for broke.

RATING: 4 out of 5.
These products were purchased from using store credit earned through referrals.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Addressing That Terrible "I WANT IT!" Feeling

comic from

I'm about to say something that I know--I just know--will make a few of my regular readers cringe: I don't think capitalism is the devil. I agree with economist Robert Reich: while the staggering income inequality in the US today must be addressed, history has shown that a powerful middle class that works hard and buys stuff benefits our economy. I think it's totally fine for my boss to make more than me; he's better educated, deals with more nonsense than I do on the daily, and takes larger risks when he makes decisions about the future of our college. None of this changes the fact that marketing, a cornerstone of any capitalist society, is ubiquitous and, to some extent, creepy. As stated in Rafael Behr's article "Anti-Consumerism: New Frontier or Dead End for Progressive Politics?":

No-one is forcing shoppers to shop. They must, at some level, want the things they buy. But at what level? We now have, thanks to developments in neuroscience and behavioural psychology, a greater understanding of how consumer demand is generated within an individual. A picture is emerging of the areas of the brain that are stimulated by advertising messages and how they relate to conscious behaviour. The function of much advertising is to provoke responses that correspond to primitive urgent needs--fight, flight, eat, procreate. That is why so many products are sold either as antidotes to fear (soap X will stop bacteria from harming your children) or as promises of sex (soap Y will make you irresistible). Junk food advertising animates our troglodyte urges to eat as much and as often as possible, regardless of whether we are hungry.

Students sometimes roll their eyes at me when I tell them that they are constantly basing decisions on advertisements, but a few moments of discussion reveal that, unless you're an ascetic hermit living in a fortress that blocks all wi-fi signals, you're experiencing it. Advertisements are in our magazines, plastered on the walls of our stores, dropped in our mailboxes, flooding our iPhone apps and web browsing, and paying for our few remaining print newspapers. An article from the Los Angeles Times points out just how much of our television time is taken up by commercials: roughly 15 minutes per hour. (I'm painfully aware of this fact because my mother hates commercials with a fierce and fiery passion; she will flip between four or five different news channels just to avoid the latest McDonald's advert.) And again, these advertisements are designed to make us feel things: "I need it or I'll be unhappy." "It's so beautiful; I'll just buy this one product and I'll be satisfied." "Nothing has worked so far, but this one definitely will."

But that sort of advertising is obvious. It's the sneaky shit that we need to watch out for, the kind that speaks to our fears or subtly strokes our ego. In terms of the beauty industry, I've noticed this most frequently with "green" products. Take the above advertisement for Une products as an example. The focus in this ad is the line, "I am not artificial." Western countries, and particularly the United States, tend to be big on this notion of the "true self," "being you," etc., provided being you doesn't run too counter to the societal norms. Even the paragraph in finer type starts with, "I am true to myself." Combined with translucent, uber-positive buzzwords in the background ("free," "natural," "intuitive") and a second text box outlining just now safe and ~~natural~~ the products are, this advertisement claims that Une products can help you break the shackles of society and be the real you!

By doing what society wants and buying more shit.

"Renee," you say patiently, "we know this. We've seen the documentaries and read the articles about the non-stop marketing in our culture. You're not telling us anything new."

I know I'm not. You see, I kind of have to go on this little ramble because...I'm embarrassed. I'm embarrassed that I'm hyper-aware of marketing strategies and consumer culture, yet I still want to buy everything. It's the definition of First World Problems: wanting to buy new products, despite the fact that you already have plenty of stuff, and feeling frustrated by that desire. Somehow, I'm still getting sucked in.

And yet I've managed to stick to my $250 budget for the year thus far, to go on buying freezes for months at a time, to pay my bills while maintaining this blog despite facing some financial setbacks, and to overall feel happy with my progress as I downsize. How? Let's talk about the terrible "I WANT IT!" feeling and how we suppress it.

I've been on a downsizing, buy-less-shit journey for years now, but I still have some bad habits. The biggest bad habit I had to admit to this year? If I can get a lipstick for free or free-ish, there is a 95% chance I will get it without thinking twice.

I noticed this most recently when I placed a Sephora order (using a gift card, weeee!) for a new candle and some fragrance. I waited to place my order until Sephora had updated their Rewards Bazaar with a slew of new deluxe samples, and until there was a coupon code I wanted to use. There were two lipsticks I haven't owned available, Marc Jacobs Slow Burn and Bite Beauty Pastille, and I hit the "Add to Basket" button immediately.

But something stopped me when I went to hit the "checkout" button. Wait. I have plenty of lipstick. And both of these shades are mauve pinks! Not only do I already own a few mauve, pink, and mauve-pink shades I like, but why the Hell would I need two new lipsticks in very similar shades?

So I did a quick inventory and realized, with a start, that half of my collection is "nudes and soft pinks;" about a third of those lipsticks are minis that I received as gifts or tossed in my shopping cart on a whim. I know I'm not as viscerally attracted to nude lipsticks as I am to bright reds, so I don't judge myself as harshly for getting new ones--it doesn't feel like I'm feeding the addiction.

It sounds silly, but just realizing that I hoard lipstick samples without even thinking about their place in my collection was a huge turning point for me. So was this inventory, and therein lies the next way I address that terrible "I WANT IT!" feeling: sometimes, we have to admit that we're not buying things to fill a gap in our collection. We're buying things because it feels good to have something pretty and new.

Lena recently wrote an incredible blogpost outlining how this works with eyeshadow palettes:

Because makeup companies only really have to hook you on one special awesome shade per palette to potentially get you to purchase the whole thing, they have 10 opportunities to catch 10 unique customers, all who will be paying $50 for 10 eyeshadows, a "good deal" by all accounts. But those customers, if they weren't presented with the 10 shadow palette, would only be "worth" the $10 they would have paid for a single shadow in that one appealing color.

Damn, is that on-point! I'm not in to eyeshadow, but I have friends who are, and they'll gladly exclaim that palette Y is perfect for travel and gives them every shade they need to complete a look. Meanwhile, they have roughly the same shades in palettes A, B, and C. In reality, most eyeshadow palettes only have one or two unique-to-us shades, but that's enough to make us buy.

Please don't think I'm being snide, because I do the same fucking thing. "Well, of course I already have a few pink blushes," I tell my eyeshadow-obsessed friend, "but this one is different. It's warmer!"

"If you want a warmer pink blush, why don't you just mix in some of that peach one?" my friend asks.

"Shut up."

"I mean, they all look the same on you, anyway."

"Shut. Up."

In all seriousness, this is where inventories and flatlays come in handy. Any time I feel tempted to buy a new lipstick, I organize what I have, take photos for Snapchat or Instagram, and chide myself for wanting another neutral red Besame lipstick when I've barely dented my Red Velvet sample tube. Having all of your makeup spread out in front of you, and realizing that you already have that exact shade or the ability to mix something like it, is a great way to stop the "I WANT IT!" feeling. Yeah, maybe you want it, but you definitely don't need it. You can see that you don't need it--take a look at those six eyeshadow singles that almost perfectly dupe that palette, or the three cool pink cream blushes you have that are indistinguishable when swatched on your skin.

I think it's also wise to spend less time focused on individual products and more time on the looks we create with them. I'll show you an example using Alia Shawkat, one of my newest crushes thanks to too much Drunk History:

Beyond the fact that Shawkat is super cute, she's got the kind of "my face but better" makeup look that suckers me in. Now, I could go on a quest to figure out what exact makeup she's wearing in her public appearances. I could even draw some conclusions from more general information, like this interview where she mentions wearing Hourglass products.

Hourglass, you say? And you often wear very soft, rose-petal-pink lipsticks? I bet you're wearing one of the Lip Stylos, maybe Dreamer or Seeker. That's it, I'm buying a brand new $32 lipstick just to copy that one look! Mission accomplished!

I wish I could say the sight of Aubrey Plaza and Alia Shawkat in Revolutionary War Hero drag doesn't affect me. I'd be lying.

WAIT A FUCKING SECOND. No, I'm not going to buy that Hourglass lipstick! I already own rosey and peachy pinks! I even swatched a slew of them for my Moderate Stash series last year! Why the fuck would I buy another one just because it's the exact product she used?! That shade is not unique! I can replicate that look with what I own!

Yelling aside, this is something I think most of us can do, and it'll benefit us in the long run. Instead of buying an eyeshadow palette, we can Google looks created with it, see if we can replicate our favorites with products we already own, and then just fill in the one or two gaps with a couple of single shadows. Emma Stone's Oscar lipstick sold out as soon as the exact shade she wore was announced, but before I rush out to buy, I should try mixing what I already own to see if I can get something similar without spending more money. As one Reddit user put it,

[Eyeshadow palettes] always catch my eye! Shiny! Cute design! But the last few releases I've found myself just buying the singles of the colors I'm missing. That's how I managed to not buy ABH Modern Renaissance - I bought one red single. So now, I can't think of any eyeshadow colors I'm missing and the new palette releases don't catch my eye anymore.

When the mental exercises are failing, it's time to try some challenges. The first time doing any kind of challenge that restricts spending is tough, which is why I often recommend starting with a low buy instead of a no buy. You can also try smaller versions of classic challenges, like "Just Don't Buy Shit This Month" (versus a year-long no buy), or "Finish One Item This Month" instead of a traditional "Project 10 Pan."

More importantly, you have the freedom to create your own "use your stash" challenges. I'm currently doing another round of the Lipstick Diaries, for example, which has helped me purge more lipsticks, better appreciate shades I haven't touched in a while, and keep a record of what shades I already own (and therefore do not need to buy right now). Here are a few other challenges and activities I've seen people do to get more use out of their makeup collection:
  • Calendars -- Print out a calendar with a challenge or key word for each day of the week. Let this guide your makeup. For instance, you might have a week like this: "goth look Sunday, red lipstick Monday, bright eyeliner Tuesday, no foundation Wednesday, movie-inspired Thursday, something blue Friday, all drugstore products Saturday." Obviously, this works best for people who wear makeup every or almost every day.
  • Beauty Roulette -- I've done this before, and it's always fun! There are two versions. The one I've done is a form of Project Panning that requires you to pull random products, product types, or goals. The other form has you pull random products from a box or a bag, and then you have to work them all in to a look. Oh, geez, you pulled out a green, red, and mustard eyeshadow? Figure it out!
  • Catalogues -- This is sort of what I do with the Lipstick Diaries: I wear each product at least once, photograph it, and use those photographs as a running reference guide. But you can certainly tweak this to suit your needs. If you have thirty lipsticks and you want to get rid of a few, for example, you can force yourself to wear each one once and only once--you don't get to re-wear a color until you've gone through the entire collection. This will force you to wear every shade you own and encourage you to get rid of the shades that aren't flattering. Or maybe you could use it to help you with a no buy: "I don't get to buy a new eyeshadow palette until I use every shadow shade in my collection at least once."
  • Weekly Rewards -- This works best for people who have a lot of unopened products and samples to try. (I always do because I do most of my shopping at Sephora, and there are at least three free samples in every order.) Allow yourself to pull out one new item a week; this will give you that "Ooooh, shiny new product!" experience without making you spend more. Again, tweak this to suit your needs. Maybe you can't haul more stuff until you empty the box, or you have to write a review for each product before you can buy something new, etc.
  • Dupe It -- As I mentioned earlier, I think trying to replicate looks is a great place to start on a downsizing, buy-less-crap journey. Find a look you love and use what you already own to duplicate it. It didn't come out perfectly? That's fine--try again with different products or new techniques. Keep trying until you get something you love. I recommend documenting and writing about the process, but I'm a nerd who gets in to that sort of stuff; pass if it's not yo thang. Try this with colors, too: instead of buying a warm red, see what happens when you mix some of your neutral reds with a coral shade or a yellow pigment.

Last, but not least, I have to ask: how do YOU address that terrible "I WANT IT!" feeling? These methods have worked well for me, and some of my friends and readers have told me that these suggestions helped them as well. But not everybody is the same. What does and doesn't work for you?

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Anti-Haul (aka, "What I'm Not Going To Buy"), Fifth Edition

Normally, I do an anti-haul post when I've found a few items that have tested my resolve, the stuff I almost purchased despite my better judgment and tiny budget. But this one is a bit different. The truth of the matter is that there are only a couple of things I want right now, and for a variety of reasons, I'm not struggling to hold off. Instead, I wanted to focus on some new releases that are getting plenty of hype, and I want to try and talk 90% of people out of dropping a paycheck on these luxuries. Because, you know, you probably don't need them.

As always, these posts are not meant to make you feel bad for liking a product or spending your money; I'm just trying to think carefully about my own consumerism and maybe encourage you to think carefully about yours. Once again, mad props to Kimberly Clark for popularizing and promoting the Anti-Haul movement!

1. Anastasia Beverly Hills Lip Palette, $48 -- Let me be clear: I do not think this product is silly, overpriced, or poorly conceived. I actually think it looks like a fantastic assortment of lip colors that will serve an artist well. But that's who this is going to serve: an artist, somebody who works primarily on runways or photoshoots and prefers a range of colors over portability. I'm a little baffled by the number of everyday people who want to purchase this palette. Yes, it's cool that you can mix a lot of different colors, but...are you going to mix your perfect shade on the daily? Or, if you find your perfect mix, would you be comfortable with storing it in a separate container and applying it with a lip brush every day? For that matter, would you be comfortable carrying a lip brush around for touch ups? (I know I bring up lip brushes a lot, but I really do think it's necessary--I've only ever known one person who willingly carried a lip brush around.) Also, you'll need a basic understanding of color theory to make the exact shade you want every time. Otherwise, you could end up with fifty shades of brown.

2. Glossier Priming Moisturizer Rich, $35 -- I was actually thrilled when I heard that Glossier was launching a heavier cream. Then it dropped, and the ingredients list sent me running. To be fair, I have a more reactive skin type, but even if I disregard that, this isn't exactly a sterling list. Glycerin, shea butter, squalane, caprylic triglyceride, and fatty alcohols are all lovely for dry skin that doesn't clog or break out easily, but they're also very common and cheap ingredients. Ceramides are at the bottom half of the list, below a number of silicones that will add slip and potentially make the cream seem more emollient than it really is. There are also a number of potential irritants in here; for instance, I know from experience that lavender oil both stinks and hates my skin. This could be a perfectly fine hydrating primer for tough skin in the normal range, but there are other products with similar hydrating ingredients sans irritants, like La Roche Posay Toleriane Riche, or that include less run-of-the-mill emollients on top of that, like Drunk Elephant Lala Retro Whipped Cream.

3. Drunk Elephant T.L.C Sukari Baby Facial, $80 -- Speaking of Drunk Elephant, here's another super-expensive product they've released, but for once, I can't get behind it. It's not that this is poorly formulated, though I do question if it's really worth that $80, especially when you compare it to Deciem's similar product in the Ordinary range that clocks in at $7.20. It's more that I question just how many people need a peel this strong that often. I understand that my skin can be touchy, and my every-other-week 10% AHA and every-other-night 2% BHA is negligible to some skincare aficionados. But 25% AHA once a week? That's a fucking ton of glycolic acid. (ETA: It's been pointed out to me that this product contains a mixture of acids, not just glycolic; I apologize for the mistake. Still, 25% AHA is potent!) The fact that they include a sample of their marula oil and recommend that you use it immediately after removing the peel should tell you just how much this product will sandblast your face. And while they do point out that you should only use it once a week (which is still a lot), there's no recommendation that people patch test. Guys, I have only known one person who used glycolic peels this strong regularly, and even then, she only did it once or twice a month to deal with acne scarring and hyper-pigmentation. I know it sounds sexy. I know the hype is real. But there is a good chance that you just don't need this.

4. Tom Ford Sheer Cheek Duo in Paradise Lust, $78 -- Okay, the pun in the name is really bad, that goes without saying. My real issue is that this is a lot of money to spend for very little product. Apparently, the pans aren't 0.15oz each, they're 0.15oz COMBINED. Tom Ford's individual cream blushes are larger and less expensive ($68 for 0.17oz). Even then, Tom Ford apparently sucks at providing a decent shade range. The blush in this duo will likely work for a fair range of skintones, but I get the feeling it'll be far too bright for fair skin, and that type of pinky highlighter is not universally flattering. I like the packaging, sure, and that's about it. For $78, I could get two or three amazing cream blushes or highlighters from another high-end brand, like Makeup Forever or Becca.