Sunday, January 17, 2016

Moderate Stash: Introduction and Blush

2015 was the year of the minimalist. In the spirit of KonMari, bloggers and YouTubers all around the world went through their stashes, asked if they loved all of their forty lipsticks equally, and purged whatever didn't bring them joy. It's a far cry from my YouTube heydey over 5 years ago, when having the biggest collection possible was the goal.

In some ways, this minimalism trend is a good thing. It's lead many to be more cautious about their spending, to think carefully about what they truly love, and to better understand their habits. But just like the "OMG NEEEED" mindset, minimalism can go too far. If you're castigating yourself for spending $20 on a blush after months of restraint, or you're screeching at people that they don't need more than one red lipstick because "red is red" (true story, that happened to me), it might be time to take a step back and think about what you're doing. (For the record: I believe in all things in moderation, and I like stash videos/photos showing collections of all sizes. Just be sane about it, yo!)

Those of you who have been with me for a while know that I have been slowly but surely been shrinking my stash since late 2012. That was after I'd moved home from graduate school with a giant suitcase full of makeup, and I realized I was hanging on to products I didn't truly love. I've even done a post describing some of my methods for purging unnecessary products (which was well-received--thank you!). Now my collection is maybe 1/10th the size of what it was when I did YouTube, but it's still the collection of a makeup-obsessed person. I will never, ever cut my collection down to "2 of each item!", but that was never my goal. Instead, my goal was to have a MODERATE STASH: manageable and easy to move, but still varied and rife with possibilities.

Also, I am told that people like ALL TEH SWATCHEZ!!!!

So I decided one of my new series for 2016 would be "Moderate Stash," a series that shows what has remained in my collection through many culls and purges. There's no way to do every type of product (brushes, for instance, would be obscenely boring, because I am not that interested in them and it would show in my writing), but it should still be helpful. These posts will help me keep my stash goals in sight, and they'll provide readers with swatches and insights on the products. Win-win for both of us, I think, but please let me know how you feel about this new series! It's very labor-intensive, so if it's not useful for both parties, I probably won't continue.

For reference, my goal is to have no more than 15 blushes. I currently have 16, so I'll be keeping an eye on my collection this year and seeing if there are any that should go to a new home. All of my blushes are creams or liquids because I'm dry skinned and, again, I hate faffing around with brushes. Swatches are on the inside of my arm, which is about NC5 on a MAC scale (aka stupid pale). For full reviews of some of these products, please check the product: blush tag!

arranged roughly from pastel to mid-tone to bright.

  • Yves Saint Laurent Creme de Blush in Babydoll. Looks-neon-but-doesn't-apply-that-way pink with a beautiful mousse texture that smooths over skin like a dream and gives pale skin the most perfect healthy glow. Discontinued because YSL hates me. 
  • BBIA Downy Cheek in Downy Pink. Extremely emollient cool-toned pink from Korea with a very dewy finish. Not recommended for oily skin in the slightest.
  • Kevyn Aucoin Creamy Moist Glow in Pravella. Neutral pastel pink that is incredibly dense and pigmented, making it especially useful over medium-to-full coverage foundations.

  • Josie Maran Coconut Watercolor Cheek Gelee in Pink Escape. A gel blush that looks red in the pan, but applies as a healthy pink stain on the cheeks. Highly recommended for people who want something very natural looking and/or have a hard time finding a blush that works on super dry skin.
  • Becca Beach Tint in Watermelon. A mid-toned, neutral pink with some berry tones in a sheer liquid formula; it always looks natural and flawless on the skin. My second tube because it's THE go-to for work!

  • Stila Convertible Color in Petunia. Looks shockingly bright in the pan, but blends out to a sweet, slightly yellow-toned babydoll flush on the cheeks.
  • Face Stockholm Creme Blush in London. Not the "soft pink" I was promised by the website description or swatch, but still a nice color: a jelly-finish candy pink with coral undertones. Very easy to blend!
  • Kevyn Aucoin Creamy Moist Glow in Liquifuschia. A true blue-based fuchsia, I only wear this with a few specific lipsticks (like MAC Viva Glam Miley Cyrus I), but it always looks perfect with them.
  • Becca Beach Tint in Dragonfruit. A coral pink in a liquid formula. This is another go-to for work, especially if I'm looking sallow or ill and need an instant face brightener. 

 Natural light on top, flash on the bottom.

ranging from red to peach to "nude."

  • Canmake Cream Blush in CL06. A jelly-finish Japanese blush that looks scary red in the pain, but has a clear base that makes it easy to sheer out. This is the neutral true red for fair skin. Also lasts through humidity surprisingly well!
  • Stila Convertible Color in Tulip. Deep berry and incredibly pigmented, very cool. It's workable on almost every skin tone. Just use a very, very light hand if you're fair and blend well!
  • Stila Convertible Color in Hibiscus. Bright orange-red/coral shade, very warm. Like Tulip, this will work on most skin tones if you're careful about how much you apply.

  • BBIA Downy Cheek in Downy Peach. A bright, pastel peach from Korea in a very emollient formula. Again, not recommended for oily skins. 
  • Kevyn Aucoin Creamy Moist Glow in Tansoleil. A true peach shade, with less of a white base and slightly more orange tones than the BBIA. This has been my go-to peach for ages; it even works with red lipstick!

  • Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge in Fresh Melon. A soft light peach with hints of brown. The newest addition to my collection, this formula works better for me now that my skin is especially dry.
  • Stila Convertible Color in Lilium. A light beige shade with some neutral pink tones. Blended carefully and applied sparingly, it will work with almost any lipstick I want to wear, particularly nudes and reds. Excellent for fair skin that has trouble with brown-based shades.

 Natural light on top, flash on the bottom.

Natural Light vs. Flash Comparisons


  1. This is great--so many brands I've never heard of! Are they all cream blushes? I can't tell with the Aucoins.

    1. Yup! "All of my blushes are creams or liquids because I'm dry skinned and, again, I hate faffing around with brushes."

  2. That's so weird: your Face Stockholm London looks identical to my FS Paris, and when I swatched London two years ago, it was a lot lighter and cooler. Could you have gotten a mislabeled Paris, I wonder?

    1. I was wondering that. I ordered it from the notoriously unhelpful Dermstore, though, so I'm not sure FS would help. :/ It's still beautiful, just not what I expected.

  3. Wow, I LOVE the idea for this post. Right now, I have almost a one in-one out rule for my stash. If I bring in something, something old or unloved is probably getting cut, rather than just growing the stash larger. I recently bought 8 Zoya natural polishes in their freebie sale they always do, and purged 10, giving to my sister. Consequently, friends and family love this!

    1. LOL, my friends always love my purges, especially the drag queens. XD You're doing amazingly! And the NYX cream blushes are quite nice, very emollient and excellent for dry skin.

  4. Also, I'm just starting to use cream blushes because my cheeks are so dehydrated in the winter. I have 3 very affordable ones by NYX that I use with the ELF Small Stipple Brush and I'm really surprised at how great they look.

  5. Eeee, thanks for doing this! I see a few of my past lemmings here (Pravella, Watermelon and Lilium), so I do love your collection. For 2016, my goal is to find a peachy blush that won't look orange on my paler-than-N15 skin.

    I find the cream vs powder thing so interesting. I've tried to get into creams, but I always end up reaching for powders when I'm running out the door. I just can't seem to get my cheeks looking symmetrical when I use creams!

    1. Maybe you would like a peach-pink or something a little less saturated, like MAC Springsheen. I loved that one when I wore powders!

    2. Sorry, misspoke--it was Fleur Power I used to wear. :)

    3. I'm adding that to my list of lemmings and trying to resist the urge to purchase it now. Swatches of Fleur Power look amaaaazing. =D

  6. Hey thanks for the sidebar link! :) I think this is a great series and I can't wait to see how you do with it!

  7. I think this is a great series, can't wait to see your face products. You are possibly my skin-twin.

    1. Hurrah! That's such a good feeling. The base products will probably be up at the end of February or beginning of March, depending on what's going in my life.