Thursday, March 12, 2015

Capsule Collection: How to Make the Most of Your Make-up Stash

I haven't mentioned this anywhere (mostly to avoid making it official), but I'm on a no buy this month; and similarly, I only bought one puny make-up product last month. I've been really focusing on what I already have instead, and trying to make some progress on my new Project Make A Dent 2015. I've been pretty happy channeling minimalist vibes lately, and experimenting with maximizing some of my favorite products - and so I've come up with some general tips on how to make the most out of your existing make-up stash, also known as 'how to use the same products again and again without getting bored out of your mind'.
I'll be illustrating my ideas with some face shots, in which I'm wearing the lip products from my Project Make A Dent line-up, just to show you different ways I've been using them and to hopefully inspire you to try something new with your products, regardless of whether you're trying to hit pan or just have fun with what you own. I've included some quick swatches of the three products I'm using so you could see how they change depending on the application method:
L-R: Inglot Gel Lipstick no. 58, Revlon Superlustrous Lipgloss in Coral Reef, Michael Todd Creme Glace Lipgloss in Natural
1. Experiment with using different tools. The easiest example here is foundation, which can look completely different depending on how you  apply it: with your fingers, a brush, a damp Beautyblender. Case in point: Face Atelier Ultra Foundation, the base I'm currently trying to use up, has a lot more coverage and a more matte finish when used with a RealTechniques buffing brush compared to when I use it with my damp sponge, which sheers it out and makes it look more dewy. But you could also apply this principle to products like pencil eyeliner (a neat line against the lashline, smudged out with a pencil brush, winged out using an angled liner brush) or your lip products (a lipstick applied straight from the bullet, or using a lip brush, or just patted on with a finger - like the Inglot no. 58 in the photo below).
2. Try layering your products. I think this one is the most obvious, but I've noticed that I often forget about this simple idea when I get stuck in a rut of wearing a given product one way; for example, I only used to wear Revlon Superlustrous Lipgloss in Coral Reef on its own, but it's actually very pretty on top of pink lipsticks (in the photo, layered over a thin layer of Inglot no. 58).
You can layer your lipsticks not only with glosses but also lip pencils (in the photo below, Inglot no. 58 worn over NYX Lip liner in Deep Purple), sandwich foundations between primers, powders and even setting mists, blend powder eyeshadows over creams, and then top with glitter for more dimension. I find that layering can also be a saving grace for items that start out as fails, like maybe a liquid foundation that just won't last except for when paired with a primer, or a mascara that looks like nothing on but can be used as the first separating coat before a more dramatic formula.
3. In a similar vein, give mixing products a go. Again, mixing foundations is a prime example here: you could combine two different liquids when you're not entirely satisfied with the shade match/ finish/ lasting power, or even try mixing foundation with moisturizer or primer. You could also try to mix eyeshadow pigments, or different lip glosses - sky is the limit.

4. Have fun with different techniques and placements. By placement, I mean different shapes and areas of applying product to your face - I find that tutorials from Japanese beauty mags, like the ones Driveller Kate and Claire used to blog about, are the best source of placement inspiration for me. Like, who knew you could apply blush to your cheeks according to the letters of the alphabet! But if you're not that adventurous, I think eyes are the easiest feature to play up while experimenting with placements: a horizontal smokey eye from the lashline up, a traditional Western smokey eye with the darker outer corner, cut crease, defined inner crease, winged eyeliner in a multiple of shapes, tightlining and lining the waterline, smudging out and or extending the lower lashline, highlighting the inner corners in various ways. Recently, I've also been really into subtle gradient/ ombre lips, like in the photo below, where I used the tiniest dab of Inglot no. 58 in the centre of the lips and blended it out with the Michael Todd Creme Glace Lipgloss in Natural:
5. Learn to multipurpose your products. We've all heard of using lipstick as cream blush, but maybe there are other ways you haven't thought about? I frequently use a cool brown eyeshadow as a brow powder, dab cheek highlighters to brighten up the inner corners of my eyes, define my crease with a bronzer, or use my NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer as an eye primer. I've even tried using my Project MAD pencil eyeliners as cream eyeshadow bases but alas, they're not really suited to that task. At any rate, it's fun to see what you can think of just to shake things up!
Do you guys like experimenting with different ways of using the products in your stash, or is it something not really worth the effort in your opinion? I generally enjoy playing around with what I have, but when I'm pressed for time, I usually just take the road most traveled. What are your top tips for maximizing your collection, or best ideas on using things up? I'd love to know!


  1. I find it easy to use up eye liners especially when they need sharpening. I like to mix foundations as well, but I have a hard time using up any of mine. Seems impossible. Lipsticks however, go pretty fast if I remember to reapply a few times a day. Too bad I'm staying home most of the time now, so I don't even need to apply makeup. There goes any dent I want to make. Haha!

  2. Way to go Monica! I am so with you on this.. I have been trying to use up a lot of stuff too for the past many months now and while I actually wear very little makeup day to day I have been trying to be better with eye makeup without looking too made up! Love your tips and All that best for the Make A Dent Project! :-)

  3. Your adherence to Project Make-a-Dent is truly admirable, and I love these looks, especially the gradient lip. I don't usually layer my lip products because I want each shade to show up in its "purest" form (i.e. I'm completely neurotic), but you've inspired me to try some gloss layering. I rarely wear my glosses anyway, so I might as well experiment with them. And sigh, I miss Kate's posts on Japanese beauty. :(

    By the way, I can't believe your tube of Coral Reef is still good! Mine went all gooey before two years had passed.

  4. I totally agree to your suggestions. I think everyone should try a bit.
    I've used lipstick as blush - Lipstick with lip pencil, with gloss, together with lip care... And I've also tried mixing them up. In my honest opinion I only like the classical usage of lipstick. The other techniques were too dry for my lips (speaking of lipliner or powdering it!) or they disappeared after a few minutes xD Concerning blushes and Bronzers, I use some of them as eyeshadows ;-)
    When it comes to placements I totally aggree to Japanese fashon and beauty magazines. I don't get used to the western way of smokey eyes, cut crease and stuff - I like the Asian way much more! It's the way I wear eye make up every day.

  5. Love all the new ideas in this post, many that I'd not thought to do with my own stash. I'm going to pull out my tube of Coral Reef and see how it looks over my pink lipsticks, it turned out very pretty for you :)

  6. I've been mixing my foundations in an effort to use up my NARS sheer glow which is a part of my Project Make A Dent. But what I also find very effective is carrying only one lipstick in my make-up bag. I tend to re-apply lipstick multiple times a day and if I only have one option, then I tend to use it up.

  7. This post is chock-full of great suggestions!! I can't think of anything else... hmm, I do use blush as shadow, sometimes, e.g. I saw that coral/pink e/s are making a comeback (like Burberry spring) so I usually just find a blush shade in my stash that kinda match, or match with layering. Usually I'd find one.

    Putting things in frequently-reached spaces also help. All the lip balm/gloss I put in my purse always got used up first, ditto with anything with sunscreen (hand cream with sunscreen can be used in a pinch to cover face before going out). I also decant things and spread them around the bags (gym, diaper, purse) such as cream blush, foundation, concealer, etc.

  8. Coral Reef is so preeeetty! I love your tips, I never layer or combine lippies... I like your first two lip looks the most.

  9. Amazing post, Monika! Even though I'm not really on the minimalist side of things, I really should appreciate and use more what I own! You've noted here some fun ways to experiment that I'll definitely try out. :)

    Loved the posts about the alphabet blush! Such an original idea, really. I don't know if I'm brave enough to rock it on the street, but I'll definitely try it out at home, haha.