Making the Cut: Lipstick Edition

Making the Cut: Lipstick Edition

If you follow me on Instagram, you might recall seeing a flatlay of my makeup collection. That is actually the more “curated” version of my collection. Like many people, I went a little overboard when I started getting into indie cosmetic brands. It didn’t help that I was also really getting back into makeup in general, so I had all the pretties at Sephora to get my grubby mitts on, too. I had hundreds of single eyeshadows (including the little sample baggies), blushes that I bought because omg pretty, and more perfumes than my nose could feasibly handle. Over time, I’ve toned down the “buy buy buy” mentality and have gotten rid of things that don’t suit me for one reason or another. Even though my collection is on the larger side, I’m generally happy with it and am really only looking to hone down specific sections (perfume being one of them).

Getting rid of things in your collection can be difficult, especially for things that you generally like. The big thing is finding the difference between things you like and things you need, as well as things that are unique to your collection. And the end of the day, no matter the collection size, you have to be happy with what you have.

For the next few weeks, I’ll be making some posts sharing what I do to determine what gets the boot and what stays in my collection, starting with lipsticks. I hope you find things helpful!

Color Family Swatches

The first thing I always do is gather all of my lipsticks in the same color family and do mass swatches. It’s easy to let your collection get out of hand, especially when it comes to your favorite color. At one point, I had over 30 red lipsticks alone. So, I grabbed them all to see which ones were similar enough in color that I could then put to a battle of the death.

Below are some of the red lipsticks that survived the eventual battle royale.

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Top to Bottom: Darling Girl Cosmetics Eat You Up, Fyrinnae We The People, Anastasia Beverly Hills Runway Red Lip Gloss, Ofra Atlantic City, Bite Beauty Braised Maple, Lipstick Queen Black Tie, Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Pur Couture 203, Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Pur Couture 71, Besame Cosmetics Red Velvet, Besame Cosmetics American Beauty

Battle Royale: Formula Testing

Swatches don’t tell you everything. After I did swatches to find color dupes, I then did testing to see which formula I liked better. I made a spreadsheet of all of my lipsticks, separated out into five categories: reds, berries, pinks/mauves, browns/nudes, and unconventional colors. I then wore every single one of my lipsticks, one color family at a time. This allowed me to figure out what kind of formulas I liked best based on wear time and reapplication. This is really the best test to a lipstick.

How easily does it apply? Does it take some work to get a clean line? Is a lip liner required? Is it patchy or streaky? How long will it last before needing to reapply? Do you need to take it off completely to add some more (some liquid matte formulas are good for that) or can you just touch it up? Based on the formula, how likely are you going to wear it regularly?

If it helps you, start a journal to keep track of your thoughts. This could be more helpful than a generic star rating system. You might want to keep Lipstick A because while it doesn’t last long, it’s easy to apply and reapply. But Lipstick B might be a keeper because while initial application can be a little bit of a struggle, it lasts all day with no reapplication necessary.

I also like to think about colors based on where I’ll be wearing it. With my job, I can’t wear more “unconventional” colors to work, so they’re strictly going out colors. That means that they have to be more sturdy because they need to last decently through drinks (and if they can last through bar food it’s even better). I can’t be worried about my lipstick every time I sip my beer. So a lipstick from the same company in two different colors could be judged differently based simply on where I’m wearing it to.

Reassess Your Collection Regularly

This is the most difficult part for me. Tastes change as time goes on, and even by season. So while I may not have been feeling that hot pink lipstick in December, come May I’m all about it. Keep these things in mind so you don’t kick things out that you may regret.

Give yourself a number that you don’t want to go over, and kick things out when you get over that number. Do another round of swatches and maybe set yourself a challenge. Have a bunch of liquid matte lipsticks from different companies? Test them for the next month so you can see which ones really have the best formulas. Give less loved lipsticks a good whiff to make sure they haven’t expired. Grab your journal and start tracking lipstick use so you can track your most and least used items.

At the end of the day, make sure you have a collection that you’re happy with and doesn’t stress you out. Thanks for reading, and I hope you’ve found some good tips! Next time I’ll talk about blushes and highlighters.