“The most beautiful makeup of a woman is passion. But cosmetics are easier to buy.” 
― Yves Saint Laurent

A fun post for today, kittens, and of the sort that are oh, so satisfying…at least if you indulge your inner nosiness as much as I do. Once again I’ve tracked the number of beauty products I’ve used up since the start of the year as I work towards a more streamlined product shelf and a better grip on my spending.


Once again, this category is deeply unglamorous for a woman who likes beauty as much as I do, but what can you do. I continue to preach the gospel of certain men’s products being cheaper and therefore worth the coin. We share a bodywash in this household and often most deodorant as well. Evidence of my travel heavy life is on display from the sample sizes of body washes, shampoos and conditioners I’ve picked up but I’m making a conscious effort to use them rather than allow them to accumulate. My bath habit is also front and center with two different products for soaking thrown in.



I crunched the numbers a while ago and my shopping habits in this area had definitely changed. I’ve always owned a mix of high and low price point items, but I’ve made a consciousness effort to find quality, active products at more affordable prices while eliminating the (silly) need to have back ups of most items on my shelf–just in case. In case of what, exactly? Finally, I’ve prioritized the items I already know and work incredibly well for me rather than chasing marketing campaigns that send me off on quests to find new products which almost inevitably leads to disappointment. In 2018 I averaged in my skincare arsenal cost $31 and in 2019 the average is $20. There are some products that are simply worth the money and I will not hesitate to replace…but there are a lot of others where I’ve been able to find equivalent formulations from independent or drugstore brands. All together, now in early 30s, my skin is probably the best it’s ever been. My whole focus is on keeping it this way for as long as possible.

Hyaluronic acids from The Ordinary and two tubes of Priming Moisturizer from Glossier should surprise no one. The Botanics eye cream made it into a monthly favorites post a while ago and my enthusiasm continues unabated, as does my love for Thank You Farmer’s sunscreen. All of these items have been succeeded by their worthy replacements on my shelf. Over in exfoliating acids, Glossier, Sunday Riley and Peter Thomas Roth products run the gamut from serums to masks but I can recommend them all. The only reason I am not replacing them yet is because I am working through similar products on my shelves first. Finally, that Clinique cleanser has seen good service in the wars, but has been firmly replaced by the No 7 brand gel cleanser which I currently swear by. It is such a good product and I have been evangelizing for it heavily.



Tracking your usage is incredibly useful in curbing your spending because it takes so damn long to use a makeup product. The surest reason I have for not buying anything new is the fact that I’m already assuming my descendants will have to bury in my unused powder products someday. Perhaps I’ll leave my highlighters to my nieces or something…

Anyway, because they take so long to use, it’s always very satisfying to toss a few makeup empties into the bin under my bathroom sink. I’ve made it through multiple perfumes including a full size and a sample of scents from Frapin. This has become my go to fragrance company and I own two additional scents, one of which was a Christmas present last year. They are the most gorgeous things and very unlike anything else on the market right not. Which, as a snob, I love. That bottle of Tom Ford is a sneaky addition because it’s my husband’s scent but I, ah, have been known to spritz a whiff or two of it in my time. Don’t tell Jeff.

But I’ve also made it through another tube of Givenchy primer (not my first, though I’ve since replaced it with a drugstore option to trial), two mascaras, one brow gel, and a full bullet of lipstick (Chili by Mac, also featured on a favorites post).

What I think I really like about this update is how many of these I have shouted out before and been loyal to for months, if not years. As I said, I’ve really gotten to a point where I know what works for me and what I enjoy wearing and using. By the end of 2019 I should have a tightly edited, highly effective skincare arsenal and a honed makeup collection which is smaller than it’s been in years. I may do a separate post on how my beauty preferences have changed and my hoard has shrunk since my last update a year ago, let me know if you’d be interested in some posts along those lines.

In the meantime, to the comments! Share with me the products you swear by, where you save in your budget, where you splurge, and how your habits or tastes have changed over the years. It’s a topic I will never get bored with!

5 thoughts on “Empties!”

  1. oooohh, very curious to hear about the fragrance! My fave is impossible to find — Tiempe Passate by Antonia Bellanca. In all my time in NY I only found it twice and both stores are out of business. MUST FIND.

    I recently splurged on a new bottle of Prada Iris which is clean and subtle and so interesting people always compliment me — not a scent you smell everywhere. Also love Chanel No. 5 and am using up perfume from Byredo I bought last June at Barney’s. I do love many of Tom Ford’s fragrances — but sooooooooo expensive! The fragrances made by Hermes are all delicious; I love Terre.

    Unlike you, I’m just not super attentive to my skin: I wash with (!) soap and water or sometimes with Caudalie face wash, use drugstore moisturizer with 30 SPF (now on the backs of my hands as well.) I do love a yummy lipstick and have a decent collection; most recent Laura Mercier, a sort of nude color. My go-to’s are brow liner (sadly necessary now) by Clinique (have tried so many) and liquid liner (brown) and mascara.

    So my splurges will always be fragrance, for sure, and foundation. I think the rest can often be less expensive but still v good quality. I LOVED Boots No. 7 facial oil ($11!) but can’t find it here now. Oh, yes, just started using a Garnier pink moisturizer (no SPF, at home) which is sooooo light and lovely.

    1. My fragrance house is Frapin, a French company that stems out of a centuries old conganc crafter which stems from the 13th century! (could I possibly be more onbrand…). The bottle pictured here is passion boisee, which I absolutely love and will repurchase someday when I’ve finished up my bottle of less-loved scents from other brands. At the moment I have two other Frapin scents, one “for men” and the other “for women,” but I call balderdash on that concept. Wear what you like! Over time I’ve learned what I love which is a combination of spice, citrus, and wood. These all lean warm and masculine compared to other popular women’s fragrances, but the combination of strong and cozy is exactly the sweet spot I’m going for.

      I will keep my eye out for your scent here and why didn’t you mention your love of No 7 oil! I’m sure I can hook you up!

      You have really good skin and you’ve cared for it well so whatever you’re doing…keep doing it. Even if you wash with soap (my own skin shrinks in horror because the couple of times I have tried that it has gone into full and very sudden revolt)! Laura Mercier makes such lovely products, and all in that very “natural” looking space which is highly underrated in our Instagram age.

      1. Your fragrance taste is similar to mine…I veer between lush floral (but crisp, like Chanel No. 5); fresh/green like O de Lancome and more “male” scents with a lot of layers.


        I wonder how my skin is still in good shape. My theory: 1) have never smoked; 2) exercise a lot; 3) sleep a lot; 4) don’t drink a lot; 5) no kids! but seriously, I manage stress fairly carefully; 6) just good luck…good genes.

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