How would you approach rebuilding your stash?

I would start with the basics–foundation, mascara, brow products, lip balm, and skincare. For color cosmetics, I would purchase two or three of my favorite lip colors (probably a coral, plum, and red),
build my own palette with eyeshadow singles (maybe ten or so? to start), two or so colors of other things like blush,
highlighter, eyeliner, etc. I’d definitely repurchase any personal holy grails but would hold off on buying anything I liked but didn’t 100% love until I had more time to consider how to expand my stash.

— Christine


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Joan Avatar

I would buy basics from the drugstore (foundation, concealer, mascara & brows) and probably some colors products too ( blush & lips) just because it would allow me to have more variations and options, I love going colorful. But I would definitely splurge for eye shadows and buy higher end.

xamyx Avatar

Oddly enough, if I were put into a situation where I had to start over, I think I’d become one of “those people” who only have the bare minimum. My stash has been in the making for so long now, I don’t think I’d have the time, energy, or patience, considering how much was LE or long since DC’d.

Alice Avatar

1. Skincare.
2. Foundation, primer, setting powder.
3. Brow pencil, mascara, brow bone highlighting shadow.
4. Complete eye shadow + liner looks in mossy green, purple, teal, red/gold/copper, and cool darker taupe.
5. Lipsticks + matching liners in red, purple, black, a blue or green, and a dark burgundy or eggplant.
6. Blushes in mauve and coral or peach, highlighters in cool pink and golden beige.

Then go from there and fill in more eye, cheek, and lip colors with products that perform well and I will use regularly.

Cheyenne Avatar

After several sensitivity reactions, I’m actually in the process of doing this! First, I’m paring down my skin care to the essentials (cleanser, eye cream, serum, moisturizer, sunscreen) and avoiding value sets/samples. Makeup-wise, I’m panning until I’m down to what I have figured out are my HG formulas and colors (a neutral Chanel eye quad, Tom Ford Frantic Pink Cheek Color, a couple of Rouge Coco Glosses, a red Chanel lipstick, and Tom Ford Wild Ginger Lip Color).

Seraphine Avatar

I have been trying to answer this question for awhile and just can’t figure out how to approach it. So I’ll give two answers…

1. If I had the ability to buy what I would really need to start over, I’d re-buy Estee Lauder Double Wear Foundation, Clinique Brow Shaper, Tarte Shape Tape, NYX face and eye primers, Cover Girl mascara, Laura Mercier powder, and Clinique blush. For eyeshadows, I’d re-buy MAC singles in Malt, Omega, and Quarry, plus Urban Decay Virgin. I’d re-buy MAC Twig, Hug Me, and Russian Red lipsticks. For skin care, I’d re-buy Clinique’s 3-step (slightly mixed up). Plus Jack Black lip balm and Estee Lauder eye cream.

2. Realistically, I can’t afford to do all that, so I’d splurge on the Estee Lauder Double Wear, Clinique Brow Shaper, and Clinique 3-step, but head to the drugstore for everything else. Then I’d slowly re-buy all my favorites over time.

thirteenthirteen Avatar

I had good reason to think about this lately. I live in Sonoma County, California, where we have suffered serious wildfires this month. Fortunately my makeup, my house, and I are fine. (I didn’t even have to evacuate, so I was really lucky – probably about half of my coworkers had to evacuate at some point this month.) I packed a go-bag in case I got the knock on my door in the middle of the night to get out but I didn’t include any makeup. When you have limited space and you’re packing what could be your only possessions left in the world, you have to think about what’s really important and makeup didn’t make the cut.

If I had to replace my entire makeup collection I would probably be more minimalist. I had to buy a lot of stuff to find my favorites and I wouldn’t bother to re-buy a lot of things that I’m only so-so on. I’d get my HG foundation, a concealer, mascara, probably Viseart neutral mattes, maybe 20 shimmery singles to keep in a medium sized MUFE palette, three or four blushes, and maybe eight lipsticks.

Nancy T Avatar

Quality over quantity approach. Basic HG first of all: FAB Pure Mineral Sunscreen Moisturizer SPF 40, Origins GinZing Refreshing Eye Cream, Ole Henrikson Truth Serum would be some of the first things replaced in my skincare. Then my HG mascara, tightlining pencil, brow pencil and powder, foundation and eyeshadow primer. For color products: rebuild my own eyeshadow palettes, starting with around 10 shades, plus replace my ABH Modern Renaissance Palette, 2 or 3 favorite go-to blushes (UD Rapture being first!), several easy to wear lipsticks, with at least one great red, an MLBB, somehow get a replacement of UD Troublemaker, and also UD Catfight, a handful of Nyx Slim Lip Pencils, and replace my Fenty Universal Lip Bomb.

Ilene Avatar

Hm, interesting question. I am currently looking for a cleanser with no parabens so I’d start with that. Happy with my other skincare.
Trying the Becca concealer with wand, aqua something and the Chanel corrector in beige. Fingers crossed
Givenchy loose powder translucent, overpriced but I love.
Since I just got the ambient palette with blush, bronzer and dim light would certainly retain it.
A fresh pot rouge in pale pink from Bobbi
A fresh El sumptous I can’t spell it extreme mascara
A chocolate brown eyeliner pencil with a thin point
Mac skinny brush mascara, comes in blue tube, can’t recall name
one or two of the new Tom Ford lipsticks in finally lots of neutral colors, I don’t wear red lipstick or other dark colors.
KA brow pencil but there really should be refills. It’s 2017, go green!
I think I like Eyeshadows more in theory than in practice but need a pale pinky beige for lid and then I do like BB stone shimmer and the discontinued( why?) fawn shimmer shadows. Maybe a nice not yellowy sage green?
Another back up of my favorite Burberry kisses sheer eng rose- .
Pretty much most anything Burberry except having had success with foundations.

xamyx Avatar

Have you taken a look at cleansers in your local health food store? I’ve tried a few, and actually found my HG in Allafia Everyday Coconut Face Wash. If you have oily skin, Desert Essence Thoroughly Clean Face Wash may be a good option (or Trader Joe’s does their own version). All are cheap, CF, vegan, detergent-free, and don’t contain parabens or other “chemicals”.

Anne Avatar

I actually did this several years ago. My stash was over-the-top, and I rarely tossed or gave away things as I should have. After several unsuccessful attempts to organize it all properly, I finally conceded that the problem was my buying habits, not my makeup storage skills. I started separating out the items I truly loved, and died a little when I figured out they amounted to about 5% of what I owned. That’s so bad, I know, but that’s the truth of it. It took me awhile to weed through everything else and many times I had to stop and convince myself that the ‘maybe-I’ll-wear-this-sometime’ pile had to get smaller or I was never going to get this done. The hard part was finally having to wave goodbye to so much stuff. I clearly had things that were beyond expiration, didn’t use enough, didn’t ever use or shouldn’t ever use again. But, it was also a relief to be rid of it, once I got over the shock.

I started over, and with all my lessons-learned, I slowly bought only what I truly loved. I took such care to make my selections (like I was buying something really special), and I still do that even now. I had a lot of fun building my new stash. I didn’t pay too much attention to price because I bought slooooowly over time. I’d say it took me about 3-4 years before I had a small, but versatile stash (certainly not just bare-bone basics) of really wonderful products that, except for a rare mistake here or there, suited me perfectly. I will never have a huge stash again. I want to enjoy my makeup, not be addicted to buying it (which I think I was). True confessions of a former makeupholic.

xamyx Avatar

I’m at that point now, except I don’t plan to get rid of anything that hasn’t gone off, as I do love (at least most of) what I own, and it is pretty organized. However, I still have more than I could ever get through any time soon, and since new things tend to push even old favorites I may even love more to the wayside, I’ve decided I need to be much more discriminating with what I add.

Over the last year, I did toss a shoebox full of lipstick & about 20 foundations that were nearly full that had gone long past their lifespan… When I went over the amount of money I was tossing into the trash in my head, it really left me with a knot in my stomach…

Lindsay Avatar

I’m sorta in the process of rebuilding my stash, only in reverse! I’ve been collecting makeup for years and years and recently came to the conclusion that I was just overwhelmed. So I’ve been decluttering and minimizing like crazy, getting down to what I think is a “reasonable” amount that covers all the basics and is still fun. I’ve gone from hundreds of lip products down to around 16 lipsticks. Honestly, I think I will keep downsizing until I have my go to’s with a MLBB shade, a red, a plum, a pink and a burgundy/vamp shade. Same goes with all other color products!

CeeBee Avatar

First, I’d dry all my tears.

Then I’d repurchase my HG foundation, concealer, powder, mascara and brow products. I’d then buy 1 decently sized, good quality eyeshadow palette of neutral shades, a blush palette of 4 – 6 colours, two Zoeva eyeliners in brown and black and Colourpop lip colours in Dopey, Cami and Lumiere.

Then I’d do my makeup, grab my wallet and GO. TO. TOWN.

Heather Finch Avatar

I’d definitely benefit from having tried so many varieties of shade, color, tone and formula, but I think I’d end up with the following (keeping in mind that I’d be starting with a small budget and adding things as I go):

(1) Skincare basics — CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser + CeraVe PM Lotion + a Biore or Missha sunscreen. Total: $30.

(2) A drugstore foundation (probably Revlon Nearly Naked). Total: $10.

(3) Essence Make Me Brow — I like it just as much as any of the ‘fancier’ brow gels, and it gets the job done. (Though I would add NYX’s micro brow pencil once I had a little more money — sometimes I over-tweeze!). Total: $3.

(4) Drugstore mascara — honestly, there are SO many good ones out there that I probably wouldn’t ever bother replacing with high-end! I love the Maybelline Volume Express line (especially Falsies and Colossal). Total: $7.

(5) Blush — here’s where I have a hard time not splurging! I’d want to go for a decent palette with a mix of cool/warm/neutral, but my HGs (UD Gwen Stefani, Hourglass Ambient Blush palette) are discontinued. I think I’d pick up one natural “flushed” sheer stain (Josie Maran Watercolor Gelees are severely underrated, imo), a peachy-pink satin or lightly-shimmery powder (something sheer-ish from MAC), and something a little more matte and neutral (Tarte Exposed, maybe). Total: $60.

(6) One skintone cream shadow — ColourPop, Maybelline Color Tattoo, etc, don’t care — and one drugstore champagne-y shimmer single in either cream or powder form. Total: $10.

(7) One neutral lip (love the ColourPop blotted line or UD Sheer Liar!), one plummy-berry (huge fan of the Bite Liquefied option), one red that I could blot down to a “stained” look if necessary (I have a million reds, and any would work fine for this). Total: $40.

(8) Makeup brushes — Real Techniques are good enough for my skill level, and you can assemble a decent set of them for not too much money (especially if you shop online!). Total: $30.

That would do it for necessities! I’d probably check out places like reddit’s MUE and eBay for sample sizes or lightly-used-and-sanitized products where possible — when was the last time I worked my way through an entire blush? — but even if I had to do full sizes, and even with the expensive blushes, I think I could get all seven categories for less than $200.

I’d add other luxuries back in over time — Missha Time Revolution Ampoule, It Cosmetics Confidence in a Cream, Acure Marula Oil, generic bimatoprost, It Cosmetics CC Cream, a custom MUFE shadow trio, the Laura Mercier Eye Art Artist Palette, It Cosmetics Tightline mascara, Fresh Seaberry Oil, a good Vit C serum, some wholly unnecessary blushes and lipsticks. I might also pick up ONE highlight/contour kit (Kevin Aucoin or ABH), but I only contour on special occasions and probably highlight once a week — it’s not my priority. I might also pick up the Viseart Paris Nudes, which I don’t own but would like to own.

Genevieve Avatar

First of all I would raid the budget beauty shops for basics such as eye brow pencil, primer, setting powder, mascara and lipsticks.
I would check out the foundations to see if any of the shades there matched my complexion.
I find that DS brands, especially here in Aus, don’t always do great eyeshadows or blushes.
For eyeshadows – I would ask myself – what are the shades that I would wear 80 – 90% of the time. If it’s neutrals I don’t think you could beat the Naked palettes. Expensive as they maybe, they are great value.
For colours, I would be looking at quads/quints for those pops of colour that you love.
Blushes – there are many mid range brands that sell blushes in the shades that you suit you the best.

Above all, try and stock up on staples when the sales are on. Check out the reviews first before you buy.

Aubrey Avatar

This question is so timely! I have been eagerly reading all the responses, because thanks to hurricane Harvey, I am actually in the process of doing this right now. It is SO HARD. My first floor apartment was completely flooded and I lost approximately 8+ years of my makeup collection. Luckily, I had evacuated the day before the storm got really bad so I was safe. In terms of makeup, I had time to grab a small travel bag of makeup to take with me. Just the “every day essentials”…I had an IT powder foundation, Hourglass setting powder, benefit brow stuff, an eyeliner and a mascara, my HG blush (Nars impassioned), bronzer (MAC extra dimension aphrodite’s shell), and lipstick (Bite AB verbena). For skincare, I only grabbed a few travel sized things that would fit in a quart sized bag, so I lost most of my “good stuff” (Glamglow, fresh, belif, sunday riley, DE, etc).

Starting over is so mind boggling. I know it sounds crazy to most people (outside the makeup community anyway) but I’m still mourning all the limited edition MAC collections that I loved the most (Archie, Cinderella, Julia Petit), not to mention LE Becca, colourpop, bare minerals, etc that are gone forever and can’t be replaced…Most people I’ve talked to aren’t into makeup and they don’t understand why it’s so upsetting to me to have lost all that stuff.

Anyway, I go between feeling that I should keep my collection small and edited now and only replace my absolute HG favorites, to desperately wanting to replace every single blush, bronzer, highlighter, lipstick, etc that I can remember buying and that is still available. Not that I can do that, since I’m in grad school, but it’s hard to go to the Sephora or Ulta website and not check out everything that I wish I could buy again. It’s been so great to read everyone’s responses and think about this problem in some new ways.

Anne Avatar

Aubrey, Oh my gosh, I’m so sorry for your situation. I can totally empathize with your sense of loss. I immediately thought back to the days after 9-11 when people couldn’t take much of anything on board a plane and were having to toss all their skincare, liquid makeup, fragrance, etc., into giant trash cans, no doubt already littered with tossed cosmetics worth thousands and thousands of dollars. I wish you nothing but the best in rebuilding your circumstances to pre-Harvey normalcy. And, I hope you can treat yourself to some very special makeup items along the way.

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