If you had to start your stash over, what would you do differently?

Be more discerning about purchases and make less impulsive purchases. Return things I hate more often. Try a variety of colors/finishes sooner to have a better idea of what I want to have in my arsenal in the future.

— Christine
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When I started building my stash 3 years ago, I didn’t know about Colour Pop. If I did, I would’ve bought all my shadows, blushes, lipsticks, lip pencils, highlighters from them first, would’ve saved me a fortune, and their formula performs the best on my skin type and oily lids, better than brands that cost 2-7x more. Then if CP didn’t have a particular product or color, I would look to other brands. I would also have bought more UD and MUFE Artist Shadows, and not wasted time on cheaper ones. And I didn’t discover Temptalia until 2.5 years ago either, and since then, the quality (and quantity) of my stash has grown exponentially. Oh well, better late than never !

Do more Internet research, look up reviews and not make as many impulse purchases!

I’m kinda jealous of makeup n00bs just now getting into collecting because drugstore stuff is leap and bounds ahead of what it was 10, even 5 years ago, imo. If I lost it all now some ::knock on wood:: I think I’d try to keep it a budget as my tastes will allow.

Oh man I would do everything differently. I wish I had discovered this site earlier for sure!
I would never buy “backups” for anything (even limited edition) because there’s always the next big thing.
I would do more saving up for things I actually want and less on trying out things I think will be “good enough” and then end up buying the thing I wanted in the first place.
I would be a lot more careful about holiday all-in-one palettes because initially I had no idea that a lot of them have lower quality items.
I would think harder about buying things just because they’re on sale. Sales come around all the time and there’s always next time.

Everything about this is what I would do too. I still spend money on “good enough” products instead of saving even though I know each time that it’s going to be a waste 🙁

Amy, you hit the nail on the head! Those are all lessons I learned quite some time ago, but they came to me over a period of years during which I wasted a lot of money.

Yes! How many products (dollars) have I wasted buy “stocking” up during a sale, only to not use the product because I found a better product that I purchased (at full price) later on.

Stop buying multiples of the same thing (nude palettes; MLBB lipsticks; pink glosses; shimmering finishing powders … I think one or maybe two Meteorites is plenty, so why do I have six?

LOL! You should see how many Météorites I have–but then I collect them. Don’t ask me why or how it got started. I guess I just can’t resist those pretty containers full of colorful little balls 🙂

For starters, I would have chosen quality over quantity. Not throwing so much money down the drain on stuff that I only settled for because I didn’t think I could afford better.
Plus: With what I know now about obeying my undertones, especially with neutrals, I would have listened to my daughter and gotten the UD Naked 1 instead of the 2.
Thirdly: Impulse control would’ve saved me many headaches!!!

Don’t buy as many things because they are Limited edition and invest in a variety of shades and finishes early on. These days I have probably 15 different champagne/neutral eyeshadows, but not a single black one!

If you mean if I could go back in time and do things differently: I wouldn’t. I liked the journey. I like my stash. I purge pretty regularly and throw out stuff that’s gone bad, and give away the good stuff that I don’t use.

If my house caught fire and all my makeup was destroyed, I would use my experience to my advantage. The last couple years I’ve spent a ton of time and money updating my makeup and skincare, after going nearly two decades without buying much. My skin changed after hitting 40. There are better primers and products out. I know better what brands and products work for me. There are some so-so items or items that I just didn’t use as much as I thought, and I would not repurchase those. Now that I just get the gel manicures at the salon, I wouldn’t buy as much nail polish.

This was my first thought, that I wouldn’t change anything (if we’re talking about going back in time) because of everything I’ve learned along the way. It’s the accumulated knowledge that would allow me to easily start over in the (unthinkable!) event that I lost my entire stash. Also, I would return things more frequently if they didn’t perform well for me.

I agree with all your comments and I’d add not buying foundations without a big previous test and don’t let SA sell you darker foundations.

I’d just buy what I love and constantly reach for now and STOP THERE!! I have a gazillion choices now and I still keep reaching for the same things.

Ignore the Limited Edition stuff. Seriously you end up loving a shade and can’t find it again later you end up not using it for fear of running out… Than what’s the point of getting it in the first place. lol

There is so many better options in the market now then when I started to really get into makeup back in 2005. Research has always been my friend when making a decision whether or not to buy into something. At the end of the day know one wants to buy a complete dude of a product, even if you

I agree on return things when they are a dud, in Canada you will get banned from shopping at stores if your a repeat offender of mostly returning stuff and that fear drives people to not return things up here in general. It a fine line between it does work for me verses it won’t work for anyone where I return things.

Funnily enough when I returned my Tarte Tarteist Lip Paint which has been the third thing even I’ve returned to Sephora ever. The sales clerk made me feel shitty about it saying, “This if fine, the formula is supposed to be like that, it a velvet finish.” I was thinking great but TARTE did say anything when it was launched what it was supposed to be like and it a mouse paste to me, when I got it. lol

I still was much happier getting a Buxom shadow palette, with the return and b-day gift card. lol

Oh, jeez. I return so much to Sephora (in the US). I always feel guilty about it but the SAs never give me a problem. I just like to give products an honest try, and more often than not I end up determining I don’t “need” it. I don’t consider that return fraud.

I’m in Canada and I had no idea that stores could ban you. I almost never return things but luckily the rare times that I have at Sephora, they didn’t seem to care. Sorry you were given attitude!

Don’t try to experiment with colors when you’re buying makeup online is the biggest one for me haha. My makeup collection is full of bright colors that I’ll never wear because I didn’t know that I couldn’t pull off bright colors at the time! I’d also just generally do more research before buying things.

I would have started a spreadsheet or something to keep track of what I have. I also would have figured out a better way to organize and allow foe growth. In the beginning, I made a lot of poor decisions on my purchases and many things went to waste. I’m not even sure if beauty blogs existed back when I first started. But, I guess less impulse buying would have been at least better.

Focus more on quality, not quantity. Buy only from cruelty-free companies. Prioritize skincare over color cosmetics. Spend more on workhorse products and save on the things I only use occasionally (false lashes, glitter, colorful shadow, etc.).

I agree with everything you said, Christine. Especially about returning things that didn’t work. Also, if I could do over I would request more samples of foundations and try them for at least a week before purchasing. I have so many bottles of foundation that I loved at first but then ended up hating later on for whatever reason.

I’d not have bought so many blushes. What I’ve found is they all end up blending into my yellow-based foundation and warming up anyway and looking fairly the same (with the exception of mood exposure) – MAC Warm Soul, Benefit Rockateur, Tarte Dollface, Nars Orgasm, Luminous Flush, Coralista….all end up looking not-that-different after applied.

yes! this happens to me too! A lot of blushes just blend and look kinda orangy on my skintone and now I have like 15 of the same shade.

Definitely wait for reviews and make fewer impulse buys. Pay more attention to dupes. Return items that didn’t work for me more often. Hold myself accountable for my products used-to-products purchased ratio.

I would not have purchased so many things. It takes forever to use a blush or an eye shadow or lipstick. However, it took what it took for me to figure out what I like and what is flattering to me, specifically. Now that I know what works, I’ll stick with it.

Basically, I am all about Mac Quite Natural paint pot, black liner, nude blush, slight highlight and lip balm. And one YSL red glossy stain (number 10 I think) on occasion.

I don’t think I’ll need to purchase anything for the next five years.

Quality over quantity. I used to feel like I had to have every finish and color of everything and didn’t pay attention to quality as much.

When trying out a new color product (e.g., lipstick, eye shadow), I would buy only one color and not purchase a second color unless, after about 30 days or ten wears, I am convinced that I like the properties of the product. Also, I would try on before buying.

Invest in skin care more than makeup, and look for staples over items that are trending. I have plenty of makeup items that I really enjoy and I won’t be buying much makeup this year unless I actually run out of something I use often like face primer or lipstick.

My main issue is being too reluctant to return things and having a suck-it-up-and-just-use-it outlook. Luckily, I’ve been turning things around and over the past year, returned a couple things that didn’t work for me at all, but wow, my storage containers would be quite a bit lighter had I adopted this philosophy a lot sooner.

My secondary issue is impulsive buying too, although it’s not nearly as frequent. There are maybe only a small handful of items that I’ve purchased over the years impulsively that ended up being lacklustre, and of course, paired with my stubbornness/sheepishness regarding returning items, you’re left with products sitting there.

When I started buying makeup, the internet was just a dream. I have learnt so much from reading this blog.
I certainly wouldn’t have wasted my money on all those DS quads.
I am generally very happy with my stash as I didn’t really start buying quality eye shadows until a few years ago when I came across this blog.
Mainly, I wish I had bought Naked 2 before Naked 1.
I wish had my foundation shade right after all those years buying the wrong ones.

Definitely not purchase as many of the blues, greens, silvers and purples I purchased in my early 20s. Even back then I only wore them if I went clubbing or something like that and wanted a more colorful look. I’ve always been a neutrals girl and should have just stuck with that.

If my stash got completely destroyed or lost somehow, I would just rebuild what I have – I have all the names and products I own on spreadsheets that I keep current. I love my stash and it’s exactly what I want it to be so I’d just stick with what I already had.

If it’s more of a “if you knew then what you know now” question, I would say the physical organization (acrylic organizers ,depotting to palettes) but not sure it existed 20 years ago. When I started getting into makeup, I went straight to makeovers because I had no idea how to pick out color or apply it. I would buy everything used on me so I could re-create the look, and I made templates/face charts along the way. At the time I kept everything in tubs and drawers and I know a few things fell out of rotation because it was just easier to use what was on top of the tub. About 2 years ago I started organizing everything with palettes and acrylic organizers and in the process, did a lot of purging. Now, because it is organized, I’m able to rotate my stash pretty regularly (once a week) so everything is getting good use.

Also, I would have found somebody I could have worked with on the regular (instead of makeovers by a different MUA each time) when it came to makeup so that I didn’t impulse buy so much. I’ve never been great at picking out what would look good on me as far as color goes, so the expense of a makeup consultation every once in a while would have been worth it to me. I have someone I work with now that I trust and it is worth every penny – between checking Temptalia and consulting with her, I’ve got a stash that really suits me.

I’ll just say DITTO to your response, Christine! I have entirely too many products that I don’t use & I’ve inadvertently bought dupes of lipsticks I forgot I already purchased.

Buy less premade palettes, don’t be afraid to return something you don’t like (they wouldn’t have a return policy if it weren’t ok to return), research swatches and reviews of stuff instead buying just based on the website photo (never true to life!). I also think I bought too many ColourPop eyeshadows and lipsticks in shades I’ve only worn once, if at all (at least I wasted my money on $5 stuff instead of luxury!). I really need to weed through my stash and if I haven’t used it in 6 months, it’s going to the garbage or a friend, unless it’s a “special occasion” product that I really do love but rarely use.

I would say “buy less foundation” because I have a half a dozen bottles of foundation I only used a handful of times, but that was the only way for me to really figure out what shade I am and what kind of foundation I like. Most of them were drugstore, fortunately.

Yes, I agree with everything you said – more discerning and less impulse buys, especially drug store because I almost never end up using them & give them away or donate them. I’d also try to use things up before purchasing something similar. I have over 12+ foundations and it seems pointless because it takes so long to get through 1. I can see having like 3 bases for different finishes or shades, but I definitely don’t need as many as I have.

I’d watch a LOT less youtube! My resistance to the power of suggestion has been much lower than I’d have liked to think it was… “Oh! Every shade of bronzer and blush from ELF?/’Naked’ this, that, or the other thing from Urban Decay? I NEED THAT!”… I’ve bought SO much stuff just because some youtuber said it was awesome, without a lot of thought into whether or not I’d actually use it, good quality or not.


Well, my stash used to be mostly MAC and very manageable. I was never into eyeshadow palettes until I started watching YouTube videos. I’m glad I discovered Urban Decay, as well as as other brands because of this. But now what was a carefully curated and perfectly sized collection has grown to needing its own room. I have over 90 blushes, if that tells you anything.

I’ve always had a rabid passion for makeup, since I was in junior high. And I was spoiled. I was using high-end in high school. But at that age, MAC was not yet available to me nor had Sephora come to the States yet. This was in the early nineties. Anyway, we’re only 8 days into the new year and I’ve already made VIB Rouge through the end of 2017. What does that tell y’all about my makeup junkie issues? But in all honestly, I’m truly passionate about makeup and skincare. I watch Tarababyz on YT and I adore her even though I think her collection is outrageous. But I GET HER. And watching her and others with their passion makes me feel less like a freak. I don’t have any women in my real life that love makeup the way I do. They usually come to me for advice on application or brands, ingredients in certain brands, etc. I’m their living, breathing beauty bible. But I have a box of unused high-end makeup because I got duplicates of the same product and guess what? Can’t find a woman around me that is interested in checking that box of gorgeous makeup out. 🙁

It’s not my fault my hobby, my passion has an expiration date. Besides, as Lisa Eldridge’s new book FACE PAINT has shown, some items are collectibles even though you can no longer use the makeup itself. I just love the artistry of makeup. And if I had it to do all over again, I’d want to not only be a real Pro MUA, but also a Special Effects Makeup Artist working in the television industry. But in all honesty, my collection that I had 10 years ago, fit into a large pro size makeup travel case and was just enough for me. Now it overwhelms me. LE SIGH. Never thought I’d have a beauty room.

I would do probably 90% of what I did differently.

The main point is to buy a LOT less, because things usually don’t get used up as fast as I thought, and also because make-up does have an expiration date at some point, even if that is some years in the future (with powders). So when a product goes bad before you can use it or you never get around to using it, you could aswell just have burned the money.

Also I would not buy multiples or backups unless it is a staple item that I use all the time and I am sure I will get around using the new purchases, too. That rules out buying backups of all LE items aswell.
I don’t mind LE items as such, in regards to whether I can buy it again, because it might be fine to use up the one product and enjoy it and not buy it again. However, meanwhlle there really are similar products available quite often, just maybe from another brand.

Another important factor is to me to really look at oneself, one’s eye shape, eye color, facial shape and so on and really think about whether the desired product will actually suit. Of course that depends on whether you want to use make-up more in a “myself but better”-concept or if you want to to make-up as art (or both). I personally noticed that I will not do a lot of colorful eye make-up, bright colours are rather used as accents sometimes, and I don’t feel comfortable with some lipstick colours, even though they suit me. So it would have been nice had I realized that before buying a lot of bright colours, and figured it out while owning only a few.

A similar thought goes towards brushes, as they not only have to be good quality but also should fit to the shape or your face or eyes. That took a while for me to learn, and then to search a lot, because I need brushes for small eyes which are much rarer than those for larger eyes.

The next point probably depends on how your skin “processes” colours, but I noticed that I don’t need shades which are only marginally different; however prettily they swatch. As they are applied, the difference can only be seen under a microscope. This is more valid for eyeshadows than for lipstick, though. Then, most blushes look the same on me aswell, I go for variations of pink but they all turn into the same pink in the end (when they don’t turn brown). So resulting from that is the revelation that I don’t need most of what I have, or could have spend the money in a better way (or just saved it).

In the end, I have to say that I regret a lot of what I bought throughout the years, not necessarily because the quality was not good but because it was not right for me or just way too much stuff. If I would start again, I really only would get a very small collection of products that also can realistically be used up in time. Luckily, I have turned toward this more realistic approach in the past year and I hope to continue in the future.

Less drugstore because I get to many misses and the return policy is never that great. Focus on things I’d actually tested first. I’m horrible at returning things so if I blind buy something I usually won’t take it back if it doesn’t work for me.

I would swatch everything then only buy if it was a unique colour. I definitely wouldn’t buy Mac limited editions just because the packaging is cute. Fewer nail varnishes too as I chuck so many out when they go gloopy, it’s such a waste. I would log all shades of eyeshadow then only buy palettes that didn’t have several repeats. I did start this but gave up! I realised just how many grey/silver shades I had which was ridiculous. I hate thinking about the ‘price per wear’ of my make up. I definitely have very few bargains!

Should I ever have to start my stash over, I would definitely be better about returning items that don’t work out, as I am quicker to do now than when I started. I would also research items prior to purchasing which makes for better results overall. I also would not subscribe to as many beauty boxes. I have cancelled them all besides the Allure one, as that is truly the cream of the crop products wise. Yet I wasted a lot of money seeking to try new things and expand my makeup and skincare horizons when they give you a lot of crappy products I have not, and likely will never use.

I think a huge thing is quality over quantity! A beauty resolution of mine in 2015 was to use up whats in my stash because it was getting ridiculous! I used up over 150 beauty related products (makeup, skincare, and haircare) and I’m bringing that into 2016 with me too. That may sound like a ridiculous amount, but if you think of deluxe samples (mascaras and skincare), it is pretty reasonable. By trying to go through my stash, I’m trying to get to a point where I can start off my collection fresh, but that’s still a long ways away.

I wish I had been more adventurous early on. I spent a boat load of money on Bare Minerals loose pigments because at the time I was positive that was the “only” brand that I liked. They aren’t bad, but I don’t reach for them as much now.

Ignore the holiday/limited edition sets and kits. I usually only buy them for one shade and ignore the others, such a waste.

Get a better realization of what I own and limit purchases of nearly identical products.

Try to limit the impulse purchases (I still struggle with this).

I would not have bought so many drugstore items simply because they were on sale, I would have researched my choices before buying, and saved my spending for higher quality items. But the most important thing I would have done and should still do is not pretend I am a beauty blogger on YouTube who has to buy huge quantities of cosmetics so I can review and test it when I’m NOT and its only me who sees it before it gets filed in a drawer.

I wouldn’t fall for gimmicky products as I did in the beginning and I wouldnt keep trying types of products that I knew I didnt like, like cream blushes.

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