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If it’s going to be over 10 shades, it should be somewhat cohesive. I don’t necessarily need it to have the perfect brow bone or transition shade (because I feel those are very skin tone dependent and including a beige highlighter often makes it a less useful shade to many skin tones!), but I should be able to use the palette together in a few different ways. I don’t mind duos and quads that work as complementary palettes to the rest of my palettes, though.

— Christine

I like duos and trios but more than that is where shades become less functional/useful generally… that being said, I wear a lot of colors/undertones myself (by choice), and a lot of the larger palettes are trying to appeal to “most,” which ends up being a light-to-medium skin tone usually so a lot do work for me. I like duos and trios as they seem more practical, easier to store, and more likely to contain two great shades (for me).

— Christine
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Thanks to for Joanna today's question!

Have you ever decluttered your collection? How did it go?

Oh, definitely! I do this regularly and continuously to some extent. As I receive press samples, I set aside products for donation that I don’t expect to cover (from products that aren’t a good to fit ones I can’t use to products I already have). After I’ve tested and reviewed products, I sort them into two “piles” where anything I expect to keep goes into bins to be sorted later, and then anything that I don’t plan to keep is set aside for donation (products that can’t be donated are given to friends/family or recycled). When I put things into “long-term” storage (actually organizing them where they should go), I routinely take older products and remove them; as they’re older, they are more likely set aside for friends/family or recycled as appropriate (e.g. 3-4 year old glosses).

— Christine

One of the keys is to cut through the marketing hype, whether what’s been creating on social media or whatever spiel the brand has along the product on the website. I like to read reviews wherever I can find them, and I look for longer reviews; I like to read a mixture of lower-rated reviews (like 2 or 3 out of 5, as I find those are often more useful than 1-star reviews on average) and higher-rated reviews to see what people seem to be saying.

— Christine

I like to use fingertip and sponges for more diffused application while sticking with natural finishes–like a satin blush, luminous base, and so forth. This helps to retain the “skin” like finish that naturally occurs for me while giving me some coverage and color. For me, I have to do almost nothing on my eyes or else I’ll inevitably get carried away, so I usually opt for a lengthening (but not thickening) mascara.

— Christine