Friday, January 2, 2015

2014 in Review, Part 3: Beauty Resolutions for 2015

I meant to write this post on New Year's Eve, but I ended up falling asleep at 10:30, because--well, let's pretend it was because I'd partied so mind-blowingly hard before that, and not because I'd had one cocktail at dinner with my mother and one small glass of champagne once we got home. Still, I figure that January 2 is close enough to the beginning of the year for a list of resolutions to seem appropriate. I'm not a very superstitious person in general, but I put a lot of store in end-of-year rituals. I've always loved the feeling of looking ahead to a clean swath of time not yet marred by idiotic decisions, hangovers, and missed deadlines. It's an illusory feeling, but our concept of time is itself illusory, so whatever.

I wish I'd been awake to watch 2014 dwindle to nothing. It wasn't a great year for me overall, and it was an even worse year for some of my loved ones, to say nothing of the world at large. But it had some definite bright points, too. I traveled a lot (though I managed to get sick on almost every trip, including my current visit to San Francisco), I sent my first academic article to a journal, I became more confident in various areas of my life, and I started this blog and found a wonderful community of makeup and beauty lovers. My posting became a little less frequent toward the end of the year, due to some banal but time-consuming real-life nonsense, but I'm looking forward to resuming a more regular posting schedule this month. Accordingly, I've written up half a dozen navel-gazing beauty and blogging resolutions for 2015!

1. Choose quality over quantity.

I know, I know: this is the resolution we all make, and then there's a 2-for-1 Revlon sale. But my budget is going to be especially tight this year, and I can't afford to make impulse purchases or buy things "for the blog." I don't want to set an absolute limit to the number of beauty purchases I make per month, but I'm going to start out using two as a soft limit (not counting repurchases of skincare products). This will force me to choose things I really want, not just things that catch my eye in a blog post or an aisle of CVS.

2. Buy new products only to fill a real gap in my collection.

No dupes. No near-dupes. If I have a perfectly good fuchsia lipstick (and I have more than one), I'm not going to buy another just because it's in a new formula that has received universal acclaim or an A+ rating from Temptalia.

3. Use up at least five lipsticks.

I don't want to force myself to wear colors I'm not feeling excited about (more on that in my next Project Make-a-Dent post), but I'm hoping that if I stop buying new lipsticks, I'll use up a few organically.

4. Remove makeup, wash my face, and moisturize before falling asleep.

Since senior year of college, I've had the appalling habit of falling asleep without turning out my lights or washing my face or even, sometimes, changing into pajamas. It's hard for me to tell when I'm getting tired until I'm almost asleep, and by then it's too late. This year I need to start getting ready for bed much earlier than I usually do, so that if I happen to pass out with the lights on, I'll at least have a clean, moisturized face. (But I should turn the lights out, too.)

5. Try new beauty brands, favoring small, cruelty-free ones.

I don't think I'll abandon my NARS bias anytime soon, and I do shy away from ordering makeup that I haven't seen in person first, but there are so many indie and more-or-less-indie brands that I've never tried: Rituel de Fille, ColourPop, Portland Black Lipstick Company, Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics, Rouge Bunny Rouge...

6. Write more creative posts. 

After almost a year as a beauty blogger, I've learned something disappointing but not entirely surprising: if you want a lot of pageviews, the best thing you can possibly do is post swatches of new releases. (Or MAC lipsticks. Or even better, I'd assume, new MAC lipstick releases.) My post about the NARS Audacious lipsticks, which went up two days after the lipstick range appeared in stores, has racked up almost 4,500 pageviews in the last four months. This is, let me be clear, many times the number of views that most of my posts receive. Very little time, effort, or abstract thought went into the Audacious post: I just swatched a few lipsticks on my hand, photographed the swatches in both shade and sun, and added a photo of myself wearing one of the colors. That turned out to be exactly the information that thousands of people wanted--and so cynicism is born.

The posts that I have the most fun writing, like my discussion of 17th-century beauty, tend to receive fewer hits than my straightforward product reviews. I get it: the average reader of a beauty blog wants product photos, swatches, and brief descriptions. Sometimes that's what I want, too. If I'm standing in the beauty section of a Target, using my phone to search for opinions on a lipstick, I don't want to scroll through someone's long-winded musings on the childhood memories evoked by that particular shade of lavender. Accordingly, when writing my own blog, I try to alternate between tl;dr introspection and quick, informative reviews; I also try to suit my style to the subject matter. But if I had to make a choice about the kind of blog I want Auxiliary Beauty to be, I'd choose the long-winded musings every time. I don't buy enough new products to maintain a constant stream of reviews, and there are only so many ways to praise or damn a lipstick. So prepare yourself for more cosmetic history and self-indulgent introspection in 2015! You've been warned. I'll also try to post every three days, give or take (more likely give), which was a realistic plan for much of this year.

Finally, because why not, here are my New Year's Eve nails: two coats of Zoya Neve under Topshop Brazil and a Revlon topcoat.


This manicure was astonishingly long-lasting! I took these pictures yesterday, four days after I painted my nails, and I removed the polish today, but only because I wanted to use a different color.


And here's my last FOTD of 2014, featuring a few of my favorite purchases of 2014, as well as some favorites from 2013 and earlier. I ended the year as I hope to continue in 2015: with screamingly bright red lipstick (this one is Revlon Fire and Ice). I also used NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer, Milani clear brow gel, NARS Lhasa eyeshadow, the plum side of the NARS Habanera duo, CoverGirl LashBlast Length mascara, and Illamasqua Zygomatic cream blush. Apologies for weird nighttime lighting.


Here's to a happy, healthy, fulfilling 2015 for all of us!

18 comments:

  1. I'm a new reader, and I started following your blog precisely because of the creative posts. I can find swatches anywhere. Insightful commentary, not so much!

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    1. Welcome! I'm glad you're enjoying my blog. I figure that readers who want timely swatches of new releases can look on Specktra or Instagram; there's no way I can keep up with the people there anyway!

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  2. You know what my most-viewed posts are? The ones where I swatch up a whole collection all over my arms - one that has just come out! Not even a review, heh ;-) I do those posts partially for my own reference, and partly as a sort of public service, so I'm glad they get the views that they do, but I'm not going to pretend I don't wish my more arcane D&D style ones didn't get *as* much love :-D

    Having said that, One of the pleasures of not being in any way financially tied to my blog (I would like to buy the domain name, but that's it) is that I feel I can put up what I want, even if it's not the most popular thing in the blogosphere. I say this not to suggest in any way that other bloggers only write concise reviews just to get views for money or something, just to note that it is a writing/freedom privilege I am grateful to have (along with a more flexible posting schedule). So I say: bring on the long winded creative posts! I think yours are amazing and wonderful and fabulous, so you'll get at least one view from New Zealand, probably three (one for a comment, one for a re-read for pleasure). :-D

    Hm. I've been looking into doing some cosmetic history/chemistry posts myself...perhaps we might collaborate on a few?

    Those nails are epic, and high fives to you for screamingly bright red lipstick - F&I is my go-to for that too :-)

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    1. I agree, it's nice not to feel financially tied to my blog. I firmly believe that no one should ever start a blog in order to make money or become famous. If fame and riches follow naturally, that's well and good, but only a small handful of bloggers earn a real income from their blogs. I've seen way too many bloggers try to monetize, forget why they started blogging in the first place, stop producing interesting content, and end up looking greedy and desperate. (I find that this happens far more often to fashion bloggers than to beauty bloggers, interestingly.) There's nothing wrong with wanting to earn some money from a pastime to which you devote a lot of time and energy, but I don't want to answer to anyone but myself when I write a post. I have to answer to quite enough people in grad school...

      And yes to collaborations! Let me know what you're thinking about.

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  3. Looking forward to your 2015 non-review posts. We need more of those.

    Anyway, here's an idea: put short descriptions/ review points as photo captions. An attempt to please both types of readers?

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    1. I was thinking about doing that! I'm never sure how much to say about a product that I've already reviewed in detail several months ago. I don't want to be repetitive, but I also can't assume that everyone who reads one post has also read my other posts.

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  4. I enjoy your introspective musings so it's wonderful news to me that you intend to post more of those. It was one of them, the "too much" one I believe, that engaged me so much I had to email you to express my appreciation. Thank you for being willing to go that direction, inspite of the lesser page views. Happy new year! (Joy)

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    1. I remember your email very fondly! Thanks for commenting. Eventually I'd like to write a follow-up to my "too much" post, in which I challenge myself to wear a handful of looks that I've always dismissed as "too much."

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  5. I think your long, introspective posts are my absolute favorites, actually! It's what I really like about your blog compared to others that I read. I can find reviews anywhere, and lots of them, but your insights on products (especially your lipstick series...because I am a fellow lipstick hoarder and enthusiast) and history and everything are what keep me coming back daily, hoping for updates!

    I also admire your ability to pull off Fire and Ice...I have that lipstick as well and every time I wear it I just get completely overwhelmed by it.

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    1. Thanks for your kind words! Though I fear that coming back daily will prove disappointing, since I'm pretty proud of myself if I manage to post every three days. I find Fire and Ice hard to wear, too; it's not a lipstick I can just throw on when I'm headed to the library. I just reserve it for special occasions when I feel like getting a little more glammed up than usual.

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    2. Haha I've realized that when there's not a new post I wind up browsing through the archives, which is nearly as great!

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  6. That is a gorgeous midnight blue!

    I'm doing a bit of a Project-Make-A-Dent as well, inspired by Monika/Rocaille Writes' recent post. I hit pan on my first bronzer (Nars Laguna) in 2014, and it was such a weird sense of accomplishment and pride.

    Here's to more long-winded musings from you. They're my favourite kind of posts for a reason!

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    1. Hooray for your Laguna achievement! I hit pan on NARS Lhasa a few weeks ago, and actually saw it happen: my eyeshadow brush moved aside a few particles of powder, and there was a flash of metal. A bittersweet accomplishment for sure. The NARS singles look tiny, but given that I used Lhasa several times a week and it took me a year to hit pan, I guess I can count on at least another year with my favorite taupe.

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  7. Love your resolutions and this blog - all of it! I've made some lofty resolutions in the past with spectacular failure, so I hesitate to make any beauty-related ones at this point. One thing that I did manage to conquer over time was the face washing business. Now I never fall asleep without at least wiping off the makeup with wet wipes if not properly at the sink. What helps is to just get to the face pampering as soon as you get home at the end of the day, if you don't plan on going out again.

    And as for the creative posts, they may have less hits but they're read more carefully with much fondness. Looking forward to reading them!

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    1. Thanks, Liz! I'm glad to see that you're back in the blogging game, too. I've been good about washing my face for the past few days, because as you advised, I've been washing it right when I get home. I don't like wearing makeup around the house, anyway--it makes me feel sort of dirty for some reason.

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  8. This year I'm moving countries, so I am doing some serious destashing. I'm guilty of buying 'for the blog' and I really need to stop that. So far I've made $50 from blogging, and spent much more than that.

    In terms of skincare, I'm vigilant about that. I try to do it fairly early in the evening, like during the ad breaks when watching tv, so when I'm tired I can just go straight to bed rather than spending forever with my skincare.

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    1. Haha, I've made exactly $0 from blogging. Until that changes (and it probably won't), my makeup purchases will be for me alone. Good luck with your move!

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  9. Happy 2015! Your goals sound awesome and sane (haha), and good luck with them. :)

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