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.