I'm not a great believer in New Year's resolutions. The period when I feel most like an overfilled, slowly deflating balloon doesn't strike me as ideal for self-deprivation (or flagellation when the complete personality overhaul I planned doesn't really take.)
But a nice little clear-out, like a makeup declutter, I can get on board with. It feels good to simplify after the season of too much stuff and most of us don't audit our beauty drawers as often as we should. So why not use one of those dry January Saturdays for a satisfying cull of last year's makeup trends that are starting to look a bit wrong in the rearview mirror?
It was in this spirit I set about a New Year declutter of my unsurprisingly overstuffed makeup kit. I assessed my collection with a cold, sober stare, decided what products had the chops to come with me, and bid farewell to the ones that should be left in 2022 along with cycling shorts as eveningwear and a certain mini-budget. Here's what made the grade.
5 beauty products I culled (and 5 that survived) my 2023 makeup declutter
1. I'm getting rid of... Eyebrow glues
Something weird happened with eyebrow shapes in 2022. After eons of full and bushy being the look du jour, it seemed tastemakers decided that enough was enough, we needed something new to talk about and eyebrow lamination exploded in popularity.
For the uninitiated, this is a professional treatment where perming solution is used to fix eyebrows in a perma-brushed-up state. At home lamination-effect gels followed, designed to glue your arches in an upward trajectory for the day, which I dutifully took home to try and my god they really work. But, they also make your upper face look sort of... insane. This eyebrow BEE (big electrocuted energy) stops right here. In 2023, I'm going back to a simpler time of defined, neat, nice brows. Come with me.
I'll be keeping my... Skinny brow pencil
Rodial Brow Pencil in Ash Brown | RRP: $33/ £29
This is my Platonic ideal of an eyebrow pencil. It's very, very skinny and with a firm, dry nib that makes it easy to control and dash little 'hairs' into my gappy arches. The color is cool-toned, which is still mystifyingly unusual in brow products, and the spoolie on the end brushes everything through beautifully.
2. I'm getting rid of... liquid blush
Hot take: They may be the modern way, but even the best cream blush is, in my opinion, a bit of a waste of time. They promise a "healthy flush" and many deliver one... for five minutes then melt into nothingness like your resolve to complete that 30-day yoga challenge does by mid-January. They're also messier than powders and a faff to control. The effort-to-reward ratio doesn't add up.
Powder blusher, on the other hand, is so underrated. It works hard, can transform a face and, frankly, deserves a bit more respect. Pick a highly-pigmented, finely milled formula, learn how to apply blush like a pro and you'll see what I mean. Treat it like your best eyeshadow palette or lipstick, and invest in more than one shade so you'll always have one that works with your mood, the occasion, or whatever you're wearing.
I'll be keeping my... blush palette
3. I'm getting rid of... Extreme mascara
The current school of thought on mascara seems to be: bigger is better. Fatter, darker, longer, more, more, more. Mascaras have also started to sound a bit, well, porny too, haven't they? I won't name names but the vibe is very "naughty girl XXXtreme lashes" out there and at the risk of sounding like I'm clutching my pearls, it's a bit much.
Do we really need our eyes cranked up to volume 11 at all times? Drag-lash definitely has a place on a full glam face, but it's actually pretty jarring with an everyday natural makeup look. I'm also a bit bored of said XXL lashes being so caked in pigment that it crumbles onto my cheeks and rubs against my eyelids. It feels like time for a fresh start, no?
I'll be keeping my... tubing mascara
BBB Iconic Tubing Mascara | RRP: £24 (UK only)
Like a breath of fresh air on your face. The best tubing mascaras (like this one) form a glossy black coating around your lashes that won't multiply them x1000 but will add natural length and definition that never, ever smudges, then slips off with warm water.
4. I'm getting rid of... sheer skin tints
Nope, can't do it anymore. Can't pretend these 0.001% pigment bases will keep my 37-year-old complexion even from 7am application to giving my dog hometime scratchies a minimum of twelve hours later. They seduce me with claims of a fresh and dewy complexion then leave me by lunch – pink and pore-ridden, wondering what I did wrong. If I was going to get all 2022 about it I would call it gaslighting.
With the exception of days when I just want to slap something easy on my skin for a few hours in the pub with friends (AKA Sundays) a reliable, robust foundation that lasts the distance is what truly serves me. And blessed are the times we live in because grown-up brands have got these nailed with skin-friendly formulas in natural, glowing finishes, not just full-on matte ones.
I'll be keeping my... Best lightweight foundation
Dior Forever Natural Nude Foundation | RRP: $50/£45
The name says it all. This looks like natural skin but also lasts, if not forever, then certainly for the day. She's pricy, but if you're going to spend on one area of your routine, foundation is the right place. Plus one pump will do your whole face, no top-ups needed. So even with daily use, this'll see you into late spring, at minimum.
5. I'm getting rid of... liquid eyeliner
Graphic liquid eyeliner was a huge trend last year. And while some of the more avant-garde looks on social media and red carpets were undeniably makeup artistry at its finest, did you actually try any of them? Nah, me neither. What I did try was the 350 new liquid formulas that launched to align with the boom in liner looks, and guess what I remembered? Liquid eyeliner is hard.
It's hard and time-consuming, and if one little bit of it goes wrong you basically have to remove everything and start again. Which is both disheartening and rage-inducing. Unless you're one of the gifted few with the knack of creating perfect feline flicks every time (the beauty equivalent of being able to casually, perfectly, bang out a Beyoncé song at karaoke) ask yourself, is the juice worth the squeeze?
I'll be keeping my... gel liner pencil
MAC Cosmetics Colour Excess Gel Pencil | RRP: $23/ £18.50
This is a guaranteed easy life in pencil form. Or an easy eyeliner life anyway. It is slim and precise, twists up so doesn't need to be sharpened, and glides onto eyelids like butter on a hot crumpet. It also lasts extremely well, even on my oily skin, and comes in loads of appealing shades from classic black to inky aubergine.
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As woman&home's Beauty Channel Editor, Fiona Mckim has tried more products than she’s had hot dinners and nothing makes her happier than raving about brilliant finds on womanandhome.com or her instagram grid (@fionamckim if you like hair experiments and cute shih-tzus). Fiona joined woman&home as Assistant Beauty Editor in 2013 under industry legend Jo GB, who taught her everything she needed to know (learn about ingredients and employ extreme cynicism). She has since covered every corner of the industry, from interviewing dermatologists and celebrities to reporting backstage at Fashion Week and judging the w&h Beauty Awards.
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