It is hard to believe this now, but, once upon a time, I had a beauty routine that one might call “low-maintenance.” I’d wash my face with Cetaphil, put on some mascara, concealer, and maybe some clear gloss, and call it a day. One day, I went to school wearing a little more makeup than usual–I think I was wearing, like, blush–and, feeling self-conscious, I asked my friend if I was maybe wearing too much makeup. She looked at me blankly. “You wear makeup? Like, ever?” she asked. See? Low-maintenance.
This is no longer the case. It’s not that I wear a ton of makeup; it’s just that, over the years, I have acquired a lot of different products that I feel compelled to use every single day, despite knowing that not a single one of them is actually necessary. I do not really need brow gel, for example. I also don’t need face primer. There is no earthly reason why I should own two different lip-exfoliating agents–lip scrub and lip polish–and feel that, not only am I totally justified in using both, they are actually two independent products that can never be exchanged for one another.
Obviously, legitimate necessity has never actually been the makeup industry’s overall M.O. While makeup has recently (and rightfully) been reclaimed as a sort of feminist statement, at its core, it is still an industry built by men on women’s insecurities, which were also created by men. It makes sense, then, that there are a bunch of new products being foisted at women that are both very expensive and also totally nonessential. But what can I say? I have never met a well-marketed material good or possession that I did not fall prey to. Anyway, here is a list of my favorite beauty products that are completely unnecessary, and I cannot live without, and, because of this, have also ruined my life. It’s complicated! Check ’em out:
Brow GelSpeaking of having my life ruined, it RUINS me to think about how dependent I am on brow gel. I own three different kinds. I do not actually need any of them, but at the same time, I do. I am sure you can relate--for example, if you don't use brow gel, you will find that there is this one hair in the middle of your eyebrow that has a mind of its own and occasionally slides out of place. You didn't notice this before, obviously. But now you do. DON'T BUY THIS. But if you do, buy it at Sephora for $22
Beauty BlenderI think you could use literally any other sponge, probably. Most of them cost about $2, while the Beauty Blender version costs twenty, plus, you have to wash it with baby shampoo every week. But you won't. DON'T BUY THIS. But if you do, buy it at Sephora for $20
Lip ScrubLip scrub is a gateway drug to lip exfoliant abuse. This because there is simply no way to tell how much dead skin is on your lips until you use a lip scrub--you will be walking around one day, thinking that lip balm alone is enough to sufficiently soothe your chapped lips, and then, someone will slip you a lip scrub. It might even be the LUSH brand, which makes you feel safe and secure. One time can't hurt, you'll think. I've been hearing some really good things about this product. That's how they get you. In fact, I suspect that the act of exfoliating your lips actually makes them more chapped, since you're literally scrubbing them with, like, a chafing agent. But it feels so good, you know? DON'T BUY THIS. But if you do, buy it at Lush for $9.95
Lip PolishIf you start to use lip scrub (don't!!), you will find that you also need to use lip polish, probably. People will say to you, "Hey, I think that you have two of the exact same product and you might have a problem? Perhaps with hoarding? And beauty products?" Don't you pay them any mind! There are actually some subtle, but very important, differences between the two. For example, lip scrub has a gritty consistency that really gets at the dead skin on your lips (making it perfect for weekly uses), while lip polish is more viscous and balm-like, which means it is ideal for daily use. I don't know. This is how I justify it, anyway. But I know nothing. DON'T BUY THIS. But if you do, buy it at Herbivore for $18
HighlighterUntil you used highlighter, you did not know that you needed that subtle, unmistakable glow on the bridge of your nose and top of your cheekbones. What did your brow bone even look like before highlighter, anyway? You can't say for sure. But you can't go back. DON'T BUY THIS. But if you do, buy it at Sephora for $24
Foundation PrimerFoundation primer minimizes the appearance of your pores and helps your foundation stay put. This is nice. Most foundation will stay put on its own, however. Plus, it is highly unlikely that you will notice the absence of the things primer promises to do until you use primer for the first time. DON'T BUY THIS. But if you do, buy it at Sephora for $31
Eyelash PrimerEyelash primer does not replace mascara. Rather, it as a base that you put on before mascara, intensifies its effect, and, according to the description of the Lancome CILS primer on Sephora,"allows the black pigments to stand out from the clean base with more intensity than with traditional mascaras." I use an eyelash primer every day, and, unfortunately, I have yet to receive a single compliment on the intensity of the black pigment of my mascara. DON'T BUY THIS. But if you do, buy it at Sephora for $25.50
Color-Correcting MakeupYou lived so long with regular concealer, and yet, it is impossible for you to imagine a time when you didn't bust out a a whole palette for a single zit--you know, green for redness, blue for under-eye circles, and pink to brighten your skin. Color-correction really does work, but it does make you think--where do we go from here?DON'T BUY THIS. But if you do, buy it at Sephora for $49
Do you use these products? Did I forget any good ones? Let us know in the comments!