I Did a Makeup Bag Clean Out, and I'm Now Deprioritising These 13 products

Whenever people ask me what beauty products I’m into, I’m always caught off guard. I know it’s kind of ridiculous considering I’m a beauty editor and all, but it’s only because I’m going through the many mountains of products I test in my head. There are so many products I like, but thinking about what I don't like is the best way for me to narrow down my options. Before I start this potentially controversial list, I want to point out that beauty is subjective, and a product that might give me The Ick could be someone’s holy grail. We all have different skin types, makeup preferences, and so on, so I am not judging, and vice versa, I hope!


(Image credit: @emmahoareau)

Because I test a ton of products, when something doesn’t work for me, I have to retire it. Otherwise I’m left with total product organisation chaos. (I’ll usually give it to friends or family who can use it.) So without further ado, ahead are 13 products that are getting kicked out of my makeup stash, from foundations that no longer work with my 40-plus-year-old skin to products that never made it to my regular rotation for one reason or another. Some of these were heartbreaking to get rid of, so it was no easy feat! Keep scrolling to see which makeup products I’m considering swapping out and which ones I’m trying out instead.

1. To Consider Swapping: Heavy-Duty Matte Foundations

I’m starting this list with the most painful product to name: matte foundations. Disclaimer: Anyone who has been reading my recent articles (PS: Thank you kindly), I may sound like a broken record, but I’m clearly working through the fact that my skin doesn’t like heavy foundations anymore. I used to appreciate the full, mannequin-like coverage they gave me, but now they feels too thick and don’t blend well. Yes, I will be making a sad-song playlist to help me get over this beauty breakup. 

To Try: Hydrating Foundations

Just like the moment when you figure out that the person you’ve never really paid attention to might actually be the one for you, dewy foundations seem to be most compatible with my skin these days. My love for La Mer’s Soft Fluid Foundation has been going strong for months. It applies smoothly, provides just enough coverage yet still looks natural and lasts all day long. 

2. To Consider Swapping: Skin Tints

I know serum-like skin tints are all the rage, and you’d think I’d be all in with my newfound affinity for natural-finish makeup and all, but sadly I am not. I found that many of the ones I’ve tested this past year were either too oily or didn’t settle into my skin well. A lot of them are also very messy and get all over my makeup bag and fingers, which is a total pet peeve. 

To Try: Foundation Balm

To get that natural-yet-skin-blurring look, I have a feeling foundation balms might be the better way to go. Granted, I’ve only tried a couple of them and not all have been successful, but I still like how they look on me more than skin tints. This one by Jones Road (Bobbi Brown's makeup line) is my current favourite and acts as a do-it-all foundation base.

3. To Consider Swapping: Face Wipes

Coming from an eco-friendly standpoint, face wipes are obviously not the greatest beauty product to have in one’s arsenal, but I can’t deny how amazing they can be when it’s 3:00 in the morning and I’m trying to get my makeup off my face as fast as I can to hit the hay. But there are other options!

To Try: Micellar Water 

I realise nothing beats a good micellar water for me, and Bioderma Sensibio is my GOAT. It’s way gentler on my face and eyes than many of the makeup wipes I’ve used. Not to mention, it’s way less wasteful, especially if you apply it using a reusable cotton pad.

4. To Consider Swapping: Magnetic Lashes

This one is still up for debate, but truthfully, I never really got the hang of magnetic lashes to the point where they’d become my go-to. One of the reasons is because I prefer using my own liquid eyeliner instead of the magnetic one. I may still keep trying, though!

To Try: DIY Professional Lashes

I’m not planning on going back to the lash extension life anytime soon. (I can only let myself have two high-maintenance beauty rituals, and my hair and nails are priority.) But the thought of picking glue off of my lashes for days after wearing traditional false lashes sounds far from appealing. What’s a Marie to do? I’m looking forward to testing out a pair of Velour Lashes, which allow you to apply your own false lashes quickly while providing all-day hold.

5. To Consider Swapping: Lip Markers

The thought of a lip stain marker sounded fun, but the few that I tried this year just didn’t work for me. They were annoying to apply (like a slow, fill-in-the-lines vibe), and they didn’t last long on my lips either.

To Try: Lightweight Matte Lipstick

Listen… Nothing compares to a gorgeous matte lipstick, so I’m going back to the type of product I love dearly and know well. Surprisingly, I haven’t tried this one from Pat McGrath, so it’s at the top of my list.

6. To Consider Swapping: Powder Blush

I’ve always loved a powder blush, but sadly, this is another beauty product that doesn’t sit as well on my skin as it did when I had more collagen. While there are still a few that work fine on my skin and are too pretty to completely abandon, overall, cream blushes are just best for these cheeks. 

To Try: Cream Blushes

This water-resistant cream blush looks natural and has cute packaging to boot. Everybody say thank you, Selena. 

7. To Consider Swapping: Ultra-Thin Brow Pencils

When ultra-fine brow pencils first came out, I was impressed at how precisely I was able to draw on brow hairs. It was a great way to mimic microblading as best as I could myself. However, the pencil lead for some of them would break so fast it was almost comical. 

To Try: Brow Pens

Thank goodness for brow pens! I’m able to still draw on fine hairs without having to worry about wasting product. This one by Anastasia Beverly Hills is waterproof, so if someone throws a glass of water in my face, soap-opera style, I’ll be fine (hopefully). 

8. To Consider Swapping: Sticky Lip Glosses

My podcast co-host, Blaire, once told a story about putting on a famously sticky lip gloss and walking out on the streets of New York City only to have the wind blow who knows what on her lips—and stay there! Now, whenever I put on a too-sticky lip gloss, I remember that terrifying tale. 

To Try: Hydrating Gloss

I’m so glad lip gloss technology has gotten to the point where we can have shiny, moisturised lips without the fear of dog hair sticking to it all day and just feeling icky in general. I love this one from Tower Beauty, which contains nourishing ingredients such as apricot-kernel oil, raspberry-seed oil, and rose-hip oil.

9. To Consider Swapping: Clear Eye Gloss

Shiny eyelids look so cool on other people, but not on me. It just looks like my face is sweating. Needless to say, this is one trend I can’t get behind! (Though, maybe it’ll look better on me over a colored eye shadow?) 

To Try: Statement Liquid Eye Shadow

For a bold eye that leans on colour rather than transparent shine, I love these liquid shadows from Halsey’s makeup brand. 

10. To Consider Swapping: Laminated Brow Products

Unpopular opinion incoming, but I am not a fan of soap brows! Before you get out the pitchforks, I just want to point out that brow trends can be pretty extreme from decade to decade. (Though, we don’t really notice they are until after they’re done.) I think some soap brows can look stiff, over-the-top, and unnatural, especially if you use a heavy-duty product that doesn’t let your brows move. Don’t hate me!

To Try: Natural-Looking Brow Products

I love a fluffy brow when it looks soft and natural. A lightweight tinted brow gel, like this one from Benefit Cosmetics, does the trick. 

11. To Consider Swapping: Thick Concealers

Similar to my matte-foundation issue, the heavy concealers I used to favour are now sitting like Tipp-Ex on my under-eye bags. Rude, so I have to go for a different approach.

To Try: Brightening Concealer

Hydrating concealers, like this one from Rose Inc, are now my friends. It contains skin-loving ingredients, like squalane, vitamin E, and fig buttercup extract (which helps with redness and calms the skin). 

12. To Consider Swapping: Satin Lipstick

I’ve always preferred a long-wear lipstick, but when we were at home in front of Zoom all day, I was able to indulge in my oft-ignored satin lipstick collection. Now that I’m outside of the house a whole lot more, those shiny satin lipsticks are staying home! 

To Try: Velvety Lipstick

When I don’t need lipstick that’s bulletproof (or super mask-proof), I’ll opt for something in between, like a soft, creamy one. These Gucci liquid lipsticks are a total dream and have a petal-soft finish.

13. To Consider Swapping: Pearly White Highlighters

When highlighters were really huge years ago, I always went for the dreamy, pearlescent shades. They just looked more cosmic and magical. However, I noticed they didn’t really work well on my skin tone. (Sidebar, for the record, I don’t like the look of highlighter on the nose. Bye!)

To Try: Warm Highlighters

Sadly, it’s time that I exchange my many pearlescent highlighters (I MAY keep one…) and get into warmer colours, like peach and gold. Charlotte Tilbury never fails with the highlighters; you’re guaranteed to get that lit-from-within glow each and every time. 

Next Up: 11 Hairstyles People Are Actually Asking for in Salons Right Now

This story originally appeared on Who What Wear US and has since been updated.

Marie Lodi
Freelance Beauty and Fashion Writer/Editor

Marie has covered beauty, fashion, and lifestyle for almost 15 years. She contributes to the beauty section here at Who What Wear. Previously, she was the Looks Editor for Bust Magazine, built the beauty vertical at HelloGiggles as its beauty editor, and was a founding staff writer at Rookie mag, giving fashion advice to teens. Her bylines have appeared in The Cut, Allure, Glamour, The Hollywood Reporter, and more. She was born and raised in Southern California and is based in L.A. Marie is a self-proclaimed costume design nerd and a co-host of Makeover Montage, a podcast about fashion in film and costume design. You'll see her writing about her beauty obsessions: red lipstick, winged eyeliner, pink hair, nail art, and skincare for people over 40. When she's not working, she's playing with her dog, Gnocchi, and writing her style newsletter, Overdressed.