Simplifying and decluttering #2: Beauty

I’m not a huge beauty buff but I started building a beauty routine over the last two years, and the routine is a product of blunders and errors. When I first started exploring skincare, I was, as usual, a horrible shopper. I bought things on whim without researching, and neglected them just as easily after I purchased them. The biggest problem with beauty is not buying on whim, but buying without knowledge. The beauty market is a shit hole of products because you are made to feel like you need everything, and while the same can be said of luxury items, at least luxury items are on a scale where affordability is what can hold you back from purchasing. Five dollar cleansers? Well, you can buy four bottles and still not feel that bad. But the dollars add up and so does the clutter. Oh dear god, the clutter.

I’m in the process of clearing out the clutter by finishing absolutely every last drop of everything before using the next product in line to be demolished, all while refraining from buying more. The beauty industry feeds this vicious cycle where you feel like you need one of everything for every possible ailment/skin condition/season ever. While I do think that switching up your routine is better for your skin, it’s really not necessary to have six different variations of oil-free moisturizer for the summer.

So now, all I’m doing is going through the shit-ton of crap I’ve purchased, using them, and figuring out what works and what doesn’t. Below are the things that I love and see myself repurchasing.

  1. Shiseido Tsubaki Shining Hair Mask with Tsubaki Oil. I was recommended this by a hairdresser and I really love it. I really like this line from Shiseido and have tried almost everything, but I have a preference for this hair mask over their others. It smells amazing and feels great on my hair. I use it about once a week and it makes my hair supah soft.

  2. Shiseido Tsubaki Shining Conditioner with Tsubaki Oil. I switch off between using this and the hair mask. I find that for some beauty lines, using complimentary products from the same line produces better results. There’s really no hard and fast rule about this though, which is the annoying thing about beauty.
  3. Moroccan Oil Oil Treatment. This seems to be a holy grail product for a lot of people and I tried it out thinking that it probably wouldn’t do anything for me since holy grails are never my holy grails. But I love this thing. It smells amazing and it calms down my frizz to make it sleeker, and it makes my hair really soft as well.
  4. Origins Charcoal Mask. I’m a big fan of face masks and while this product is a little strong (it’s meant for really acne-prone users and I’m not acne-prone), it’s a really good cleansing mask. It strips your face of everything, which can be a bad thing if it over strips, so I use it really sparingly, like once every week and a half or once every two weeks. Afterward, I use a slightly thicker layer of moisturizer.
  5. MAC Cleanse Off Oil. I’m a big fan of cleansing oils just because I’ve found most regular cleansers to be too weaksauce and I would have to cleanse more than once, which defeats the purpose of time-saving and dries your skin. I think oils are the best because they break a lot of the chemicals found in makeup down very well. I love MAC’s because I’ve found it less drying than Shu Uemura’s, which is the bigger name brand when it comes to cleansing oils. That and MAC’s smells really pleasantly coconut-y, whereas SU’s smell like crap. I haven’t tried DHC’s cleansing oil, but I like MAC’s too much to spend more money on another variation of the same product.
  6. LUSH Ocean Salt. Ocean Salt is an exfoliator and I LOVE IT TO DEATH. All caps. I’m a huge fan of exfoliating, because I feel like it’s the only thing that really cleans your skin, but over-exfoliating is baaaad so I have to refrain from doing it too often. (The idea of a cleanser with no exfoliants bothers me because where’s the dirt! If I don’t see dirt, my face ain’t clean!) I love Ocean Salt because it’s all natural, smells eggggscellent, and not rough on the skin despite it being an exfoliator with rather coarse salt grains. I use this about twice a week.
  7. LUSH BB Seaweed. I can’t stress enough how much I love face masks. Must be an Asian thing. Lush has a whole line of face masks that are made from all natural ingredients, and if you’re going to use something that you hope seeps into your skin to replenish it, I can’t recommend enough that you use something all natural. Because I don’t have acne and I don’t have particularly sensitive skin, I use BB Seaweed for a general pick-me-up and nourishment. The little jar lasts for about 4 applications and I use it about one to two times a week.
  8. Shiseido Pureness Moisturizing Gel. This line is slightly lighter on the ingredients because it’s meant for people who are acne prone, but I use it mainly as my moisturizer for the summer because it’s the lightest thing I could find. In the summer my skin tends to get oily throughout the day and regular moisturizers I use during the winter are too heavy. I do want to find another alternative that’s got even less chemicals, but for now I’m okay with this one from Shiseido and don’t have a huge need to replace it because summers in New York are so short.
  9. Shu Uemura Depsea Moisturizing Cream. I love this moisturizer for the long New York winters because my skin can get really dry. My skin just feels really good after putting this stuff on. It’s a whee bit expensive, but I’ve used my jar for a year, so I think it’s a worthy expense. I’m trying to find simpler/more organic products to use, and this is definitely not that, but I love it too much to give it up at the moment.

If anyone has any questions, feel free to leave a comment and I’ll try to get back to you.

  • Melissa

    Might just try #3.

  • Ren

    I completely agree. My skincare routine has swelled into 7 products, each of which, I bought because I felt like it was an essential item. Makeup remover, cleanser, exfoliator, toner, serum, moisturiser and eye cream. Insanity.

  • falsteph

    I’ve had a couple people rec the Ocean Salt. What do you do with Kamoi tape?

    • Amy

      Oh I don’t use that for beauty purposes, it was just lying there on my desk with the rest of my junk. Ha.

  • goodtimes822

    So, would you use the cleansing oil after using a makeup remover? If you don’t mind me asking, what makeup remover do you use?

    • Amy

      Oh, this is a makeup remover. On the days I use makeup, I just use the cleanse off oil as the remover and as the cleanser, since it’s a supercharged makeup remover that can double as a cleanser.

  • titi

    do you use body shop? i find body shop’s products perfect for me…
    i especially love the vitamin c skin boost…

  • Lina L.

    I decided to get the Depsea Moisturizing Cream today during my stopover at the Taipei airport today. I’m really loving it! My wallet is a little sad though :P

  • Nanjami19

    I stumbled upon your blog while looking for style tips base on the Greatest Love drama. I just wanted to say I love your writing. It is honest and frank. On this article of yours, I totally agree with you on de-cluttering our beauty products. I am such a hoarder before and recently have cleaned up my so call beauty stash…lemme tell you that I could’ve saved thousands if I’d practice some restrain before!!!