Conclusion: Minimalist Beauty Experiment


Today is the last day of my one-month minimalist beauty experiment, hurray! I’m glad I only committed to a single month and not a day longer because my tinted moisturizer is now completely empty, during the past few days I had to scrunch up the tube to force out the left-overs :) I’ve received a couple of emails asking me about how the experiment is going, so I just quickly wanted to report back.

Just to recap: For one month I banned myself from using any make up except for five pre-chosen products. The main reason I did this experiment was because pretty much all of my everyday make up essentials were about to run out, which means that I have the chance to completely overhaul the structure of my make up collection and routine. In a sense this little trial served as a last test to double check that the five products I chose are indeed my absolute essentials which I can safely invest in.

These are the 5 products I used and a couple of notes on my experience:

Product 1: Bobbi Brown’s Hydrating Tinted Moisturizer in extra light

My main concern was whether I would be fine with the light coverage of this, not just for everyday wear but also for special occasions and night outs. I did sometimes wish I could add some concealer on top, but only about twice during the whole course of the month, when we shot the pics for the 6 pieces/9 outfits post (thank god the light was forgiving that day :)). At the same time, I know I wouldn’t have been happy with a higher coverage base as my sole face product, because during the day I really can’t stand anything but a light layer on my face.

lesson learnt: When in doubt, go for too little coverage rather than too much.Wear tinted moisturiser during the day and find a good medium coverage foundation to wear for special occasions.

Product 2: Eyeko Lip and Cheek Stain in cherry

I chose this as one of my five products to help me decide whether to get a stick/cream blush instead of my regular powder blushes, and yes, I will definitely look for a high-quality cream blush, because I loved the easy application and slight sheen this product gave me, and also the fact that I could use it to stain my lips. I’m thinking a Nars multiple or maybe one of Bobbi Brown’s stick blushes….

lesson learnt: Find a good raspberry/ muted rose-coloured double-duty product for cheeks and lips.

Product 3: Clinique Lash Power Mascara in black

This product didn’t really had to prove itself, it’s already an established must-have in my set.

lesson learnt: Find out if Clinique (or Ebay) offers multipacks or deals.

Product 4: Brow pencil by 17 in taupe

Even if I didn’t apply the blush or mascara, I always used this pencil to fill in my brows. But: I really need something like a clear mascara or a wax to add on top of the pencil, otherwise my brows just do what they want.

lesson learnt: My brows need more than just a little colour. Always apply clear mascara or wax (or hairspray) on top. Check out double-sided products such as Smashbox Brow Tech.

Product 5: Urban Decay’s 24/7 liner in gunmetal

Ok, I didn’t make the right decision, I should have gone for another lip colour instead of an eyeliner. Maybe it’s because I wear contact lenses/ glasses, but I have just always preferred putting something on my lips rather than my eyes.

lesson learnt: Unless I find myself applying the same eye make up everyday, I am going to hold off on investing in high-end eyeliner/ eye shadow and spend the money elsewhere.

All in all, I was surprised that the experiment went so smoothly. During the day I usually just wore the first four products and at night I added a bit more of the lip stain and lined my eyes. The only things I craved from time to time were extra concealer, clear mascara for my brows and a greater variety of lip products, but apart from that I was fine and actually enjoyed the simplicity of my new morning routine. Now, that the experiment is over, it’s planning time! I’ve run out of all of my face products (i.e. concealer, foundation, etc.), except for an old tinted moisturizer by Benefit which does not match my skin tone at all, so I need a new skin solution asap. I’ll report back once I’ve found it!

If you haven’t yet, also check out Kali’s account of her 2-month shopping fast!


  1. It’s good to see how it turned out for you. I find I naturally use only quite a small amount of “beauty” products because of my school’s policies, around 5. SPF face moisturiser, a body and around the eyes moisturiser, aristoquart, “skin coloured” pimple cream and SPF chapstick.

  2. I am a long-time minimalist because I just dont know how to hort anything. Everything I dont use and/or love I give away. I counted all beauty-related products today (even hair brush, nail clippers and toothbrush) and got to a number of exactly 30.

    I guess I am just not the person who wants to change up their look every once in a while. I wear the same make up every day and it makes me absolutely happy :)

  3. You have inspired me to pare down my cosmetics and skin care. I had so many products that I wasted time deciding what to use each day. It was also becoming a waste of money as many of them would “expire” long before I could use them up. Some products became rancid, developed an odd smell, or crumbled to bits. I put some serious thought into what I really use everyday and cleared out the junk. I have just enough products now to create a look for any occasion without having to dig through it all and decide. (The excess items like body wash that are still good I will give away or use up and not replace.) I even settled on one fragrance, lavender, which I am always drawn to. I found a version in body wash, lotion, and body oil that I love.
    I have also found that as I get older, (in my 40s now), that I look better with less gunk on my face. Taking good care of my skin has made me much more confident to go without foundation and I need very little concealer too. The only absolute must I do now is sunscreen.

  4. Doing something similar to this helped me discover my allergy to silicones, especially dimethicone – which is in almost everything! Now I use Aveeno’s tinted moisturizer with SPF, and a bit of concealer… my skin has never looked better. My routine is similar to yours: tinted SPF, concealer, brows, blush, and a bit of lip color or eyeliner (I never do both, I already have pretty intense features). I have black lashes, so I just gave up on mascara; the smudge factor is far greater than any minuscule extra length I might get. I do curl my lashes, though.

    It’s funny, but blush and brows used to be two things I never, ever did. I thought they didn’t matter for me, with my dark brows and coloring. Then a friend smacked some sense into me, and now they’re the two things I almost always do.

    I’ve been very inspired by this series, and your blog in general. Even though my style is fairly minimal, I had to fight off a bad habit of “collecting” things – especially eyeshadow (which I wear maybe once a week, if we go out for a date), but also really similar clothing items (like striped shirts). Anyway, I’ve been on my own shopping fast and I’m re-training myself to think of items I own as magical, singular things to be used as often as possible, to better enjoy their magic. It’s a process, but blogs like yours help keep me on track. I’ve also used Polyvore to make sets of things I have bought on a quarterly basis. Having to assemble everything is rather embarrassing for me, so that was a great deterrent. Lastly, I gave myself some saving goals: short-term, buy a new DSLR, and long-term, save for a trip for me and my S.O. during my next two years of grad school. Also, grad school, LOL. That takes budgeting!

    I keep telling myself little mantras like “Man, saving money is so sexy!” or “We’re going to travel so much when we retire, because we’ll be great at budgeting by then,” or “All these cool people I know don’t shop, either.” I know I’m sort of tricking myself, but it helps.

    Thanks again for your great blog!

    • Thank you so much for your lovely comment, it sounds like you are on a good track already! I’m a grad student as well (actually about to sign off on another three years of student-y budget while I’ll do my PhD), and I also have similar budgeting priorities: I’d much rather spend my money on travels or experiences in general than new ‘stuff’! I do think it’s worth it in the end, but yeah, it can be hard sometimes :)

  5. I tried something similar a couple years ago and I never went back, I started using the Nivea tinted moisturizer and after a couple months my skin cleared up so much I don’t even need proper foundation anymore. I pretty much just stick to tinted moisturiser and mascara now. It also means on a night out just putting on a bit of eyeliner makes you dramatically different. Plus it saves a boat load of money!

  6. Thanks for the link! It’s a very interesting experiment to figure out where to invest, besides, I guess the morning routine is way easier with fewer products. I probably also use about 5 products each day, and it allows me to invest in higher quality items, so I think it’s a good bet! I’d be interested to hear about the follow-up, how your beauty routine will change in the next few weeks following this experiment…

  7. I wear 3 products daily so this sounds good to me! I really like Benefit Brow Zings – a wax and powder duo for shaping and filling eyebrows.

  8. This was incredibly useful! Thank you! And major props for sticking to it for the whole month regardless of what you might have rather done.

  9. I did something similar for a three-week summer holiday a few years back! I think I brought MAC moisturecover concealer, a black Chanel Crayon Kohl, Max Factor 2000 Calorie mascara, a brow powder and the Benefit Benetint lip and cheek stain. It worked perfectly fine, but oh boy was I happy to get back home and get to use some other products again ;)

    • I also tend to stick minimal make up on summer holidays, mainly because I prioritize putting on a thick layer of sunscreen which just doesn’t really match well with any kind of face make up. Your comment reminded me of how much I used to love Benefit’s cheek stain… it might actually be the perfect blush solution for the summer :)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.