Update on "Spending Less on Makeup" Project
I made two online orders in December and two pharmacy purchases and
one online order in January. The online orders were things that had been
on my wishlist for a long time, so that's all right. I went to the
pharmacies to look for some of the things on my wishlist, which weren't
there, and so I decided to buy a few backups and ended up spending much
more than I should have.
I made an extensive spreadsheet with many different sheets to organise my makeup and to plan how to reduce my spending on makeup as well as the size of my collection. I threw away about 40 items of makeup that were old, useless or didn't suit me, and made a record of that in the spreadsheet so I'd know to avoid those sorts of purchases in the future. I'm planning to buy a smaller-than-medium makeup train case to store my entire collection, but I'm waiting till March to get that (otherwise that will contribute to my shopping addiction!).
My main spreadsheet is called "stash". In it, I list all my makeup items (around 300 of them) and my goal is to reduce that by half. I also have a list of purchases, a wantlist and a wishlist. Another list which helps me out a lot is my blacklist - just a list of makeup (brands, shades, types of products, whatever) I won't buy, the reasons why, and exceptions where necessary.
Why I don't buy MAC products
One of the brands on my blacklist is MAC. I don't allow myself any exceptions. Not even my love for Rihanna. These are the reasons I've listed:
1) It's too expensive. I know it's known as a mid-range brand but it's still out of my budget.
2) They bring out too many limited edition collections, and too often, creating a marketing frenzy in which it's impossible to make a rational decision. Often it's impossible even to get your hands on a product.
3) I've never bought MAC before; why start now? Venturing into a brand, even for one or two products, is like taking a gateway drug.
4) There are many dupes available. Even the colours many bloggers call "undupable" turned out to have several dupes or near-dupes.
5) I find MAC to be an extremely unethical company. I just want to mention one example, out of many: their despicable collaboration with Rodarte, where they used the murders of women in Juarez, Mexico, as a marketing gimmick. Yes, they apologised (to protect their profits), but the fact that they did it in the first place shows they have no respect for the lives and memories of poor Third World women. I read a lot of comments defending this by privileged people in the First World, which I completely expected, because they are complicit in the violence against these women every time they buy makeup or clothes manufactured in these factories! If you find yourself wanting to defend this, please stay far away from me.
Just remembering that such a thing happened provokes such a violent nausea in me - so imagine how much worse it would be if I actually buy a MAC product, how I'd feel every time I used it. I think that incident is reason enough to boycott MAC. It's unforgivable.
MAC terminology to describe skin tone
Even though I don't endorse MAC, I do use some of their terminology. I describe my skin tone with a MAC foundation shade, because it's almost become a standard, and I actually quite like the numbering system + warm / cool / neutral designation.
I don't like the light / medium / dark system of naming skin tones, because it's normative, implying that there is a normal or correct skin tone against which we measure our own. I'm considered "fair" in my homeland and "dark" in the White-majority countries where I grew up. It's very frustrating to go to a makeup counter in the UK and swatch the medium and dark shades of concealer and have them both be too light for you. This three-part categorisation ignores all the diversity of skin tones that exists. A BB cream that only comes in three shades, I'm sure, will suit only three skin tones, and exclude many many many more. (I've tried tinted moisturisers that didn't match me exactly and they made me look ashy.)
But even light / medium / dark is better than the word "tan", which I hate with a passion. Tanning is a physical process that happens with the production of melanin in response to sun exposure. A person with an NC35 skin tone might tan to NC40, so when you refer to me as "tan", you're measuring me against a person who is lighter than me, and thus implying that they are normal. When I become tanned, my skin tone can change to NC45. "Tan" is an offensive and inaccurate way of designating someone's (normal) skin tone.
Don't even get me started on descriptions like "caramel" or "chocolate"! We are not food - nor are we "exotic" places (I'm looking at NARS here).
(If you are a woman of colour and use any of these descriptors, then more power to you. I just find them personally distasteful, and would rather not be referred to by these terms.)
MAC's system is a very neutral and inoffensive way to describe skin tones. So I use "NC40-42" to describe my skin tone, even though I've never used their foundation (I don't use any foundation). I know this because I follow blogs and videos by people who have the same skin tone as me and use these shades of MAC foundation. I use it as a standard descriptor, having no intention of supporting MAC as a company or using their products.
All that being said, MAC is almost impossible to avoid in the makeup community, as you all probably know. When you see post after post and video after video on one particular lipstick by MAC, it's impossible not to have it memorised, or even not to be tempted to buy it, sometimes. But remember, as I said in reason number 4: it's always, always dupable. There is never any reason to resort to buying from MAC, if you don't want to.
I'm only really interested in duping MAC lipsticks, rather than anything else from this company. Even though I am a blush person, I'm not tempted by a single MAC blush. I find them boring and just not that special. (Some of the NARS blushes, on the other hand, could benefit from more dupes!)
There are many dupe lists out there, but they can often be inaccurate. I've done my research to find as many exact dupes as possible. "Dupes" for me refer to both texture and colour; a matte red lipstick for me looks completely different from a glossy red lipstick of the same tone. So now I'm going to share with you the fruits of my research. I've listed below some of the dupes that I've come across, my subjective opinion of the percent match to the original (which I've only seen in pictures/videos) and what differences I can see.
For me, a 100% match means an exact dupe, with the exact same texture and shade. A 95% match means a close to exact dupe, with minimal differences in texture and/or shade. A 90% match is a close dupe, with some small differences in texture and/or shade. For these, you can only tell the difference by swatching them side by side and scrutinising them closely. If you wear one on one day and the other the next day, people would assume you wore the same lipstick twice in a row. Or even if you wore one on the top lip and the other on the bottom lip, the difference would be barely noticeable, and only from close up.
Anything below a 90% match means that there is a noticeable difference in the texture and/or the shade. If it's the exact same shade, but one is matte and the other is glossy, OR if it's the same texture, but one is a shade darker than the other, I'd give it an 80%. I don't consider anything below 90% to be real "dupes", but I've included some anyway, just to let you know.
I can't guarantee that what I call 100% dupes are indeed exact, because I don't own any MAC lipsticks that I can swatch next to the "dupe". I'm only relying on internet research - swatches from blogs or videos - and judging the closeness of the dupe from there. I do own all of the dupe shades mentioned, so I can tell whether or not the photo or video is showing the true colour of the lipstick. And I have been quite cautious with the rating - any dupe which looks exact but I'm unsure about has been given only a 95% rating, even if, at first sight, it looks like a 100% match.
I've linked swatches for all the mentioned dupes - they can be accessed by clicking the name of the dupe, and you can judge for yourself how close a dupe it is! :)
MAC lipstick dupes
MAC Shade - texture :: Dupe Brand, Line and Shade - texture :: Percent Match - differences
Candy Yum Yum - matte :: Barry M Lip Paint in No. 52 Shocking Pink - matte :: 100% - none visible
Chatterbox - amplified :: Catrice Ultimate Colour Lipstick in Pinkadilly Circus - sheen :: 80% - more orange, lighter
Cosmo - amplified :: Rimmel Kate Moss Lasting Finish Lipstick in No. 08 - sheen :: 95% - more beige, more satin, more opaque
Deeply Adored (LE from the Marilyn Monroe Collection) - matte :: Sleek True Colour Lipstick in Cherry - sheen :: 95% - may be slightly darker, less matte
Diva - matte :: Sleek True Colour Lipstick in Cranberry (alternative swatch) (LE from the Berry Collection) - matte :: 95% - may be slightly darker
Girl About Town - amplified :: Catrice Ultimate Colour Lipstick in Pinker-bell - glossy sheen :: 70% - pinker, lighter, different finish
Heaux (LE from the Riri Hearts MAC collection) - matte :: Rimmel Kate Moss Lasting Finish Lipstick in No. 09 - sheen :: 90% - different finish - more shiny, slightly brighter, pinker
Heaux (LE from the Riri Hearts MAC collection) - matte :: Rimmel Kate Moss Lasting Finish Matte Lipstick in No. 107 - satin :: 80% - different finish - more shiny, a shade darker, similar on lip swatch but different on arm swatch
Honeylove - matte :: Rimmel Kate Moss Lasting Finish Lipstick in No. 14 - sheen :: 90% - less pigmented, less matte, similar on lip swatch but different on arm swatch
Impassioned - amplified :: Sleek True Colour Lipstick in Candy Cane - sheen :: 100% - none visible
Impassioned - amplified :: Rimmel Kate Moss Lasting Finish Lipstick in No. 06 - sheen :: 90% - more vibrant and pigmented
Impassioned - amplified :: Catrice Ultimate Colour lipstick in Kiss Kiss Hibiscus - sheen :: 80% - different finish - much glossier, more orange, brighter
Mocha - satin :: Sleek True Colour Lipstick in Succumb - sheen :: 95% - slightly different finish
Morange - amplified :: Sleek True Colour Lipstick in Tangerine Scream - sheen :: 100% - none visible
Rebel - satin :: Sleek Pout Paint in Port - sheen :: 90% - lighter, slightly pinker and more shiny
Ruby Woo - matte :: Sleek True Colour Lipstick in Stiletto - matte :: 90% - less bright, slightly cooler
Show Orchid - amplified :: NYC Expert Last Lipstick Blue Rose (alternative swatch) - shimmer :: 95% - more pigmented, slightly cooler
Hope this helps you as much as these bloggers and youtubers have helped me! If you know of any shades that are limited edition that I haven't mentioned, or any inaccuracies in this post, please let me know in the comments. I have quite a few more lipsticks which I suspect are dupes for some MAC shades, as well as some in my wishlist that I'm planning to get. I'll post them here when I've found more!
ETA: Just corrected an error - the Catrice lipstick lines are called "Ultimate Colour" and "Ultimate Shine", not "Infinite Colour/Shine". They're my holy grail lipstick formula; I can't believe I'd forget something like that!