Welcome to Shit I Bought, a column where we recap the life-changing beauty and fashion purchases of various staffers—and also just stuff we bought on a whim.
In my last edition of Shit I Bought, my struggle was buying clothes. I made some strides this month after sorting through my remaining rags and noticing all my “going out” shirts were held together with burrito grease and cat hair. But before we get to that adventure, let’s talk face ointments.
A long skincare thread in a private Facebook group for ladies made me aware that every area of my visage needs a different tiny bottle of liquid to attend to it. My first insane purchase was Drunk Elephant C-Firma Face Serum, popping my serum cherry. It costs $80 and smells like rotting orange peels. I accidentally sent a bottle to my old address (enjoy, Apartment B11!), but Sephora refunded me even though it was completely my fault. If they hadn’t, I might have been too demoralized to continue my crazy spending, but they did and on I went.
I got SHISEIDO Benefiance WrinkleResist 24 Intensive Eye Contour Cream, because a woman wrote on that thread that people kept asking her if she was getting fillers after using it. I also want people to think I’m too beautiful to be real. It’s very creamy and nice, but so far no one has accused me of using other enhancements, though two people told me I looked luminous the night before I got my period.
Then there is my night oil, Derma E: Anti-Wrinkle Vitamin A & E Treatment. It comes in a pack of three, and you definitely only need one 2 oz bottle a century, so split it with two friends. I bought a toner, COSRX Alcohol-Free Toner, because I felt like I should, but it’s just okay. And finally, I bought castor oil to rub in my thinning eyebrows to make them thicker, with this lady as my inspo. Will report back if it works in 4-6 weeks.
This is a sickening amount of money to spend on skin products, but let me tell you: I am fucking aging backwards. Okay, clothes.
So, yes, I hate buying clothes for a lot of reasons: money, insecurities, the general evil of fast fashion and capitalism, my horrible taste. But at a certain point, you don’t want to agonize over which one of your two lightly stained t-shirts to wear on a date. Notified that GAP was having a sale with free shipping, it seemed like a good time to buy a few basics.
The pleated chinos were a scary choice, because I generally don’t opt to emphasize my waist or stomach in any way. But they fit great and I might even wear them to leave the house someday. Both the “softspun scoop neck tee” and the “breath wrap crop tee” make me look like a delicate fall princess, and they’re so very soft. Can’t imagine what occasion would seem special enough to wear them, though I realize they’re intended as gym clothes.
Okay, I also went to an outlet mall with my grandparents in Pennsylvania, and speed walked 10 miles back and forth in an hour as they agonzed over buying one hat. I got 10 pairs of underwear at Aerie on everyone’s recommendation and you know what? The high-rise boy brief is too proportionally tight on top! There, I said it. And before you blame my ass, it is NOT flat, it is above average! Also bought a number of other not disgusting t-shirts, tank tops, and a grey cardigan at outlet Banana Republic—and then at the last second an off-the-shoulder, burgundy, crushed-velvet body suit at Forever 21. The heart wants what it wants, and I’ll wear it at my funeral.
Recently I have become very concerned with the condition of the skin on my face. Is it bright enough? Does it glow? What does “congestion” look like? Why are the pores on my nose and cheeks so large that you could toss a Taki into them from a safe distance? These questions, and many others that I will not detail here, are the reason why I’ve started buying many things to make my face look “good.”
The Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum has been recommended to me by numerous colleagues and friends with glowing, soft faces; I would like my face to be glowing and soft, so I caved and bought this cute travel set to test it out before I spend almost $100 on some shit that might make my face break out. In that same vein, I purchased two serums from The Ordinary—a niacinamide and zinc formula that sounds like a better and way cheaper version of Glossier’s Pure Serum and a 30% AHA peel that’s supposed to be a dupe of Drunk Elephant’s Baby Facial, which costs like $80 and is some shit that I refuse to spend money on! I want to age in reverse, but I don’t want it to cost me a billion dollars. Since I have yet to find a dermatologist to tell me if I am in fact breaking down my moisture barrier by playing it fast and loose with the potions, I am going to cross my fingers and hope that I am doing it right. An intense fantasy that I harbor is that one day, my scaly lizard-face will peel off to reveal that of a youthful, dewy, three-year-old. Maybe all this shit I rub into my visage will make it so.
I’ve also recently become addicted to YouTube beauty tutorials. I find them mesmerizing and aspirational enough to encourage me to spend money and time on eyeshadow. This development was only briefly alarming; there are worse things to spend my money on and now I truly understand the point of concealer. I’m never going to come to work or leave the house with a cut crease or five different kinds of highlighter or a triangle of concealer under my eyes blended away into oblivion, but I love to learn new things.
When Fenty Beauty launched, I bought the lip gloss and two MatchStix — in “Yacht Lyfe” and “Rum”—and considered becoming a person who wears foundation. I have not made that jump yet, but watching my good friends Jackie Aina, Kashaul Beauty, Deepica, and Desi Perkins has made me realize that I probably don’t have the time, the skill or the patience.
Just to get this out of the way—I also bought a NYX Perfect Filter Eyeshadow Palette in Rustic Antique and a NYX Hot Singles eyeshadow in Dayclub, which is basically the color of my eyelid skin but sparkly. I considered purchasing the Urban Decay Naked Heat Palette because, again, beauty YouTube’s preference for warm eyeshadows has infiltrated my brain; also capitalism. I refused. I use these maybe once a week.
It’s the time of year where I take a look at my closet and consider throwing everything into a swimming pool full of gasoline, tossing a match over my shoulder and running. I hate everything I own, but I don’t have a goose that shits money, so I’ll make do with what I have. To supplement whatever it is that I do have—striped shirts, some stained, some without—I bought another striped shirt, some new jeans, a denim jacket from a vintage store for like $11, and a pair of Vans that satisfy the 13-year-girl I once was. I regret nothing except the Vans; I should’ve gotten these maroon ones, but I have a thing about sneakers that are any color other than black. They scare me. I’m working on it.
I’M NEARLY FINISHED.
Other purchases that are not clothing related but still related because I bought them: a dresser and a mirror from a weird vintage store down the street from my apartment; countless plants, most of which have died, except for the ponytail palm, living her best life; this freaking WALL TAPESTRY from Urban Outfitters (kill me), because it was on super sale and because I love this artist and cannot afford the big prints. That’s it. Bury me and my beautiful, smooth-skinned face in a pile of my belongings.
This has been “Shit I Bought,” comprised of shit we actually bought. No company compelled us to write about it for any reason. We bought it all, for better and often for worse, with our own money and of our own free will.