I Completed My Makeup Capsule Wardrobe Experiment — Here's How It Went

Perhaps not as well as I might have hoped.
Publish date:
May 11, 2016
mac, sunday riley, Capsule Wardrobes, Collection

I had lofty goals with my makeup capsule wardrobe experiment. Visions of a perfectly edited makeup collection, a single product for each category, fitting tidily in a smart makeup bag and able to travel with me wherever I go. It sounds good, doesn't it? It looked good, too, when I selected each item and photographed them together. I even allowed for a fun lipstick color, and although I didn't count the votes officially, it seemed like you guys were leaning towards the purple, so I selected MAC's Evening Rendezvous.

Well, you might be able to tell where this is going.

I don't have an extensive makeup collection just because I like to buy things. I mean, the excitement of buying something new is thrilling, sure, but by and large, my makeup collection is so big because I like makeup. I like to play with it. I like variety. I like trying new things and discovering they don't suit me, but it's fine because I tried it anyway. I want to try recreating Kristina's eye makeup looks that include pops of blue. And a tiny, obsessively edited makeup collection just doesn't allow for these things.

It's not like I disposed of everything outside my 14 items, and that might be where I failed myself... and failed the experiment. Sorry guys, I just couldn't do it! I made a really valiant effort. I'll show you.

This is the default makeup I wore to work throughout the experiment. I'll give my product choices one thing: they make for a really nice and polished complexion. That's the Sunday Riley primer working its magic.

It's a pretty unremarkable look, though, and considering I only gave myself one dedicated eyeshadow to work with, there's not a lot of room for experimentation.

This is what that kind of makeup looks like in the wild — that is, on a morning where I don't have tons of time to perfect everything (let alone take a high-quality picture) because I'm in a rush to make it to training at work, only to find that it's just me in a room with a laptop and I can take as many selfies as I like.

This is the only photo I got of myself wearing the purple lipstick. Yes, it's a great lipstick, and I think it looks pretty good with the gold eyeshadow I chose. But as soon as I was restricted to only that lipstick or a nude lip, I resented it. I wanted to wear any color except purple. Red would have done. Hot pink, which I never wear. Even a deep wine red, which I'd usually never bother with for work, appealed to me more. (And yes, I wore my new shirt again, but this was a different week.)

I had to get experimental pretty quickly, and this is where the Collection brow kit comes in — truly the hero product of the experiment. Brow powder is really just eyeshadow, and three shades of cool brown make for a decent smoky eye when you're in a pinch. I layered the three browns in increasing intensity and blended them out in the crease with the bronzer for a bit of warmth. This is definitely a look I'd do again!

Lastly... well, I told you I cheated.

It was a Friday night. I was going to see a band, and I just really didn't want to wear any more gold eyeshadow. I didn't know what I wanted, so I sat down with a drink and let myself raid my whole collection.

It was glorious, let me tell you. So many colors! I ended up with a really blown out orange eye look (shoutout to MAC's Rule eyeshadow) and super-glossy lips. It's a look that's really not "me," but is "me" in the sense that it's fun and experimental and made me love my whole makeup collection.

So, the capsule wardrobe thing didn't really work out, but I've got more beauty experiments planned. Next up, I'm thinking of playing product roulette: that's where you put the names of products in a bag, pull them out at random and have to make a look with them. It's the complete opposite of a beauty capsule wardrobe, and that's what makes it so appealing!

How do you think I fared? Would you have survived the two weeks without cheating?