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Alanna Martine Kilkeary / Her Campus

A Love Letter to Pre-Pandemic Makeup

Edited by: Tanmaya Ramprasad

Each morning, as I get ready, I open up my makeup drawer. Hundreds of dollars worth of products stare back at me: eyeshadow palettes, highlighters, lipsticks—a trove of treasures amassed during high school. I pull out my half-dried Dipbrow, revived numerous times with facial oil, and fill in my eyebrows. Then I shut the drawer again, ignoring the stray hints of glitter on my fingertips.

I got into makeup around 2016, around the height of beauty YouTubers and makeup influencers. Although I had never spent too much money on makeup, when Anastasia Beverly Hills’ iconic Modern Renaissance palette caught my eye, I knew I had to have it. But before long, I was searching through eyeshadow tutorials, subscribing to beauty channels, and keeping up with the latest releases. I soon took pride in owning all of the Anastasia Beverly Hills eyeshadow palettes and collecting Nyx lipstick shades. But most of all, I was dazzled by blinding highlighters, amassing limited edition shades and fan favourites alike.

Boxy brows and highlighter became my beloved uniform. Even if I weren’t wearing foundation, a swirl of glitter would always accentuate my cheekbones. The necklines of my sweaters would sparkle, as would my phone. I didn’t mind, though—the delight I got from turning my head in the mirror, watching the light bounce off my cheek, was well worth it. My collection of highlighters began to expand even further, but each shade was put to good use. I would layer duochromes to create dazzling effects one day, then mix different brands the next.

Even now, highlighters hold a special place in my heart. The mess of glitter would rub off on a mask and make it a nightmare to clean, yet I can’t help but think about how nice it would be to get to wear my favourite highlighters again. Instead of being enjoyed, they sit in a dark drawer, slowly expiring. I’m most disappointed when I think of Becca’s Champagne Dream x Belini shade, a gorgeous limited edition duochrome. Hopefully, I’ll still be able to get some usage out of it by the time that the pandemic is over, regardless of the expiration date. 

As frustrating as it is not to be able to use my highlighters, they are all powder products, which typically have a long shelf life. My embarrassingly large collection of lipsticks are all liquids and creams, which expire quickly and are more likely to harbour dangerous bacteria. I will have to throw each tube away due to safety concerns. A wasteful act, yet one that is necessary due to these unforeseen circumstances.

When the pandemic is over, my makeup collection will be almost entirely expired. I will have to decide if and how I’d like to rebuild it. Although we’re no longer in the age of endless beauty guru recommendations, I’m sure that it will still be tempting to create a large collection again. However, after the experience of seeing so many products expire, I’m going to try to be far more conscientious with how many products I purchase. Sticking to current favourites will help to minimize any buy-to-try products. I’ll also make an effort to not have too many of any given product type at a time and to completely finish a product before purchasing a substitute. While I’m very excited to get back to lipsticks and highlighters, I’d rather leave the wasteful overconsumption in the past. 

Demetra is a third-year English and Cinema Studies student at the University of Toronto. She loves cooking, reading, and drinking way too much coffee.
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