Many years ago, Bobbi Brown wrote on her website that all you needed was some good skincare; a base that matched your skin exactly; a blush; "my lips but better" lipstick plus something for evenings. Add a neutral eye palette; something sparkly for evenings; an eye liner and mascara. Job done. She cautioned against over-buying. This advice is probably long gone as multi-million pound makeup empires aren't built by telling people not to over-buy.
That's a shame as it's very good advice. There is only so much makeup you can use - one face, two eyes, one mouth, four cheeks - before it goes off.
Just like food, makeup comes with a best before date. Opening a lipstick and getting a whiff of Crayola instead of the usual scent is irritating.
Around this time of year, beauty bloggers walk their readers through their stash. Fascinating and deceptive.
One of my friends is a professional makeup artist. She has Pro Cards that get discounts on some brands. Others send her a selection of cosmetics from each season's collection.
When Take A Break launched, its success pawned loads of copycats. Each with a celebrity makeup artist columnist. My friend was that columnist.
Cosmetic companies sent her oodles of freebies in the hope she'd recommend them to readers. She could call companies and ask for items to feature. A favourable review translates into bigger sales. The Delia Effect.
The conceit of blogging as a writing style is that the blogger is just like the reader. But with a successful blog. Top bloggers are less like you or me and more like my celebrity makeup artist friend.
Everything in the bathroom and on my dressing table was purchased by me or a gift. So will some of the stuff you see on a top blog. The rest of it will be PR samples, products they're being paid to feature etc. Once you know that, it makes it easier to take the tours with a bucket of salt.
So here's a grand tour of my stash. Starting in the bathroom, you'll see face masks, face wash, hair care, body lotion and, of course, deodorant. (Thank goodness for that!). Rev T and the Tubblet's stuff are out of shot.
Moving on to the bedroom, there are random objects that remind me of happy things; makeup and skincare. Rev T doesn't get a look in here. The top of the chest of drawers is all mine. Mine! (Don't pity Rev T. He has a study / Man cave).
And that's it. Everything is "use every day" and nothing is "on rotation". What you're seeing is what there is. No back-ups. Or back-ups of back-ups. No Narnia like cupboard. This. I can only use so much and I hate waste. I can only afford so much and hate it when the bank statement balance has the word OD at the end.
Beauty posts in Someplace Strange will reflect the purchasing habits and concerns of a 40 something with ByTerry tastes, a Boots budget, a family to look after and a full-time job.
There's a whole related discussion about disclosure of PR samples and paid for content. The rules are extremely confusing. Working in a highly regulated sector, I believe that honesty and trying to do the right thing is the best policy. So that's what I'll be doing if it ever comes to it.
Some context. Reading beauty blogs got me into blogging. One too many posts featuring PR samples / sponsored content without saying so tipped me over the edge! The rant was on!
Thanks to everyone who's read, liked, followed and commented. Much appreciated. Hope you're all having a lovely day. And, for those of us with school aged kids, enjoying half term.