y obsession with beauty products began as early as I can remember. Instead of playing with dolls or signing up for soccer, my primary joy was flavored lip balms, sparkly jars of goopy body glitter and neon shades of Bonne Bell nail polish. My lip balm collection in elementary school contained over 100 different varieties, and the only thing I ever got in trouble for was bringing in my collection to makeover my classmates. My mom didn’t let me start wearing real makeup — lipstick and eyeliner — until I was a teen, but these junior products were my window into the transformational power of beauty.
Along with my love of beauty, I also gained a talent for misplacing products — especially my favorites. Today, not much has changed; I’m still obsessed with beauty products, and as a beauty writer working in New York, I’ve amassed a huge collection. Still, when I lose a product, I always remember. I have a habit of holding out hope that I’ll find some of the more costly missing products in my couch, but sometimes, I’m so obsessed with an item that I panic and replace it immediately.
Below, an ode to some of the most memorable makeup and skincare products I’ve lost — from my middle school years to college and beyond.
Lip Smacker Brownie Cheesecake Lip Gloss
I think this was probably the first important beauty product I ever lost. It smelled amazing, just like you’d imagine it would. It was a gift, and they definitely don’t make it or anything remotely similar to it today. I remember taking it with me to the movies on a Friday night in middle school and never seeing it again. I hope whoever found it realized they were in possession of a truly precious relic!
I went to high school in a rural area and picked this concealer up at Sephora on a vacation. It was definitely my first “fancy” concealer — fancy in that it didn’t come from a drugstore — and I was obsessed. First because of the campy packaging and putty-like texture, and then for the simple fact that it covered everything: my teenage acne, dark circles and any hints of discoloration.
Because of the creamy texture, a little went a long way and it took ages to finish. I recall using it for over a year before it disappeared. The last time I remember using it was at my desk before a class started. When I got home, it wasn’t in my tote. I checked lost and found but it never turned up and I never bought a new one. I kept thinking I’d find it one day but I’ve moved on because I found another concealer that rivaled it (by Nars, that I also lost–more on that later!).
Since moving to New York City seven years ago, this beauty product has been the only thing to get me through the brutally humid summers. That being said, I’ll never forget the time I dropped it on the subway tracks as a sophomore in college.
I was trying to apply it to my overly oily t-zone and lost my grip on its shiny black packaging. It plummeted and with a sickening thud, hit the metal rail on the tracks. I distinctly remember because there was a rat not less than two feet away from where it fell. I looked up around me to see if anyone else had seen what happened and a woman understandingly grimaced at me.
This was probably the fastest repurchase I ever made.
This was a really, really good mascara. One that probably didn’t deserve to live inside my couch for nearly a year before I spotted it between the cushion-y crevices. Needless to say, I continued using it once it was recovered.
I lost the only top coat nail polish that ever worked decently. I used to bring it with me wherever I went, even using it on the subway to refresh my nails. I think I probably dropped it somewhere along the way. I’ve yet to replace it due my summer habit of getting cheap mani pedi combos at my local salon.
I went through an Embryolisse phase once upon a time. I used the Lait Crème every morning and every night. It’s a really great product—it’s basically a super creamy unscented moisturizer that absorbs fast. When I went to Paris on a work trip, tired of lugging the full-sized Embryolisse with me, I decided I needed to buy a travel-sized tube to take with me on trips. So I did, and I’m pretty sure I left it in the hotel because I never found it once I got back to the states.
A few years ago, I got into the habit of buying the travel-sized version of this because I thought it was cuter and I thought I was saving money (I wasn’t). I was using a large leather tote bag that had a perfectly-sized interior pocket for this little guy. Everything was going fine until one day, the concealer went MIA. I searched everywhere; every coat pocket, every bag, every nook and cranny in my apartment. I eventually had to repurchase it, and then months later, it showed up inside the lining of my leather tote bag. I had to wedge my entire hand inside the part of the bag you’re never supposed to see to get it out. It was worth it.
This is a recent buy that didn’t last long. A few months ago I decided to pick up this smooth-like-butter eyeliner in the most stunning blue-green color, Street during a Sephora binge. I wore it for a week straight in different variations, then it was gone. I’m still holding out hope that I might find it—maybe under a bookshelf or another piece of random furniture.
An especially hard one to deal with. I saw it, I wanted it, I got it, I swatched it, I lost it. The last place I remember seeing this eyeshadow is on my living room coffee table. I never actually wore Glossier’s Lidstar in Lily, but I had a million ideas in my mind of how I was going to.
This perfume rollerball was the only thing I ever bought at Colette, the infamous fashion concept store in Paris, shortly before it permanently closed. Normally I don’t buy rollerball-sized fragrances because I never remember to use them, but this one was special.
It was bright pink (a Valentine’s Day special edition) and formulated as an oil instead of a traditional alcohol-based perfume. And it smelled like delicate, soft roses without being too overpowering. I kept it in its box until I got back to New York and then started carrying it around with me with the intention to use it regularly. I think I used it about once before it disappeared. I’m not sure where it went, but if you happen to see a bright pink Byredo rollerball on the streets of Manhattan, can you return it to me? I miss it.
Gif and collages by Louisiana Mei Gelpi.