Why the Search for the Holy Grail of Beauty is a Myth


When it comes to beauty, we all want to find our ‘Holy Grail’—that one product that magically answers all our problems. We are sure that the perfect moisturizer, mascara formula, or lipstick shade exists out there, just waiting for the right salesperson to pluck it from obscurity and place it in our grateful hands.

But what happens when you find that perfect lipstick? You use it every day. It takes you from office to happy hour to date night just like it said it would. Your lips look natural: “You-But-Better!” Your friends swipe it out of your hands in the ladies’ room.

Then, when you’re scraping the bottom of the tube with a Q-tip for the last few dregs, you realize it’s probably time to replenish. At the counter, the unthinkable happens: “Sorry, we discontinued that shade.”

I know you’ve been there. We’ve all been frustrated by the prospect of having to start over; we’re all haunted by the ghosts of colors past. And if you’ve ever worked retail cosmetics, an overtired soccer mom with shopping bags has screamed at you while you calmly explain that it wasn’t your decision to discontinue her precious cornflower blue shadow and yes, you will try to ask the higher-ups at Estee Lauder to bring back the shade the next time you have a power lunch with the CEO.  

But nothing lasts forever. Brands repackage, reformulate, innovate. If a color was discontinued, it means it wasn’t selling well. Who can argue with smart business tactics?

If you find a color you absolutely love, stock up (most makeup will last quite a while as long as the package is sealed). If it’s too late, Three Custom Color can match your discontinued shade, a seller on Amazon may have it, or you can Google for a veritable treasure trove of “dupes” (duplicates).

But don’t forget that this is a golden opportunity to switch things up. Maybe they’ve made technological advances since you finished the last few drops of that serum. Maybe this is your chance to find an updated favorite that flatters you even more than your old standby. Look at this as a blessing in disguise. Shopping for makeup is half the fun. After all, it’s not the destination, it’s the journey.

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