There are beauty junkies and then there are…Beauty Junkies. Hillary Kosofsky, a 54-year-old nurse in New Jersey, has a serious jones for makeup and hair products. She walked us through her $30,000-plus beauty stash, and revealed how it grew. And grew. And grew.
- How she's amassed almost 200 makeup palettes: If I think a palette is really gorgeous, I buy two so I can use one and save one. Although sometimes I buy two…and don't ever use either one. Look at this one [an embossed Dior highlighting powder palette]. Isn't it beautiful? And this [another shimmering Dior powder]. I don't exactly know what it is or what it does, but I had to have it.
- And also: I love anything with bling. [Even her nail files are bedazzled.]
- Oh, and also: If it's limited edition, I can't resist. Those words put me over the edge.
- What her two adult daughters might not be happy to hear: I love all this makeup. These things are like my children.
- Why she owns (relatively) few skincare products: Fancy face creams don't excite me. I actually don't even use foundation. What I love is color.
- How she explains the 140 styling products: I also love doing my hair. I've been dyeing it blonde since I was 16. I'm at the salon every five weeks, and I always buy products when I'm there. My stylist, who's also my sister, tries to stop me. She says I have everything I need. But I don't listen.
- Where she stores the stuff: We have two bathrooms—my husband uses the small one, I have the big one. I have three packed drawers in there, and an entire linen closet. I also have a separate stash in our weekend house—probably about half this much.
- Why she wakes up at dawn: I have to be at work by 8 A.M., and every morning I wash my hair, blow it out and iron it. And I always put on a full face of makeup—three or four different eyeshadows, more than one mascara, three different concealers. And, of course, eyeliner and lipstick.
- Her hunting strategy: I rip pages out of magazines and plan what I'm going to get. I'm not loyal to a specific brand; I'll buy whatever catches my eye. If it's new, I have to have it. If I need to track it down, I do.
- How her makeup is like a traveling museum: I'll carry makeup that I know I'm not going to use in my purse. I like to have it with me and know I can look at it when I want to.
- Why she's different from the people on that Hoarders show: I always keep everything very neat and organized.
- The biggest problem she's faced because of her love of makeup A few years ago, I found myself $14,000 in debt. I had to tell my husband what was going on, and he paid it off.
- Why that didn't stop her The rush from buying is stronger than the guilt.
- Why the plumbing in her house might be sluggish I usually get bored halfway through hair products. I either stash the bottles under the sink or just squeeze them down the drain.
- The most obvious thing about her I'm a girly girl. It makes me feel good to try to look pretty.
- The heartbreaking truth I was insecure growing up. I was okay-looking, but I wanted to be beautiful. I still feel like when I walk into a room, no one's saying, "Look at her." And I guess with all of the makeup and hair products, I'm hoping I can make that happen.
- What a little self-reflection yields I'm looking at this pile thinking, "This is not normal; this is not healthy." It does bother me that I have these beautiful things that I can't even find because there's so much. When I go home and put all of this back, I'll aim for a 25 percent purge.
O breaks it down: How Kosofsky spent $30,000 on beauty products
- How much she actually purged after the photo shoot Maybe 5 percent? I gave away a big shopping bag full of hair products but only a small bag of makeup. I couldn't bring myself to toss it. And when I got home, there was a new Bobbi Brown delivery.