How-to Buy Less Makeup: Guide to Makeup No-Buys & Low-Buys (2022)

With the beauty industry releasing more and more products and with greater accessibility to those launches, it’s no surprise that some have felt like they’ve overindulged or have reached a point of saturation and are approaching future purchases with a more critical eye.  Whether you’re on a makeup no-buy, low-buy, or are just being more conscious about future beauty purchases going forward, this guide is a great starting point on learning the rules of a no buy and helpful tips on sticking with your no buy (or low buy!).

Here are some other helpful posts:

How-to Buy Less Makeup

How-to Create Your Makeup No Buy Rules

If you haven’t already, outline the “rules” of your no-buy, low-buy, or what exactly you’re reducing or limiting purchases of. You’ll want to determine what you plan to allow yourself to purchase, if anything, and under what circumstances. It’s your plan, so it can be as specific or as broad as you want to be, though I recommend trying to be less broad where it makes sense to make it easier to stick with the plan. Think about the length of time you want to commit to the plan; it might be an initial commitment of six months or a year or even just a month.

If you’ve tried a no-buy or low-buy, and it did not work out, perhaps the guidelines need some work; think about what rules worked and which ones didn’t and try to retrace why those rules didn’t work (perhaps too confining or perhaps too much too quickly). Here are a few suggestions:

  • Replacement only: if and when a product that is well-loved and well-used is finished, it can be purchased again
  • One-in, one-out: if and when a certain product is finished, something can be purchased to replace it (could be finishing a lipgloss and getting a lipstick)
  • Fill in the Blanks: there are certain gaps in your stash, make note of them, and only if an item meets that need you have can it be purchased
  • [Product Type] only: this could be skincare or haircare, basics, and often is related to replacement-only kind of low- or no-buys
  • Set budget: determine the amount of money you’re allowed to spend per period (week, month, year), whether unused money can be rolled over, and so forth
  • Planned purchases only: either purchases you’ve mapped out well in advance of starting the low- or no-buy (e.g. “that palette releasing in December”) or if you’ve thoroughly researched a product, determined it fits within your guidelines, and so forth
  • Project Pan: purchases can’t be made until certain items, a certain number of items, etc. have been used up (panning, de-tubing, etc.)

Unless there is a dire financial situation, try to set reasonable guidelines; it is better to start off with a more moderate low-buy and succeed than go cold turkey and fail within a week.

Create + Focus on Your Goals

There’s usually some reason why one consciously changes how and what they’re purchasing. When you created your guidelines, you may have set goals, or you may have a goal in mind that has set off the need for reducing your beauty purchases. This could range from shifting your money to something different (e.g. buying a house, paying down debt, taking a vacation) to feeling overwhelmed by what you own to curbing impulse buys to simply wanting to spend less when it comes to beauty products. Whatever your goal may be, when you’re tempted, think about the goal you’re trying to achieve, look at the progress you’ve made, and reaffirm why that goal is a priority for you.

Here are some suggestions on keeping your eye on the prize:

  • Track expenses: go back and track how much you spent prior to your new plan, and then track what you’ve spent (or not spent!) since
  • Track progress: whenever possible, tracking and being able to reflect on the progress made toward a goal is useful and can make a goal seem a lot more tangible and doable
  • Track usage: go through and inventory your collection (you can even use our vanity system!), see what you’re using (or not using), see how often you use certain things, and it can help make the driving force behind the need for a low- or no-buy clearer
  • Find support: let friends and family know about your goals and ask for support; look for online communities like /r/MakeupRehab with like-minded individuals

How-to Buy Less Makeup

How to Stop Buying Makeup – 5 Steps

To be successful at reducing purchases, especially when making significant reductions, is to think more critically about your purchasing habits and what purchases you actually make and why. We don’t want to buy things on a whim any more; we want to buy products that fit our guidelines and are, ultimately, going to be products we love and use often. Are you READY?

  • Research: Thoroughly read/watch reviews, look for swatches, learn more about the brand/formulation
  • Explain: Why do you want this product? What need will it fill? Why is it tempting? Why now?
  • Apply: How does it fit into your plan? How will it affect your progress? How does it fit into your collection? How often will you use it?
  • Dupes: Do you have similar shades or something that is functionally the same?
  • You: Will it make you happy or will it make you feel guilty? Will the happiness be from the acquisition or from actually using the product?

How to Resist Buying Makeup – 9 Tips

  1. Unsubscribe from as many mailing lists as you can; these brands exist to sell to you, and some brands are particularly aggressive with daily emails, talk of FOMO, etc.
  2. Make an inventory of all the products you own. It is helpful to know what you have, but it may also give you greater insight into what you have too many of (for you), products you seem to gravitate toward (and ones you can’t remember ever using).
  3. Shop your stash for dupes or layering combinations to recreate whatever shade it was that made you feel tempted. You would be surprised just how far the art of layering can go to getting you close enough to just about any shade.
    • If you’ve made your inventory using Temptalia, you can view dupes in your vanity but also dupes between what you own and what’s on your wishlist, too!
  4. Get through the clutter in your stash. I’m a big believer in destashing products you don’t like or don’t work for you; unless it’s truly necessary, sometimes recycling, trashing, or passing on to someone who would enjoy it more is far better than using it up. You paid for it already; you are not saving money by using it if you have something else you’d rather use. Do you know how long it takes to finish most color cosmetics? There’s little need to own 10 coral blushes and keep four you never use because you have six still to use! By removing the “noise” in your collection, it’ll let you appreciate and enjoy what you have more thoroughly–no wading through mediocre products, no more trying to use them just to say you did.
  5. Save it for later, whether that’s to a real or mentalwish list and revisit in a week, two weeks, etc. and see if the pull of temptation is really there or was it just a knee-jerk reaction.
  6. Try to avoid emotional shopping because you aren’t in the right headspace to do so thoughtfully. If you’re having a bad day, week, or month, try to find different ways to bring a smile to your face (watch a sappy movie, spend time with friends/family/pets, do your makeup instead, look at your progress, exercise, etc.) rather than simply buying something new and shiny. New and shiny lasts about as long as it takes to open the box.
  7. Read reviews, look for swatches, and watch tutorials of products you’re interested in. Reviews can indicate whether it’ll even be worth acquiring, while watching tutorials can show you how something can come together (or not) and often show that, “Yeah, I can create that look with what I have” rather than, “Wow, that’s different than any other look I’ve ever, ever seen!!”
  8. Accept any weaknesses and make adjustments. If it’s hard for you to physically go into a Sephora without making a purchase, avoid going to Ulta until you’ve made more progress toward your goal. Change doesn’t have to happen overnight!
  9. If a sample is available of a product, see if that helps curb the need for it; you can try it without buying it, which will give you more hands-on experience using it. This could be an actual, deluxe-sized sample or just going to a counter and swatching (but maybe leave your form of payment at home to avoid impulse buying!).

5 Reasons to Skip Value Sets + Kits

  1. You aren’t going to use everything in that set/palette.  10 lipsticks at a steal of a price, but if you’re only going to use two of them, that’s not really worth it, is it?
  2. Why are you trying something you had no interest in before?  Just because it’s a good value or it’s on sale doesn’t mean you need it.  If you weren’t interested in it at full price, is it really something to be considering?
  3. Limited edition is here today, gone tomorrow but repeated forever.  After awhile, a lot of the holiday sets and palettes start looking the same, especially by certain brands.  If you can’t partake this year to meet your goals, there’s always next year, and frankly, at the rate the industry is going, spring and summer and fall are going to turn into release bonanzas anyway.
  4. The quality isn’t always the same in holiday sets as in full-sized products.  Again, even if it’s “cheaper,” is it really worth buying when the quality is lower? Why would you want a medicore or so-so product in your collection? There are so many excellent products that there’s no reason to settle for so-so!
  5. You can dupe it.  No, seriously, do you know how many dupes I pull for most products?  It’s getting to be obscene.  A 15-pan palette might result in adding 500+ dupes to the database.  And if you can’t dupe it, maybe there’s a reason why you don’t already own something like it (e.g. doesn’t work for you, not practical, etc.).  Always check our Dupe List!  You can also compare two palettes to see similar shades (or even dupes).

Keep Going! Forgive Yourself for Mistakes.

If you purchase something that wasn’t part of your plan, don’t give up on your low- or no-buy. Be kind to yourself by thinking about what happened, what you can learn from it, whether there should be adjustments made to your guidelines/plan/goals, and how to do better in the future. You want to avoid making the same mistakes over and over again, so the focus should be on how to improve and move forward.

Have you tried a low- or no-buy? How did it go? Do you have any advice to share?


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Lubna Avatar

I absolutely LOVE ❤️ this post! Thank you for doing this. Also, I think you’re in the best position to actually write a post like this because you have probably seen and tried everything released by almost all the brands and have encyclopedic knowledge of the industry.

J Avatar

This was so useful, thank you!

There are 2 products I don’t use anymore, but both are from pop-culture collections which I’m glad I purchased at the time–MAC Rocky Horror and MAC Simpsons. I’d like to get rid of the products inside and just keep the packaging for sentimental value. Anyone have any tips for how to cleanly dispose of lipstick or blush to keep the packaging?

Christine Avatar

With lipstick, you should be able to take a palette knife (or any long, flat, metal utensil) and scoop out the product in the lipstick container. If there’s still a lot of the bullet left, you can cut off what’s exposed with a knife and scoop the rest out with the palette knife.

For a blush, I’m assuming a powder blush? You could, in theory, use rubbing alcohol poured between the pan of product and the compact’s packaging, which will help weaken the glue, then pry out the pan, and then clean the remaining glue away. If you aren’t going to reuse the compact, you could just use a blunt utensil and shatter the powder and clean it out.

G Avatar

If there’s still a bullet in the casing, you can freeze it in a freezer for an hour or two and you can cleanly pull it out of the socket. I do this whenever I want to recycle the plastic packaging, but the product itself can’t be recycled.

Emily Avatar

Gentle heat like a straightener set on low will soften the glue enough to depot a normal powder product. Baked powder can be more difficult. Then rubbing alcohol can help get the glue off completely in a more controllable environment. ❤️

Inkspell_blu Avatar

Hey. I could totally be wrong about this but I think Mac has a packaging recycle program where if you have five empties you get a free full size lipstick. Myself, I love packaging! If you have a lipstick you like better you could probably transfer the bullet to the prettier packaging and move the sticker stating what color it is. Then you could take the less pretty containers in to exchange.

Louise Avatar

Yes, Back 2 MAC which I do whenever I can. In this instance I wanna save the packaging, but otherwise I absolutely love the back 2 MAC program! It’s just 2 pieces that have sentimental value to me so I don’t feel so bad ?

Seraphine Avatar

Yes, they do. It’s six MAC products for one lipstick (any shade). They don’t have to be empty. I’ve given back lipsticks that were melted and lipsticks that had gone bad, too. It’s a great program.

Does anyone know if the recycling program includes the mini lipstick tubes, too?

KK Avatar

I remember reading this somewhere… If the minis were part of a set, then the whole set is required to be returned and will count as 1 piece. ☹️

Seraphine Avatar

Thank you so much for this, Christine! It’s exactly what I need. I didn’t make it through a single week on my recent “no-buy” plan.

Lots of great ideas here that I can use. For one thing, when there’s a product I’m having a tough time resisting (read: KVD Saint & Sinner Eyeshadow Palette), I’ll journal the “READY” questions. I think that will help immensely with fighting the urge to buy it. Other good ideas: inventory and unsubscribing.

I’m going to print and save this great guide, and hopefully these ideas will help curb my out-of-control makeup binges. Thank you again. I really love this website.

TravelingBlush Avatar

Go back to the creative process of mixing colors – the heart of the makeup addiction! Try mixing your nail polish to create a coveted shade, or mixing a lip color with eyepencil to darken/vamplify. It’s satisfying on two counts – saving money and creating your own color mix.

Chloe Avatar

I love how genuine you are and how you really care about your readers. Nowadays I feel like many MUA/Beauty gurus/influence are working with companies (either low-key or directly), so they only tell their audiences to BUY,BUY,BUY!!
and That’s why I sincerely trust your opinions and each time I’m debating whether to get a product or not, i come to you.

Thank you for all the work!

Christine Avatar

Thank you, Chloe! 🙂 It’s a fine line to walk for sure – I’m obviously pushing product more than I’m not, but I try to find ways to offset any pushing… kind of like I feel the dupes-runneth-over section of every review sort of helps that!

ShariP Avatar

Christine, while you may feel like you are pushing product, from the readers standpoint, you don’t come across that way. You come across very neutral. Your reviews are very unbiased based on your use of the product and the claims of the manufacturer. I never feel like you are “telling” me that I HAVE to have a product.

J Avatar

I was far more consumed by beauty a few years ago. I’ve now hit my late 20’s, and I’ve learned what’s worked for me and what’s not. The last 2 launches that hit me with a frenzy with MAC Selena and Fenty Beauty’s launch, and those definitely had an emotional pull for me. Two releases in a world that’s a sea of launches, not bad! I got into the Social Media Beauty Community around 2012, and the shift in more blatant consumerism plus the meaner, nastier patches of the beauty community has turned me off and made me take a step back. All the tips you stated ring true! I’d also add to remember the occasions you’d wear certain hypothetical purchases for– I don’t go out that much, plus spend half my weekends makeup-free while I work out, so it’s cut down on my more “experimental” or “special occasian” purchases! For example, I now own all the nude-ish, MLBB and/or sheer lipsticks I need and 3 red lipsticks, as I barely wear red!

Christine Avatar

So glad that you have learned a lot as you’ve been more or less involved in beauty/makeup!

Yes, the impact of social media on the rise in consumerism seems indisputable to me. I feel like the news of releases comes so much faster, and the concept of “FOMO” really solidified via social media.

Great tip about occasions – I think it’s important to recognize our styles, preferences, and how we use things!

AJ Avatar

Thank you for this great guide! I’ve been on a non-structured low-buy this entire year. Basically I felt embarrassed about the amount of makeup I had purchased over the previous few years, most of which I never use. My main goal was to NOT buy enough at Sephora to re-up my VIB Rouge into the new year. I think I’m on track for that… although if I do end up hitting Rouge again I won’t feel terrible, because my partner has started shopping Sephora for skin and hair care, so that has been a large portion of our spending there this year!

I have to say, unsubscribing from mailing lists has been a huge help for me. Some brands (ColourPop, COUGHCOUGH) were just bombarding my inbox and I got tired of the constant deluge and buying something from a brand one week, only to want something else the next week.

I also try to be smart about my purchasing, either waiting for a 20% off sale at Sephora, or for a 2x points for the stuff we need — so for instance, when there’s 2x points on skincare, that’s when we go stock up on moisturizers, but we don’t buy anything else.

Oh, and I unsubscribed from the Sephora Play box and I am no longer getting any subscription boxes. I decided rather than spending $10 a month and getting a bunch of samples that I mainly didn’t use, I’d rather go buy a new lipstick or something every 2-3 months. Plus those bonus points cards that came with the Play box meant that I would go in to use the card and of course buy stuff I didn’t need.

That’s what’s been working for me. I still occasionally buy things I don’t need (Hello, Abyss lip tar), but I’ve made a lot less impulse buys this year and I’m working more with the stuff I already have.

Christine Avatar

Yeah, some of the marketing emails get to be so much that they’re cringe-worthy! I like when brands have options like daily/weekly/monthly for their promos – then I can keep in touch but not get bombarded. I really don’t like the reminder emails about things I’ve viewed or put into a cart, though!

It’s a great call to try to allocate more of your budget during sale periods so you can get more for your money… or simply spend less 😉

AJ Avatar

UGH, those reminder emails! I really hate when Sephora sends those because it’s almost always something I have already bought and am just linking to on my blog or to recommend to a friend.

I wish brands would offer an option to only get emails about new releases, and not the sales. I want to know when they have something new but I don’t need 800 reminders about their Labor Day sale.

KK Avatar

Totally agree! Those reminder emails are so irritating!! It’s like – you want to play around on a site and put a bunch of stuff in the basket, only to have these emails coming up the next day. It’s like – “we are watching you”!! And so many companies do that! One Company (online jewellery) even called me up to ask why I didn’t buy the product in my basket. I almost blasted them for ever calling me again! Ugggghhh!

Michele @Binxcat4ever Avatar

I really enjoyed this piece Christine. I am trying to be smarter with my buys even though I’m not on a low buy or no buy per se. For me, I found I often bought new releases knowing I would never use them but instead to simply swatch and post for my social media. Much was the same with fragrances for my blog. I think the turning point for me was a $300 blind buy fragrance which, after trying 3 times, I ended up really disliking. I did sell it, but at 50% of what I paid. Rough lesson learned! At least with fragrance, it’s easier to buy samples to save money. I’ve been trying to lean toward samples and minis for cosmetics wherever possible. But the lure of the shiny and new is fairly strong!

Christine Avatar

If it’s any help, think about the ROI on certain things – are you getting what you put in? I spend an obscene amount of money on beauty due to the blog but always make sure that I keep my expense line around the same % of what I’m bringing in. I look more on a total level than on a per-product basis, as individual products vary and something terrible is obviously not going to be popular!

Also, if you are largely swatching, maybe in person swatching (if you can) would be a good halfway measure for showcasing things you don’t want to buy 🙂

Michele @Binxcat4ever Avatar

That makes a lot of sense. I get very little by way of return (financially) on my investment. I spend a ton on product as well since everything I post I’ve paid for. I post at least 2 products per day and often a fragrance as well (which I do blog). So, doing the math, you can see what I’m laying out.
Right now, I have become an affiliate with one brand (but only get site credit) and am in the process of getting on board with another brand. But overall, that’s not expected to recoup even a tiny fraction of what I spend on the brand’s products. But at least for my readers, I can give them discount codes so that makes me feel good.

Today’s deliveries were nothing more than more disenchantment. I only swatched 2 of the arrivals – the Huda Winter Solstice Higlighters and the Coloured Raine Lovlies. The Huda is such a strange texture to the touch and I’m hoping it may apply better as directed (with a sponge). If not, I will be giving it away. The Coloured Raine was just this side of awful. For the price, I expected much better. I actually reswatched the palette 4 times because 2 of the shades looked bizarre – patchy and varied tones. I may try to use it once but won’t keep anything I have to put that much work into.

I do sometimes swatch in store for friends so that’s a great idea. There is terrible fluorescent lighting in store but I can always step outside.

Christine Avatar

Especially as someone starting out, trying to stay ahead of the ball and purchasing products is really like digging yourself a never-ending hole 🙁 In general, I’d recommend less purchases until you’re actually recouping some of that investment unless, of course, they’re products you want, would buy normally (or will be able to use), and you can afford to do so, etc.

You should also considering doing more comparison posts – I think that would get you more content while leveraging what you already own. Sometimes flatlays of products with a theme do well, too.

Michele @Binxcat4ever Avatar

Thank you for the suggestions! Yeah I’ve totally fallen into the rabbit hole (beginning with starting my blog a number of years ago and then continuing the swatching even after discontinuing the blog). I’m always amazed at how creative people are when they do flatlays. I love the recommendation since one of the things I enjoy about makeup is the ability to be creative; it’s an area I need to work on!

AB Avatar

Great pointers here! Thanks for these. The ‘goals’ set work for me particularly. Another couple I can offer that have worked for me:
> Recently I put all my lipsticks and glosses into a small bin right by the door, idea being to take one each day to help use them up. Seeing many dollars worth of products that I’ve purchased and still have has put me off buying any more for awhile
> Similarly — thanks to other visible storage I just set up, I’m now much more aware of how much makeup I own. Makes me less impulsive about purchases.
> An overall budget tip: using an online calculator, I figured what if I put in savings instead of spent on makeup a certain amount (say $15) each month, i.e., what it would come to in 10 years with even minimal interest. Eye opening and motivating.

Cheyenne Avatar

This is a really excellent, comprehensive guide!

I’ve been on a replacement-only no-buy since September and plan to continue it throughout 2018 because I have large financial goals I need to save for (home renovations and travel to archives for research).

I have allowed myself two planned purchases for the holidays (a Chanel red lipstick and their holiday lion highlighter) so I haven’t been tempted by anything else. Otherwise, I am using my wish list as goal incentives (If I stay on track to finish my dissertation in the spring, I can get the spring collection Chanel eye palette.)

Christine Avatar

Good luck with your financial goals, Cheyenne! We have some set, too, which helps me curb spending in other aspects of my life, and I find having a defined goal like that super helpful personally.

Congrats on on your replacement-only buy success so far and best wishes for continued success through 2018!

Lulle Avatar

Thank you for this great post! It’s something the community as whole badly needs at this time of year. Of course, anybody can buy as much as they want – no judgement here. But the sheer amount of new releases, sets, and sales is inviting a sort of mindless frenzy that can leave one feeling empty despite an every growing makeup stash.

One thing that I would also recommend to people wanting to cut their expenses is to unfollow some users on social media that only post about new releases, avoid haul posts/videos or unboxings. And generally stay away from the people or groups online that amplify the hype without any sort of critical commentary (no real reviews, everything always being a must-have/gorgeous…).

Personally I feel like I have come a long way with my beauty purchases. I still buy a lot by a non-beauty enthusiast’s standard I’m sure, but I really take the time to think before I buy anything. I’ve only bought a couple of items from the holiday releases, all things that I know I will use, and none of the larger sets that look like great values but are usually full of duds.

Christine Avatar

I tend to lean away from anyone who starts saying “you need” too often – sure, if it was a $3 highlighter that knocked the world off its axis, cool, I get the hyperbole, but a $45 highlighter or a $200 Natasha Denona palette? Nobody NEEDS that.

I imagine I’ll always buy a lot more than the average person – I like options and variety, so minimalism isn’t my thing, but like you said… no judgment – it’s more about what makes you comfortable/happy/satisfied and not just buying to buy.

Microbella Avatar

This post is great and well timed-Thanks Christine! I know I dont need MAC WoG but the FOMO is killing me! Im about NC50, I dont like how becca opal looks on me (95% dupe to WoG), and I need another highlighter like I need another rash on my nether regions. But the FOMO….argh!

thirteenthirteen Avatar

First, this is just about me and not anyone else. I’m not talking about anyone else’s spending habits here. We’re all different – we have different incomes, lifestyles, physical storage space, etc.

Toward the end of last year, I realized that if I continued spending at Sephora at my normal pace, I would hit Rouge pretty easily. YMMV but I personally felt ashamed that I had spent nearly $1000 in one year at Sephora – and that’s not considering stuff I bought directly from brands. In all, I spent around $1000 on makeup and makeup accessories in 2016 and I wasn’t proud of myself for doing it. I was still able to pay my bills but there are a LOT of more important things that money could have gone to. So I resolved to go on a no-buy for the whole of 2017.

Of course the first thing I did was immediately fall off the wagon in January but it was for a cheap drugstore item and I felt so guilty that I then stayed on track for the next several months.

I see that Christine recommends starting with a low-buy but for me it was good to go cold turkey. Not being allowed to turn to makeup shopping when I was bored or depressed made me focus my energy elsewhere. Now, as the year comes to a close, I have fallen off of my no-buy BUT I have to say I am way happier with my makeup buying this year in comparison to last year. I haven’t bought anything I didn’t like. I haven’t bought ANY lipsticks or blushes. I not only won’t hit Rouge, I won’t even be VIB next year. I feel like I am buying makeup more like a normal enthusiast instead of using it as an emotional crutch, so I no longer feel guilty about it. I have spent about $180 on makeup and accessories this year (about half of which was replacing staples).

I still have to decide what what goals to set for next year but I’d like to keep the bottom line about the same.

Whoops that got long.

Christine Avatar

So happy that going cold turkey ended up working for you! I think that path can work for some for sure. It can certainly be worth trying going no-buy first and then adjusting if that proves to be too much initially! Whenever we make lifestyle changes, we really just have to think about our needs and what kind of things we respond positively to.

Congratulations on making so much progress through 2017! Wishing you continued luck on the remainder of the year 🙂

Issa Avatar

“Hi Christine!

This is /u/toyaqueen, lead mod over at MakeupRehab. The mod team wanted to thank you for mentioning us in this post! We really love the community that’s been built around better consumer skills and it’s lovely to know that you want to spread the word about the other, smaller, side of the makeup community as well.

Thanks again!”

Christine Avatar

Much love to the mod team and the lovely members of /r/makeuprehab 🙂 I find the subreddit infinitely useful for cutting through the hype, figuring out how to enjoy one’s collection to the fullest, and NOT feel like you have to get the latest and greatest 24/7. As an influencer, it also serves as a gentle reminder to be careful about what I recommend or how I recommend things.

Ginny Avatar

I love this post. I’m actually growing out of the temptation phase, because I find myself slightly overwhelmed by the amount of makeup I own (I don’t own that much compared to, say, a beauty blogger or MUA, but compared to the average non-collector person I own PLENTY). I often forget about products I own and I’m like, wow that must be a sign.

Something I do to resist temptation is rearrange the makeup I own. I’ll put all my eye palettes on display on my dresser, or rearrange my Z Palettes to make different combinations. Reorganize my cheek products (by brand, the next time by color, etc.). This way I take inventory while entertaining myself.

A new “rule” I’m trying to impose on myself is that I’m not to buy something unless I am truly inspired by it, for one reason or another. I really don’t have any “holes” in my stash, so to buy something new it has to truly excite and feel like something I will cherish for a long time. Of course, it’s hard to predict how long you might cherish something. The thrill can wear away quite quickly. Something I’m eyeing right now are the Chanel lipsticks in the red tube (the packaging just seems iconic). But, I will only buy one if I see it in store and love it.

That’s another thing I try….. I only buy online if I’m 95% sure I will like it, and I usually wait a few months to see if I still want it so badly. If I’m on the fence, or there’s sticker shock, I tell myself I’ll see it in store “some day.” I’m much more conservative when I’m in-store.

Two years ago I would definitely feel the fomo for LE releases. Now they kind of annoy me. If I see something is LE I kind of automatically wave it off. There are so many great permanent lines out there. And if I try to remember all the LE products I bought (ahem, MAC lipsticks…) and how many of them I’m still like yeah, that was worth the splurge….. Very few.

Christine Avatar

I think most of us own more than the average person, since we are, effectively, enthusiasts who consume beauty content even when we’re not looking up swatches or for a review for a specific item, so you’re not alone.

That’s a great rule, Ginny! That is how I feel about the “Temptalia Recommends,” I only want to use that when a product speaks to me personally – more than just a good, high quality product – because let’s face it, how many A-rated red lipsticks are there?? Soooo many!

I feel like the way you’re reacting to limited edition releases is a consequence of more brands utilizing it and more brands getting in on false scarcity marketing – it is effectively backlash from being burned/overwhelmed/”tricked” too much.

Lesley Avatar

These are such great suggestions. I follow Makeup Rehab and I am enjoying posting my monthly list of empties. It gives me the incentive to use up all those foils and DS that I have been saving for travel. I am not yet at the point of unsubscribing from the promotional e-mails or quitting YouTube (there aren’t many distractions around these days). On a personal level, I have decided to go cruelty-free and that is helping me through the holiday season because so many of the products come from companies I don’t want to support any longer.

Christine Avatar

I have two containers filled with travel stuff! I actually actively avoid samples in my orders because of how I just know that I will not use them… I seldom travel, and when I do, the only type of stuff I’ll take in a random travel size would be makeup remover/face cleanser, but I know I’ll take my current AM/PM moisturizers, you know?

If promotional emails or watching YouTube don’t act as triggers for behavior you’re trying to avoid, I don’t think there’s any need to unsubscribe. I can totally see how they can be hard to keep up with if one’s on a low or no buy, though!

Nancy T Avatar

Thank you so much for this extremely well thought out and written article, Christine. I absolutely needed to see this now rather than later, what with the cavalcade of new products daily! Yes, temptations abound this time of year. Really all yearlong, lately.

Two quotes *particularly* apply to me and my shopping patterns/impetus:
1.) Will the happiness be from the acquisition or from actually using the product?
2.) New and shiny lasts about as long as it takes to open the box.

Deep down, I know these to be true. I do, however, also know that I’m an emotional shopper. Just as previous addictive behaviors/habits of my past were likewise used to fill a gap of significant sorts, so have many of my beauty purchases. With this one not being physically harmful or just plain wrong. It is still a sometimes guilt-inducing and expensive habit. 2018 has to see me making some very necessary adjustments to not only my spending habits, but also a remaking my mind over by understanding *what* fuels many of my purchases. That is one tool that can, if used, curb and contain this perfectly legit, yet harmful, addiction.

Christine Avatar

I wish you the best of luck setting up some guidelines for 2018 (but hey, it’s never too early to start making some halftime adjustments for 2017!). Sometimes even just being stricter with how much you can spend in a particular period can be useful to minimize but not “feel” like you’re really being restrained.

Another suggestion I’d have is to say when you feel the urge to shop emotionally… window shop emotionally or shop your STASH! emotionally. Go through what you have, find something you haven’t used in awhile, or pick ten random products and see if you can’t put a look together with some of them!

Nancy T Avatar

That would be an excellent idea that I can begin to employ immediately: putting a cap on the actual $’s set aside/planned for on makeup purchases! That along with very well mapped out purchases can make an immediate discernable difference.

And, a big YES to shopping my stash and letting my creativity give me my “fix” in those down-in-the-dumps days. There’s definitely enough there to keep me very busy for quite some time!

Mariella Avatar

I’ve done tried “no buys” before and they’ve been moderately successful. But then I reason “Heck, makeup is one of the things I really enjoy so why am I depriving myself?” I’m not into price cars or concerts and I don’t collect vintage wine, electronics, etc. so makeup is just my “thing” – my thing for when I’m down because buying something new and nice perks me up; my thing to reward myself after completing a difficult assignment; my thing for when I’m down and need a little pick-up (a lipstick is more effective and less costly than a new hat, which is what used to be suggested back in the 50’s for a woman who needed her mood boosted). When I feel I truly have overspent, I am able to curb myself but fortunately, I’m at a stage in my life where I don’t have to be quite so careful with my money, though I still do like to spend it wisely.

As regards your “article/advice”, Christine, it is very helpful and covers a lot of bases. Of course, the biggest thing I would have to do is stop coming here and checking out your product showcases, reviews and those entrancing eye looks you create.

Christine Avatar

It is true – reading blogs, watching youTube, etc. can be hard to keep doing, and I think if it’s necessary, those are things that have to be cut/limited – maybe only 1 video a day or no more than 30 minutes of YouTube/blogs.

And of course, may you bookmark The Dupe List and forget the blog exists!

Karine Avatar

This post is so well written <3. I really does embodies my philosophy right now.

"Why are you trying something you had no interest in before?…"
I saw the UD Moondust palette at CA$49 instead of CA$79, OMG I need to get this!! Then I checked your swatches and though, I don't need/like those shades, this is not a deal if I don't need it.

I personally use the "container concept" I got from A Slob Comes Clean: the 2 drawer of make up I have is my limit. If it can't fit in it, it's one in one out or "too bad". Since I depot all eyeshadow (execpt for Naked3 which I like as is to travel since it has a mirror and brush), my limits are the Z palette (one UD, one face product and one random eyeshdow) and my Mac eyeshadow pro palette.

Christine Avatar

Exactly! It’s only a deal if you’d use it and enjoy it, but just because it’s cheap(er) doesn’t mean you should get it! Similarly, something like Moondusts is a type of product where I think having 1-2 glitter-type products is sufficient to have fun and experiment but having 20 of them gets redundant for most people (unless one wears glitter daily!).

Oh, also, I have a similar methodology, even with one of the world’s largest collections – I do not want to have to buy MORE storage for what I have. So, even if more comes in that just means more has to go out to make room. That has worked fairly well for me, though I am always bursting at the seams!

Kamilia Avatar

This was an excellent read and as a (former) impulse purchaser, a great reminder not to be pulled in by marketing. I now mull over my (especially pricier) makeup purchases for literally weeks before i decide to pull the trigger! I have to say I do feel like I’m reaching a “makeup saturation point” though where I’m happy enough with what I already have, I know what does and doesn’t work for me so I can more easily talk myself out of new purchases. The only new thing that I’m interested in at the moment is the Huda Beauty Desert Dusk palette.

Zoe Avatar

Content like this really sets you apart from other bloggers! Such a positive and well-written piece to balance endless product releases, sales, blogger hype, limited edition items, and holiday mania. I appreciate the thoughtful approach to this topic, especially in the context of your role as a reviewer and blogger in the beauty sphere.

Raeanne Madison Avatar

This is an awesome post that I was happy to see from you! For me, what helps me avoid purchases is to set a financial goal and see myself being rewarded by paying off a loan, getting my house, etc., instead of purchasing makeup. I take action toward improving my credit score and having more financial freedom in the long run. I tend to avoid no-buys, as that only makes the temptation more unbearable. What I typically do is a have a nice Walmart run every so ofen to pick up some “splurges” like a new lipstick and refills on my favorite drugstore items.

Kaylee Avatar

I really appreciate that you wrote this article. It’s easy to read through the new releases reviews you write and start compiling a list of things to buy. I myself don’t have a problem with curbing my purchases, but I know there are many who do. This was a nice reminder that it’s ok to “miss out”, we shouldn’t fear it.

On a somewhat unrelated note, the holiday releases this year aren’t really calling to me like I feel that released last year. Perhaps it’s because my collection is at a place where I’m satisfied with it but I’d like to know if anyone else feels like this year’s offerings are more lackluster.

Christine Avatar

I honestly have a tough time understanding how many people are even able to make choices in such a saturated marketplace – there are so many items to consider!

I’m sure it’s partially that you have a well-rounded collection, and the other part is that after a few years, holiday releases do get more repetitive. I still feel like holiday sets and palettes are more for casual fans of beauty vs. die-hard fans of beauty.

Indya Avatar

THESE ARE AWESOME! A lot of these would definitely keep my from buying things I don’t need. When I unsubscribed from a ton of clothing retailers, I spent substantially less money there so I know that works! I’m definitely bookmarking and printing this page. I am one of those people that emotional shop, so I need to work on that. Thanks Christine!

Deborah S. Avatar

Thank you so much for this post, Christine. I have already cut back dramatically on my spending for beauty products because I have several goals that I won’t be able to achieve if I don’t curtail the makeup spending. I want to take my daughter to Europe next spring and I have some building and home additions that I want to complete. I find having goals to be very helpful for myself. Every year about this time I begin collecting gifts to put into my daughters Advent Calendar. Over the past several years it has been beauty products. Her Advent hauls are the envy of all her friends and I have never skimped on these gifts, including Nars e/s, Charlotte Tilbury lips, etc. I told her this year that I was cutting back dramatically and not to expect a lot of high end because we could either go to Europe or not. She is totally in agreement so now I am looking for less expensive things to put into her Advent Calendar but I feel okay about this decision. Recently I have also become somewhat jaded about beauty purchases. I went online to purchase the Dior Holiday collection and had the two Quints in my cart and then looked at the Ruby palette again and realized that although I love the shades, they are similar to many I already have. I took them out of my cart and now they are sold out. In the past I would have gone to Ebay and paid an astronomical price just to get the product I missed out on. Not this time. Also, I total get where removing my name from mailing lists is very helpful. There are companies that as soon as you erase their email another one pops right up. That is so annoying. Thanks for this well written and well thought out plan.

Christine Avatar

It was a great move to let your daughter know in advance! I think that would help set expectations for the year, and it’s awesome that she’s in agreement with you on the priorities 🙂

I look forward to hearing how your trip with your daughter goes next year, Deborah!

Jen Avatar

Great post. Great timing. I have been trying to figure out how to whittle down my Sephora cart before the sale on Friday. I unintentionally made rouge again this year so I am wallowing in that guilt. I have probally spent 2-3x that between Ulta and Beautylish. And can’t help but want more!! Definitely plan on reinstating a low buy and refills for 2018.

LindaLibraLoca Avatar

I am on a low-buy for almost four years now and still haven´t run dry on things to try. “One in, one out” and “fill the gaps” is what I aim for, but to be honest with getting more successful as a blogger, I hardly buy any makeup. The new releases that land on my doorstep are more than enough to keep my stash full, with foundations being the only exception.

Litha Avatar

Thank you so much, Christine for what is perhaps the most insightful post of the year in relation to spending and beauty. I am a die hard beauty enthusiast and even though I rarely go shopping without at least a B+/B (minimum) from Temptalia, I too at times have fell for FOMO and hyped up products. I’ve saved this post and will refer to again and again when the urge to splurge strikes without warning!

Christine Avatar

Happy I could help, Litha!

I’m the same way – I don’t think there’s any point in buying subpar products (that being said, I mean subpar in the sense that the buyer feels that way – one person’s under-pigmented blush is another person’s HG every day blush!) when there are so many outstanding formulas out there to choose from.

Kayla Avatar

Great post, I only have one thing to add – the first person to do anti-hauls on YouTube was Amber from Amber’s Beauty Chair. Kimberly Clark is who really blew it up as a concept, and made it a deeper dive into consumerism as a broad topic. (Honestly, I highly suggest following both of them to everyone; Amber’s a project panner and just puts out really good content in general.)

Christine Avatar

Hi Kayla!

I should have been clearer as I wanted to recognize Kimberly Clark as the one responsible for putting anti-hauls on the map specifically – have not heard of the person you indicated before and will check them out! Thank you for sharing!

P.S. — I updated my verbiage to make that clearer 🙂

Mary Avatar

this is a great post, and good timing because taking a critical look at holiday spending BEFORE the holiday sales (which, seriously it’s not even halloween yet – sometimes the beauty industry really puts my sense of seasonal timing out of whack) is a good way to lessen the post-spending-frenzy regret.

Patrícia Avatar

This Guide is so complete,one can see how much effort you put into It! Very helpful. I’ve selected good products in my stash and I am using them, especially face products!

Lea Avatar

Funny timing – I just broke my no-buy tonight for some holiday releases I had been planning for for a few months and will now happily return to the no-buy. I knew these items were coming and that they were items I would want. You just need to sort out what works for you and your personality so you can maintain it.

Lea Avatar

On the whole, no – but I did pick up two additional items that I had been going back and forth on that probably counts as breaking it since they weren’t the primary items that I knew were definites.

Sherri Avatar

Christine, you show again and again what a caring, thoughtful person you are. Thank you so much for blogging and being such a positive force in the beauty community. This post is so spot on for many of your readers, including those of us in “rehab”! 🙂

kisha Avatar

omg this is sooooo true!!! I’ve got $300+ in my sephora cart awaiting the sale BUT i’ve been destashing and revisiting my cart to remove things only becuz of exactly what u said above…shop my stash and everything is starting to look the same to me. I do take advantage of getting high end items but let’s be real…spring collections will start dropping right after Dec/Jan and it’ll be a frenzy allllll over again!!!!

Holly Avatar

Thank you so much for this! Personally I feel so much more comfortable when I can pass my unwanted products on to others. It’s hard to find venues that accept used items! I’ve donated a lot of stuff to Project Beauty Share – anybody have any other suggestions for other organizations that accept gently used cosmetics?

Julie Avatar

I think this is a GREAT post pre holiday season, it helps people think rationally and clearly BEFORE the big push in adverts and emails, etc. Planning is the most important step, it will stick with you all the way through the holiday season for sure.
For me, I’m pretty cheap and a huge bargain hunter when it comes to buying for myself (I usually feel guilty spending money on myself unless it’s a cheap trip to the craft store… my lack of haircut for 4 years and holes in the leggings I only just replaced confirm this, ha!), so I never buy anything full price and usually only make a couple makeup purchases a year, often one thing I ran out of and one great steal of a deal at Bare Minerals. Usually if I want something around the holidays I’ll just ask for it for Christmas which saves me the money and gets me what I need – I only ask for the things I’ve run out of – most years it’s foundation, eye primer, and eyeliner… so that’s one of my tips, just ask Santa for what you really want!
When I first dove into makeup-ing about 6 years ago I got several different items to start me off and have slowly added here and there and I have a collection that makes me happy. It’s small but it works and I feel pretty, works for me!! Now if I could find a good method/place to organize it all then I’d be euphoric, lol.

Flaky Avatar

I’m going on my 4th year of “Brand of the Week” in my stash. I have a calendar all set up & ready to go in 2018. The idea is really just to shop my stash and de clutter little by little. I’m not trying to do a full face of makeup in every brand – some weeks I just have one or two things of a certain brand. I make a point to use what I have & decide how I really feel about it.

In addition to this way of rotating my stash, I am doing a low buy on makeup next year. I’d like to focus my spending on upgrading my skincare. The only way I can afford to do that is if I stop buying every palette that comes out! You are right, everything is durable at this point with something I already have & thanks to your blog – I can go hunt it down in my own vanity.

Flaky Avatar

Thanks! I made a list of all the brands I own & put then on a spreadsheet & attached a date to each. Once Sunday rolls around, I pull whatever i have in the brand, including samples, brushes, fragrance, etc. into a bin. There’s usually not a full face of makeup, so I fill in the gaps with whatever I want….usually something new or project pan stuff.

At the end of the week, I note down anything I want to remember on my spreadsheet. I find a lot of serendipitous pairings this way. I also find a few things that just need to go.

I’ve really enjoyed this project for the last few years. It is really just shopping my stash, but I have a lot of fun. I find myself digging into the archives here on Temptalia quite a bit to see what each brands strengths & weaknesses are.

Sarah Avatar

I have a One for One policy. If I purchase a highlighter I HAVE to declutter a highlighter etc. etc. It has worked well with keeping my collection on the “lesser” side. I went from 2 Alex 9 drawers to one and I sold the other unit once it was empty so as not to have the urge to refill it. It just gets to the point where I was literally just buying it because it was on clearance! It was way to overwhelming.

Mardi Avatar

Last few years I’ve entered every product that comes in and goes out onto a spreadsheet, with the aim of having less products at the end of each year and hopefully month. It sounds extreme but I’m in the habit of doing it now. This looks like being the first year that I’ll actually have less, mainly because I’m not doing my usual annual trip to New York City, where I go mad in Sephora. I’m in Australia so NYC Sephora is still way better than what we have here. Although, in the time I’ve been doing this things have changed so that there is now very little I might read about in blogs/see on YouTube that I can’t get hold of reasonably easily here in Australia. I actually suspect that if I went to NYC this year I wouldn’t go crazy in Sephora!

Flaky Avatar

I have had this in the back of my head to do for quite some time. I have a note on my phone w all my mac shadows & blushes (so I stop buying the same one!)
You are motivating me to get working on that this winter!

ShariP Avatar

Christine, what a wonderful post. Very helpful and timely. I always tell myself that I’m going to do a no buy-low buy at this time of year, but come February I’m well on way to Rouge and Platinum. Hopefully, this will help.

I have to say I love these new additions to your website. You keep making it better and better!! ?

Nicole D Avatar

This is such a great post Christine! It deserves to be accessible via a link put at the top of your blog. It’s worth reading when you feel like impulse buying or when you just want to remind yourself why you should be on a low/no-buy. It’s so refreshing to read a beauty blog when the blogger advises her readers to be wise in their beauty choices. This reminds me why I have unsubscribed from other YT channels and blogs where I heard/seen so many times “OMG, you need this in your life”.

Although I have more than I could use and need in terms of makeup, I’ve tried and succeeded to keep my makeup stash within reasonable limits. Next year I plan to be on a no-buy for lipsticks and lip glosses. I challenge myself as lipsticks are my weakness.

Attika Avatar

Thank you SO much for this post. Such an oasis in the midst of the constant YOU NEED THIS in the community.
I have been hoarding makeup for about 4 years now, and I think this year I’ve been so much better in controlling my spendings. I’ve only started to work this year, so I feel a bigger responsibility in financial management compared to spending allowances from my parents. And now I truly know what I like and what I don’t, so I’ve been able to control my impulses because I know only deeper, brown-toned reds work for me so I can just scroll past brighter reds without getting tempted at all!!

My weakness is cute Korean and Japanese drugstore/high street items though… They’re cute, cheap, and fun so I am still working on my restraint!!

Marilyn Avatar

Thank you so much for this post! I’ve been putting off going thru my makeup for awhile but my once organized drawer is now a mess.

What’s helped me when I’m trying not to buy things is to set a time limit (say 2 weeks or 1 month) and if I still want the item after that length of time, then I can buy it.

Also, looking at your swatches can be just as fun as window shopping. I get to see all the prettyness without spending anything!

Kim Avatar

Hi Christine! Thanks for the tips!

I have tried searching my wishlist for dupes but it always comes up with a message saying no dupes found.. even if I add an item to my wishlist that is my vanity. For some reason this feature just doesn’t work for me. I do love the vanity feature.. really helps me keep track of my collection.

Christine Avatar

So you’re not going to get dupes for identical shades – like we’re not going to say that Carbon = Carbon, since it’s not entered as a dupe (they’re one product, not two separate ones). I’ll see if I can find your profile and look at the vanity/wishlist – it is possible there may be no dupes!

Christine Avatar

Hi Kim!

I checked out your wish list, and it’s an issue on our end – we did not set up the wish list to take into account specific shades inside of each palette, and it has been on our to-do list but we have several bigger, higher priority items ahead of that right now!

Kim Avatar

Thanks Christine!! Really appreciate all your efforts with providing us makeup lover with such great tools and resources. I’m glad/sad that none of my items on my wishlist have dupes.. seems like a haul is in my future! 🙂 boohoo… poor me 🙂

Nina Avatar

Hi Christine! Can you please tell me where you got the makeup case organizers in the photo for this post and what each organizer is called and any special discounts for them.

Thank you

Becca Avatar

THIS. THIS IS WHAT I NEEDED THIS HOLIDAY SEASON. You keep the blog running using affiliate links and still have the guts to post this. Props to you. This is why I always click through Temptalia instead of using other sites when I do purchase things. The content you put out is excellent time and time again, I’m always impressed. Well done.

Emily Avatar

“New and shiny lasts about as long as it takes to open the box.”

I need to print this in 72-point font and tape it above my computer! Damn, that’s a smart line. It’s obvious and yet I forget it every time I get the itch to buy something.

Vanessa Avatar

When I came to the part about emotional shopping I realized that that is me, haha. Thank you for this well written post! I think I need to change my shopping habits 🙂 I have tried before without succeeding, but this time I will!

And I love your blog by the way! I always read your reviews whenever there is something I want. I actually ended up not buying the Fenty Beauty Galaxy palette, and I am really glad I did thorough research and ended up saving money, because I don’t think I would ever use it.

jel888 Avatar

So far, I’m managing because 1.) I’m doing other things to fill up my internet time; 2.) I read your reviews or watch You Tubers who show me reality and if the product doesn’t totally “Wow” me then I lose interest; 3.) I avoid going to a beauty store when sad; and 4.) I’m prayerfully watching my funds. I still have made two purchases that I didn’t really need in all of that and that weren’t absolute “planned” purchases (the Viseart Golden Hour palette that I’m still waiting to arrive), but they were less expensive than the things I really want , like Pat’s palettes that I figure if I make it past the holidays without purchasing I’ll have won major battle. 😉

I note that this suggestion that I mention at the end, which is a good one and one I’ve done before, I have a hard time doing because then I think I’m out of the loop of makeup trends, and I do like being in the know even if I don’t have to have all the products: “Unsubscribe from as many mailing lists as you can; these brands exist to sell to you, and some brands are particularly aggressive with daily emails, talk of FOMO, etc.” But for those who are way overboard and financially or mentally struggling with this, I’d definitely recommend doing it, and who knows, I may do it again just to empty up my mailbox.

Christine Avatar

I don’t know what social media you use, Jel, but I find that I can keep up with most brands via Facebook or Instagram – but they aren’t as aggressive with the sale pitches, as it is often more photos of upcoming products, swatches, looks, etc. That might be an alternative for anyone who wants to stay up-to-date with a particular brand!

Kim Matthews Avatar

I am finally learning that the quality of so much of this holiday stuff is not the same quality as the regular product. Especially with the beautiful and tempting eye shadow palettes that come out for holiday. It has made it easier to pass now that I have figured this out.
I have also learned this year that even though a lip color might be part of their permanent line sometimes the quality of the one in the holiday kit isn’t the same. I’m talking to you Stila.
When you think about it the price reduction has to come from somewhere and it is usually the product not the packaging.
Holiday skin care sets seem to be the exception.
Great article and good advice. Thanks for sharing.

Cathy Avatar

Thanks for this excellent post, Christine 🙂 I’ve really gotten much better at resisting the urge to purchase ALL the holiday things. For instance, there was a time I’d load up with MAC holiday; this year, I haven’t bought a single thing from their holiday collections! Sure, the packaging is always pretty but more often than not, the products are ordinary and end up in the back of a drawer somewhere.

Vesper Avatar

Trick I find useful is piecing together a monthly makeup basket. If your collection is really extensive, make it weekly but use ONLY the products that are in there. It’s good for my shopping impulses because 1. I get a kick from using what I own, not from the purchase, 2. it shows me how much stuff I have and how I really don’t need more, 3. I learn what I really like – it’s hard to even form your own taste when you buy something new so often!

Another thing is that I always have one item from the basics, meaning 1 foundation, 1 concealer, 1 mascara, 1 bronzer, 1 setting powder. I only buy those when they run out. I do allow myself to buy more eyeshadows because it’s my weakness and going on a complete no-buy probably wouldn’t work for me (although I can go for a month or two with great results). I’m happy with my current lipstick, blush and highlighter collection so it’s an easy no-buy (however I am gonna splurge on this year’s WoG – mostly because of the packaging but oh well, I’m human).

Thank you for the article, especially for the ending – I feel like sometimes beauty enthusiasts make themselves really miserable with the restrictions they put on themselves. Realistic goal is the key I think.

Kim Avatar

Great tips Vesper.. I do a weekly makeup basket every Sunday night in prep for the week ahead where I “shop my stash” and wash all my brushes. I try to screenshot inspo makeup looks I find during the week that I want to try, place close dupes for crazy expensive eat-Ramen-for-a-month palettes (eg: ND Lila palette) in a small MUFE empty palette to attempt “trendy” looks.. basically just try to enjoy and re-discover stuff I have. This has drastically decreased my yearly spending.. and I’m almost happy I probably won’t make VIB Rouge this year.

Amalia Avatar

This article will going to the bookmark! The first seconds, when I read the title, I smiled ( I was in good mood) and thought: A guide to Temptalia’s readers, for avoiding Temptations! Excellent writing Christine, makeup and buying is not the meaning of life! Swatch Gallery is a good tool in my hands, who has helped me many times.

Dustin Avatar

Great post! I’ve gone through this myself – mostly for exestential reasons – haha! So I can relate.

As a beauty blogger, I found trying to keep up with the sheer volume of products overwhelming. The endless “to review” list, racing to be the first to get something, watching products sell out before you finish a review and seeing people ask, “Are you buying [the next thing] ?” on your newest post for the latest thing – all started to make me ask, “Why?”

I’ve been on a low-buy (practically no-buy) since January of 2016. At first it was hard, but you know what’s harder? Turning 40 and asking yourself, “WHY?!” 😉

(I say it’s harder but it’s actually also a hell of a lot more fun.)

In 2016 as I found myself approaching my “Midlife Unraveling” (as I have lovingly called it) and I started to ask myself all those questions you ask yourself while going through Adolescence 2.0 (AKA “midlife unraveling” AKA “sh*t I’m still asking myself today”), I found that I couldn’t answer those questions without a clear head. And trying to “keep it real” in a commercially viable and cross demographically accessible way while also maintaining existence as a live-action in and out box for product reviews was not clearing my head. Go figure.

As an aside (and I really hate to admit this because I like to think I don’t care what people think), in an age of “beauty influencers,” “Instagram models” and “YouTube celebrities,” the first time I got “the look” (as I’ve come to call it) from an employee at Sephora because someone else casually recognized me from YouTube and said hello – crushed me a little. It was pure disdain (and came with words that didn’t help). I felt embarrassed and put on the spot. I broke out into a sweat and was filled with shame! I know that nobody can MAKE me feel things that I don’t already have bubbling up inside me, so she can go suck it – but it didn’t help things!

So YES! I’ve been on a financially, mentally and spiritually inspired low-buy since January 2016! Things that helped me when I started (besides having an employee at Sephora treat you like those boutique witches from the first part of Pretty Woman):

Unsubscribing from brand and store mailing lists was a must for me! That was probably the most helpful thing I did. I also avoided all social media accounts and bloggers/vloggers who just wanted me to buy, buy, buy! If you want to do this, anything or anyone that makes you think “there is not enough” must be banished! There is MORE than enough!

After that I started shopping from my own stash, finding new favorites in what I had and rediscovering old favorites I’d forgotten about. It’s also a great opportunity to experiment! Mix products together for fun! See what happens! Get creative! Life is about uncertainty, so is creativity – I think that the more you can incorporate creativity into your life the closer you’ll feel to being a part of it.

I haven’t wiped out spending entirely, but now I usually just buy what I regularly use (replacing products I go through often). And if I want to shop for fun, I either use gifts (friends’ birthdays, Christmas, etc.) as an outlet or I make it into a game/scavenger hunt (example: going to 10 stores in a month’s time looking for ONE perfect shade of nail polish).

Since 2016 I’ve pretty much eliminated my spending money on makeup that just ends up sitting in a drawer. I’ve also pretty much eliminated new product reviews on my YouTube channel. That’s okay though., providing therapy for 11 years and counting. LoL Happy anniversary BTW xo

Christine Avatar

It is tough to be top of product releases, I think. Sometimes it works (obviously, I’m proof of that), other times it’s just a very expensive way to generate content. I also shy away from any influencers that use strong language like need, must-have, etc. too often or with very pricey products.

Thank you for sharing your Midlife Unraveling woes with us 🙂 Now I know what to look forward to in a decade…. 😉

Terry Avatar

Excellent, well thought out post Christine! As I’ve gotten older my makeup routine changed and about a year ago I decluttered my stash and set up guidelines for myself much of which you stated. I now have a small well curated collection that I love and really use. My weakness is still lipstick and to a lesser extent blush so I have a wishlist for them and if I see a special on them I’ll treat myself. In the last year I’ve only replaced what I ran out of and splurged on a lipstick and bronzer blush from one of the Mac summer collections. I gave away most of what I decluttered and made my coworkers very happy and giggly lol!

gilaq Avatar

Wonderful post and great comments from everyone. So glad to address the underside of make up obsession (at least mine). I’m much more interested in magical skincare promises (potions & tools) as I age, and am also aware that lots of makeup doesn’t look like what it once did on me. Also getting the right texture, longevity and not putting toxic chemicals on my skin (or minimizing it anyway) has become a priority. All that mitigates against impulse buys and in favor of research/in person testing.
The last thing that’s helped me spend less is this blog (Thank you!!) It’s a relief to see how many HE products I once might have assumed were superior, turn out to be no better (and sometimes worse) than reasonably priced ones. It helps me not feel deprived to pass on a mediocre TF lipstick, say, and instead feel like a savvy consumer.

Sarah Avatar

Great ideas! I absolutely love makeup, but I don’t wear it a lot (either just on weekends, or special occasions). A lot of times, I see something I want (mostly here or from Leesha!) and mull over it, and usually I come to the conclusion that I can’t justify buying it because I already have XYZ/similar product that I don’t wear enough. Sometimes I cave if it’s something totally different than anything I have, but generally I’m pretty good!

mameow Avatar

Thank you very much for this post, I also feel like I already have so many things that can last me a few lifetimes, and that I really should stop, even sell some of the hauls if possible. Brands are putting out collections even more frequently than before and if you’re not careful you fall for a lot of hyped up products that honestly you don’t even need.

I am going to give this a few good reads and start a good low-buy regime.

You are amazing Christine!

graychic Avatar

Appreciate the article. I’ve just retired, so my disposable income is a lot smaller now! And by not working every day, I don’t need a full face of makeup like I used to. But, the temptation to buy pretty things is still there. After all, there’s a lipstick out there that will make me look beautiful, 10 years younger and 30 lbs lighter, right? As my daughter says “Mom, how many pinky purple lipsticks do you need?”. Anyway, thanks for the helpful hints. I will try hard to resist the next Lancome-gift-with-purchase. I always go back to MAC Syrup anyway!

Denise S. Avatar

Bless you for this post! I really need to slow down and think about what I already own before quickly buying items that catch my eye. In the future I plan to be more thoughtful with my purchases. Will be referring back to this post for inspiration! Thanks so much!

Bronzevernis Avatar

Your advice about checking the item(s) you want to buy against what’s already in your collection is really great advice – which I’ve been applying the last week or do. It’s remarkable how many similar products are already in my collection! My only further planned buy this season (apart from the Viseart Grand Pro palette which was preordered 3 weeks ago) is the Tom Ford Winter Soleil collection. Yes to both Orchid Soleil lipstick and highlighter and the blush duo – I don’t have anything similar and I collect Tom Ford makeup. Still considering my position with the palette, because I remind myself that I have Natasha Denona’s Lila Palette and both her holiday palettes and I can actually live without it.

Mariella Avatar

What you wrote, Nancy, is exactly my situation. I also feel overwhelmed by all that I have to the point where much of the time, I really don’t enjoy it (though I wouldn’t part with a thing!). I also have “overflow” in a former sock drawer (a large one) and in a deep drawer in my younger son’s former bedroom (it’s still his bedroom for when he’s home but he doesn’t live at home any more).

Amy Avatar

What a wonderful and informative post, thank you! I have been seriously thinking I need to go into low- or no- buy mode but really did not know where to begin. Now I have a great idea of how to start ?.

Frozendiva Avatar

Some years are more low-buy than others. This year was a bigger buy, as a lot of products I had were emptying. I had used up about 2/3 of my perfumes, just a little under half of my eyeshadow palettes, 3/4 of my blushes, minimal amount of bronzer. usually buy only a few lipsticks per year and tend to see what’s usable in any GWP. I tend to use up a lot of my products before I buy new ones. I see what stuff in a GWP is viable. What I can use, I do. The rest gets donated to the local women’s shelter around the holidays.

Big palettes don’t interest me, so I can easily bypass those. Holiday sets? Only if I see me using them. Skincare sets, maybe. Makeup – I don’t need a palette the size of a book. Half the colours I wouldn’t use. I bought last year’s Lancôme train case because I liked the case and it would be useful for me. This year, nope. Still had stuff to use up. The Estee Lauder blockbuster was out of my price range. I wanted to ask why the US had a $45 spend threshold to buy it and Canada was $150. Products I didn’t want either.

I have been filling gaps in my collection. It is pretty good right now and I expect a lowish buy year this year. My cleaning out my stash was a big step this past fall. I found stuff to use up before buying anything else – skincare products I can use, some samples, body care, etc.

I am pretty much only on the Sephora list and one for the Bay. I don’t like the several times a week emails. They get tiring. For the most part, I hit the delete button. I do not like being tracked by stores in even clicking on the site and looking for more information about the product. I am just looking and don’t need an email the next day asking me if I am forgetting something. Clicking on an item does not mean I want to buy it.

I also tend to stay out of some shops. There is always a sales associate looking to make a sale. I don’t have the money some months and I pass. I need other things too. For me, it’s usually a case of I’m good right now, but maybe in a month or two I will buy something. I’m finishing up a GWP sample or I have travelled recently and am finishing up a travel product. It’s become a broken record for me.

I do like limited edition palettes from lines such as Chanel and Dior. I have passed on a number of them – stuff that I won’t really use.

Jolanda Avatar

I will be on a low-buy. Colourmake-up I should have more then enough but is tempting. One of the things that I plan to do to get temptation to a minimum is that I’m only allowed to buy new releases of that kind if I have swatched them in person after my research about dupes, quality and use. Being in a rurale area of the Netherlands, the nearest Sephora is almost one-hour drive to a big mall in Germany. I do that 2-3 times a year, because I like that mall in general. And then I give myself a budget and a shoppinglist to check out. Dutch high-end cosmeticstores closerby are mostly carrying the brands I’m interested in online or on bigger stores then the one closest to my home. The only thing that I allow myself to order online are repurchases of empty favourites. Same for the drugstore, just buy what is empty and don’t have a back-up/dupe for. Don’t het tempted with sales, there is always a next one. In january missing the Blue Monday discount isn’t bad as you know there will be a Valentinesdeal a month later

Sonia Camacho Avatar

Hi! Been a fan for years of your content. Watching declutter videos on youtube are fun but not when you do one yourself and see all the money wasted and down the drain. I’m in a financial hole right now that makes me feel embarrased and it will take me a long time to recuperate. Live and learn. I already had a no buy december and have gone on an unsubscribe-athon.

Valerie Avatar

Very useful and timely tips and reminders. I’m on day 3 of a low buy and already looking at all the pretty stuff for the lunar new year. I had a purchase yesterday and already at 25% of my monthly budget… gonna be a long month lol

DVa Avatar

I love the fact that this is all common sense, but putting it down in a concise manner makes it seem so achievable.
I find it ironic that the more beautiful palettes I buy, brimming with colour and various formulas/finishes/textures I start to revert to an almost nude face. Not because I don’t know how to use or blend colour, but more so I find it all too much; I really am fatigued by it all.
I’m all about a very tuned-down but glow-y complexion right now, which makes it easier avoid much of the “new”.

Mariella Avatar

I find it interesting that people like me were struggling with this issue 3 years ago and I still continue to struggle. I have so much, and so much that is repetitive (because I am so frequently drawn to the variations of the same colour or, let’s be honest, virtually the identical colours with different names from different brands).

Ashley Avatar

This has been me all year. 2020 turned everything upside down. It caused a whole reprioritization, if you will. Personally, I haven’t been able to wear make up in a really long time, as we have to commit our selves to wearing masks, avoiding crowds, and limiting our social lives, so what’s the point in putting on a full face, half face, or even tinted lip gloss? I haven’t had this many “no make up days” in a row since high school, many years ago. That also means I haven’t had to replenish anything, other than basic skin care. The economy took a nose dive, so I am now more conscientious than ever of blowing money on something I may or may not use, even for a while. To add to it, the beauty community has become more and more controversial, and it has really changed the intrinsic value of these beauty brand launches, collections, collaborations, new releases, etc. There are companies and influencers whom I no longer want to give my time, money and attention to, anymore. I am very selective now when it comes to cosmetics, and I just don’t want to buy anything that is going to sit around and expire quickly, or perhaps become a regrettable purchase that I have go to the store to return. I still enjoy and appreciate reviews and swatches, but the purchase really has to be unique, worth it and long lasting, not just on trend and of the moment.

Genevieve Avatar

I have definitely reduced my spending on makeup in the past couple of years, particularly on my favourite kind of purchases – eyeshadow palettes.
Doing an inventory definitely helps. I have only purchased two palettes this year – PMG’s Sublime mini and ND’s Glam. The PMG product because I wanted to try her eye formulas and it was on a ridiculously low price sale and free shipping and the ND palette because I ddn’t have any shades like the ones contained in the palette.
I have resisted buying a few others because I had dupes for the key shades. Using the dupe list really saves a lot of money, especially when you know what’s in your stash.

TropicalCowgirl Avatar

I have forwarded this before! Excellent post.

I have honestly slowed down. A few things that helped:

1. For me personally, it’s not really a finance issue (though the money could go somewhere better), it is an AGE issue. I honestly sat down and looked at all my eye shadows and said I could die at 100, and I have enough to live to 120 if I never buy anything again. Not to sound morbid, but I cringe about someone having to go through my stuff after I die and say, wow, look at this! Can’t really sell makeup in an estate! (Perfume is another story)

2. This site and the folks here. I’ve been coming here on and off for 10 years. Only in the past 4 years have I spent time in the comments and have “gotten to know” folks here. I kind of have a few “dupe” people that mirror my opinions mostly. I also get secondhand thrills from others excitement and that satiates my temptation.

3. A lot of my gift purchases have slowed down. I have some barely used palettes that I was too lazy to return that I have regifted. My friends don’t mind and love when they get them. So that helps me destash and saves cash I would have spent on gifts.

4. Investing in a basic palette containing what I NEED always for a look. I identified what I almost always desire for lid, crease, contour, and transition shades. I went on a trip and packing my desirable makeup palettes where I needed multiple colors from each to get a look gave me an aha moment. While the initial expense was higher by building a custom palette, it saves in the long run. I no longer am looking for the perfect palette. This one is used every time I put on shadow and everything else is a companion. I have actually had more success “shopping” my palettes I already own.

5. Refocusing on another getting a “new thing”. I absolutely love to cook and experiment in the kitchen. My husband usually gets me a fancy bag every Christmas and isn’t surprised when I make a large beauty purchase. This year, I have started curating my cookware. My stepdaughter ruined a few pots and pans (she put my well seasoned cast iron in the microwave and ruined them) of mine and hubby told me to get something nicer than what I had. So that is my new thing!

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