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Should You Do a Makeup Low-Buy or No-Buy?

Updated on June 11, 2019
Jessica Beasley profile image

Jessica loves all things creative in the world of entertainment, crafting, and cosmetics.

Are you addicted to makeup?

I know that I am and, If you're anything like me, you probably are too! So what's the problem? The problem is all that makeup that was appealing in the store and now it's hardly ever used. It's feeling like you can't say no to something new and feeling out of control. It's the short-lived joy before the buyer's remorse sets in and the nagging, constant need for a larger makeup bag. Does this sound like you? The good news is, there's help!

What is a makeup low-buy?

In a nutshell, it's when you temporarily stop buying more cosmetics until you go through some, most, or all of what you already own.

I know, it sounds terrible! Once you get over the initial SHOCK of not casually shopping for needless items, you may find shopping your stash is almost as fun and even more satisfying.

I've been on a low-buy for about 6 months and have been surprised at how my habits and desires have changed. I'm also enjoying extra cash and vanity space!

You should consider a low-buy if...

You always want something new

I know we must have the latest eye palette promising twelve “new” shades of nude, but realistically, how many shades of brown can one use? We're naturally drawn to particular things, which means if we're not careful, we end up with near duplicates of anything and everything. Before we know it, we have 4 eyebrow kits and 8 red lipsticks. Most likely, that "new" shade of blush we're drooling over the store is probably almost identical to something we already own.

You own a graveyard of once promising products

You saw it. You had to have it. You bought it. Now it has been 17 months and you have used it...twice! As you scan your collection, you may find that's true for most of what you've bought over the years, with the exception of mascara and foundation.

Your makeup storage "real estate” is getting expensive

You want to keep buying products, but there is simply no more room to put anything. You're now considering moving to a larger home where your collection can have its own bedroom. This is a big sign it's out of hand.

You miss having extra cash

You spend an exorbitant amount of cash on new products. It's one thing to buy something and use it; that means you're getting your money's worth. It's another thing to spend on things that you don't need and don't use. It's time to respect our hard earned money and try to be more mindful about where it goes. Who knows, you might be able to buy that house or boat that you have always dreamed of.

It doesn't feel good anymore, but you do it anyway

You know you have a makeup "addiction" and you're a little concerned. We all have our vices and makeup isn't really one of the harmful ones. However, sometimes we just want to be more mindful about our money, time, and possessions. For many us, makeup is more than just makeup, it's something we can't say "no" to. You find yourself wanting some control back.

So, a low-buy is right for you?

Let's get started!

The beauty of this process is that you tailor it to what works for YOU. The point is progress, not perfection. Don't set yourself up to fail. If a rule seems too strict, alter it. There's no “right” way to do this.

Below, I have put together some tips/ideas that have worked for me.

Low-buy tips

Set a time frame (or not)

If this process seems easier to swallow by saying you'll try it for a set amount of time (like 3 months), then do that! When you get to the end of your time-frame, re-evaluate, see where you're at and how you feel and go from there. I personally don't have a time limit on my low-buy. I found that once I got into it, it broke me of the habit, but you may be different.

Know your weaknesses

Know the products and colors you tend to buy and accumulate the most of. Know them and acknowledge them; this is where the problem is. Often the products we buy the most, are the ones we use the least. My weaknesses were blushes, lip products, and eye-shadow. In my low-buy, I won't allow myself to buy any of those until further notice.

Know your strengths

Know the products that you use the most. I tend to go through foundation, black eyeliner, a jumbo white eye crayon, and eyelash products frequently. When they're gone, i either buy my trusted replacement or try something new. You'll know what products in your collection I'm referring to. It'll be slightly different for everybody.

Reward if necessary

You can allow yourself a reward for doing well after a period of time. For a while, I was allowing myself to receive a monthly sample subscription, like Ipsy Glam Bag or Birchbox. You pick what this is and use it as a reward for doing better than you were. If doing something like this is the difference in success of failure for you, do it!

Re-purpose products to work for you

You might have a product that doesn't work for you, despite trying over and over. Perhaps it's a funky pink eye shadow that you just don't reach for or an eyeliner that just isn't smooth enough for your taste. Think outside the box and try finding another way to use it entirely. For example, I'm currently using a matte, warm-brown eye shadow as a bronzer; it's perfect! Also, I'm currently using a purple eyeliner as a lip liner to create an ombre lip. With a little imagination, you can find that these products take on another life and will feel a sense of pride for figuring it out.

Give away or toss

Sometimes, despite our best efforts, we simply can't use something or it's past its prime and drastic measure need to be taken. Make the decision to either give it away to a friend who can love it (of course, take necessary sanitary precautions) or toss it in the trash. I think a great way to start a low-buy is to rid your stash of the makeup that has obviously spoiled. I think it gives you a fresh start to dig into the forgotten products that are still fresh.

UPDATE!!! 6/11/2019

I just wanted to update everyone on my progress. It's been about a year since I started my makeup low-buy. I originally posted this article in December of 2018 a few months after I started my low-buy. The world has not ended and I still have a TON of makeup. I have only bought what I have needed (eyelashes/glue, mascara, foundation, and eyeliner) and have only had two impulse buys. Definitely much better than my several times a week habit of a lipstick here and an eyeshadow there. Actually, one of my impulse buys was Too-Faced Unicorn Tears Lip Topper that was on sale at T.J. Maxx. I bought it and I have almost used it because it has given all my lipstick a second life. The other impulse buy was an eyeshadow and I was reminded why I started the low-buy to begin with. It was pretty in the store and less than impressive in real-life.

I also bought under $20 worth of makeup from the Dollar Tree to do an experiment but I don't feel bad about that since it was a project. I did a tutorial about what is was like applying and wearing a full-face of Dollar Tree makeup. Read about that experience here ---------------->>>>>

I hope if any of you beauties are on a low-buy that you have had some success and have found joy in shopping your stash. There is also no shame in breaking from it and buying something every now and again and it feeling special.

Feeling inspired?

I hope we can all learn to love and appreciate what we already own and have worked so hard to accumulate. Wouldn't it be great for us to all enjoy buying new stuff without all that yucky buyer's remorse.

I have found a new respect for what I buy and not to mention it is even sweeter when it's a “treat".

Let's buy makeup mindfully!

I hope you find this helpful in your journey and please share your thoughts below!

How do you feel about a makeup low-buy?

See results

© 2018 Jess B


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