My interest in makeup started in my late 20s when I worked for a company in the health and beauty industry. The company encouraged female employees to wear makeup. At first, I considered it as something I needed to do as part of the company policy until I found myself eventually loving makeup and everything that comes with it – searching for the perfect shade or formula, shopping, and makeup application itself. Before I knew it, I owned enough makeup to last me several lifetimes.
I noticed things are getting out of hand when I had to throw out several lipsticks because they have gone bad. This led me to face the fact that something had to change.
Over the past months, I’ve become successful at controlling my makeup spending. If you are facing the same dilemma, here are some of the things I’ve done that really helped:
1. Take an inventory of all your makeup items. My makeup collection was huge when I first took on downsizing and slow consumption. Instead of listing down everything I owned, I just laid them out on the bed by category. I counted everything and took photos. I didn’t realize how much I’ve acquired because they were hidden in drawers. I have stuff I don’t remember I had.
Eventually, I finished logging everything in a spreadsheet and included the cost and expiration dates. Finding out how much I spent on cosmetics was eye-opening.
2. Avoid online makeup content. Unsubscribe from retail store email subscriptions, unfollow or mute beauty brands on Instagram, and stay off Youtube! It’s hard to stick or commit to a low- or no-buy when you are exposed to makeup content constantly. As they say, “Out of sight, out of mind”. It also helps to keep in mind that the Internet knows us and has our data. I imagined that advertisers know my online activities, triggers, when my payday is, and what makes me literally click on something. This awareness kept me from buying a lot of stuff.
3. Join communities focused on slow consumption and makeup no-buys. Be part of a community going through the same journey. I am lucky to have friends who started getting more conscious of their consumption at the same time I did. I message them whenever I feel like buying something and they help talk me out of it. We also meet up regularly to swap makeup items instead of buying new ones.
I also subscribed to Internet forums where people share their progress and tips in keeping themselves from shopping. 'Pan porn', which is focused on using up stuff, is also discussed in some Internet forums and Instagram hashtags that are helpful as well.
4. Avoid buying items on sale. Money coming out of your pocket is still money gone no matter how much discount you got. You are only saving money if you are really going to be buying that thing whether or not it’s on sale. This requires being honest with yourself. If you’re tempted to buy something solely because it’s on sale, you probably don’t really need it.
5. Be extra critical of holiday sets and limited edition releases. If you’ve been eyeing a particular product and it comes out in a holiday set with several other items, it may seem like you’re getting more bang for your peso. Make sure you check the ingredients list against the same product in the regular line because there are instances when the list is different. This could mean a difference in quality or texture. You could be better off just buying the regular item.
6. Set rules. I set conditions before I allow myself to buy something. I’m only allowed to buy makeup when I have twice as much as it costs. Half goes to my savings account and the other half to buy makeup with. This saved me from several expensive purchases. Most of the time, I end up just putting all the money into savings. Some people doing no-buys have a one in, one out policy where they only buy makeup when they’ve used up one item.
7. Remember that retail therapy is not self-care. I got so stressed at work and bought into the narrative of shopping for makeup as self-care. But when I gave it some thought, I realized that shopping is more self-sabotage than anything. I could have had so much more in my savings account had I not been shopping for more makeup than I need. I started to shift to real self-care by working out and eating better. More time spent on the latter is less time spent thinking about makeup.
With retailers hard at work with promos and enticing displays, remember that quitting bad habits is a process and failures are almost inevitable. When this happens, don’t be too hard on yourself and just get back on it. Soon, you’ll notice your bank account getting bigger and you’re not interested in new makeup releases at all.