I’ve been on a “low buy” for about 16 months now. A “low buy” is basically where you don’t purchase every new release per say, you mostly just replace items you have run out of, and purchase the occasional treat for yourself. One alternative to this is a “no-buy”, which as the name suggests, means you don’t buy anything, you use only what you have (of course, there are variations to this but for the purpose of this post we’ll stick with this definition). Another alternative to these is just regular ol’ makeup addictions.
I came across these terms when I first became a regular lurker in the Makeup Rehab subreddit. This subreddit was created to give people who were frequenters of the Makeup Addiction subreddit, somewhere alternative to go. You know when you’re deep in browsing blogs on new products, reading reviews on Reddit, and watching the 15th video on that new ABH palette, and next thing you know, you have purchased it, without really taking the careful time to really evaluate if you need it, or if it’s even worth it.
I am an all or nothing type of person when it comes to hobbies, and everyone who knows me could vouch for this! When I first started ‘collecting’ makeup, (more than just having one of each thing I needed and repurchasing those specific things, that also fit in a makeup bag…) I went wild at Mecca Maxima, wild at Priceline, wild at Myer. Only to end up with a bunch of products I had bought because of the hype, and not actually needed or wanted. I was finding a product I “needed” and obsessing over it for a few hours or days, and then I’d purchase it as soon as I could afford it. I also couldn’t afford to do anything, because I was spending all my spare cash on makeup!
On the one hand, I don’t keep products I regret anymore, I sell them where I can and vow not to make the same mistake again. but I did still tend to overbuy and then make a loss when I could have thought some more about a product before buying. On the other hand, I also admit I am partly to blame for this culture in that I have this corner of the internet where I blab about great and not so great beauty products. It’s a door that smacks you on the way out.
I love that I have my blog to write about products, and I really love letting you guys know whether a product is worth it or not, but something I would have benefited from in my early days was realising that it all comes down to opinions. That blush that was a ‘ride or die’ on someone else’s blog, could be an exact match to three other blushes in your collection. I’m not saying to not collect if it’s something you enjoy, but if your collection and spending habits are giving you a little anxiety, it could be time to reevaluate how and why you purchase things.
Something that changed my perspective was when we buckled down to buy a house and really changed our spending habits. We allocated 5% of our pays each week into a separate “toys” account each which is all the money I can spend that week on makeup, clothes, outings etc. This really put into perspective how little ‘stuff’ I needed. I’m not a minimalist by any means (if hoarding was hereditary then I’ve got it!), but I do love the idea of that and the Konmari idea of only owning items that you love. I really read a fair bit into it, and watched documentaries, until I felt like I had a thorough understanding of how to clear out my collection thoughtfully. I then went on to declutter my collection a few times until I was much happier with it.
A “low buy” works for me because I have enough products in each category that I very rarely need to repurchase items, and often I buy the same item because I know I love it. I also love to buy occasional treats when I have been thinking about an item for awhile and I have it in my budget. I have a wishlist on my phone that I keep updated with my thoughts on products, given that I must get a sample or several, or have it tested on me, while I make up my mind. When I have had an item on the wishlist for a few months, and it has met or exceeded my expectations, and I have allocated some of my budget to it, I buy it! It’s even sweeter that there have been quite a few sales lately to help my wishlist of treats.
I’ve definitely had periods of over indulging in my wishlist, especially the last two to three months, so it’s not fool proof. But it’s more that I purchased a lot of items (for me), from the wishlist in a small amount of time, not that I hadn’t properly evaluated them. Over Summer I didn’t purchase much at all so it does even out.
It’s not for everyone, but the big sense of overwhelm I felt with owning so many products vanished as soon as I let go of the thought that I needed to keep everything and finish products I didn’t love. Big stashes of makeup are definitely part of the consumerist society we live in, as everyone wants to ‘one up’ YouTubers with huge collections that are probably mostly expired. I for one, am so happy that decluttering is taking over the makeup world, and documenting ’empties’ when products are finished because I feel like the review is more genuine than when a review should really be labelled a ‘first impressions’. After restricting the amount of money I could possibly spend on makeup, I realised how little new things appealed to me after the initial “hype” period.
A few ways to get through a “low buy”:
- Keep a wishlist of items or your phone and thoroughly test them before buying as much as you can. You should keep a list of shades to try, samples you need to get, items you want to have tried on you at your next Mecca Beauty Loop application etc.
- Keep a list on your phone of your makeup inventory and keep track of how often you use something, and if you should even keep buying items in your inventory currently. An example of this, I used to have an obsession with collecting MAC lipsticks… I can count how often I wear lipstick in a fortnight on one hand. I also wear the same favourites constantly anyway.
- As you go through time, such as one to three months, go through your inventory list and think about what items you love owning but don’t get any use of. These can potentially be sold and put towards something you really will get use out of in your collection.
- Keep an eye on expiry dates, and have a rough idea of when you opened things. For powder products, you’re generally ok to keep them as long as they have been stored in a cool, dark area. For everything else, keep your wits about you! I wouldn’t keep a liquid foundation longer than two years, and a cream one for even less! If your lipsticks start ‘sweating’, you can always move them to the fridge as I do in Summer.
- If you are really interested in collecting limited edition products and not using them, come to terms with this, and separate them from your main inventory.
- Don’t think of the money you have lost, when selling or giving away items. You are giving these items an opportunity at a more loving life (I give a lot to my mum and she is always proudly telling me she has been working away at using them!), and the money is worth the valuable lesson you have learnt in not buying the item again.
- Focus on ‘panning’ products instead, see if you can get as much joy from finishing a product as from buying a new product. If you pan a product, you might get to replace it or buy something new – which is a win in my books! I have been in actively trying to pan a few products like mascaras, foundations, powders and lipsticks and not going too badly. I finished up three nearly empty bottles of foundation in the last month!
I really try to think of a “low buy” as mindful spending and consuming, and that helps. Sometimes I feel left out when I see everyone getting the latest new thing, then one month later I see no-one featuring that product anymore, and I know I made the right decision for me.
What is your experience with consuming beauty products?