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Learn how to buy less makeup and/or other beauty products: A Successful Makeup No Buy & Low Buy Guide for the beauty enthusiasts like me who have been overspending, feeling FOMO (fear of missing out), or just want to learn how to spend less money on beauty products and be more critical with future purchases.
The beauty industry contains a lot of brands nowadays which means a wide variety of products for us to choose from. Moreover, product releases are easy to access these days, which means we only need to hit the ‘purchase’ button and the products lay on our doormats days/weeks later. The accessibility and the wide variety of brands are what’s not helping, is the huge amount of (limited edition) product releases as well.
It’s no surprise that some people, like me, have felt like they’ve overindulged and have reached a point of approaching future purchases with a more critical eye which is what we can call a low buy. If you’re planning on spending no money on beauty products for a month or even longer, we call it a no buy. This could be a specific makeup no buy but it could also include skincare, bodycare or other products you feel like you’ve spent too much money on recently.
Whether you’re on a makeup no-buy, low-buy, or are just want to learn to be more conscious about future beauty purchases going forward, this post is a great starting point on learning “the rules” (you can adjust them to your own preferences or what works for you) of a no buy and helpful tips on sticking with your no buy or low buy.
Before Your Makeup No Buy Or Low Buy…
Before you start a makeup no buy or low buy I recommend doing a makeup decluttering session first. What is decluttering? It’s removing products that you no longer use from your makeup collection — basically, clutter. They’re products taking up space, make other products harder to find/see, and are no longer/rarely used. In my post on how to declutter your makeup collection, I’ll walk you through the process step-by-step so the whole “getting rid of your makeup” isn’t so overwhelming as it might seem.
After you’ve decluttered your makeup, you want to make sure everything is stored properly. How you want to store your makeup depends on your preferences and the space you have, so I wrote a general blog post with 5 practical and helpful makeup organizing tips in general and for every type of space. If you’re in need of makeup storage inspiration, I’ve got you covered! I wrote a blog post about 15 makeup storage hacks that are extremely aesthetically pleasing and might be worth checking out if you could use some help!
Makeup No Buy or Low Buy Rules
I don’t like calling it rules, because it’s something you set up yourself. You can definitely use other people’s no buy or low buy as an example or use the exact same rules as theirs, but you can also set up rules that are completely different from what you’ve seen. The goal is to 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, or not, and under what circumstances.
It’s your plan, so it can be as specific or as broad as you want to be, as I said before, but you want to have rules that are clear. 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 don’t really know where to start with setting up your rules, here are some things to consider:
- Replacement only: when a product that is well-loved is finished, it can be purchased again.
- One-in, one-out: when a certain product is finished, something can be purchased to replace it (doesn’t have to be the same type of product).
- Makeup no buys only: this means that you don’t buy makeup but you can buy skincare, haircare, etc. (you could do a skincare no buy or any specific product (for example lipsticks) you want to stop buying products of).
- Set a budget: determine the amount of money you’re allowed to spend per period (week/month/year), whether unused money can be rolled over to the next week/month, and so forth.
- Project Pan: purchases can’t be made until certain items, a certain number of items, etc. have been used up. For example, you have to pan an eyeshadow palette before you can buy a new one. If you don’t know what a Project Pan is, check out my explanation here.
I personally like to start with a low buy because once I feel the pressure of not being allowed to buy any makeup at all, I feel stressed, anxious, and more urge to purchase makeup. While if I do a low buy I see myself feeling less pressured and so it’s easier for me to not buy makeup. It kinda works the other way around in my head as you can tell lol. If you’re like me, I would recommend a low buy because a no buy would probably be too ‘cold turkey’ for us and we quit easier.
Focus On Why You Started In The First Place
I’m not going to lie, I’m pretty sure it’s going to be tough. Especially if your beauty purchases are related to FOMO (fear of missing out) or let’s say, a bad habit (e.g. shopping makes you feel better when you’re sad or stressed). When you decided you wanted a no buy or low buy you probably had a goal in mind. Whether this is wanting to save money for a bigger goal (a house, a new car, etc.) or you just want to use up products before you purchase something new. When you get tempted to buy some beauty products, think about the goal you’re trying to achieve.
If you need more visible ways to keep you focused on your goals, you may want to consider these tips:
- Track your expenses: create a list of your past expenses and keep track of your current expenses (or what you haven’t spent) so you can really see the difference.
- Track your product usage: set up a makeup inventory where you track when you opened your products and when you’ve emptied, panned, or decluttered them. This is perfect for knowing exactly what products are in your collection, but it’s also nice to see if you’re making progress in panning/emptying products.
- Join a Project Pan Challenge: nowadays there are lots of different Project Pan challenges (on Instagram as well as Youtube) you can participate in which is nice if you’re looking for like-minded people and support. You might even have people close to you (in real life or online) who want to join you on this makeup no buy/low buy journey.
How To Resist Buying Makeup
- Unsubscribe from email lists: this one really saved my life. I was subscribed to every brand’s newsletter and so I got spammed with sales, new launches, good deals, etc. This made it so hard to actually pass on the sales or whatever they were promoting. I mean, those brands are here to sell their products so obviously their emails are tempting and giving me (or us) FOMO. Just unsubscribe to as many newsletters as you can! I swear, this reduced my FOMO and anxiety so much.
- Create a Makeup Inventory: my friend The Newbury Girl got me into creating a makeup inventory since we both, eh.. spend a bit too much on makeup lol. The moment you go through your whole collection, writing down EVERY. SINGLE. PRODUCT. you have, you’ll first realize you have a problem (lmao I felt so bad) and then you know exactly what you own already. I have to admit here that I’ve bought products because I thought I was out of them but I had backups laying around which I totally forgot I had.. oops. Makeup Inventory it is!
- Shop Your Stash: you might have heard people mentioning this since I feel like this is a pretty popular trend right now. If you want to buy a certain product, try to dive into your collection and find a dupe or something super similar. I’m pretty sure you’ll find something that looks like it a lot!
- Make a wishlist: I noticed that once I started to use a wishlist, I often forgot about products or once the hype around the product was over I didn’t really feel the need to buy it anymore. If I see something I want, I write it down on my wishlist and I revisit that list in a week or two and see if the temptation is really/still there or if it was “just the hype”.
- Do I really need this?: I try to ask myself this question before I purchase anything. I also ask myself if I have similar products in my collection already and/or if I REALLY love it. I sometimes go a step deeper and ask myself things like: “What need will it fill?” “Why is it tempting?” By asking myself questions, I often see myself answering at least one of them with ‘no’ or I can’t answer why I really want something besides ‘it’s pretty’ and then it’s easier to say ‘nope, you don’t need it so don’t buy it, Simone.’
- Always read reviews & look for swatches: This goes hand in hand with the Shop My Stash tip though, but before you purchase a product make sure to read reviews and look for swatches first. This way you can decide whether you really love the look of the product(s), if other people are loving the product and you can look for similar products in your collection.
2 Difficulties While Resisting
I personally have 2 weaknesses when trying not to purchase makeup and those are: limited edition launches and emotion shopping. For me, these are the main 2 things that make me fail. Even though I’m still struggling with this, I want to you to know that:
- Limited Edition Products: These are basically a marketing strategy and make people feel the pressure to buy a product now because once it’s gone they won’t be able to purchase it ever again. This gives people FOMO and makes them buy. Just know that some limited edition products are brought back later on (Kylie Cosmetics does this a lot) and if not, there is going to be another limited edition product/collection in the future which might even look like the current one. There’s always going to be limited edition products and we don’t have to collect them all.
- Emotion Shopping: Try to distract yourself if you feel like you want to buy products because you’re feeling sad, mad, anxious, stressed, or whatever other reason. You might want to see friends (or just chat with them if you can’t see them), go for a walk/run/workout, do your favorite hobby or watch a movie or series. Make sure you don’t purchase products when you’re not in the right headspace to do so.
Last but not least, I want you to know that it’s totally normal if you make a mistake (went over your budget, bought a product that wasn’t a replacement, etc.)! But make sure you don’t give up immediately. Be kind to yourself by thinking about what happened, what you can learn from it, if you should make some adjustments made to your guidelines/plan/goals, and how to do better in the future.
Have you ever done a low-buy or a makeup no buy? How did it go? Let me know in the comments!