I've wanted to discuss something that's recently been on my mind a lot, namely my experiences with doing a make-up low-buy for three years now and my plans for 2016. Before we dive in, there's one thing I'd like to clarify: I'm not trying to advocate any minimalist agenda or forcefully attempt to convince you to change your habits in any way. If you're happy with your stash and your purchases, GREAT - I envy you, and you do you. The reason I'm stating the obvious (to me at least) is that I've recently come across this sentiment that some minimalism-leaning bloggers can come across as a bit militant in their opinions. I have no such intention - this is just a personal blog and I'm coming here to share MY feelings and struggles, and if it inspires someone to change something they've been uncomfortable with anyway, then that makes me really happy; but if not, that's okay too.
In my first couple years of beauty obsessing and documenting it on the blog, I had set a loose monthly budget for myself in the amount of $50. It was supposed to include all 'fun' expenditures such as clothing and accessories as well as make-up, skincare, nail polish, you name it. It seemed reasonable at the time, and the amount was something I was comfortable with spending for non-essentials. Looking back on it now, I can honestly say that a beauty budget did NOT work for me. I wasn't very dilligent in tracking my expenses, meaning that I very often went over the $50, but the main problem is that it resulted in a proliferation of cheap thrills in my wardrobe and beauty stash. I'm not saying cheap to be offensive - I'm all for affordable things if they're good quality. Unfortunately, most of what I bought wasn't, and on top of that, I was soon overwhelmed with the amount of clothes and products in my possession.
read the original post here). I decided to give myself an allowance of two make-up products per month, without setting any budget goals, and work hard on using up all my extra products across several categories, mostly skincare. I'm not going to lie - it was VERY difficult at first. For someone used to popping into a drugstore 'just to see what's new', and usually leaving with a couple make-up toys in tow, having to thoroughly think through all my purchases, plan ahead and only get two out of the large pool of everything I fancied was hard. So I did stumble here and there, and definitely at the end of 2013 I had accumulated more than just 24 new make-up products, but I did make a large dent in my back-up stash, and it was a start (here are my thoughts at the end of the year). So I just stuck to the same low buy again in 2014, and added in another stash-reducing challenge via Project Make A Dent and various declutters. This time it went even better than the previous year; I was able to stick to my resolution more, and developped some strategies to help fight lemmings and urges to shop while learning to appreciate what I already had (final post for 2014 can be found here).
Now this year, I do think that my low-buy has really taken hold and taught me a valuable lesson. In 2015, I've been able not only to limit my purchases, but actually change my behavior and thought patterns when it comes to beauty shopping. I think I'll discuss my experience and strategies in more detail in a separate post next month, but I wanted to share my back story with you mostly to show you that in my case, it has truly been a slow evolution towards the ultimate goal of an edited capsule collection that makes me happy and grateful instead of causing anxiety and stress. It's definitely a loosely defined goal, and as such, the particulars of it keeping changing, namely towards even smaller and simpler stash.
I think that this time, the challenge won't be so much in fighting lemmings because I feel that I've gotten pretty good at keeping myself in check. However, I may struggle a bit with not purchasing products that are more convenient to use than what I already have on hand for that purpose. For example, I'm not really loving bar soaps as much anymore - I got used to fancy shower gels now, and it's nicer to indulge in a scented body lotion than slather your limbs in a natural plant oil. I realize that in this scenario, many of you would just get rid of the surplus bar soaps & oils and happily purchase your favorites in their stead, but to me it feels wasteful and unnecessary. My other reason for attempting to use and use up these particular products is that they're more eco-friendly and sustainable, as well as less irritating for my sensitive skin. The second issue I'm foreseeing here is that like a true hoarder, I'm slightly worried about not having enough face cleansers or toners to last me an entire year. But you know what, I'm determined to make it work - I could just as well DIY a cleansing oil like Gummy, or try the Oil Cleansing Method again. I'll make do; as long as my skin is happy. If for any reason any of my back-up products turn out to harm my skin, I will pass them along and ultimately purchase a replacement if no more back-ups remain in my queue. Simple as that.
I will definitely document my progress with photos in a year's time, or sooner, if that turns out to be the case (ha! I wish). I would also like to point out that my no buy does not mean I won't be accepting press samples or gifts. While the influx of products for review consideration may seem to hinder my progress, this is a beauty blog after all, and I enjoy trying and reviewing products for you. I also very frequently pass things along to family and friends, and it makes me happy that I can give back and share great products in this way. But enough about me - do you guys have any stash-reducing plans for 2016? Have you ever attempted a beauty no buy? If so, what was your experience like?