Friday, September 30, 2016

2016 Skincare No Buy and Make-up Low Buy Update #3

These last three months have really flown by and I can't believe that a) I'm mere days away from my due date, b) summer is finally over, c) this is the last update before my final progress check for the end of the year. Do you guys know this quote from Gretchen Rubin that 'the days are short, but the years are short'? This is how I feel. Well, months maybe, not years - not yet.

I think this is going to be an interesting update for you because I have a big fat fail to report on both the skincare and make-up fronts, but you know what? I'm not even feeling very guilty. I guess my perspective on these shopping freeze challenges is changing as the time goes on; while I still believe they're wonderful tools for being more mindful about our purchasing habits, I've found that there comes a time when it's okay to free yourself from the self-imposed rules and just do what you feel is right for you at that particular moment. Hmm... does it sound like I'm excusing myself? Let me elaborate.

In terms of my make-up low buy (two product purchases allowed per month), I haven't purchased anything between April and July - which I gloated about in this post - but then in August, I bought... 6 things. Where they absolutely necessary purchases? No, of course not; it's not like I run out of mascara or some other staple, but they were not accidental impulse purchases either, well maybe with the exception of one thing. Before I go into the actual products, the chief reason I decided to buy these products all in one month instead of spacing them out a bit further is because of the finale of my latest Project Pan at the end of August and the imminent arrival of the baby bean. What I mean by this is I figured September was going to be the last month for me to play with new make-up shades or techniques - before I was ultra focused on only using products from my panning projects, and in October... well, let's just say I won't have a lot of free time on my hands for careful make-up application.

So I was placing an order on Ulta to repurchase some bodycare, and there were also two categories of make-up I really wanted to experiment with: nude or My Lips But Better lip liners and some very warm eyeshadow shades. These were both 'gaps' in my make-up collection, meaning that I didn't already own other things that could serve the same purpose. I ended up purchasing two nudey neutral lip liners - one with a warm and one with a cool undertone - and two NYX eyeshadow singles, one in a matte chestnut brown and one in a shimmery rusty red shade. I'm happy with all of these purchases and I can safely say they're different from everything else I own, but I think the NYX single eyeshadow purchase opened up a bit of a rabbit hole for me, because now I've noticed I don't own any berries, mauves, warm purples or plums in my collection either and I would really like to play with those shades again. I spent a few blissful hours online yesterday browsing all the beautiful single shadows from different brands but in the end, I talked myself out of another purchase and closed the browser tabs. I realized that even if I bought them right then and there, I would probably only have a handful occasions left this year to wear them, and I just bought other things I wanted to bond with, and lastly I would have really, really preferred to see and swatch them in person on the counter.

The last two make-up products that found their way into my shopping bag in August came by way of participating in the K-Beauty Peach & Lily sample sale in New York. Both were $3 each, so I'm sure my decision to get them was spurred by the bargain hunter mentality, but at least one of them I've wanted to try for a while and didn't have a functional dupe in my stash I was already using; after finishing the Pixi pencil eyeliner in Black Noir in my recent Project, I felt somewhat justified purchasing the Clio Gelpresso Eyeliner in Golden Black (matte black with fine gold shimmer). I didn't however need another base product - but I got the Mizon Correct Combo Pact, a sheer liquid foundation in a compact - which at the time seemed like an easy option to quickly get ready in the morning between feeding and shushing a hungry baby. Yeah, I'll let you know how that works out ;) So overall, this was a bit of an indulgent month for make-up purchases (more so in number of items though than actual spending total because everything I purchased was drugstore and/or heavily discounted), but not above my allowance for the entire quarter.

Now if my make-up purchases were kind of indulgent, kind of justified, I don't have a good reason why I purchased quite a few skincare products even though I'm on a complete skincare no buy for the year - well, other than... There was a SALE! I don't know you guys, you just gotta laugh at yourself sometimes. At that same K-Beauty Sample Sale where I purchased my black eyeliner and foundation compact, I also purchased a face cleanser, a spray toner and an essence. Nope, I was not out of, or even nearly out, any of these types of products, but I just wanted to try some new Korean skincare finds and I do feel like I'll be able to crack them open sooner than later after finishing what's currently in my medicine cabinet (I'm in fact already using the essence).

In September, I also placed an order from The Body Shop (again because there was a really good sale: 40% off entire website, high cashback on Ebates, and additional $15 off $50 cash back offer from AmEx) and I got some more necessary bodycare I'm already using, but also their Chamomile Silky Cleansing Oil because my current make-up remover is just way too ineffective, time-consuming and generally annoying. Again, that order wasn't absolutely necessary - I did have other things I could focus on finishing up instead - but I wanted to treat myself to products I knew I preferred, and instead decided to trash/ pass on three things I was unhappy with (which were all gifts/PR samples by the way, so I'm not beating myself up too much over sunk costs - it was not my decision to select them for myself in the first place).
Back-up drawer in June 2016.
So in general, two important lessons learnt: firstly, I am quite susceptible to sales tactics and I love a good deal (something to watch out for in the future), and secondly, I do feel much happier not forcing myself to use up products I dislike just because they're there. Life's too short for awful products, and it defeats the purpose to try to use them when you're devoting precious time to pampering yourself.
Back-up drawer in September 2016.
Last thing I wanted to touch on is the state of my skincare back-up drawer; as you may be able to see, it looks fuller than at the last update, but that's mostly because I condensed my storage space - again. I used to have another more shallow drawer in the same unit dedicated to nail polish storage, but after my last declutter (here) I decided to move the two remaining nail polish boxes into my skincare drawer and use the now empty drawer to store baby bean's blankets and swaddles. So in the space of about a year, I've gone from having a three drawer unit all to myself and my beauty stash, to having one drawer crammed full and the other two for two other members of the family (the third one houses my husband's off season shoes - he has a lot of shoes, you guys). You may have also noticed that the products inside my back-up drawers have mostly changed as well in the space of these past three months, and that's because I'm doing my best to actively finish skincare and move on to using the back-ups, as well as constantly reassessing and passing on things I'm not interested in or that haven't worked out for me.

Okay, I think I've talked your ears off on the topic of my purchasing habits - but I hope this was an enjoyable read and I know many of you visit the blog specifically to see how I'm doing because you're moving towards similar goals. This quarter I definitely gave myself some major leeway to buy and experiment with new things, and maybe I was a bit overindulgent; however I still don't think I've now gone off the deep end. I don't see myself purchasing anything else until the Sephora November sale, and the products I want to purchase then have been on my wishlist for a very long time. Now, how are you doing on your no buys, low buys and practising general consumerist mindfulness? Please share, we're all in this together!


  1. Monika, I'm nodding along as I read. I totally agree about not using the product that you don't enjoy using -- I find myself letting go of products than trying to make it work for me (as I used to do.. oh how I hate waste..) Also, sales. Oh yes, sales!! I almost forgot that it's so easy for me to avoid places (virtual or real) that would advertise for sales/good deals, etc. but when I was traveling to Asia this past summer, it was so hard to avoid, plus with the added pressure, "When else can I bought XYZ (insert the Asian skin care that cost loads over amazon or online) for (insert the ridiculously low price that I could get in Asia)." BAM!! Just like that.. nobody's immune, really. All we can do is to pick up where we left off. I'm still using up my samples and now more samples from my travel (they are quite generous, in Asia, when it comes to GWP and samples..)

    P.S. Gretchen Rubin has "Happier" podcast, HIGHLY recommended for when the baby Bean arrive (and you'll spend your time nursing/pumping). Do check it out, it's free on iTunes!

  2. "...while I still believe they're wonderful tools for being more mindful about our purchasing habits, I've found that there comes a time when it's okay to free yourself from the self-imposed rules and just do what you feel is right for you at that particular moment."

    I totally agree. It's one thing if you have a genuine shopping addiction or are using shopping to cope with deep-rooted emotional problems. But there's a lot to be said for eliminating unnecessary guilt from your life, especially because women are encouraged to feel guilty about almost everything. I've always been good at imposing rules on myself, but those rules aren't necessarily good *for me* (I spent several of my teenage years struggling with anorexia). And honestly, if you're having a really shitty day and buy yourself a new lipstick, it's not the end of the world.

    I've been curious about warm eyeshadows too, and have even considered buying the ABH Modern Renaissance palette, but that palette has quite a few overlaps with shades I already own. Maybe I should just buy a couple of singles, like you did: I've been wanting to check out Makeup Geek.

    Oh, and best of luck with the new member of your family! <3

  3. I think I should try a make up low buy challenge next year. Two products per month is enough. I bought a lot in the last two months because autumn products are so tempting to me and there are a few trends which flatter me. I hope that I can condense my storange space at the end of the year.

    "Life's too short for awful products, and it defeats the purpose to try to use them when you're devoting precious time to pampering yourself."
    I totally agree!

  4. I still am a fan of these downsizing posts, even though I know at some point they will have to stop because you will get to a collection of the size you want.

    I have also recently become less strict in my downsizing (and no buy). I had pared down my makeup to the point where I only had one look I could create, I have since gotten a couple of eye shadows and lipsticks so I can mix up my look a little more.

    I also finally tossed some older items that I hate but felt obligated to use. it was sucking all the enjoyment of my self care routine.

    Despite not being as strict, I still really think about purchases before I make them, and I also have still managed to continue to downsize (now all of my products (both those I am currently using and those that are the rest of my collection or my backups fit into two shoebox sized plastic bins.