Today, I am sharing the details of my personal pledge regarding beauty purchases. I love the process of buying and testing new things, so this isn’t a complete no-buy. It’s just my attempt at a more realistic low-buy that may still seem like too much to most people, but will be quite the change for me. It’s all about having a more balanced approach, and I’ve come up with some things to remember to keep myself in that mindset when a shiny new thing is threatening to make me lose all reason and unleash the inner makeup goblin.
These were all the blushes, highlighters, bronzers, and contour products I owned as of September 2020. Many were decluttered since then but many more have been added to my collection. Photos like this are a motivation to stick to my goals this year.
Stance on Buying Multiples
When I love something, I tend to buy multiples, especially makeup brushes. If an item is special in some way, I want another version of it. This year, I want to restrict myself from buying a backup or getting other things from the line that I initially didn’t plan to buy the first time. Reason being, that one item I get will be even more special if it’s the only one I have. I will also get more use out of that one special item since I wouldn’t be splitting usage evenly between two or more other things from the line.
For instance, letting the Hermes Blush be my one makeup item from Hermes. Another example would be letting the Chikuhodo MK-KO be my one Makie series brush and the most expensive brush in my collection (even at the discounted price I paid for it).
Stance on Limited Edition and Limited Quantity Items
I want to save for things that are truly special, but sometimes I buy limited edition items for the sake of them being limited edition and fearing that I will miss out. For instance, every year brands release Lunar New Year items. Rather than purchasing the prettiest items each year from every sign, I should wait for 2024 when it has the most significance for me, as the Year of the Dragon. That being said, I did purchase my first Beautylish Presents brush this year (Tiger), but I successfully skipped the Koyudo Lunar New Year Brush. This rule of only buying Dragon Lunar New Year items is a resolution I want to keep forever, but Tiger, Rabbit, and Dog will be the most difficult to ignore. On the bright side, Dec-Feb is the peak time of Lunar New Year launches, so I just need to hold out for a little longer and then the temptation will be less when those releases stop being discussed.
Also, going hand in hand with limited edition makeup is the scarcity of raw materials like natural hair for makeup brushes and special pigments for eyeshadows. Some palettes made by indie brands have been discontinued because certain pigments are no longer sourced. And the supply of high quality natural hair has become harder to obtain, which is one of the biggest reasons brushmakers (even brands historically known for only making natural hair makeup brushes) are moving towards synthetic. These are some reasons I feel an internal pressure to buy special limited quantity items in case they are discontinued, have a long restock time, and/or prices get raised such as Koyudo and Wayne Goss’ brushes last year. Hakuhodo is raising theirs again on June 1st and Chikuhodo already raised theirs at the beginning of February. Most of the major Japanese OEMs are raising their prices this year. I’m not too concerned about the increases since the brushes in my price range are going up by a maximum of $5, but Hakuhodo is planning to increase theirs by 30%. If that was a brand I purchased from more, I’d be rushing to make last minute orders, but they’ve been out of my price range since their previous price increase a few years ago.
In the case of the makeup, there’s no point in hoarding things with an expiration date anyway. Regarding the brushes, they can potentially hold their value and be seen as an investment of sorts, but how long they last depends on how well I care for them. The hair can still snap and split or shed. If I wish to part with some brushes, they may not be in a condition someone would want to buy. So, it’s not a safe bet either. I have plenty of brushes as is, along with makeup, so my plan is to not let scarcity and the limited edition title to be a factor in the decision to make a purchase.
Stance on Buying Things at Full Price / The “I’ll only get it on sale” Mentality
I use sales as a justification for buying something. If I’m saying to myself, “I want this, but only if it’s on sale,” then that should be an indication that I know there are aspects about it that aren’t perfect for me. Perhaps it has too many colors that don’t interest me or it’s not intended for my skin type. Maybe it’s similar to plenty of things I already own and would be redundant in my collection. If I’m not willing to buy it at full price, then I shouldn’t get it. At the same time, it is smart to wait for a sale for financial reasons as well as giving myself time to ensure it’s something I still want and that I haven’t been sucked in by the hype. So the key is to implement both conditions. I’ll only allow myself to buy things I think are worth full price, but I will still wait whenever possible to get those items when they’re on sale.
Gift Cards, Cashback, and Reward Program Spending
In my past post about all the ways I save money when buying products online, I mentioned that I sometimes acquire products “for free” because it was paid for by credit I earned via cashback, gift cards, etc. I just want to make my stance clear that my Beauty Resolutions still apply in those cases that I didn’t pay money out of pocket. For instance, when I’ve accumulated enough points via Ulta’s Reward Program to be able to purchase all the items in my cart in full, I’m still not supposed to use it on products that are part of my No-Buy. The No-Buy is ultimately about adding less products overall to my collection. Saving money is the by-product of that. This ties in with the “waiting for a sale” issue, that even if the item I want is only a few dollars from the drugstore or is “free” via my points, it’s not about the money. It’s about getting fewer new things so I can get more use out of my current collection.
Stance on Buying Makeup from “New to Me” Brands
When it comes to designer brands with luxury makeup lines that I haven’t purchased from yet, I have the overall rule that I’m allowed to have my “first” of something, such as a first Gucci Beauty product, a first Christian Louboutin Beauty, etc. The formulas of their makeup seldom match what I like, so it has always been a little easier to pass on them, especially at those prices. Allowing myself to have just one will ensure that I’m ultra selective about which one it ends up being. So, I’m allowing this exception, while also cutting myself off from future purchases from those brands for the rest of the year or longer.
As for all other brands that would be new to me, I’m actually trying to avoid them this year. If I like something new from, for example, Sigil Inspired by Tammy Tanuka, then I would be too tempted to try their other products. I want to satisfy my curiosity, especially about different indie brands, but the overall allure is lower if I don’t know what I’m missing. That’s why I want to keep purchases from new (to me) brands to a minimum.
Knowing/Hearing Something Has an Amazing Formula but Isn’t Available in a Shade I Like
This category of a resolution is two-fold. I recognize my issue with wanting to buy everything that has a raved about formula. Just because something is good, does not mean I must own it. I already have nice things, so I need to remember that I’m not missing out by sticking with what I already deem to be great. Second, if the product with a raved about formula is from one of my favorite brands, I’m even more likely to buy it even if the colors aren’t what I’m looking for. For example, Nude Venus blush from Pat Mcgrath is quite light for me, but I wanted it anyway because between the two shimmer formulas of blush, Desert Orchid and Nude Venus, the latter was the only one with any hope of showing up on my skin tone. What I should have done, and will try to do in the future, is be patient and wait for the brand to expand the line and create something that will work for me rather than settling for something just because it’s a good product. If it doesn’t look stunning on me, I likely won’t reach for it anyway which defeats the purpose of buying it in the first place. Wanting to get it for review purposes isn’t a good enough justification for me anymore.
If the brand never ends up expanding the line, so be it. Someone else will create something just like it. Many brands share labs and formulas within the same parent company. Very few things in the cosmetics world are unique anymore.
Self-Tips to Avoid Temptation
Once I’ve decided I will not purchase an item, I need to skip watching videos (which I believe will likely be positive) about that item. For instance, I almost caved so many times on the Patrick Ta Blush palette that was released last holiday. Everyone says it’s great. I have no doubt it would be great and it even has a shade that is likely even more my style than the single cream and powder blush duo I have. However, I think in my head the fact that I have to apply two different products to achieve the look I want makes me think it will take longer to apply, so I’d rather grab a single blush. There’s also the fact that I hardly ever reach for whole blush palettes, so I doubt I would use it enough to justify the purchase, but seeing hundreds of reviews and photos in my various social media feeds kept the temptation alive. The same goes for the Charlotte Tilbury foundation that I decided will not surpass anything I currently have, so I should skip it, but the flood of reviews are tempting. Also, no one can get me to want a makeup brush like Alicia Archer (formerly KinkySweat on YouTube). So, as much as I would enjoy watching Influencer videos, if the pull of the product is too strong, I have to abstain from those videos.
I also noticed that I had a tendency to purchase products in 2021 that were made for deeper skin tones or from a black owned brand regardless of whether the product was actually the best fit for me. As much as I want to show support, I can’t be wasteful and buy things that won’t suit me. I have dark skin, but it’s still medium-dark, so not everything in the dark category will look flattering on me. My undertone also effects what shades look nice on me and which ones stand out too much. If I know it’s too deep for me then I need to skip getting it, just as I would if a product was too light.
Some of my other purchasing weaknesses are buying things as retail therapy (usually when I’m going through health issues) and impulse purchases in the early morning hours when inhibitions are low and I’m not thinking of consequences. Both are psychological and the toughest for me to fight, but knowing is half the battle.
The No-Buy and Low-Buy Categories
Essentially every makeup category has an exception because I’m trying to be realistic and allow myself some fun purchases as well, so I have a good shot at making overall better decisions. Allowing exceptions doesn’t automatically mean I will make a purchase. For instance, Charlotte Tilbury foundation releases are allowed, but after watching a few reviews, I decided I will not buy the newest one.
The categories with zero budging or exceptions* as a NO-BUY are: Mascaras, False Lashes, Face Primers, Brow Products, and Eye Primers. I have more than a year’s worth of products left in all of those categories, so I want to use up what I currently have.
*I do have an overall exceptions rule that products I intended to get in 2021, but could not due to it being out of stock at the time or unavailable in the US at the time are excluded from the No-Buy. For instance, the Essence Coffee collection was previously only available in Europe and the special holiday set of the Nyx Marshmallow primer I wanted did not get restocked, so I’m going to get the mini travel size of it.
When it comes to Lip Products, as mentioned in a previous post, the only exceptions are that I intended to buy additional Lip Clays from Kaleidos last year. I didn’t end up doing that purely because it wasn’t going to arrive in time before my six week trip. I decided to wait on buying those Lip Clays until the next Kaleidos launch caught my attention (the Smokey Nostalgia Collection). I’m also allowing myself to replace lippies with ones that may have gone bad, but I will purchase no more than 5 additional lip products in 2022.
Foundations are a NO-BUY unless it’s by Charlotte Tilbury, Pat Mcgrath, Make Up For Ever, MAC, or Nars. All of those brands (except PML) are ones who have made foundations I’ve loved in the past, and while I certainly have enough foundations to carry me into 2023, I don’t want to deny myself potentially trying a new or even old product from those trusted brands if they seem like they would be perfect for me. My overall goal is to buy zero foundations, but if those exceptions occur, I will not buy more than three for the entire year. I already have five listed exceptions, so I have to really think about which one gets to potentially be part of the three at the end.
Contours are a NO-BUY with Charlotte Tilbury and Pat Mcgrath Labs as exceptions. The raved about CT Contour Wands are something I’d like to try if she makes one that is dark enough to work for me and PML is just going to be an exception to every rule because I’m fascinated by the brand.
Powders are a NO-BUY except if Hourglass releases a single Ambient Lighting Powder to match me, but I doubt that one will happen. I’ve discovered I like finishing powders, but not setting powders, and I have enough of both so I will not get anymore this year. One other thing to mention is the Chantecaille Blur Finishing powder that I said last year I would repurchase in the Med/Dark shade if it became available for a significant discount and was not in the Flower Power packaging. I may still do that in the future, but that’s a low possibility.
Eyeliners are a NO-BUY except Stila’s liquid liners if they are half price or Sephora’s if I run out of Stila liners and just need an affordable but nice liner. However, I just bought a replacement Nyx liner during Black Friday, so with all that I currently possess, I should be set for the rest of this year.
Now, we’re getting to the toughest no-buys with the largest exceptions lists.
Bronzers are a NO-BUY except PML whose brand is due to introduce bronzers, Hourglass who is due for some deep bronzers, and CT if the brand creates a 4.5 shade between Tan and Deep. I have several powder and cream bronzers I really like and would love to make some dents in them. MAC, Make Up For Ever, and Nars may be too difficult to resist if they produce bronzers that are part of a special collection. As much as I want to try a lot more, I have to be realistic about the fact that bronzer just needs to add a warmth to my face, and there is an extremely limited amount of colors that can do that and still look natural on me. I have those shades already. Since Kosas, Huda/Glowish, and Benefit already make some of my favorite bronzers, I would have a hard time avoiding more from them, but those last three do not make my exceptions list. If I can end 2022 with under 3 new bronzers, I would still consider the No-Buy a partial success.
Blushes are a NO-BUY except MAC, Nabla, PML, Patrick Ta, Nars, Huda Beauty, Makeup by Mario, Rare Beauty liquid blushes in a mini form or if they introduce a powder version, Fenty, Clionadh, Oden’s Eye, Glossier, LYS Beauty, and CT. Technically, I made the caveat last year that I would allow myself to get a blush from Chanel and Dior, but I’m waiting for the perfect ones. I’m still very much on a blush kick. I want them all, but I don’t need a single additional one. The only way I can realistically curb my impulses to buy them all is if I have exceptions for my tip top favorite blush brands and/or the brands I haven’t tried many blushes from and am curious about trying more. The blush exceptions are mainly allowing for powder blushes. I have too many creams and liquids and will likely have to dispose of some this year, so that is my motivation to stick to powders unless the blush in question is in a mini size. Then I don’t feel quite as bad. I would be proud of myself if I could keep my blush purchases under 15 this year. That would be 82% less blushes than I bought last year when I lost all sense of reason and went blush crazy.
Highlighters are a NO-BUY excluding PML, Dior (a stipulation from last year), and if there’s a Limited Edition collection of something that I’m absolutely salivating over to purchase from, but there’s nothing in the collection I would actually use except the highlighter. This caveat I definitely need to be careful about because it ties in with my self-warning about limited edition products. But I’m trusting myself to be firm on this because I am most dissatisfied at how many highlighters I buy that are the same shades so many times over. I want to keep my highlighter number as close to zero as possible. That’s the goal, without putting an actual figure cap on it.
Finally, we’ve reached the LOW-BUYS! I must be careful not to overdo these, but I’m so picky about the products in this category that I don’t think I will have too much trouble being selective:
Face Palettes are a LOW-BUY allowing for brands like CT, PML, Huda Beauty, Uoma Beauty, Hindash, and Hourglass. I’ve always wanted one of those CT Instant Look in a Palette or face quads but there hasn’t been one that would suit my skin tone. PML would be an immediate purchase. Huda Beauty always interests me with face products, but I kept holding out for the perfect one. I wouldn’t want to deny myself if I finally saw one I thought was worth buying just because of this project. Uoma Beauty already had a face palette from 2021 I was interested in, but I was waiting to get it at a lower price since neither the light or dark palettes were really perfect for me. Now, Uoma is only on the exception list if they release a third better fitting face palette. Hourglass made the exceptions list because of their annual holiday palettes, provided they still make one this year and if it’s truly dark-skin friendly (but also not too deep for me).
Concealers are a LOW-BUY, but realistically, I’m content with the ones I have and I will likely only buy two additional concealers this year: Tarte Shape Tape when it’s half price and Pat Mcgrath’s shade 23. I have 22 and 24, but since I’m running low on both it makes more sense to just try 23 and get it while on sale. That shade has been sold out the last two times I tried to get it though, so we’ll see how long it takes. The only concealer I already purchased in 2022 was the KVD Good Apple concealer. Concealers are my least restrictive category because my needs are so particular that so few out there meet all criteria. So, I don’t mind buying several of them if I can actually find some to match all my personal requirements. Concealers are also the number one makeup items I use up regularly (out of the ones that suit me).
Lastly, when it comes to eyeshadows, I will likely only get one or two single eyeshadows from different indie brand collection launches because I’m pretty satisfied with my single eyeshadow collection. Clionadh is the only exception and I will just trust my self control and not get everything from them. However, I do have a rule on Eyeshadow Palettes, which is that I will purchase no more than 2 each month (and yes they can roll over). In 2020, I bought a whopping 52 palettes which is basically one a week. In 2021, I bought somewhere between 38-40 palettes. This year, I’m hoping to make it no more than 24. I consider a palette to be anything with 4 or more eyeshadows.
Regarding skincare, hair care, fragrances, etc. I’m on a low-buy for those and intend to buy as little new products in those categories as possible. I purchased very few new skincare items last year anyway. Also, I’ve technically been on a fragrance low-buy for years and I try to make use of all the free samples I get and the ability to buy travel sizes of perfumes.
So, this is my plan for the year! I intend to do some decluttering too. I also have some ideas of picking 4 blushes, 2 highlighters, 2 bronzers, and 2 eyeshadow palettes to use every month in order to get more use out of my collection! Or I will pick entire brands for the month. It’s like a “Project Pan” but without expecting to actually hit pan on any of the products. I’d be satisfied with some dips though! Please, wish me luck!
I never considered that supply issues with natural hair caused brands to move to synthetic brushes. I just always had it in my head that it was pressure to appear cruelty-free.
I relate to so much of this and enjoyed reading your thoughts. I also need to be careful with buying products that don’t have a color I think will work well for me. Then that escalates into me watching videos and reading reviews to try to convince myself it might work and it becomes even more tempting lol.
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I didn’t realize how big of an issue sourcing was until I started paying more attention to my email notifications about certain collections having several month long backorders (like Koyudo’s Indian Giant Squirrel) or brushes being discontinued not due to lack of demand but lack of supply (like most of Chikuhodo’s Homare Collection) and delayed restocks. According to Brush Junkie’s channel on YT, China possess the majority of supply on hair. And they are trying to get their brushes to higher acclaim. So, I imagine they’re making it a bit harder on Japanese brushmakers with raising prices. And then, for example, Russia with a lot of the Kazan squirrels…which is problematic with the state of the world right now and trading. Even the quality of goat hair has dropped, or at least that’s the marketing around koyomo as being touted better since it’s older hair and from goats that supposedly lived in better climates. In any case, I think things are about to get rougher for natural hair brushmakers! The cruelty-free/vegan aspect definitely still plays a big part! I’m glad you liked this post! I did so many revisions to make sure I covered all the possible ways I talk myself into buying things and how to address them lol. And of course, it’s comforting to know I’m not alone in struggling with it!
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That’s so interesting. Not really in the spirit on this post 😂 but it makes me think I should go ahead and get some of the Sonia G brushes I’ve been dragging my feet on. I don’t want to miss out again if they have sourcing issues and the master face is actually still in stock.
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Hahaha I can’t blame you. It’s something I’ve had to consider as well. And not to be an enabler but pretty much all the Japanese brands I know are raising their prices and even Wayne Goss raised his last year. I can’t help but wonder if that’s going to happen with Sonia’s brushes too. If she does, I can’t imagine it being a huge increase like a few dollars on each brush, but I guess we will see! I hope she doesn’t though!
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