Tuesday, November 10, 2015

A Long-Overdue No-Buy

I've bought a lot of makeup in the last two or three months, and I've bought it largely due to stress. I've alluded to this lightheartedly with my "Stress-Fueled Impulse Purchase" series, but it's time to acknowledge that I have to stop buying new stuff, at least for a while. Liz's last post as the Beauty Reductionista prompted some much-needed self-reflection. I'm not even close to being in debt, and I don't feel like my shopping habits are out of control, but I'm definitely guilty of emotional purchases.

I'd wager it's happened to most people reading this post: you become fixated on one product and tell yourself that this is it, the one thing that will complete your collection. After you buy this thing, you'll be spoiled for all other things ever after. Come to think of it, buying this thing is a wise preventative measure, because the thing will be so superlatively great that you'll never have to buy another thing like it. So you buy it, and for a few days you really do feel that it's the best thing ever and your makeup collection has acquired its capstone. Except, wait...what was that other thing you just saw out of the corner of your eye? And so the cycle begins again, and you become enthralled to a new thing that promises some grand transformation of your face or life or whatever. But nothing ever really changes, does it? It's just the same pattern of curiosity -> desire -> purchase -> pleasure -> boredom -> curiosity, over and over again.

And guess what: our society is engineered to perpetuate this cycle. Welcome to capitalism! So I'm not going to beat myself up over buying one too many lipsticks last month, but I am going to declare a makeup and polish no-buy for the rest of 2015, with the exception of boring products that I use up and need to repurchase (mascara, clear brow gel, etc). I've specified "makeup" instead of "beauty" because I don't have a problem with buying too much skincare and I really do need a better sunscreen. But do I need another lipstick? Absolutely not. And yet, as I write this, I can think of at least five lipsticks that some recalcitrant part of my brain is telling me I need. Here, I'll even list them: MAC Heroine and Antique Velvet, Portland Black Lipstick Company Bad Penny and Irony, Rituel de Fille Hex, Urban Decay 1993, Wet n Wild Mocha-licious. There you go: seven. I "need" seven new lipsticks, despite owning at least 75. This isn't healthy. And experience has taught me that if I hold out, my "need" will dwindle to nothing. So I'm going to hold outstarting now.

18 comments:

  1. Good luck! I almost stress-bought a Revlon lipstick today even though I am not a huge lipstick wearer. I got bored with the coupon math in CVS and left it behind, fortunately.

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    1. Good for you! I've found that CVS coupon math is often more trouble than it's worth. Which lipstick was it?

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    2. Cherries in the Snow. I had a $3 off $9 coupon, and another $3 Revlon coupon, and they had a $5 extra bucks on $15 thing, but the lipstick was $8 and I didn't really want anything else, and . . . zzzzzzzzzzz.

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    3. Yep, I too would have thrown up my hands and walked out of the CVS if confronted with those numbers. Cherries in the Snow is a beautiful lipstick, but I've had mine for at least three years and I wear it maybe two or three times a year.

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  2. Good luck with the no buy! I had a no buy from July- Oct and I was going to hold out until Black Friday but unfortunately I binge bought some blogsaled stuff :( still, considering I could spend this money in a month I would say the no buy was relatively successful.

    I find it extremely difficult to pare down my collection though. On the whole I don't own dupes and most colours I own are flattering for me, but I just can't seem to get down to 20 or less lipsticks. I have 35 or so at the moment and increasing, and all of them give me a burst of happiness (as Mari Kondo requires) when I use them. What to do?!

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    1. I don't feel a tremendous need to pare down my collection, and I don't think you should feel pressured to do so, either: 35 lipsticks really isn't that many! I own a few lipsticks that I don't wear often and could stand to purge, but what would I actually do with them? They're too old to give away or sell, and if they're just going to end up in the trash I'd rather keep them and wear them occasionally.

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  3. It really does get a lot easier as you go! I haven't put myself on a conscious no/low-buy, but I'm not purchasing makeup at the rate I was even a year ago. I don't even remember the last makeup item I bought, to be honest. (Oh, wait - I replaced my black eyeliner, but that's not a new purchase.) It was probably in the summer!

    I think having a no-buy will help you figure out which items you really want and which you just want in the moment. I know that's the case for me; I'm making myself wait until I finish exams to buy the pricier items I want, and so far I've been unwavering with the two items I've selected, which tells me I really do want them. But there have been a lot of littler things I've had an idle interest in that I don't care about now that I've waited out the wave of desire.

    It's a bit cliché, but I think the whole "shopping your stash" thing can be helpful when it comes to a no-buy. Just the other day I pulled out a lipstick I bought in the summer and never wore ONCE, so it was basically like getting a new item. When you have enough makeup (and I would say 75 lipsticks qualifies!) it's pretty easy to discover "new" things in your own collection.

    Good luck!

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    1. Good points, all! I think this break will give me some time to (as you say) shop my stash and play around with new makeup placements and color combinations. I'm actually looking forward to getting more creative with the products I already own, instead of lazily buying new makeup every time I feel like a change.

      I had an illuminating moment earlier today while rereading one of my posts from April, on "eight beauty products I didn't buy in the last six months." Back in April, I was still tempted by those products. Now, seven months later, I barely remember why I wanted them. There's a lot to be said for waiting out that wave of desire. I was doing pretty well with controlling my impulses earlier this year, so I don't think it will be too hard to get back into the habit. I admire you for buying so little this year!

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  4. You and me both - I've been stress shopping and justifying things because it was my birthday coming up. Blah. I will not die without that LE perfume oil (especially since I now work in a scent-free place and must wear my beloved perfumes on the weekend/in the evening).

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    1. I don't think there's anything inherently terrible about the occasional bout of stress shopping (unless it puts you in debt or something). But it's always good to step back and recognize these patterns before they become worse!

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    2. Oh yes, I think stress shopping in moderation is okay - sometimes you just need the pick me up that a new lipstick or a fancy coffee will give - but I also want to try and rein that in some more. It's easy to let that become a crutch. Stepping back and looking at the behaviour critically is always a good idea!

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  5. I really need to do this with nail polish. I just go rid of about 20 or so and I still have this huge urge to buy more. This isn't helped by the 'limited edition' factor of many polishes being put out this time of year. Hopefully reminding myself that I still have dozens of polishes to play with will help.

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    1. Nail polish is so hard to resist because it comes in EVERY color with EVERY variety of glitter and shimmer, unlike, say, lipstick. I recently bought a moss-green nail polish with blue, purple, and chartreuse glitter. There's no moss-green lipstick with blue, purple, and chartreuse glitter, and if there were, I wouldn't want it. Also, makeup lends itself more readily to experimentation and blending than polish does, so it's easier to be content with less. (Unless you're talented with nail art, which I certainly am not.) Stay strong! We can do it!

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  6. Even if these sort of things aren't successful, I find it useful to at least test your sense of self-control/stubbornness every once in a while.

    Maybe we need to see your collection of 75 lipsticks in their entirety some day. Surely I'm not the only nosy one like that. :D

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    1. You've been a huge inspiration to me, so thank you! I've been on my no-buy for all of 1.5 weeks, so any assessment of my mental state is probably premature, but I'm surprised at how liberated I feel! There's a certain amount of stress that comes with pursuing new stuff, and now I'm free of that stress and can focus on enjoying all the makeup I bought this summer and fall. I really hope this state of mind continues!

      I've actually been planning to do a lipstick inventory. Look for it in the near future...

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  7. I totally understand this. I have tried several times on my blog to have a makeup ban (I almost lasted a year - or at least it felt like it) but makeup hoopla eventually got to me. I can be an emotional shopper too - pinning all my hopes and dreams in the new lipstick or makeup palette, as if like a talisman it will sort out life problems - which I know is what consumerism wants me to think. I've learnt the hard way that not everything you want is what you need - so whilst I still emotionally shop every now and then - I'm more inclined to empty my online baskets and turn my heels and run when I think about the makeup collection I already have and the lack of space.

    Good Luck on your journey :) !

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    1. I don't like thinking that I'm fostering consumerism in others, either. I mean, I *am*, but I don't want to represent stress-shopping as a positive thing. Most of us indulge in it occasionally, but sometimes you have to step back and ask yourself what these objects have come to represent for you. I'm trying to pay less attention to new releases, too, and that's been freeing for me. When you see your entire corner of the Internet freaking out over a new product, it's easy to forget that if the hype hadn't brought that product to your attention, you'd have felt no need for it or anything like it.

      I very much doubt I can last a year, but I've been quite enjoying my no-buy, so maybe I'll be able to continue into 2016! (Or not.)

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  8. I totally failed with my 2015 No-Buy project. But I don't feel as guilty because I've been really AGGRESSIVELY letting go of stuff. It's really scary because I feel like I'm bound to end it all like Liz (Beauty Reductionista) did.

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