I’d just like to start off by saying that I’m by no means trying to insult those who aren’t on low-buys! Heck, if you can afford it, go for it. I know tons of wonderful women who consider themselves makeup “collectors,” and I haven’t the slightest problem with it… but we’re not all that lucky ;)
Oh, also –– none of these stash photos are mine, and are watermarked with the screen names of the lovely ladies who they do belong to! Thanks so much for lending us your photos, girls :)
There comes a point in our lives when some of us realize that we have… way too much makeup. Or haircare. Or fragrance.
Like, way too freakin’ much. And it’s hurting our wallets!
So we start thinking about low-buys, or even no-buys. Read on for more details about them, and some tips! They can definitely be hard to get into, but you have to remember: they’re like diets. You have to ease yourself into them, and try not to set your goals too high!
Why you might start one
For a lot of us, it’s a money thing. Makeup is not a cheap hobby! (Well, I mean, I guess it could be… if you were only into Wet ‘n Wild?) But sometimes, it also has to do with quantity — I know that, personally, I’m on a low-buy for both reasons. I have way too much makeup, and it doesn’t fiscally make sense for me to buy even more!
I chose to go on a low-buy because I know a no-buy isn’t an option for me. No-buys are like quitting smoking cold turkey… sometimes effective, but more often than not, they don’t take. It’s not uncommon for ladies to break their no-buy after just a few weeks and go on a buying “binge” totaling hundreds of dollars! For a lot of us, that sounds ridiculous, but if that’s your lifestyle to begin with, it’s a hard habit to break. I mean, think of how hard it would be to suddenly stop eating your favourite food group. You’d go nuts!
Start a “beauty bank”
If you’re going on a low-buy because you’re short on funds, a lot of ladies will choose to start with this! Basically, you’re ONLY allowed to buy products with cold, hard cash, and it has to come from your “beauty bank” (be it a cute little piggie or a plain ‘ol envelope.)
As I’m sure you all know by now, we tend to spend more when it feels less “real” — when you’re using plastic, when you’re able to spend more than you really have, or even when you’re making purchases online. So, the first thing you can do is to only let yourself buy makeup/fragrance/whatever with cash!
(I think I’m just going to say “makeup” for the rest of this post. But it applies to anything!)
Here’s where the “bank” part comes into play. Choose a schedule to “deposit” money, and a deposit limit. A combination I hear pretty often is $5 every Friday, but of course you can adapt this to fit your lifestyle and budget! Then, just start saving. Want to pick up a $10 eyeliner at the drugstore? That’s totally fine, but you’ll have to wait two weeks to do it! Want to splurge on a new palette? Go for it — but it means you can’t buy anything for the next few months.
It’s hard to get used to it, but it’s damn effective! Being able to see and hold your “bank” should help a ton.
Make a list and plan your purchases
Come on — I know I can’t be the only one around here who’s a little OCD! I love making lists, and they work incredibly well when you’re trying to cut back. Personally, I find this to be more helpful if it’s the size of your collection (and not the rate at which your wallet’s bleeding money) that’s out of control, but it does help with both.
This one is really, really flexible, but here’s what I’d do:
- Sort through your whole stash. Tally up how many you have of each item, and note down what you’re still “missing.”
- Look at the totals for what you already have. If you have more than ten of any one product (ie eyeliners,) it’s time to examine what you own! Sort them into groups and swatch them all, then put any of the items which you could live without (ie you’ve never used them or you have another item that’s a pretty good dupe for the product) into a separate box. What you do with that box is your decision, but I’d recommend swapping the items, giving them away to friends, or donating them to a local women’s shelter!
- Now, look at the list of what you’re “missing.” (My example? Violet eyeliner. I still don’t have a good one!) Put them in order of what you want or need the most to what you want or need the least.
- Here’s the hard part: you can ONLY buy items on your “missing” list! I like to figure out what I want the most, then pick out exactly what I want, test it or try it on if possible, then pick out exactly when you’re going to buy it (I find the end of the month or a significant date, like a birthday or graduation, is a good bet.) When you go to pick it up, bring just enough cash and leave your plastic at home!
Shop your stash
This one’s pretty much quitting cold-turkey. And by “pretty much,” I mean “is.” It’s hard to force yourself to use what you already have, but there are a few tricks to it!
For starters, find a small shoebox and put all of your go-to items in the box. (Exceptions: if you haven’t another comparable item! If your go-to primer is your only primer, putting it in the box would just be nonsensical.) Then simply prohibit yourself from using them. If you can’t help yourself, give it to a straight male family member or friend for safekeeping.
(Why a straight male? Think about it: those are your favourites. You don’t want anyone using them!)
Setting away all of your go-to items forces you to expand your horizons… into the rest of your stash. I don’t know a single person who’s tried shopping their stash and didn’t come out with at least one new favourite they didn’t even realize they had!
For those of you who plan on shopping your stash, it’s always a good idea to figure out when you’ll re-introduce those favourites. Whether it’s after three months or after you’ve hit pan three times is up to you!
This one’s the most basic, and is practically the reverse of shopping your stash. Pick a number of items (usually 5 or 10,) then prohibit the buying of everything other than the essentials until you’ve completely finished them!
Personally, I’d never be able to do this. To be honest… I’ve never hit pan on anything!
What you can do to make it easier
Combine ideas — you’re likely to have less makeup lemmings (things that you really really want) if you’re shopping your stash while you’re on a makeup budget!
Sample, sample, sample — I’m quite non-committal when it comes to products, so I’m a huge fan of sampling items whenever possible. Not only can sampling help you figure out what works for you, a bit of a sample fix can take the edge off your lemmings ;) Usually (especially with fragrances,) if I finish up an entire sample, I’ll buy the full-sized product once it’s done.
(This does not happen often, because I’m easily distracted by other things that I already have, or that I’m about to sample. Attention spans are overrated!)
(Seriously, though: for me, at least, this works really well. It means that when I do buy the full-sized items, the search is over for the “perfect” product.)
Do it with a friend — just like exercising, diets, and studying, it’s easier when you have some moral support. Enlist someone to keep you in check!
Think of a reward — this isn’t always applicable, and works best for no-buys or for people who are going on a low-buy because they have too much already. But it’s nice to have an end point in mind, and it’s easier to stop yourself from buying something small if you know you’re working towards something big!
Some of the ladies I know who are on no-buys will go three months without buying makeup, then allow themselves to pick up one item they’re lusting over, be it a Dior quint or an Urban Decay palette… or a bottle of vintage Mitsouko…
Treat your no-buy like a diet! It’ll take a ton of self-discipline, but you can’t be too hard on yourself. So you slip up now and again — no biggie. Just figure out why it happened and how you could prevent it in the future, instead of beating yourself up over it!