The Beauty Diet- how to stop buying so much makeup

The other day I came across this quote and I found it very interesting: “He who buys what he does not need, steals from himself“.  Pretty melodramatic start for a post about makeup, isn’t it?

As I mentioned before (numerous times, I’m sure) one of my goals for this year, is to surround myself with less….. stuff.

Why? Well… because my beauty collection was getting out of control. I’m not just talking makeup here- skincare, body care products, hair products. It was all getting out of hand. I always remember collecting a ton of products, even when I lived “at home”. I’ve always been a beauty “junkie” but as you can probably expect, having a blog sort of drove me into buying even more things I had no use or need for.

A few years ago, I could easily waste a weekend away by driving around and visiting every single one of the drugstores in my area, in search of a new drugstore foundation or nail polish collection that jus came out. I’d buy it, test it for a few days or weeks (depending on the product), photograph it and write about it. After a while of doing this, I noticed a lot of the products were never touched again. I noticed that I became wasteful. Also, I was slowly turning into a hoarder.

Buying less

Whenever someone takes a peek inside my office/closet/beauty room, I hear: “omg, look at all this makeup! all those makeup brushes, wow I only have two, do you even use all that stuff, like do you actually use everything?” I won’t lie. There were times when I felt judged. The truth is, unless you’re into this whole *beauty* thing, you will not understand my need for having 20 nude lipsticks. No, they’re not all the same.

At the beginning of this year though, I did tell myself that I don’t want to buy any makeup until my birthday in April. Of course, I broke that “ban” after three weeks and bought a lipstick and a mascara. But you know what? It’s the beginning of March and so far I only picked up a handful of products. It wasn’t as “hard” as I thought it was going to be once I started being a little mindful about it.

We constantly hear that we absolutely *need* this or that product. I rarely stopped to actually ask myself “wait.. do I really need this?” Instead, I’d immediately go online to check out that product. While in the past I’d often purchase the product without giving it a second thought, I now do something different. I still go online sometimes, but I leave that tab open for a few hours and think it over. Eventually, the excitement wears off and I forget all about that product I was so anxious to get my hands on. As it turns out, buying less wasn’t nearly as difficult as I thought it’d be- all it took was a little mindfulness.

Before buying more, look through your collection- do you have similar products? Any possible dupes? Do you really need another bottle of foundation when you already rotate between 5 others? Another good thing to remember is to never buy something at an impulse, when you first see it, but do some research first, check for reviews. *this isn’t easy to do when it comes to LE releases*

Getting rid of the old

Getting rid of the old feels so good. Sooooo good. If I showed you how much old makeup and lotions, creams, gels, hair products I got rid of over the last couple of weeks, you wouldn’t believe me. Even I didn’t know I had that much shit hidden in our bathrooms and closets. I recently did the same thing with my clothes, shoes, and purses, and I’m the worst at it- I always end up keeping half the things I meant to donate or throw away because “just in case“. This time I did things differently- I got rid of everything I haven’t worn in year (with an exception of few designer pieces I’m not ready to part with). My approach to beauty products was a bit different and I was shocked and even a little embarrassed at how many expired products were taking up space in my bathroom cabinets.

Other than feeling organized and excited about the extra space, there’s one other thing that I loved about getting rid of all those old and unused beauty products- it helped me become more mindful. After throwing away a few bagfuls of *stuff*, I question everything I buy. I want to make sure that I only buy (and keep) products that I will actually use. I don’t want anything taking up space, collecting dust- I love that my entire collection is nicely organized and not scattered all over the house because I was running out of room to store my products. Once your space is clean and organized, you’ll think twice before buying a new foundation or mascara.

Things are just things

Occasionally, I get comments or emails from girls (who I assume are) much younger than me, saying how lucky I am to have such beautiful collection of products and how nice it must feel. Well, yes, it is nice, but luck didn’t have much to do with it. I’ve been working and supporting myself since I was fifteen so everything that I have I earned by hard work. Of course, running this blog means that I get a lot of products sent to me for consideration, but that would never happen if it wasn’t for all the work I put into running and growing this blog.

As much as I love all these beautiful products though… they’re just things. And those are replaceable (I mean… again, this is unless we’re talking limited edition release here :) … ).  They’re beautiful to look at, they make me smile, but things can’t make you happy.

Now that I got rid of so many old, unused and unloved products from my collection, I use pretty much every single palette, mascara, blush, liner- you name it- that I own. I at least try to make an effort to use it all. I only kept products that I love and use. That doesn’t mean that my world would end if my entire collection was to disappear tomorrow. I mean, I’d probably cry a little. I’d have a small fit. But I’d live. So why do we (because I know for a fact that it’s not just me) find it so hard to part with the *things* or the *stuff* we don’t use, stuff that’s cluttering our cupboards, cabinets, drawers, and closets?

This past weekend, I did something special. While Mark was away on Saturday, I went through our my bathroom cabinets and got rid of every single product I haven’t used in awhile. I ended up with two huge garbage bags full of “stuff” from one bathroom alone. Some products that were unopened or gently used, I put away to give to my mom or sister, the rest I either threw away or recycled. When Mark got home, I grabbed his hand, took him to the bathroom and opened one of the drawers where I put his razors, deodorant, and aftershave, saying “there, this is for you, you can keep your stuff in here now“, “Finally” he said. I mean, it only took me eight years since we moved into our house to make some space for him in our bathroom, but better late than never, eh? Still, I say it’s progress.

While I was clearing out my beauty stash, I actually found an old Avon eyeshadow quad- a very first makeup product I ever bought myself, with my own money. Even though it’s just an empty compact, I didn’t have the heart to throw it away though, so I might hang on to that one for the next couple of years. Or.. forever.


  • I totally need to do this! A wardrobe clearout is well overdue for me, I think when I get home from travelling I will throw out everything I haven’t worn in a year like you suggest. I must have so many things! Beauty I’m not so bad with because I have been saving for travelling so I really have been considering and researching my purchases but my clothing could definitely use a serious clear out! Your imagery is always so gorgeous too! Xx

    Frances Kayleigh | Beauty Fashion Lifestyle

    • I had so many things in my closet, still with tags, that I’d never wear haha. I really want to start a capsule wardrobe! Thank you so much Frances! x

  • Jana Gr.

    I totally understand you. I realized a while ago that I already have all kinds of beauty products and first have to use them up before buying new ones. Unfortunately, I have so many that it takes a long time to empty them. But I’m still optimistic.

  • I keep meaning to clean out my makeup and beauty products because I know I have stuff that’s old or rarely used. You’re right, it’s all just stuff and a lot of it has been wasted. I do need to practice being more mindful when it comes to buying things. One of my weaknesses is seeing stuff on Instagram and wanting it because beauty bloggers or fashion bloggers have it. Not a good habit, especially when I know for sure that I don’t have the money to keep up with that and I don’t know how much I’ll really use everything.

    • I can totally relate! As I blog about beauty, I see a lot of my friends who also run blogs get their hands on newest releases and I do sometimes feel like I have to have them too. I definitely try to be more mindful now and ask myself, will I actually use this, or do I want to get it just to “have it”. It can definitely be a bit of a struggle for anyone who’s passionate about all things beauty :)

  • This is such an important post, it takes guts to both write and execute this sort of process. I think I’m in quite a good place with my products: I make an effort to use and recycle everything, I don’t have a ridiculous amounts of body and hair products just laying away. My only problemseems to be blushes: I have quite many and I can’t stop buying more. There just are blushers that are not pigmented enough or too chunky or not suitable for my skin tone. I think I will let go of them – to make a friend or a family member happy or to make room for new ones… *sigh* But your tip to open a new tab, let the excitement wear off and then reconsider your purchase is a great idea!

    xx Laura / Laurantaina Beauty Blog

    • The amount of body care products I recently got rid of was seriously embarrassing. I used to be such an impulse buyer especially when it comes to those. My mom and sister were very happy when I cleaned out my collection of makeup haha. I had so much stuff that was barely used or brand new.

  • Janet

    I have to be honest, Paula…as a beauty blogger I assumed you received a lot of products in exchange for reviews. I mean, makeup, lotions, creams and hair products are expensive, even the drugstore variety. So hearing that you feel guilty about buying so many things we all do, yeah, I identify.

    I’ve been a subscriber to Birchbox for about 3 years. Just samples but I have tossed everything into a decorative box and it’s huge (!!). I’m always meaning to try things when I have a chance. Ha! I will say that I have tried a few products and have loved them. I order from Birchbox and get points to apply to future products. It’s really great. I can wear a perfume sample all day to see if I like it. I can try a new face cream or hair product and not have a huge jar or can that goes to waste. Now…that box is getting full!!! Too full!

    Jane x

    • Oh I do, Jane! I receive a lot of products from PR brands, but never in exchange for reviews- I have a strict policy and decline about 80% of offers that come my way. Just can’t guarantee to write about something in case I hate it or have a bad reaction and some brands can be so pushy, too. lol

      Don’t get me started on samples lol I have yet to go through those! I just.. like collecting them haha Birchbox sounds pretty awesome, the only subscription box I’ve tried so far is Glossy Box and I discovered a few favorites through them, too. It’s definitely a fun way to test new products without committing to paying full size!

  • I’ve stopped buying new beauty products after cleaning my small stash out because with one face, a girl only needs that much haha! Same goes with clothes. We have too much things and i think that clutters everything up and we end up being spoilt for choices and thinking we have not enough. The irony. I think not buying new clothes and makeup has been one thing im doing right this year!

    ♡ Carina – Blog // YouTube

    • This is definitely my mindset now, too! Wish I changed my way of thinking years ago, but it’s never too late for a change :) I just feel like having less crap makes me happier haha ;)

  • I just got myself some of these make up organizers you have been raving about – slightly different ones, I think they have more drawers than yours, but it just felt so good to fill them and throw away everything that doesn’t fit in because I never use it anyway. Best spent £10 in my life ;)

  • missgetaway

    Oh I’ve had phases like this too. At times I just go out and buy makeup for about 5 people without really wearing it. I only have one face, right? So weird. Definitely envy you for getting rid of all the stuff. Bet it feels amazing.

    Love, Kerstin
    http://www.missgetaway.com/

  • I definitely want to downsize my collection, so I’ve been on a no-buy. I’ve been mostly good. It’s very difficult for me when it comes to LE because I can’t just buy it later if it turns out I need it. But there are so many unloved items in my collection! I want to do some major decluttering once I have some time.

    Jenn │ Beauty by Jellybean

    • LE products are the only problem haha. I don’t mind splurging on those because they’re almost always worth it.

  • I’ve been doing similar this year, I stopped buying so much makeup and beauty products in general. I still treat myself to couple of things every few weeks but that’s nothing to compare with what was happening last year. I’ve been feeling overwhelmed with all the makeup I have and actually sad that most products just gather dust. I still can’t part with many of them but at least I’ve made a progress at buying less :) x

    Mummy’s Beauty Corner

    • I reduced my beauty spending substantially and try to focus on what I already have and I still feel overwhelmed with all the products I have left haha ;) Happy to hear you’ve made progress too, I’m honestly surprised I lasted this long with only buying a handful of products :)

  • Ah you’re so right! It’s so easy to buy stuff for the sake of buying! Recently (since starting my blog) I find that I’ve been spending a lot more money on beauty stuff that I don’t really need. Now I’m trying to be a lot more mindful of what I’m buying. I’m trying to use up a bunch of mascara before I buy a new one!!

    http://thedianaedition.com

    • I’ve always been crazy about beauty products, but it definitely reached a whole other level once I started a blog haha :)

  • I hate clutter, so I try very hard to be mindful of the items I purchase. As far as makeup is concerned, I own one small(ish) makeup bag. Once that’s filled up with product, I will not buy anymore. The only thing I have a hard time *not* hauling is books. I’ve always been a voracious reader and I’ve always had a large collection of books. No matter how many times I try to clean out my book collection, nothing ever stops me from hauling more books to fill the empty spaces I just cleared out. It’s a vicious cycle!

    • That is not a bad problem to have :) The first thing I always look for when visiting someone’s home, are books, I love looking through the titles of books, seeing what other people are reading. I remember as a little girl I loved visiting my aunt’s house that was filled with books. They weren’t neatly organized, but were on the floor, table- all because she was running out of room to store them. I thought it was the coolest thing ever :)

  • I’ve been better at thinking about what I want to buy this year so far too & I am actually using up a lot of products and have gone through my collection and given some stuff away too. I definitely don’t buy as much as I used to! xx

    Beautylymin

  • It really hit me that I need to chill out with the beauty purchases when I noticed I was $100 away from hitting VIB Rouge at sephora again last weekend….and that they start counting that at the beginning of each year. It makes me sick that I’ve already spent close to $1000 on makeup in 2017 alone! This post was super helpful and inspired me to take a hard look at my collection and my habits, so here’s hoping I’ll be able to start cutting down on impulse buys soon!

    • It’s crazy when you realize that, isn’t it? I felt so embarrassed when I saw how much stuff I don’t actually use. Just feels like such a waste. I honestly didn’t think I could control my spending as well as I did so far this year, so I guess it can be done haha :)

  • What a great post. I’m extremely guilty of this-I just go crazy! I definitely do NOT need any more makeup!!

    Beekeyper – latest – Milani Luminoso-worth the hype?

  • Serein Wu

    Paula, I love this post! I feel so overwhelmed at times with all I have to test out or try and then I go and buy more! What is wrong with me?! We have 4 bathrooms and I keep storing things in the ones I never use. I’m going to go through everything the next few weeks and purge as well as avoid buying anything new for awhile.

    Thank you so much for the inspo.

    xoxo
    Serein
    http://sereinwu.com/

    • Thank you so much Serein! Haha I am the same way, but the shift to being a bit more mindful was actually easier than I thought. :)

  • I love this post, I’ve been trying to downsize my makeup and clothes so much over the past year and it feels amazing!

  • Claudia Justalittleblush

    Love! I realized I was pretty guilt ridden from having so much makeup that I didn’t use. It’s ridiculous because ultimately, it’s a sunk cost. Whether I use it or not won’t change the fact that I spent money on it. But I still felt pretty guilty until I did a clean out.

    It’s a little unfortunate that it’s so hard to sell used makeup. The only remotely reputable place I’ve found is Glambot, but based on all the reviews I read, you get very little $ back. I’d rather give things to my friends and family than get back 5 cents on the dollar back.

    – Claudia

    http://justalittleblush.com

    • I felt the same exact way when I took a closer look at my collection. Made me so sad that so many products I was once very excited about were being neglected.

      I always end up giving out my gently or new products to my mom and sister- we have similar skin tones so it always works out.

  • Christine C.

    Ahh I love this! I struggle so bad with not allowing myself to splurge on new items so much anymore because habits happen and well, the Sephora habit became a bit to much. IT’s refreshing reading that someone understands what I’m struggling with, but I have to agree with you, it feels so good to get rid of items that I just don’t need and use!!! I’m working on new habits for myself!

    • Oh I definitely relate to that struggle haha :) I only hope that once April hits, I won’t get too excited and start buying too much again. I definitely want to focus on what I need, more than what I want. :)

  • OMG I have literally the same post sitting in my drafts that I’ve been mulling over for the past week or so. I stopped buying new makeup recently, and also did a major destash, so now I only have my favorites left in the drawers. It feels so amazing! I still have a lot of product left, even after the purge, so I’m thinking of giving it a few months and then toss/give away everything that I haven’t used in that time.

    • Feels so good to have a nice cleanup doesn’t it ;) I gave myself until April and only bought a handful of products (mostly skincare, so it doesn’t count :P ) and it was much easier than I thought it’d be!

      • I got to tell you, it feels absolutely amazing and so liberating too. April is going to be the clean beauty month on my blog, so I am all pumped up to start talking about natural and non-toxic beauty products, including makeup. Spring cleaning at its finest :)

  • GREAT post! Especially the opening caption … so true!
    I am fed up of having find homes for the new stuff I buy as stresses me out lol. I recently had a good sort out and felt excited by what I had so totally trying to ‘be good’. PR for blog reviews is ok of course and fills that need to have new things to try! Kelly xx
    http://www.KELLiLASH.com

  • Dom

    Thank you for sharing this Paula. I truly need to be more mindful and I can tell you I am absolutely guilty for hoarding things I barely touch. This post really spoke to me.

    Dom
    http://www.calibeaute.com

  • Natalie Redman

    Great post! I think it’s the same for those who don’t buy a lot and read these blogs, I often feel like i’m missing out by not having enough.

    http://www.upyourvlog.com