This post is a bit of a ramble. It is mostly for myself to justify my actions but I’ve thrown in a few decluttering tips in. If you are also doing a project pan then please connect with me and we can encourage and support each other!
For those who are not aware, a ‘project pan’ is a personal challenge where you select an unspecified number of makeup items and use these often enough so that you eventually see the silver pan holder at the bottom. Some people also pick haircare or skincare items to use up. My two main reasons for starting a ‘project pan’ is because I do not want to waste the products I have spent my hard earned money on and also I do not want to be a mindless consumer who buys every new release that a beauty brand comes out with.
When I was about 15-19 years old I loved buying high end and luxury beauty products. This started off as lip glosses since they were cheapest and I gradually worked my way onto foundation, blushers, eyeshadow etc. Then at some point in my early 20s my makeup spending slowed down as I preferred to buy makeup when I visited Hong Kong or Japan, which you can imagine wasn’t that often but I would purchase enough to last me until my next trip. I used to be very good and only repurchased an item if I ran out. I would walk around with super pink cheeks as I would overload on the blush so it would run out quicker and then I could get a new one.
You may not believe it but I would have one eyeshadow quad and would use this to death and only purchase another once every single pan was empty. I happily carried on this way for a long time but since I started watching beauty vloggers on YouTube a couple of years ago my strict regime has fallen to the wayside. I used to only watch Michelle Phan or Bubz Beauty every now and again on YouTube but now I subscribe to a few “beauty gurus”. It is their job to promote products so admittedly I have been lulled into buying some of their recommendations.
This year I am going back to my original policy and do a ‘no buy’ unless I use up something in my collection. I am starting a new Instagram account to record my progress and hopefully connect with likeminded people. Here are some reasons why I want to do this.
- I have too much makeup. It will be a waste of money if I do not use the products I have bought.
- Makeup expires so I want to make sure I use it before this happens. Again, it would be a waste of money if it goes off without me having used it enough.
- I do not want to just throw my makeup away because there is already so much waste going to the landfill. I got sucked into the consumer culture and want to try make use of the product before it goes in the bin.
Before my project pan, I did a makeup declutter. Compared to most people I think my collection is already small but I still have more makeup than I need. I only have two eyes so I cannot use too many eyeshadow palettes. Secondly, I am not a makeup artist and not that adventurous with my looks so there is no point in me having too much choice as it would overwhelm me. I also have quite a professional occupation so i am not able to do “fun” looks with makeup for work. Here are a few ways to declutter:
- Take out all your products and arrange them into categories eg. blushers, bronzers, highlighters, lipsticks, nail varnishes etc.
- Remove and throw any items that have expired.
- If there are any items you no longer like then give them to friends/family or donate them. In the UK you can send lightly used products to Give & Makeup London or Wales. If you don’t like it, you won’t use it.
- If you are transitioning to cruelty free then this is a good time to start a project pan or to give away any non-cruelty free cosmetics.
Since I am on a ‘no buy’, I have some ways to prevent me from buying more makeup that may help you too:
- Read/watch reviews for everything before committing to a purchase. Never buy anything on impulse, no matter how good a deal it is. You can always go back to the store or order it online. If I leave without buying something and if I keep thinking about it then it means I really want it. If I forget about it then it means I do not really care for it. Everyone reacts differently to products but items with consistent 5 star reviews are a good place to start. Test them instore before buying.
- Declutter who you subscribe to on YouTube. Are the vloggers you watch honest? I avoid watching people who get paid to go on brand vacations. I know beauty gurus make money by promoting products and talking bout free PR but they should tell you when they are reviewing something they received for free.
- Before buying something new, have a look in your own collection and see if you already have anything similar. Is it really necessary for you to own it? Is it different enough to stand out from everything else in your stash?
- Think of new ways to use your items. For example you could use a bronzer as eyeshadow or lipstick as a blush. You may be surprised how different one product can look if used differently.
Some people may struggle with a ‘project pan’ as they may feel limited or bored. If this is the case then I suggest ‘shopping your stash’ which involves pulling out items from your collection that you may not have used for a while. You could also do a ‘one palette one week’ challenge so you become more creative with your looks.
Do you enjoy buying cosmetics? Do you think you have too much or do you think your collection is just right? How much do you spend on beauty per month?