My Makeup Rehab

Hi guys! Like I recently mentioned in my empties post, I’ve been making some big changes with my makeup lately. It’s all about what I’m buying, my collection size, and my enjoyment out of products. So let’s take a look at what changed!

My mindset pre-rehab:

I’ve slowly been building up my makeup collection and it was getting out of hand at the beginning of the year. Some of my problem is that I wear a lot of simple, neutral looks for work but love bold colors and more out-there looks. Sometimes I’d buy a palette with a lot of colors because it seems fun, but I actually don’t like a lot of shades together. And then I never use it because those times I can make a bold look, I use a different palette that I know I love!

It’s easy to see a lot of beauty gurus’ hauls and collections and want to have that. You want to get to try everything. You want things to be sent for free. It’s also easy to buy things for who you’d like to be, not necessarily who you are. It’s like that wishful thinking “if I lose ten pounds” dress in the back of your closet – only with lipsticks instead. There were colors I wanted to feel more comfortable wearing, and some where I had no idea when/where I’d wear them.

It definitely felt like I was getting in a makeup rut in the beginning of the year, so I’d buy a lot of makeup but never really test anything out enough. And so I’d never really get inspired by my makeup enough to get out of the rut. So I’d buy more makeup and it would start again!

I noticed that I kept on spending more and more money on makeup as well. It was more than I felt comfortable with. Especially bad was that every month I’d get my credit card bill and see that the amount owed was higher than the month before, over and over again. It was all getting very overwhelming.

My rehab journey:

This started with finding project pan Youtubers and people who seemed to make more conscious purchasing decisions and enjoyed their makeup collections more. I found Elle S in particular on Youtube, partly because of her aesthetic. She liked a lot of makeup that I’d never considered buying before. And I realized that I really wanted ABH Subculture.

So I ended up on Reddit and found the Makeup Rehab subreddit. Back in March, I created a Talk Me Out post for Subculture, where you say both why you want it and why you don’t think you should get it. And then other people give you advice and help talk you out of it. I got a lot of tough love advice. These were for Subculture, but also with just making my collection more manageable.

Step one: Realize my weaknesses

For one thing, my Sephora Play box gave me a ton of mini products but it also included a card with 50 points to add to my account. So I’d go into Sephora every month to buy something and get those extra points.

I also prioritized trying out a variety of makeup over getting larger sizes of things I was really interested in. Volume was a problem.

There were also those questions of what kinds of makeup or skincare really caught my attention. With some products, I’d get low on something and then buy two or three replacements, each at a different store. I’d also feel the need to repurchase when I’m halfway done a product rather than when I’m realistically close to being done the product.

Step two: No-Buy

I’ve never been good with moderation, so I decided to do a two-month no-buy. During that time, I’d only let myself repurchase a few certain things if I finished them off. I repurchased hand cream for work and ended up buying a random lip balm (to be fair, I did finish one off, even though this wasn’t one of my allowed categories). This really helped me stop spending money and give me more time to evaluate my collection. And speaking of…

Step three: Testing out my makeup

I’ve started doing Palette a Week – testing out one palette for a week. I decided to go through all my neutral work palettes for this, as they’re not very inspiring and I do have a lot. I also am currently using a lot of my favorite neutral shades in my project pan. There’s no need for all these palettes. I’m going through my bolder makeup with a more thorough and thoughtful eye to decided if I really want these things.

One big turning point was realizing how I would mentally combine a bunch of makeup into a single category. All my lipsticks from one brand. Or saying I love this palette, but that palette is similar and in the same Z palette so I’d combine them together. This resulted in a lot of products being untouchable. Now that I’m aware of it, I’m making better choices!

Step four: Declutter

I’m more of a slow declutter-er. I’ll think about things a lot and just get through a couple products at a time. Overall, I got rid of like eight eye palettes and fifteen lipsticks, as well as some cheek products, skincare, and perfume. This is still a work in progress, and next stop is probably brushes. I’m also more aware that I’ll hold onto and try to finish off skincare that doesn’t do much for me, unlike makeup. I will continue to use up a face mask or a moisturizer, even though they’re not as good as something else I have open, so long as they don’t break me out.

Things I’ve learned:

I’m getting a better grasp on what I like to wear, and am trying to align what I like to buy with that. I loved buying liquid lipsticks, but never wear them. I also realized that there was a palette/color scheme that I wanted to try once or twice, but I didn’t want to own it. That was a big aha moment.

I like the activity of shopping, and like going to certain stores because they remind me of certain things. But I need to do other things than spend money for the experience. My biggest example is the Body Shop reminding me of when I lived in Germany. I have great memories of taking the train to Stuttgart with my friends, stopping into this store I never was in before, and testing out all the body butter scents. But there are plenty of other (free) things that I could do instead, like practicing my German.

I’ve been using this blog as a reason for buying products. But I didn’t always care about the products, and I’m better off without them. I’d rather talk about things that truly interest me. This blog has turned into a lot of product reviews, especially mini reviews like my empties or subscription box reviews. And that’s not necessarily what I want it to be.

I also would prioritize buying makeup over buying things that I needed more. I would push off buying new jeans week after week because buying palette #27 was more fun. Once I was on my makeup no-buy, I was actually able to prioritize those other things I needed more.

There are undoubtedly other things I learned but that I can’t remember now. It felt like every week I learned something else about my preferences or collection.

Going forward:

This is a journey. So I’m still downsizing my collection, figuring out my preferences and what makes sense for my lifestyle. I won’t ever finish that, because I’m always changing (and I’ll undoubtedly use up and have to replace some products).

But with everything I learned these past few months, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to go back to the way I was. I’ll think a bit harder about if a product interests me and if it fits in my collection. I’ve been doing this a lot lately – thinking “this looks pretty, but I don’t need it now”. It’s an interest, but not an obsession.

This blog will be on the back burner for a bit. I’ll be posting once a week. This gives me enough time to focus on other things I want to do, and keeping those interests balanced with my blog is healthier for me.

-xo, Andi

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