Why I Stopped Buying Skincare and Beauty Products

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When was the last time you walked into Sephora or Target and walked out only purchasing the one skincare or beauty item you went in for? Chances are you can’t remember because that rarely ever happens.

It’s no secret skincare and beauty industries have blown up over the last few years. Instagram feeds are flooded with brands, bloggers and celebrities launching new products left and right. It seems like anyone with a massive following and entrepreneurial spirit can launch a skincare or beauty brand and we’ve all seen many bloggers, vloggers and celebrities launch products – from Sazan Hendrix's nude lipstick collaboration with Bobbi Brown, to Marianna Hewitt launching Summer Fridays and the Kardashian/Jenner clan blowing up KKW Beauty and Kylie Cosmetics.

The success of these brands comes from creating aesthetically pleasing packaging and eye-catching marketing tactics that make consumers lust after their products. Consumers purchase these products without a lot of research or inquiry about the ingredients or what the products actually promise to do – it is all about 1) the packaging and how it would look photographed and 2) that it was made by a well known name we follow and love. And honestly those two reasons alone could be enough to convince anyone to make the purchase. But the question is, should you?

As a blogger, I’ve been fortunate enough to partner with many skincare and beauty brands over the years, cumulating a large collection of gifted products that I most likely posted about on my blog or Instagram. Even before I started blogging, I was very into skincare and beauty and had a sizable collection of my own. Now as both a blogger and consumer, my collection has tripled in size and I was drowning in products I wasn’t using. While my collection is a decent size, I don’t receive nearly as many products as bloggers who have a following between 10k or 1M people!

The biggest problem I faced with my skincare and beauty collection was not being able to use products fast enough before they went bad. What most people don’t realize is that all skincare and beauty products have expiration dates. The shelf life can vary from 6 to 12 months from the moment you open them. A lot of brands normally list the shelf life on the bottle itself, but if you can’t find the expiration date you follow the 12 month rule. You can of course use products longer than 12 months, but the benefits of its ingredients won’t be the same.

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Take a moment and step back and think about your own skincare and beauty collection. How many moisturizers do you have opened at the same time? What about serums? Oils? Foundation? Lipsticks?

Chances are you have at least 4-5 of each that have been opened but you haven’t touched some of them in the last 6 months. All the money you spent goes down the drain when you don’t use the products you already have opened.

My wakeup call was realizing how much money I was losing by not using my products. Yes, I was gifted a lot of products, but I also spent quite a bit of my own money on skincare and beauty. In 2017 alone I spent over $2,000 buying moisturizers, serums, oils, face masks, foundation, highlighter, eyeshadows and monthly beauty box subscriptions. You name the product or brand, I most likely had it in my collection.

This over consumption and waste-fullness of skincare and beauty was an issue and I vowed to make a change in my relationship with products and brands.

That’s why in 2018 I stopped buying new skincare and beauty products and only used products in my current collection.

I was only allowed to buy the necessities (deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, etc.) or make a purchase to replace a product I no longer had (i.e. finishing all my moisturizers so I needed to buy a new one).

I first posted about my no new beauty buy challenge last January and vowed to keep my blog updated monthly with all the products I used and do mini reviews. Unfortunately, with a demanding work schedule, the posts never came to fruition. But I am here to tell you, a year later, that I not only succeeded this challenge but I’m going to continue doing it through 2019 as well.

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In 2018 I finished over 100 products and the crazy part is I still haven’t made a dent in the number of items I own.

While I still have a long ways to go until I finish everything in my collection, not buying any new skincare or beauty items helped put the industry and my relationship with it into perspective. My love for skincare and beauty is at an all time high because I’m able to fully appreciate (or hate!) the products and brands I already own and understand why I decided to buy them. It’s taught me a lot about my skin and how some of the overly hyped products I purchased did not work for me. It allowed me to learn more about the ingredients used and how they interact with my skin type. Most importantly, it’s helped me be even more thoughtful when recommending a brand or specific product to friends, family or my followers because I’ve had the chance to test it for months and understand its benefits.

Not buying new products was single handedly one of the best decisions I’ve ever made and I challenge you to join me on this journey. Whether you stop buying new products for two months, a whole year, or just be more thoughtful about what you do spend your money on, anyone and everyone can do this.

To help you out, here are some tips and tricks to keep in mind before, during or after you start this challenge:

  1. Take inventory of your products and organize them into specific categories to help you understand what you have in your collection that needs to be used. You can separate your categories however you like, but it was easiest for me to do broader categories first (face, body, hair, makeup) and then get more specific after that (moisturizers, serums, lotions, dry shampoo, lipstick, mascara).

  2. Compile all of your opened products and use those first. This is a good time to also throw away any products that have expired or you don’t use because it didn’t work for you. Once you have all your good and usable opened products organize them on your shelf so they are easily reachable.

  3. Go to Sephora for a free sample before you give in and buy that new serum that just launched. I did this quite a bit during my challenge and it really helped get rid of the urge to buy. I was not only able to test out the product which made me feel like I was still part of upcoming trends, but it also gave me the satisfaction that I was going home with something new to test out without having to spend any money. 

  4. Familiarize yourself with the ingredients used in the skincare and makeup products you own. Chances are that new face mask that just launched has similar ingredients to something you already own and you can use the one already sitting on your shelf instead.

  5. Document your #empties at the end of every month so you can keep track of your progress and what products you finished. Doing this at the end of every month is a great way to stay motivated and set short term goals to beat the number of products you used the previous month!

  6. Give away products that don’t work for you. Just because you bought it doesn’t mean you need to finish it. If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work. Find a new home for it by gifting it to a family member or friend.

  7. Listen to your skin and give it the products it needs to flourish. Even though you vowed to not buy new products, if your skin is dry and your moisturizer isn’t working, chances are you need to buy a face serum or oil to help. This challenge isn’t about giving up buying products, but rather making you a more conscious shopper and only buying products your skin actually needs.

  8. Don’t be hard on yourself. If you slip up and buy that new foundation or lip kit that’s okay. You’re allowed to give in and get what you want every once in a while! Just don’t lose sight of your main goal of becoming a conscious skincare and beauty consumer.

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