I’m trying not to buy any beauty products for a year. Here’s my 6 month check-in.
After my previous misdemeanour I’ve jumped back on the wagon and I think I’m doing pretty well with not buying (despite two small indiscretions which I actually feel fine about).
My indiscretions were to buy a big blue pot of Nivea cream, as mentioned in April/May’s blog. £2.50. Did I really need moisturiser or should I have tried to use up the various ones I have already? Yes. Do I really care? No.
Secondly I treated myself to a Nars lippy. I felt justified in it because I was going to Buckingham Palace and I was celebrating.
In reality it seems that “celebrating” means buying a lipstick shade you’ve never previously worn and feeling self-conscious about it all day. For the handsome sum of £20. That’s eight pots of Nivea cream. That would last me years!
The lippy has been relegated to makeup bag number 2.
Makeup bag number 2 resides in a drawer and about twice a year I go through it, decide nothing in there is “for everyday” and swiftly put it back in the drawer. So that’s £20 well spent eh?
This month feels like a month of run-outs, which, I guess feels like a bit of an achievement. Six months in and I’m only just starting to really feel the impact of things running out.
The pics above show some of what has run out for me this month. Mostly moisturisers or masks. I genuinely don’t remember the last time I scraped the dregs out of any beauty product, but I definitely did with all of the above. And I’m not sure if I’ve ever used a full sample size that I’ve received, but it was necessary because I was running low on moisturiser!
I now only have one remaining facial moisturiser, another Neutrogena one, and when that’s gone, it’s gone and I’ll have to decide whether to buy more. Unless I can repurpose something else… the famous £2.50 Nivea cream?
I guess it also shows just how much extra stuff I had lying around which I could use — I definitely feel a bit lighter. I’m glad I’m not wasting things, and I like that I’m throwing out the empties knowing that they won’t be back. Though I am getting worried that from now the hard work happens… six months left to go. Eek.
I also saw an article on The Pool this month, called Have we really reached “peak beauty”? by Laura Craik. The writer makes a point that she is stuck in a makeup rut and doesn’t really succumb to makeup buys, which I think is why I didn’t really get on with the article. She equates her experience with the people who she is discussing, a Reddit sub-community dedicated to not buying makeup.
So there’s a current trend for not buying, and in some part that may be (as the article suggests) a response or backlash against all of the beauty vlogs or tutorials that are currently out there, designed to sell us more and more stuff, but that’s not the whole story I don’t think.
If you look at the threads, people are sharing their goals not to waste the things they’ve bought, or committing to use things more regularly before buying more. People are helping and supporting each other to meet their goals and giving helpful reviews which will help others.
What Laura Craik misses is that for other people this is hard work. It’s hard not to succumb to the vlogs and magazines and instagram stories that tout the next best thing. It’s hard not to want the limited editions or collaborations. It’s hard not to want to “cure” your imperfections witht he newest wonder-balm.
The people in those communities are making a concerted effort to be more mindful about what they’re buying, and supporting each other to buy better. Yep, buying beauty is sometimes fun. But sometimes it’s not, and it’s literally costing women a fortune (see my first blog) a point which Laura Craik acknowledges, but only in the context of this being a passing fad which will not dent the beauty industry.
…in April, the data analytics company IRI found that cosmetics sales in the UK are now worth almost £1bn a year, up £55m in the year to March 18th 2017. Thanks to the “selfie generation”, sales of bronzer alone almost doubled to £43m within the same year. The big guns — and even the small guns — really needn’t worry.
I personally find those figures slightly heartbreaking, what does a £1bn industry equate to in terms of insecurity? Lack of confidence? Eating disorders? Mental Health?
I believe that being more mindful about what beauty I buy is helping me to better identify my real motivations for buying, and to know more about myself. It’s also one way to dent an industry and culture which puts the pressure of unacceptable beauty standards on young women, and taxes them for it. Its one more thing I can do to send less stuff to landfill and to live a quieter, simpler life.