I started a cosmetics "no buy" in early August and now after 3 months I thought it's a time for an update. Let me tell you, there has been some major changes - mostly in my attitude towards consuming beauty and other goods. I've also come to realise things or two about myself and my previous habits, which I'm not very proud about, but I'm going to share you anyways. In future posts I will include tips: where to invest and how you can successfully take a break from beauty shopping.
The start is hard
Not gonna lie, the first couple of weeks were difficult for me. New releases came in left and right as Autumn is one of the busiest seasons in beauty releases - only to be followed by holiday craze. When I was agitated I thought about ditching the whole project and "shopping just a little": there's ton of new skincare I'm dying to try, Tom Ford came out with a new mini lipstick collection with gorgeous white packaging, I can't stop drooling at Chanel's and ADDICTION's new releases, but the final nail in the coffin was SUQQU's UK limited edition collection. Luckily, I got some SUQQU as an early birthday/Xmas present from my boyfriend. For me, his gift is also a reward how I've grown as a person during my no buy. Without his support, keeping my promise to not buy any cosmetics would have been insanely more difficult.
My shopping addiction
What's changed the most since starting this challenge isn't the $$$ on my bank account, but my attitude towards consuming and purchasing beauty items. I don't want to say I was "addicted" to shopping.. but I guess I was. Nope, I definitely was deep down in the shopping rabbit hole. Looking back, it scares me that people around me would notice my behaviour as well. Especially my boyfriend: I wouldn't shut up about latest releases or how desperately I needed X/Y/Z, even borrowed him money if I was over my budget. Any words of concern would anger me. I totally disregarded the fact I had lost control or had any problem at all. What saddens me now is the way I also I blindly disregarded myself, my stress or inner emptiness that I would fill with things.
The eye-opening experience
During the first weeks of my no buy I missed the exhilaration of pressing an 'order' button and parcels arriving to my doorstep. My dilemma was the experience of getting something new was more pleasurable VS the actual items I briefly wanted. Briefly - in other words desperately at the time. I would panic if I missed a release date of a limited edition, but after receiving a parcel my exhilaration was short lived. It took me time to realise how I quickly forgot about the items and novelties that previously would have been "a must-have" for me. In reality I had an entire shelf for backups and unopened skincare, I even accidentally picked up a Tom Ford blush I already had (which my Mom was more than glad to take off my hands). Not remembering what you already have was a solid proof it's time to stop and reflect.
Not buying anything has also made me look at pricing very differently and re-evaluate the value of beauty items. In the future (when I start shopping again) I hope I'm considering the prices very carefully and hopefully won't look down on drug store or cheaper items if they perform as well. I'm a sucker for luxury and high end beauty, but damn they're expensive. Especially in Finland there can be extra 10-25€ (or more) in the price tag, which is borderline insane. Investing in quality products you enjoy is not a sin, but I'd like to highlight the fact sooner or later makeup expires. You only have one face. You've probably heard both sentences before, but if you're an active shopper like I was, it might be a good thing to sit down and really give it a second thought. What else could you buy with the same money?
Then came the realizing not everything is a must-have. This came as a shock to me, but you don't dwell and suffer for weeks if you miss a limited edition release, skip using a coupon code or say no to that "perfect lipstick shade" you keep buying in several varieties (even if they're all sooooo different, I know). Beauty industry will make sure there's always never ending amount of more novelties, more discounts and more limited editions "you can't live without". You're so constantly marketed and pushed to buy more even the best of us may give in. And suddenly I had money to spend for my new apartment, necessities and even some luxuries that aren't beauty related.
Taking it further
I still have a long way to go, but I noticed I didn't need the instant gratification from buying makeup and beauty items. I can go deeper in this subject some other time, but I'm now trying to be 1) grateful for what I have (material/immaterial) 2) find satisfaction and happiness in the creativity and self-care aspects that beauty provides.
When I'm spending my hard-earned cash on something I don't only want the experience to be feel luxurious, but to know I'm purchasing quality and hopefully even ethically manufactured items. I haven't ditched conventional beauty or banned buying from big companies, but I started to educate myself more about green beauty brands and what I'm actually paying for: is it packaging, the brand name, ingredients, taxes or reseller's markup. I will write another article on where you should save vs splurge when it comes to beauty.
As big price tags started to shock me I also started taking more interest in my overall consuming habits. For example, I decided to start avoiding fast fashion the best I can. I don't shop in Mango, Zara, H&M a lot in the first place, but I do wear a lot COS, which owned by H&M. The same way I've binge watched beauty reviews on YouTube, I started searching information about anti-consumerism, ethical brands and how to recognize good quality clothes, shoes etc. I warmly recommend Justine Leconte and her educative videos if you need such information on fashion. After moving and minimizing my wardrobe I realised I want to wear, combine and take care of the clothes I already have. Same with my makeup and skincare. I strive to use up what I already have and it feels amazing.
I know this post comes up near the Sephora VIB sales, Black Friday and holiday shopping craze, so I'd love to feel your thoughts on this topic. I'm super curious if anyone reading this has had the same struggles. Do you have any concerns regarding (beauty) consuming habits? Please share your thoughts! I also hope you enjoyed this more personal themed post.