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4 Things I Learned After Spending $0 On Makeup Last Year

I love makeup. I love experimenting with it using tricks I learned through YouTube. I love putting it on in the morning as a soothing moment of self-care before I face the world.

It should not be surprising that, after enrolling myself in the YouTube school of beauty, I managed to gather a collection makeup products. A couple of years ago, I decided that taking control of my makeup purchases would help me financially. If not, it would at least help practicing a bit of self-control. Therefore, I challenged myself to a project pan, which turned into a “low buy” period, since I could not seem to stop buying makeup for a good while. For some reason, makeup products just ended up in my shopping basket every once in a while, even though I was trying not to buy them.

I thought I could never spend more than a couple of weeks without purchasing makeup. But it finally happened in 2017, the year when I spent absolutely nothing on makeup. And so far, I haven’t bought a single makeup product this year, either.

Of course, this achievement did not come without some struggles and hard-learned lessons. These are a few of the things I learned along the way.

1. I learned more about my makeup habits.

Before I decided to take control of my makeup purchases, I was more interested in lip products, and I didn’t care much for face products. I thought that it would stay that way for a long time. But I never really understood my actual makeup consumption rate until I couldn’t restock my collection. I found that, by far, I use up face products faster than anything else I own.

During the course of my project pan, I often worried that I would run out of face products before I was through with it, and I did on several occasions. Admittedly, my not understanding my actual makeup habits was the reason why my project pan turned into simply a low buy period.

As for my lip product collection? I initially thought that I thought I would be using up my lip products left and right. To this day, I have yet to finish a single lip product. Not even a lip balm. The lip products that I did “finish” were ones that ended up becoming too gross to use.

2. Nothing screams “fads fade” when you can’t participate in any.

As a (recovering) makeup junkie, I used to crave the newest makeup trends, which was made worse when I blocked myself from buying things. It was difficult to handle my desire to try out new makeup trends when it would require me to buy things that were not in my collection and break my promise. Limited edition products were the worst, because I knew that I could not get my hands on those products during this project and never would.

But after a couple of cycles of desire, FOMO, and disappointment, I realized that what came afterward was indifference. The world moved on to another fad, and I still managed to get by using what I already had. If I had given in to any one of those desires, I would have just another makeup product at the back of my beauty drawer. The desire to purchase a specific product is only temporary, but unless I keep track of my receipts, the act of spending my money is permanent. 

3. I learned to stop engaging with the beauty community.

I used to binge watch beauty videos all day long until I perfected my look. Nowadays, I barely watch any. At some point, I simply stopped feeling a desire to watch beauty videos. It came so gradually that I didn’t even notice I stopped watching them until I realized I had no idea what the latest beauty launches were. Perhaps my brain decided I should stop punishing myself by looking any online content relating to beauty. In turn, I also stopped craving the latest makeup releases.

4. Stopping myself from buying makeup only redirects my money and energy to something else.

Since I stopped binge-watching makeup videos, I’ve had more time to watch and do other things. The natural progression for me was skincare videos, mostly because Korean skin care became a trend promoted by same beauty gurus that I used to watch. This was a welcome, departure because nothing changed my beauty routine like a good skincare routine. Makeup products could hide discoloration, but they can’t hide the tiny bumps on my face. Plus, I use fewer makeup products now that my skin is better.

When I am not learning more about skincare, I am learning how to hem and alter my jeans in order to have better-fitting clothes. I know that I am merely switching one form of self-care to another, and I am alright with that. I am not spending as much money on myself as I used to. Also, at this point in my life, I view learning how to take care of my skin and making sure my clothes fit as more productive than buying another tube of lipstick.

Martha is a recovering makeup junkie, personal finance enthusiast, and wannabe writer living in the Bay Area, a few blocks from the Pixar studio. Follow her on Instagram @marthatumbokon and talk to her about personal finance and (cheap) adventures at the Bay. 

Image via Unsplash