Style & Decor

5 Beauty Products I Always Buy And Always Regret

By | Friday, June 03, 2016


Being a college-aged girl in a world of YouTube beauty gurus and Pinterest perfection is enough to make anyone insane to the point of shameful debt. I’m in a never-ending quest to ~find myself~ during my young adult life, and that sometimes means trying time and again to assume my Final Form via immaculate makeup application. Although I’ve found many effective methods of significantly curbing my insecurity-based spending, I always feel on my worst days like my Best Self is just a bottle of hair dye away.

Try as I might to avoid them, the empty promises of beauty and perfection on each tube or bottle of magic pretty-potion get me every time — even when I’ve used the product before and know for a fact it does nothing for me. Don’t even get me started on what happens when I see a blogger, Instagrammer, or other influencers of insecure 21-year-olds (i.e. me) use a product I have already decided is a no-go for me. I get so quickly caught in the trap of believing that if these women endorse the product, it must be worthwhile — that the formula must have changed since I last tried it, or maybe I just didn’t try it right, instead of acknowledging the truth, which is that they are more often than not being paid to convince me I need the product in my life.

In another attempt to gain some control over my objectively terrible decision-making, I am banning myself from repurchasing any product that I bought for no real reason and hardly ever even used.

These are the five products that suck me in every time, and the ones I will try (try!!!!) to avoid giving another chance to in the future.

1. $3 box hair dye
This may work fine for some people, and I’ll give credit where credit is due and say that the color payoff for the price isn’t awful – but you definitely get what you pay for. After the first or second wash, it is as if it never happened. I’d rather spend a good chunk of money at a salon and have it last four to six weeks instead of spending three bucks and feeling like I need to freshen the color two days later.

2. Mascara that isn’t waterproof
This is an unpopular opinion because I know people rave over so many regular mascaras in the world, but as a compulsive crier (blame Grey’s Anatomy, honestly) and eye-rubber, I never reach for the ones that I know will end up smudged around my eyes within hours. Raccoon-chic isn’t a good look for me. And I’ve dropped $18-per-tube of the stuff countless times, only to never even touch it.

3. $2 liquid eyeliner
The cheap stuff always looks fuego for one day and then dries up immediately. I even had a friend remind me recently as I threw one in my shopping cart that they aren’t worth it because they dry up and become useless so quickly after they’re opened. The worst part is that I agreed with her, but proceeded bought it anyway. Every moment in life is precious; I have no more time for liquid eyeliner that dries up a day after I buy it. But I continue to grab for no reason other than “they’re cheap as heck.” Someone stop me.

4. Contour kits
I have at least four of these, and have spent well over $75 on them hoping to find ~the one~ that makes me look like a chiseled goddess. Sadly, I end up looking like a cherub with unblended brown lines on her face every single time. I need to let go of my contour-dreams and accept my face shape for what it is: extremely round.

5. Any tanning/bronzing product
I’m super-white, and I really need to accept this. I have spent too many summers slathering myself with tanning lotions and sprays to try to make my skin appear less transparent, but I really just end up looking orange and sad. I have loose plans to truly come to terms with this and make my summer 2016 #goal be to “wear a ton of SPF and stop trying to change my skin color.”

I have a strong feeling that my pull towards these beauty items is 100% due to my own insecurities, and inconsistent ability to exhibit self-control when it comes to purchasing products that I truly believe will improve my “look,” and therefore, my life. However, as I try to gain some serious control over my Adult Money, it is becoming increasingly more important for me to develop hard-and-fast rules to prevent myself from being too easily influenced (especially about beauty products because I never actually need those things), into purchasing things I know aren’t ever necessary in my life, especially because these things never make me feel as perfect and happy as the YouTube girls promise.

Mary is the summer Media Fellow at The Financial Diet. Send her your summer intern stories (your lessons, failures, triumphs and good advice) at

Image via Pixabay


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