Part 2: Saying no to another nude lipstick and preventing product overload
It’s been 11 weeks since my product detox. That sounds too dire for the subject matter at hand, but it has sometimes felt like a road to recovery. A sparkly, floral scented road to the other side…void of cosmetic black holes and glorified beauty hauls.
After the high of organizing all my products had vanished, I needed a plan to stay the course. So here are the steps I took to curb my beauty junkie habits. Think of it as the cheat sheet given out after a juice cleanse (but less painful).
Steps 1 through 4 are in Part 1: How I took control of the chaos and went one step beyond with a product detox along with a full list of tips for identifying expired products.
5. Make friends with labels
Start reading and making labels for expiration dates
I’m already in an intimate relationship with my label maker, so I’ll admit I rather enjoy this part. After I went through all my products and threw away items that had gone bad, I realized I was buying too many similar products. I had way too many creams and tinted moisturizers and not enough face to use them on before their expiration. I was under the delusion I could rotate through the items, but in reality items such as moisturizers & serums are only good for 6-12 months. After that you can’t guarantee the effectiveness of the ingredients. If I’m spending good money on a face cream, I want to make sure I’m using it when the antioxidants and other goodness will have max benefits on my skin!
Solution: labels. I now read the label of every product before I purchase. I check the recommended expiration date and then decide if it’s worth buying considering other items I may already have at home. Once purchased, I start in on my labels. If there is an expiration date listed, my work is done. If there is a PAO date, I print out a label with the month/year I opened the package (i.e.: 09/15) and adhere it to the product. This way I’ll know when the product is reaching its expiration. If there is no PAO date, then I make two labels: one with the date I opened the package and the other with the typical PAO date for a similar item (i.e.: for a serum I would put 12M for 12 months).
6. Have a plan for purchasing new products
Only buy a new product when you’ve run out of the old one
This is self restraint people! I can’t count how many times I purchased a new mascara or a similar lipstick shade before I used up a previous one. It’s hard to resist when there are so many versions claiming to be better. This has burned me more times than not, so I decided to give frugality a try and it’s served me well. I’ve held out on quite a few products thus far and there have been no tragedies. I’ll admit, I was counting down the days for my toner to run out so I could get another kind!
So unless the product in question serves a completely different purpose (like a concealer for under eye circles and one for the rest of your face), you don’t really need multiples. It will help your wallet and your sanity. Sorry, don’t hate me.
7. Keep receipts
Return, Return, Return
If you don’t like a product you’ve bought, there is no need to keep a cosmetic graveyard. Return it before it’s too late and get another one! I keep product boxes and receipts organized in an ottoman I use as a stool. I keep these for a few weeks in case a product doesn’t work out for me. Before purchases, I always check rules for returns and buy most items at stores with flexible policies. Otherwise, I always ask for samples.
8. Make a list
A wish list is not only for children
This has been an important step to curbing my desire to buy a new product as the impulse hits. Make a list of the products you’re lusting for, so when you do run out of something you know exactly what you want to buy. It’s a great way to keep track of friend recommendations and items you’ve read about. I’ve been doing this for a few months now, and I find it really curbs my appetite. Just the act of writing it down gives me pleasure even if I don’t own it right away. I use Wunderlist and organize by category (the Production Supervisor in me can’t help it). Any list will work.
9. Gift items to friends
That lipstick is begging to be used…perhaps by someone else!
This is a win win for everyone. You get to streamline your products and a friend gets a fun new beauty product. I gave away two lipsticks this week to my sister and niece! The colors look much better on them than me. Just make sure to sanitize items before gifting if they’ve been used. Remember some items like mascara should never be shared.
10. Say no to samples
It’s ok to say no
When I was organizing my products, I had a surprisingly high number of samples. Those little packets and bottles really add up and take up space. I had every intention of trying these items out, but to be realistic not much of it suited my skin type and needs. I tossed a lot of it and am very discerning when it comes to samples now. Just because they are free with purchase, doesn’t mean I need or even want them. Also, when I do get a sample now I make sure to use it quickly. If it’s not used in a few days, out it goes and my vanity stays clean!
11. Be realistic about your beauty budget and buy less
Simplify, streamline, save and feel good
You won’t feel guilty about buying a product if you’re happy with the value you get out of it. That means no guilt over items that go sitting unused underneath your bathroom sink. There will always be a new product that claims to transform your innermost insecurities and there is no way to keep up. The emotional pull is difficult and marketers know it. The most important thing is to take care of the whole you and that includes your financial well being. Sometimes buying less equals more.