We’ve all been there – that moment when you pick up that new highlighter on a whim, or that lipstick formula that you just have to try. While I understand the urge to pick up the latest and greatest in beauty, I also know that a lot of what I buy is going to waste when it’s not used up by its expiration date, which is absurd!
And yes, I was quite shocked the moment I realized that I spent way more on beauty in a year than I did on gas… (I drive a lot). I was even more determined than ever not to let my hard-earned dollars go to waste. To be frank, I’ve already amassed a collection that would take years to use up, most of which will expire beforehand. Off the bat I know that I’m not going to be able to achieve 100% use, but instead I will do what I can to use up my collection, donate where possible or repurpose when I can.
Of course, beauty is my hobby and I love trying out new products. It can be extremely tricky to find a balance between need and want, and while I’m not perfect I’ve already made such progress in 6 months. If you struggle to keep your beauty, skincare and/or hair care collection small, I’ve collected a few tips that might make it easier. Whether you’re looking to save money, be more creative with the items you have or just appreciate the products you’ve spent your hard-earned money on, there are so many easy changes you can make to achieve your goal! These also work with food, clothes, home items, you name it.
Appreciating what you have:
When you buy a luxury item, you will often take more time to make a purchasing decision because you want to know that what you’re buying is worth the money. There’s no way you’re going to spend over $100 on a La Prairie moisturizer if you don’t feel it will work for you. And when you do take the plunge on a high-ticket item, you are more likely to appreciate and use the product to its fullest.
But where many, including myself, make the larger error is when buying low- to mid-priced products. What’s the harm when I’m buying a $2 lipstick, right? The issue with this is that the buying decision is often much shorter, which means I’ve made a snap decision on something that I might love… but that I might just toss into a bin with the rest of the bargain grabs to be used on so-and-so occasion.
Budget by value, not by price
Now, of course depending on your budget a high-priced item might be a $15 eyeshadow palette – the budget itself is not the issue. What remains true whether you have the budget of Kim Kardashian or of a 12 year old dog walker, is that items you love are going to be the ones that you use on a regular basis, and these are the items that aren’t going to stick around in your drawers waiting to be tossed.
Patience is a virtue
Of all the tips I could give, my biggest is to TAKE YOUR TIME when making a purchasing decision. Don’t let sales or Instagram influencers force you into buying something that you won’t appreciate. Truly think about how this product fits into your life, and whether you’ll get the use and appreciation necessary to justify the price of the product.
You don’t have to Marie Kondo your entire life, but generally this one tip is going to be a lifesaver and can put your spenditure into perspective. But when you need a bit more coaxing, try out some of the other tips below for some inspiration.
The important thing in tidying is not deciding what to discard but rather what you want to keep in your life. – Marie Kondo
Use up your beauty collection and achieve zero waste
- Start Small – For me, this was beginning with body lotions. I had about 6 on the go at once and I’m not all that picky when it comes to a moisturizer. I immediately put a hold on buying more body creams and set to using up this one category so it was limited to 1 at a time. Start off with a category that is achievable, and that won’t trigger a panic. Once you begin to clear up space and use up products, I swear you’ll feel so much lighter and it will be easier to move into categories that you love more.
- Set Goals & Rewards – Where sheer willpower doesn’t work, instead set up a goal with a reward. For example, if I use up all of my face products (foundation, concealer, powders), I can treat myself to a luxury item in that category. Depending on your budget and goals, come up with a goal and reward that is challenging, but that you know you can achieve.
- Use the Capsule Wardrobe Method – One of the areas where I waste most is items that stray from my day-to-day routine. I use black eyeliner on occasion, but not daily. Each week (or month), pick out 2-3 different items from your collection and set them front and center. You’re more likely to use these items if they’re on display, and this can really encourage you to get creative with your look. Try to implement something different daily or weekly depending on your comfort zone.
- 1-in-1-out Policy – Once you’ve whittled down any given category to 1 item, remember to stick to a 1-in-1-out policy. This is easier with items that don’t have a color, but for any skincare, shower, fragrance, etc. try not to have extras hanging around.
- Embrace Samples – I’m a huge fan of samples and have found some of my holy grail products from trying out the sample first. The key is, don’t treat samples as items to hold on to for travel or for some future occasion. Incorporate them into your routine to determine if the product is actually one you like. Similarly, if there’s an item you want to buy but have never tried before, try it in a sample first. Many retailers including Sephora and Macy’s have samples that you can try – especially for foundations and skincare items this is going to allow you to see if the product works for you before you have a full-sized item in your collection that doesn’t work for you. Check out my Sample Sunday posts for inspiration.
- Repurpose – One of the items that I commonly repurpose is skincare samples. My skin is pretty finicky, so I limit the amount that I switch products. When I have a moisturizer sample that I don’t feel will work on my face, I use it on my décolleté instead. I’m still benefitting from the nice ingredients, but I don’t have to chance a bad skin day. Where you can, repurpose products to fit your needs. You already own the product, so figure out a way to use it up.
- Know When to Let Go – When repurposing doesn’t work, decide if you can let the product go. Whether it’s safe to donate or give to a friend, or needs to be tossed or recycled, knowing when to let something go is going to be a huge hurdle. When you’ve spent money on something, it’s hard to say goodbye, but some of the indicators that it’s time include:
- The product has expired or gone bad
- The ingredients don’t work with you
- It’s been months and you haven’t used the product once
- You’re holding onto something for sentimental value only
When you’re ready to begin clearing out your collection, I encourage you to share your journey. Whether you have a blog, participate in forums or simply on social media, you will get a ton of encouragement and new ideas. I look forward to hearing your thoughts in the comments section below!