Going On a Skincare & Makeup No Buy and What It Means for My Blog
This adventure was inspired by my friend Brooke of Blushing Noir, who set a goal to stop buying new makeup for the first quarter of 2020. Before I started Glamorable in 2012, I was subscribed to about a dozen blog feeds, and Blushing Noir was one of them. This girl has been in the game for a long time, and we share the same sentiment – the beauty community got a little bit out of hand over the years. The cattiness, the drama, the constant “limited edition” releases, a new collection every month, and the list goes on. I was tired of it. It wasn’t sustainable neither for the influencers nor for the consumers.
WHY I WANT TO DO IT
1 // MENTAL HEALTH: At some point in 2017, I got completely overwhelmed with my review backlog. I had so many plans and ideas, but virtually no time to realize most of them – I’d need the day to last 48 hours to keep up. That often left me frustrated and feeling like a failure. Add that to the guilt that comes with the inability to try all of the products that were so generously sent by brands and PR companies. Why? I never have and never will take those for granted, and to this day I’m amazed that anybody would want to send me anything at all.
I closed off emotionally and slowly started posting less and less until this blog would go a month or longer without an update. Flashback to 2012-2015 when I posted daily, or even several times a day, including the weekends – anyone still around from those days? To think that I had way less stuff back then, and yet I somehow had more to say. The problem was clearly within me, and not what was on my shelves. Then came 2018 and 2019, which both tested my mental resilience. I know I don’t talk much about my mental health here, but I was in a dark place after losing my MIL, experiencing major health issues including a cancer scare, and discovering I have an autoimmune disease that went undiagnosed for over 30 years. It was just one thing after another, like a huge middle finger from fate.
I knew something had to change. I had to get both my physical and mental health under control, but how? First of all, two years ago in early 2018 I emailed about 70% of my PR contacts and asked to be removed from auto-shipments. If I was interested in trying something specific, I would reach out. It was a hard decision to make because reviews are the bread and butter of this blog, and they always bring in the most traffic. However, I simply could not find a sustainable way to give everyone equal exposure anymore or any exposure at all in some cases.
2 // FINANCIAL REASONS: Everyone knows that a majority of fashion bloggers buy large amounts of clothes, photograph in them, and then return most or all of it back to the store. Big retailers like Nordstrom and Asos already started implementing measures to counteract that. However, mass returning of beauty products is not a thing in our niche, as far as I know. If you see a review that’s not marked “pr sample” or “sponsored”, chances are that money is forever gone from the blogger’s pocket. Beauty bloggers often buy entire collections to feature on their platform! And most of us don’t make a living wage off of our blogs, so the money is actually cutting into our savings account or a family budget. It especially sucks when you feel like you pour so much money into your platform and the results just aren’t there.
And yet, knowing all that, I would still buy things instead of reaching out to my contact and asking for a specific product. Why? Guilt. I guarantee you, that’s one of the main reasons bloggers purchase additional products from the brand [sometimes we’re sent incomplete collections from PR, so we buy the remaining products to fill in the gaps]. It just feels like you’re being more authentic, more relatable, and makes you consider where your dollar goes. But thing is, beauty blogging isn’t relatable in the first place, in real life very few people have massive stockpiles of makeup and skincare. So it doesn’t matter if you got something in a PR package or bought it yourself – it doesn’t suddenly become relatable because you spent money on it. So that’s another reason I decided to stop buying more beauty products in 2020. I think it’s about time I quit feeling guilty about things that are simply part of doing what we do – try stuff and share our opinion.
Being a PR-friendly blog is not unethical. Sugarcoating your reviews, because you got something for free, is.
3 // SLOW SHIFT TOWARD MINIMALISM: Early 2018 was also when I decided to finally declutter my overflowing closet, which started my journey toward minimalism. But being a beauty blogger and a minimalist don’t really go together, or so I thought. Truth is, I was setting unrealistic standards for myself and trying to adhere to some set of “rules” when in reality the idea is very simple: live with less stuff and more purpose, which is exactly what I subconsciously tried to do by culling my PR list. The process of simplifying my life is still ongoing, and I really like all the progress I’ve made so far. I even managed to create a capsule wardrobe without noticing, because I kept only the clothes that I like to wear, and made sure they go together before donating the rest.
I know I will never have a truly minimal beauty collection because playing with skincare and makeup brings me so much joy. However, there’s no reason to continue buying more and more things when I probably already have multiple great products to choose from in any category you can imagine. It’s the feeling of chasing all the shiny new things that are being hyped up on social media that I’m trying to get over.
So what’s the goal of this beauty no-buy resolution? Even though I minimized my beauty spending over the last 2 years, I still find myself buying makeup and skincare frivolously, despite having a lot of other products that I can use instead and still haven’t featured on the blog. Like, why, dude? For now, I will try to last until July 2020, and extend the no-buy period for the remainder of the year if necessary. I plan to still purchase necessities, like deodorant or toothpaste, although if I can get my hands on a free product I will use that instead.
Here is my rough plan I’ve come up with:
- Not buying any beauty products unless it’s a necessity, like deodorant and toothpaste.
- Without feeling guilty & entitled, use my privilege as an influencer to request products I want to review instead of buying them. I honestly don’t remember the last time I reached out to a brand directly asking for a product without them contacting me first, and maybe that’s part of the problem.
- Use more of what I already have and share favorites & routines more often.
- Feature more products from permanent collections.
- More nails! I used to love doing my nails and getting creative with nail art designs, so I hope to resurrect that passion and bring the Mani Monday series back from the dead.
- More negative reviews! I know you guys love those, but I never felt like I had time for them and prioritized featuring products that I thought were great instead.
- I’m not the most fashionable person, but I’d be happy to share my outfits with you on occasion, too, if you want. My closet is currently full of Everlane, Madewell, COS, and one-of-a-kind handmade pieces that I found on Etsy, Poshmark, and at small local shops.
Okay, I believe that’s all I can think of right now. I may edit this post and add a few points to the list, but I feel like it already encompasses much of what I am hoping to do moving forward.
Looking for inspo? Check out posts from my friends that are also participating in the challenge:
- Going on a 3 Month Makeup No-Buy by Blushing Noir
- Going on a Makeup Low Buy by Phyrra
- Going On A 4 Month Makeup No-Buy by Getting Fit & Fab
- What’s a Beauty Low-Buy or No-Buy by All Things Beautiful
If you want to join me on this journey, leave a comment below! I’m always down to chat more about all the ways we can minimize our lives and live more mindfully.