NO BUY 2019: July Update, Over-saturation of the beauty industry

Well friends, I blinked and suddenly summer is half over. Having left the medical aesthetics industry since my last update, I was fortunate enough to have a few weeks off before starting my next work adventure to mull over feelings I have about the industry and the products produced by it, and my relationship to these skincare and makeup products.

I recently saw a conversation starting Instagram post by @temptalia that asked “What do you think are the biggest challenges facing beauty brands right now?”. I popped into the comments to chime in, and starting reading through all of the other responses. There was a variety, but there were so many people stating that the over-saturation of the market with new beauty releases and launches was not only a huge challenge for beauty brands to keep up with, but for consumers to process as well. For myself personally, I’ve noted that lately I’ve been almost desensitized to new launches; nothing excites me anymore. I think this is partially because there are so many launches that it is overwhelming to stay up to date with even a few favourite brands, but because these launches are so frequent and short notice, they often are not of good quality. We’re getting more products of poorer quality, less time to search for reviews and tutorials, less time to try out and thoroughly enjoy the products, before they are deemed as old news.

While reading these comments, I thought back to launches like Anastasia Beverly Hills’ Modern Renaissance. Launches were a little bit slower back then, and I feel like palettes such as this had the time and leisure to exist in their own spotlight. Tutorials were abundant, and I felt like I was using something exciting and current several months after it launched. Now, I look at the palettes on my dresser and most of them have already been forgotten about. I don’t see anyone talking about my Fenty Beauty Moroccan Spice palette, or my ABH Norvina palette, not even in passing. With the rise of Project Pan, more and more folks are realizing that they cannot use their makeup up quickly enough, and that trying to keep up with this insane amount of product being pushed out into the market is leaving them feeling burdened, rather than thrilled by their beauty splurges.

Another problem that has cropped up due to the frequency of releases and buyers not only being disinterested but not having the money to even consider supporting all of these launches, is a whole lot of expired makeup. This was brought to my attention by a video that Lauren Mae Beauty did two weeks ago where she discusses problems she had noticed with products in the Sephora sale section. Many of the products available on the page were released years ago, and were likely expired or at least very quickly declining in remaining quality. Not only is this awful for consumers who buy these products, thinking they’re getting a great deal, but ending up with poor quality or expired products, but where are all of these products going to go when they don’t sell? Sure, some will end up in your local Marshalls or Winners where some poor soul will end up buying it, but at some point I imagine that a lot of this product is going to end up in a landfill, either because it is unsellable or because those who bought these expired products got little to no use of them and disposed of them.

To sum up my ramble, there’s just too much damn makeup out there. People are getting overwhelmed, and not enjoying what should be a lighthearted, artistic hobby. I find myself getting caught up in these launches time and time again, and am so disheartened when I come back to reality and realize that I just have too much, that what I’m buying is honestly no longer worth my money sometimes, and that I am wasting the money I work hard for. I want to embrace Hannah Louise Poston’s mentality of having fewer, nicer things. I find myself thinking, how lovely would it be to have a minimalist collection of divine luxury makeup? One or two eyeshadow palettes in multipurpose shades that I can professionally wear to work but also vamp up a look for a night out with friends, perhaps a Pat McGrath and a Natasha Denona or a small Viseart collection. Two foundations, one lighter, one darker, of good quality to mix throughout the seasons. One setting powder. One mascara. One brow gel. One bronzer. Two, maybe three blushes for variety. A dozen lipsticks, max. I could throw the whole kit and caboodle in a bag and hit the highway on a trip, with no stress or additional thought as to what makeup products I’d pack and whether or not it’d be enough. The money I could save! Instead of sitting at home broke with makeup I don’t have enough faces to be able to use it all, I’d have more disposable income for evenings at the theatre or more weekend trips with my loved ones. Experiences, rather than pretty items that I am not actually enjoying anymore because I simply have too many of them.

It all seems so appealing, but breaking those consumer habits have proven to be so difficult! July was not a great one for spending, however, I’m feeling inspired to revisit my no buy rules, put the guilt and blame behind me, and carry onwards with what I hope will be better choices.

Unfiltered ramble aside, here are my totals for July:

Dollar value of products I used up in the month of July 2019: CAD $411

  1. Amika Soul Food Hair Mask, $36
  2. Colorescience Sunforgettables Medium SPF 50, $79
  3. Drunk Elephant Protini Peptide, $89
  4. Laroche Posay Cicaplast Hands, $13
  5. Laroche Posay Lipikar 400ml, $33
  6. Tarte mini lip balm gloss, free deluxe sample
  7. Essence Make Me Brow, $4
  8. Hourglass Vanish Stick, $61
  9. Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill Mascara, free deluxe sample
  10. Gehwol Med Protective Nail and Skin Oil, $22
  11. Mario Badescu Glycolic Acid Toner, $24
  12. Glo Skin Beauty Hydration Mist, $27
  13. Rocky Mountain Soap Co. Vanilla SPF 31, $23

Dollar value of products I purchased in the month of July 2019: $392.69

  1. Nivea Body Lotion, $14
  2. Lisa Eldridge Lipsticks, $210
  3. Elf Cosmetics Order, $43.69
  4. Lush purchase, $125

My goals going forward into August are:

  • No purchases for the month of August. Even skincare-wise, I don’t think I will run out of any particular category for the whole month, so I do not need to purchase anything.
  • Continue to declutter and trash products I do not like, that have expired, or that have sat unused for more than half a year.
  • Avoid social media. I’m not sure if I’m going to delete apps temporarily or just limit my time on the apps, but I feel like every time I log on I am being sold to by not only the influencers I follow, but the MLM monsters who are always trying to slide in my DMs. I need breathing room.

I hope you are having a great summer, and that if you are on a no buy or low buy journey, that it is going well! I’ve failed my rules a lot lately, but I’m learning so much about myself, my habits, and the culture of buying, so that is one success!



Sustainability: Reusable Cotton Rounds for Skincare

Skincare creates a lot of unnecessary waste, let’s be honest. I’ve been feeling overwhelmingly guilty and stressed out by my environmental footprint as of late, especially when it comes to hobbies like skincare and makeup. I’ve been looking for ways to reduce my waste in my daily routine, and noticed that I go through a lot of cotton rounds, anywhere from 1-4 a day, for my skincare and nail care routines.

I started searching my Facebook skincare groups for a solution, and noticed that a lot of folks use reusable cotton rounds made out of fabric. Simply use, wash, and use and use and use and use and use until they wither away to nothing. I started looking on @etsy for an option to purchase, as my sewing skills are abysmal and I don’t even own a sewing machine right now. Fortunately I found Katherine’s page @farmgirldesign.nb , a fellow Canadian who could ship everything for only $3 to Saskatchewan! I purchased two sets of 16 rounds, plus a mesh bag to wash them in do they don’t get lost in my machine. I picked out a fun floral print, as well as a plain black set, thinking that I can use the black ones for things like removing nail polish that may stain. —
Yes, this does initially cost more than my usual $1-2 for a pack of Joe Fresh cotton rounds, but over time I believe it will equal out, if not be more affordable, depending on how well I take care of these and how long they last. Considering I was spending about $12-17 a year for disposable cotton rounds, one pack will have paid for itself in just one year of use. I was also pleased to discover that @etsy takes measures to offset the pollution created from shipping items! Another plus in my books. —
I just fished these out of the mailbox so I haven’t had the chance to try them out yet, but I will keep you posted! I’m hoping to gradually switch out more and more of my disposable household items for longterm, reusable items, as my budget allows. 😊🌱 I plan on storing the clean rounds in an cute plastic @amika hair mask container that I’m repurposing, and keep the dirty ones in the mesh bag in my bathroom until ready to wash.

NO BUY 2019: June Update

To put it bluntly, I did not have the same success in June as I did in May, though I’m not sure if I spent quite as much in June as I did in April.

I’m going to skip past the preamble and get right into the numbers:

Dollar value of the items I used up in June:

  1. Tatcha Violet-C Radiance Mask, $88
  2. Laroche Posay Micellar Foaming Wash, $22
  3. SkinFix Oil Cleanser Deluxe Sample (free)
  4. SkinCeuticals HA Intensifier Serum, $125

Items purchased in June:

  1. The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution to replace my near empty Mario Badescu Glycolic Toner, $8.70
  2. IT Cosmetics Heavenly Luxe Complexion Perfection Brush #7 that definitely broke my No Buy rules, $58
  3. CoverFX High Performance Setting Spray Mini to replace my empty setting spray, $20
  4. The Ordinary Mineral UV Filters SPF 30 with Antioxidants as I had no liquid sunscreen for the face, $9.70
  5. Biossance The Tea Tree Trio (minis) to replace my gel cleanser and partially break my No Buy rules, $38
  6. ELF Cosmetics Order of blushes, brow gel, etc. that were partially replacements, and partially sales purchases that broke my No Buy rules, $35.35 USD or about $46.43 CAD

Items used up: $235 
Items purchased: $180.83



MOTD: June 19, 2019

Face: @essencemakeup Redness Correcting Clay Primer, @gloskinbeauty Luminous Foundation in Tahini mixed with @covergirl Clean Matte Liquid Foundation in 520 Creamy Natural (this foundation is NOT matte but is still awesome), @gloskinbeauty Cream Blush in Fig, @fentybeauty Shimmer Skin Stick in Sinamon, @physiciansformula Butter Bronzer, @gloskinbeauty Pressed Base (tzone only) in Golden Dark, @hourglasscosmetics Veil Setting Powder, and @amrezy x @anastasiabeverlyhills Highlighter

Eyes and Brows: @urbandecaycosmetics Primer Potion in Original, @natashadenona Sunset Palette, @armanibeauty Eyes to Kill Mascara, @cheekbonebeauty Brow Gel

Lips: @essencemakeup Soft Contouring Lip Liner in 04 So Lovesick (over the entire lip) and @besamecosmetics Lipstick in Tango Red

June 19, 2019: Skincare Sample Empties Review

@belifcanada is a brand that is new to me, but so far, I haven’t had problems with it. The True Cream Aqua Bomb has a gel-cream formulation and feels silky smooth on my skin. It had a pleasant, gentle scent and didn’t break out my oily, acne-prone skin. I only used this at night as it was on the thicker side, so I can’t vouch for how well it sits under makeup.

The @belifusa Aqua Bomb Sleeping Mask is the thicker, mask equivalent of the Aqua Bomb Cream. Not my cup of tea as my skin type doesn’t really need hydrating masks most days, but again, very pleasant, and leaves you with a glowy sheen when you wake up. —
@drunkelephant ‘s Beste No.9 Jelly Cleanser got the job done. It has a nice lather, removed a fair portion of my makeup, and felt nice on the skin. While not life changing for myself personally, if this is a product that appeals to you, I don’t think you’ll have any regrets in picking it up. For myself though, the cleanser is where I spend the smallest portion of my skincare budget unless it’s packed with AHAs and BHAs, so I’ll probably be sticking to more affordable options for my first cleanse. Drunk Elephant always kills it with their bright, happy packaging though!

NO BUY 2019: Success in May!

Drumroll, please!

I made it through the entire month of May without purchasing any beauty products. None! Whatsoever!

May went entirely the opposite of how April went, and unfortunately I can’t contribute my no buy success to my willpower alone. I came down with pneumonia in the first half of the month and had quite the time with it. It took about a week until I was diagnosed and prescribed antibiotics, and throughout the entire illness I was still having to work partial days at work because of short staffing issues. I was so exhausted from being sick and feeling like crap from working while so sick, that by the time I came home I just slept and had no time to even contemplate online shopping. On the few days that I was able to take off to recover, I still was so wiped out that I did not buy anything. As well, there was also the pressure of missing out on so much pay from taking time off work, making it easier to stick to my budget and prioritize paying for the bare essentials.

Here’s what I used up and purchased in May:

May purchases: None!

Total dollar value of products purchased as replacements or otherwise: $0.

May empties:

  1. Essence Instant Matte Setting Spray ($6)
  2. Glo Skin Beauty Daily Power C ($126)
  3. Drunk Elephant Protini Peptide Deluxe Sample
  4. Laroche Posay Toleriane Ultra Fluide ($34)
  5. Nude by Nature Flawless Foundation Powder ($32)
  6. Laroche Posay Effaclar Purifying Cleansing Gel ($25)
  7. NuFace Gel Primer ($17)


Total dollar value of products used up: $240

Definitely my best month yet! As for replacements for cleansers and Vitamin C, I have a number of samples and trial sizes that I plan on using up and clearing out first, and then have some very low cost options I plan on purchasing eventually. We’re heading into summer, so I’ve been transitioning into my summer shades for powder and foundation, and have plenty to use up from last summer. For setting spray, I have plenty of facial mists to use up and a number of setting powders to substitute as well. I’m really hoping I can keep this frugal momentum going as we head into June!

NO BUY 2019: April empties and purchases, falling off the no buy bandwagon

Remember how I wanted to spend absolutely nothing on beauty for April? Yeah, me too. Embarrassingly, I accomplished the exact opposite of that goal.

I had heard that the Sephora VIB sale was going to be later in the spring, so I assumed it would be mid-May or later. I had some things I’d be planning to replace during the sale, but I hadn’t planned on going all out.

The start of April was a busy and tough time. There were lots of birthdays, lots of stress in my work and personal life, and I was sick for about a week and a half straight, missing four days of work and two weekends of plans. It’s fair to say that I was feeling sorry for myself and threw a huge pity party for myself. I decided, unwisely, to treat myself to a birthday order from Sephora.

Now this order in particular is not the hugest part of the problem. While I did purchase a very expensive item in this order, all of the items I purchased are things that I entirely love, have used non-stop since purchasing a few weeks ago, and see myself either using up entirely or using as much as possible. The order included the Pat McGrath Mothership V Bronze Seduction palette, which I have been drooling over since it was first released. I have watched more reviews and tutorials online for this palette than probably any other palette ever, and I have used it nearly every day in different ways since it arrived. The other items were the Fenty Beauty Lil Bronze Duo that comes with a mini Matchstix cream bronzer/contour and a mini version of the new Sun Stalk’r powder bronzer. Both are really excellent products that can be used on the daily, and because they are minis that I can travel with and keep in my purse, I do foresee myself panning them in the future.

This is where things fly off the rails. This beautiful little treat-myself purchase, that in itself wasn’t entirely awful, though it does violate my rules, burst the no buy dam. This is exactly what happened to me last year when I attempted a no buy, and I should have known better! I got that little rush of buying something new, trying something new, talking about my new purchase on my Instagram and with my makeup-loving friends and coworkers, and I just kept buying. I purchased a lot of the Physicians Formula Murumuru Butter line, and then made a huge purchase during the Sephora VIB Sale, that surprise, actually did start in April. Some of the items in my Sephora sale purchase were replacements, but I probably could have purchased for those replacement categories from the drugstore.

All-in-all, I did pretty horrible with my goal this month and I am really ashamed to throw these purchase totals up on the screen here. I cave horribly to these shopping cravings when I’m sick, depressed, or even just a little bit down, and it’s something that I need to be more active in addressing. I’ve decided that it’s in my best interest to block and delete anything Sephora-related from my devices and social media for the time being. However, unlike last year, I’m not going to completely give up on my no buy/low buy after this setback. I’m going to keep on going for the rest of the year with my no buy rules, and think about revising them to cut out any loopholes within the next week or so. In addition to deleting and blocking Sephora, I’m going to brainstorm other ways I can act to prevent this backslide from happening again.

The only good news in this otherwise bleak update, is that I managed to pay off some debt! I owed some money to some loved ones who had helped me out when I was laid off last August, and when my vehicle needed a number of expensive repairs this winter. I have entirely paid off both of those debts, and I am relieved to have them off my chest! I only have one outlet of debt left to tackle.

Anyways, after that long ramble, here are my totals for April:

Products purchased (some replacements, most, unfortunately, not replacements) for the month of April:

*Note: though a number of these products were purchased during the Sephora VIB Sale at 20% off, I’ve posted their regular prices. My calculations for the entire year won’t be entirely consistent, but I am fine with this, as this was my fault for not making clear protocol about my calculations when I started this no-buy year. I’d rather keep track of the total value of the products purchased for the year than the specific, miniscule sales savings. The 20% saved during the sales barely covers what the tax would have costed, anyways!

  1. Pat McGrath Mothership V Bronze Seduction Palette ($170)
  2. Fenty Beauty Bronzer Duo ($30)
  3. Physicians Formula Lip Creams in Brazillian Nut and Brazilian Sunset ($22 altogether)
  4. Physicians Formula Butter Eyeshadow in Sultry Nights ($20)
  5. Physicians Formula Matcha Melting Cleansing Balm ($20, this is an actual replacement)
  6. Joe Fresh Brow and Lash Brush ($10, this is also an actual replacement)
  7. NuFace Gel Primer ($17)
  8. Amika Soulfood Nourishing Hair Mask ($36)
  9. Amika Blockade Heat Defense Serum for Hair ($33)
  10. Tatcha Violet C Serum 20% Vitamin C + 10% AHA ($110, replacement product for my Glo Skin Beauty Vitamin C Serum)
  11. Patrick Ta Major Glow Body Oil ($65)
  12. Drunk Elephant Protini Peptide Moisturizer ($84)
  13. Peter Thomas Roth Cucumber Detox Hydragel Eye Patches ($60)

Total retail value of products purchased in April 2019: $677**

**keeping in mind that a number of these items were on sale, so that actual dollar amount spent is a little bit lower than this, by about $81.00

Products I’ve finished in April:

  1. Essence Make Me Brow ($4)
  2. Essence Superlast Brow Pomade Pencil ($4)
  3. Covergirl Outlast All Day Primer ($13)

Total retail value of products I’ve used up in April 2019: $21

There’s not much left to say other than I made some huge mistakes, and May is going to be a month of figuring out how to stop myself from making those mistakes again year after year.