This Lauren Mae Beauty video popped up in my Youtube suggestions, and I’m really glad it did. It is a longer video (over 20min) but I really agree with what she has to say and I’ve experienced a lot of the same things myself. Forgive me for this jaggedy, train of thought rant.
When I first got into makeup, I wanted more makeup simply because I didn’t really have any and I wanted more options. Eventually I did reach a point where I probably had enough makeup to pull off a wide variety of looks, and other than the stuff you go through more quickly like foundation and setting spray, I probably could have stopped purchasing new palettes and powders.
However, as I started watching more Youtube and following the makeup world more closely, I found that I was buying more and more makeup. The amount increased even more when I began working with women who love makeup and collect makeup, and some who are makeup artists. I wanted new releases that Youtubers were talking about, I wanted palettes that my coworkers were suggesting to me, I wanted the new pretty eyeshadow colours I didn’t previously have, I wanted so much. Did I need it? Any of it? Probably not.
As my life became stressful because of university, work, a handful of physical and mental health issues, and other personal life events, I found that I went shopping online as a sort of release. You get a happy little buzz of endorphins when you purchase something new online, and another little buzz when it arrives in the mail. It’s like Christmas, but every couple of weeks, every couple of days.
Only recently, with graduation looming over my head, have I begun to take a more calculated look at what I’m spending and what I’m using up. This evening I took the time to come up with a rough number of what all of my makeup costs. I say rough, as I couldn’t find prices for some limited edition items, and I couldn’t find all of my lip products, so I guessed item numbers for certain brands. The number was over $2 500. YIKES. Of course, some of these palettes I have had for upwards of four years, but many purchases were made within 2017 and the previous year. That is an INSANE amount of money to be spending on makeup. It makes me cringe, when I look at this number, to think that of all this makeup, I’ve probably only used up about 20% of it thus far, and that’s probably being generous. That’s still $2 000 of makeup sitting unused on my desk! It’s ridiculous. I can’t really say for sure if my previous spending habits cross the line into addiction territory, although even if it didn’t, I’d say at least that it came pretty damn close. I never went into ridiculous debt, but I did experience a lot of temporary thrill-then-long-lasting-guilt when making impulsive purchases.
I can’t speak for others, but I know that I myself have experienced a lot of pressure to “keep up” or to purchase items, especially limited edition items, while they are still relevant or before they’re no longer sold. This urgency is embellished by the numerous first impressions and haul videos that Youtubers present. It is sometimes really difficult to distinguish reality from ridiculousness when you see beauty influencers receiving multiple PR packages per day, and having entire rooms and wings of their homes dedicated to their makeup. I can honestly say that many Youtubers I have seen have more makeup on shelves in their homes than local boutiques have on their store shelves.
I’ve been trying to remind myself, especially as I learn more about public relations, marketing, and advertising in my public relations courses, that you have to take everything that is said on Youtube with a grain of salt. There is so much bias thanks to PR lists, sponsorships, influencer trips, etc. that it can be really hard to take anyone’s word truthfully anymore. It is so easy to get caught up in promo codes, trends, new releases, holiday releases, collaborations, and limited edition lines that you end up spending an unhealthy amount of money on makeup, money that could be spent on trips, schooling, necessities, emergency savings, pets, or other experiences.
Because of this, I have put myself on a “no buy”, meaning that I will not purchase anymore makeup until I *need* it. For example, I will not purchase foundation until I am entirely out of all foundation options that could potentially work for my skin tone, and I will not buy setting products until I am entirely out of all setting products. I won’t purchase blush or eyeshadow palettes until my current stash has either been used up or is so far past its expiration date that it is unusable. I haven’t yet decided whether or not this “no buy” will include the two makeup subscriptions I currently have, but I will likely cut at least one out throughout the semester. If you see me posting product reviews within the next few months, know that they are of products that I already own and have not gone out and purchased recently.
I think it is really important for folks in the beauty community to have realistic conversations about what we are consuming, purchasing, and what is considered healthy and responsible. Although there are some really great minimalist, budget-friendly influencers out there, I find that the majority glorifies unhealthy habits like hauls/binge shopping on a whim, buying so many products that they cannot use and then decluttering them, etc. I think it is also important that those of us in the audience think more carefully about who we subscribe to, what we watch, and what sorts of consumer behaviours we endorse.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this!