Makeup Addiction: Breaking the Habit

Beauty Fanatic. Makeup Junkie.

Growing up as a young girl with acne, makeup was an essential tool for self-expression and confidence building. Like a painter with a fresh canvas, every day my face was a fresh canvas just waiting to be brought to life with color.

Admittedly, unlike today’s adolescents who’ve grown up with step-by-step tutorials on YouTube, Snapchat, and Instagram, I had to learn from my own mistakes. It wasn’t until high school that I started looking to outside sources for inspiration – Lauren Conrad’s Style & Beauty books, as well as her website, The Beauty Department. However, these guides didn’t influence or teach me in the ways that video content later would.

Nonetheless, despite the harsh comments or snickers made by the cool girls, I kept expressing myself how I saw fit. Often times, rimming my eyes with carbon black eyeliner, coloring my lids with fluorescent blues, pinks, and silvers, I went through middle school unfazed by the opinions of others. The beauty aisles of CVS and Claire’s were a treasure trove of infinite possibilities.

Developing Bad Shopping Habits

It seemed like brands were releasing new products every week at the drugstore and I wanted to try them all, but due to my age, I was restricted financially. Mastering the art of using coupons and ExtraBucks, I was able to buy drugstore products that would have otherwise been too expensive for me.

Anyone that knew me then (or knows me now), knows that makeup and skincare are two of my biggest passions. However, at what point do passions become unhealthy obsessions? Looking back, my inability to stop myself from purchasing drugstore makeup during sales was the beginning of my unhealthy relationship with makeup hoarding.

I remember the first time I walked into a Sephora – I was entranced. However, once again limited by my teenage finances, I found myself buying Sephora brand eye palettes and eye products. My first high-end palette was Urban Decay’s beloved Naked Palette. I used those eyeshadows day-in and day-out, no matter the occasion. After seeing sizable dents in certain colors, I was afraid that I would use up my favorite shades. Then what would I do!? In my teenage mind, buying more makeup seemed like a sensible solution. The more makeup I bought, the less likely I would be to EVER run out of my favorite shades…

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Urban Decay Naked Palette

The Next Beauty Guru

Flash forward to my years at university and I had a medium sized bin’s worth of makeup – from palettes to blushes to lipsticks. But even still, I wanted more. New products made my heart sing. Each new product was something new to explore and test out.

By the end of my college career, I found myself constantly reading about and researching the beauty industry and the brands that I loved. Naturally, like most modern beauty obsessed individuals, I found myself sucked into the blackhole that is the YouTube beauty community. I watched guru after guru talk about the newest must-have products and I needed them – drugstore and high end.

With every video I watched, I became convinced that being a beauty guru was my calling, too! I acted like a micro-influencer among my friends and family – influencing their beauty opinions and purchases, so why wouldn’t I be successful as a beauty blogger?

Well, these beauty gurus had tons of product! They had entire rooms of makeup, skincare, and hair care. How could I truly know what I liked and what to recommend to others if I didn’t have tons of makeup too? So, I had to buy more! I needed variety. Within a year, my makeup bin exploded into several drawers and products in my collection were well beyond $5,000 in value.

Unable to recognize my problem with impulse shopping, buying things became a form of relief from stress or sadness. Overwhelmed by my job and missing many of my college friends, buying makeup and watching beauty gurus became a crutch. Spending beyond my means, I had to turn down fun activities or forego saving money because of the poor shopping habits I had developed. What’s more, I was left with a room full of things that I didn’t really love, but I still felt a void inside.

Breaking the Habit

Eventually, during the fall of 2016, I stumbled upon Jessica Braun‘s decluttering playlist on YouTube. In two words, her content was game-changing. She was different than the other gurus online because I felt like she was just like me – a normal girl with a passion for makeup.

Soon I found myself watching as many decluttering videos as I could, whether the content creator was a huge star or someone who was uploading a video for the first time. Watching video after video of declutters or inventories inspired me to make an official makeup collection inventory. The results were eye-opening.

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2016 Year-End Inventory (does not include Haircare)

By the end of December 2016, I finally had enough. Disgusted by the amount of makeup I had amassed, I had to kick the habit. I decided to embark on my first official “no-buy”. From January to April of 2016, I did not buy any beauty products. After my no-buy, I made some new purchases (including re-stocks as well as entirely new items) but spent far less than I did in previous years. Additionally, by the end of the year I categorized my haircare and added them to my inventory.

Turning away from the mindset I had developed as a teenager, I consciously worked to finish products throughout 2017. Hint: it’s so much harder to go through beauty products than we realize – even with daily use.

Makeup and skincare are still my passions. A fresh coat of mascara, a swipe of a luxurious satin shadow, or an artfully applied nude lippie still make my heart skip a beat, but now I control what I purchase and what I use, rather than mindlessly purchasing the newest “holy grail” item.


Is makeup your vice? What are your tips for making smart purchases?