Prior to 2016, I had never heard of the term “Project Pan,” but within the Reddit and YouTube beauty communities, there are thriving groups that challenge the beauty industries influence on their wallets. Like me, these Redditors and vloggers love the beauty industry but recognize that their overconsumption habits are not healthy. Rather than simply chucking their unloved products, they are choosing to embark on panning (finishing) the makeup and skincare that they already own.
What is panning?
The term pan is a reference to the silver pan that many powder products, such as eye shadows, blushes, and bronzers come in. Often referred to as “hitting pan,” – this means that an individual can now see the silver packaging of the product he or she is using. However, this term is not specific to powder products only. Any beauty product that has been used completely can be considered a panned product.
Working to pan or finish a product is often the most eye-opening way to realize how we, as consumers, don’t realize how much we are over-consuming. Trying to finish products clues us into the fact that we are purchasing well beyond what can be reasonably finished in a year.
What is a Project Pan?
In order to make working through products more fun (and achievable), Youtubers often create themed projects. For example, there are many online who are attempting to pan 18 in 2018 (i.e. finish 18 products before the end of the year), while others are working to “Pan that Palette” (finish an entire eyeshadow or face palette in one year). Projects can be done simultaneously or on their own depending on the individual’s preference.
Often times vloggers will provide monthly updates on their progress online. In this way, vloggers and vlog watchers are able to cheer one another on, as well as motivate each other to either keep going or to start a new project.
Why Try Project Panning?
Project Pans can be extremely helpful in breaking beauty addiction because they make people more aware of how long it takes to use makeup up. Additionally, it helps people to realize that most products won’t be finished before they reach their expiry date. Also, by working through a product completely, you can get a better sense of your formulation and application preferences than you would from only using an item a few times.
Finally, if you’ve already spent the money on the product, why not try to get your full money’s worth? That being said, when starting a new project, I find it helpful to include some “gimmies” (i.e. items that you know you can finish in a reasonable amount of time), as well as things you love. If you only choose hard-to-finish things or products that you hate, you won’t be motivated to continue.
What will you try to pan this year? Will you join any projects?