Lately, I’ve been realizing just how many beauty products I have. Between buying things I want to try, subscription boxes, promos, samples, and gifts with purchase, I have more than enough to last me for years. So, I decided to participate in a 100 day no-buy challenge, with a twist. I often see people going on no-buys only to splurge and buy several hundred dollars worth of stuff as soon as their no-buy is over. Since my goal isn’t to limit myself only to have free reign when the challenge is over or to save money (although that’s a nice benefit), but to reduce my stash and use up some of the products I have, I am doing a low-buy and empties challenge instead.
Basically, a low-buy means I have to really think about my purchases before I make them. I don’t want to buy for the sake of buying, but because I truly love or need a product, and don’t already have something similar. My low-buy is about making more conscientious buying choices, and also falling back in love with items I already own. To tamper the “shopping craving,” I’m also focusing on using up products I already have (specifically samples) and reducing my stash. What’s the point of getting free samples or promos if I’m never going to use them? Do I really need to horde travel sizes in case I go on a trip? I’m sure I’ll acquire more before I actually go on vacation.
I started my 100 day low-buy and empties challenge at the beginning of the year, so now I’m just over halfway through. I’ve been really surprised by how ridiculous the whole thing is (I have to challenge myself to think about my purchases?! I should be doing that anyway). Most of the time it’s pretty easy. Instead of buying something right away, I will take a minute to think about my stash and if I have something very similar. If I’m not completely in love with something or feel even a little unsure, I won’t buy it. It’s surprisingly easy. Once I’ve left the store or turned off my computer, I no longer think about it. There’s no, “I really should have bought that,” feeling. Which makes me wonder how many things I already own that I could have lived without.
Still, it can be difficult sometimes. Seeing a really good promo can be tempting, but I can usually talk myself out of it by asking if I really need to buy anything at all. Is that promo worth $$$ to me? Because I’m buying something I don’t really need or want that costs that much just to get a few deluxe samples. Other times I just feel like shopping, which is the hardest time to convince myself not to buy. So far I’ve been able to squash that feeling just by going and looking at my stash, and finding something I haven’t used in awhile to play with. I’ve also been using some of my Sephora points to get deluxe samples for free instead of buying something. Then I get something new but I don’t spend any money (although that doesn’t help with reducing what I have).
Since I’m really trying to clean out my stash, I’m also keeping track of my empties. I’ve never been into keeping my empty containers or foil packets around (it’s just a bunch of trash!) but for this challenge it has been really helpful to me. I’ve been keeping track of my low-buy by using easy-to-manage 10-day increments and seeing how many empties I can accumulate in ten days is kind of fun! It definitely adds more of a competitive part to the challenge (can I use up more products in these ten days than I did in the last ten days?) and being able to visualize everything I’m using up helps keep me going. It also makes me much more aware of how many things I still have and how long it will take me to use everything- another deterrent to buying more.
I’m halfway through my low-buy and empties challenge, so I’ve completed five rounds of empties challenges. What I’ve really found is that a lot of the products aren’t that great. It’s not that they’re bad, but they just aren’t HG-status for me, I have other things that I like better. For example, with this first set of empties (days 1-10), I really liked the Glamglow ThirstyMud (so much so that I grabbed a bunch in my SiJCP Customized Skincare Set) but everything else was just “eh” for me. That’s another great thing about this challenge- I will be able to find products I really like and won’t waste my time buying or rebuying items that don’t really impress me.
Days 11-20 weren’t as productive for empties as my first ten days. My skin didn’t like all of the new products at once so I had to slow down a little bit. There were more products that I liked though (both Glamglow masks and the Clarins sunscreen). I was also able to use up a Bumble and Bumble Thickening Hairspray sample. It is always included in their GWPs, so I have so many it’s ridiculous. And I don’t even particularly like the product!
I was still letting my skin rest during days 21-30 so I didn’t have very many empties. Once again, everything was fine but there wasn’t anything I really loved and wanted to buy. The Cooling Foot Creme was nice but I don’t use body moisturizers enough to justify purchasing it. I liked the Pomegranate Mask but I’ve been buying so many inexpensive sheet masks lately that I’m not sure I’ll be buying any more in the near future.
Days 31-40 were a little more productive, and I was able to use up quite a few deluxe samples and a full-sized packet of cotton pads. The YET mermaid mask was cute and I really liked the smell of the Bath and Body Works shower gel. I would repurchase both of those. ExfoliKate was also great. The Shiseido Facial Cotton felt nice but isn’t worth paying for. I did not like the Peter Thomas Roth shampoo and conditioner. I have several samples so I will use them up right away and be rid of them!
Days 41-50 were very productive for me. I was able to use up more of the PTR shampoo and conditioner that I hate. The only thing from this group that I would re-buy is the Neutrogena Eye Makeup Remover. I have sensitive eyes and this is one of the few removers that doesn’t irritate them (I also like their eye makeup remover pads). I won’t be re-buying any right now though, I have another eye makeup remover to use up first.
I’m halfway through my low-buy and empties challenge and I’m doing really well! I have made a couple of beauty purchases but they have been well thought out and are products I am really excited to use and will love to have. Not buying things has been easier than I thought it would be, but I’m still surprised by temptations and the feeling that I need to buy something. More importantly, I’ve been able to reduce my stash by quite a bit! I’m surprised by how many empties I’ve acquired over 50 days. I still have a ton of things left, but seeing how easy it is to use things up is definitely motivating! Although some items seem to take foreverrrr and have an endless amount of product in them (foundations, eye cream, and eye primer specifically). I’m feeling really good at this halfway mark and who knows, maybe I’ll continue past the 100 days!
Have you ever done a low-buy, no-buy, or empties challenge?