Can a beauty junkie go for a whole year without buying any beauty products? Let's find out!


Anyone who's been reading this blog since I started it three months ago will know that I'm relatively new to the land of beauty.

In fact, I came from the opposite end of the spectrum: for a long time, I barely wore makeup. I remember travelling with friends in my twenties and watching with fascination as they made up their faces before we went out; then I only wore it when I felt I had to (eg for work); and I certainly didn't wear it on a daily basis. I applied it 'under duress' and hated doing so, approaching it like a chore. And I certainly didn't buy it - unless I'd gone into Priceline for lollies or something and picked up an eyeshadow I'd never wear from the $2 bin on a whim.

I just wasn't interested. Santa would often buy me Lancome mini gift sets at Christmas, and I'd occasionally use them and like them well enough, but really they just got shoved in an old, tattered makeup bag (one of those cheap ones that likely came as part of a gift set a decade prior). For a long time I didn't cleanse or moisturise my face, and if you'd asked me what toner was, I'd have assumed it was some kind of contraption for tightening muscles. It was a world I knew nothing about and didn't care to.

You get the picture. Then, years later, I signed up for Glossybox purely because a family friend had just found a job there and I was interested in the concept: it wasn't the product factor that drew me in, but the surprise factor. And $15 per month wasn't bad! This was November 2011. I was 31. That's how long it took for me to give a sh*t about lipstick.

It wasn't until just before Christmas 2011 that I opened a lip gloss that had come in a box weeks ago and immediately fell in love. It was like I'd discovered something I'd been missing out on all these years: beauty products could be pretty, exciting and fun. They could make you feel good and special just by using them. Why had I never realised this before?! I've always enjoyed getting obsessed with things. And I had a new obsession. In the months after, my husband watched my bare face turn into a canvas I played with daily, and he still doesn't quite know what happened.

What followed that lip gloss discovery was a small bunch of online orders at the beginning of 2012 (bring on the post-Christmas sales), which turned into a much larger bunch pretty soon because I literally had nothing in my cosmetics armoury and I needed to start from scratch. There was something wonderful about that - I almost wish I could go back to having almost nothing and starting a collection again...

But maybe I can.

Anyhoo, to wind up the story: I had a nice-looking collection by the time we migrated to Berlin at the end of March 2012. I signed up for Glossybox Deutsch while there, but I suppose it was only when we got back to Australia in October last year when I realised that, while I certainly had a fair amount in my makeup collection, the skincare collection was seriously lacking (no point stocking up OS when we had to bring everything home) and the makeup collection still had room to move.

Enter Bellabox, then Violet Box, then Lust Have It. I'd been thinking about writing a blog for some time, but it wasn't until my work hours were cut in July this year that I had some time to not only focus more on my writing, but look at other possible income streams too. While the blogging wouldn't even fund a daily coffee habit at the moment, that doesn't mean it can't eventually grow into something bigger. Plus I like doing it, and I like staying connected to the world of beauty.

When I was still earning a decent income for the first six months after we got back, I seriously padded out the beauty stores. It was really my only expense - I buy ninety per cent of my clothes from op shops (same goes with books), and even then I don't buy many. Now that our financial circumstances have changed (and there's a baby on the way), I've been spending much less on beauty products, but I've certainly developed a habit of buying things I don't need. You know how it is - it's so easy to fall for sales, for free shipping specials, for gifts with purchase at Priceline.

I've got enough stuff to last me a while now, but I haven't got so much that it's going to go off before I get to use it - so it's time to halt the spending while I still can!

I've decided to go for a whole year without buying a single beauty item. What a challenge. Can I do it? Who knows. It's certainly worth a crack.

I should say from the outset that I won't be completely deprived - I've got plenty of stuff sitting there that I've been saving to open for a special occasion (eg I got two Benefit mini kits for my birthday in June and I haven't used them yet!), plus there'll have to be a few caveats:
  • If I run out of something essential (I'm talking deodorant and toothpaste, not another orange lipstick), then I can replace it.
  • There might be items I'll need but don't have relating to pregnancy; eg I have a script to pick up today for some cream that's supposed to help with the belly itching that can happen as your skin expands. Those items are allowed, as are baby beauty items that are for the little one and not me.
  • I'm a member of various FB beauty product swap groups, so I can still swap the few items I have left in the coming months.
  • I'm currently subscribed to Lust Have It until January, so I'll have monthly boxes coming up until then, but I won't re-subscribe once that's run out. 
  • I'm also signed up for a year of The Parcel (an early Christmas present), so that one will be coming quarterly. Same goes with Violet Box, and there's a few Memeboxes already ordered that will be arriving in October/November. I realise this mightn't sound like much 'abstinence' to some people (!) - at least for the first few months - but that money has already been spent and there's nothing I can do about it, and fellow beauty junkies will understand how difficult it will be not to buy anything else! (Just think of all those half-price sales I'll have to walk past in Chemist Warehouse with my eyes closed, and all those Priceline goodies bags I'll miss out on - my golly!)

Aside from saving anywhere between $50 to $100 per month (we'll need it for the baby, no doubt), there'll be other benefits coming from this:
  • While I still have plenty of products to review on this blog, I might have to start getting more creative with my posts - I certainly don't have 365 products waiting to be reviewed!
  • I've been using research into new beauty products as a procrastination tool. Since forcing myself into a year of 'window shopping' will leave me tearing my hair out, I'll have to remove the window shopping from the table so I don't go nuts (keeping in mind that I'll still be staying up-to-date with trends etc because that's an interest and it's part of this blog - but I'll certainly reduce the time I spend on reading about beauty items).
  • When that procrastination tool is removed, aside from leaving me with more time to spend on my writing (for now!), I'll also have more time to connect with other bloggers etc, which I do like doing.

It's funny, I'm one of those people who can - for the most part - be totally happy with what I have and not look for more (I'm thinking of my recipe book collection, clothing, jewellery, house stuff like vases etc), but when it comes to cosmetics, I really do always want more. I'd like to change that, or at least modify it. 

While I love getting obsessed with things because it makes me tick and brings heaps of excitement to my life, I'm much better off focusing on my other obsessions - writing, cooking, music, travel - because they cost me less overall and generally have a more lasting (or at least more tangible) benefit.

So! My cosmetic product free year starts today, 9 October 2014. It's quite possible that I'll cave at some point - perhaps when I'm nursing a newborn and have low defences, and sign up in a crazed haze to some new amazing subscription box because I need something to make me feel better. But let's just see.

In any event, I'm excited about seeing how I'll go. Does anyone else want to join me? You don't have to be as drastic as me and go for a whole year - you might want to try to do it eg until Christmas or even for six months. Who says deprivation can't be fun?!

Speak soon. I'll update you along the way ; )

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