Some notes on Project Pan: tips, plus myths debunked


I wrote a couple of Project Pan update posts yesterday and it reminded me that I jotted down a few notes on Project Pan last year and it was high time I did that again. 

I've decided not to fish out that old post and update it with any new PP tips and tricks because I'd rather not be guided by it and instead just write down what's front of mind right now. 

So apologies if you've seen that post and there's any crossover, but I would rather just comment on the most 'prominent' things I've learned while doing Project Pan - and debunk any PP 'myths' I've come across - because I think that will be the most useful for anyone who's considering doing Project Pan and wants a few tips before they start.

So without further ado, here are my thoughts : )

Make your own rules

This is an important one because if like me you've watched or read a bundle of videos and posts on Project Pan, you may feel there's a particular way you have to do it and set 'rules' you have to follow, but there really aren't.

You don't have to do it for a full year; you don't need to have a set number of products on your list; and you don't need to stick to particular kinds of products (eg makeup only). Just do what works for you. You may even decide that you don't want to finish or 'pan' everything on your list, just make sure it's used a lot over a period of time. That's fine. Work out your own goals and make your own guidelines.

You don't have to use products you hate!

I was reading some responses to a question about Project Pan on Temptalia's website, and I saw a few people mention that they would never do it because it seemed ridiculous that you would use up products you hate and leave your favourites sitting around, growing old. Of course that's ridiculous! Who said the aim of Project Pan is to use that grainy, orange bronzer in favour of your HG Hourglass one? No one!

Yes, the idea of Project Pan is to finish some products (or at least pan them/get good use from them), but you don't have to use products you hate every day, my golly! You can even decide to use some of your favourite products that you want to finish because you've had them for too long. There are many ways to do it, which leads me to my next point.

Think laterally: find new ways to use old products

This is a way I like to do Project Pan, and it ties in with the point above. You don't need to use up products you hate at the expense of other similar products, but you can re-purpose them.

For example, I have an overly shimmery bronzer that I never use but don't want to throw away or pass on because I spent good money on it. So what I've been doing is crushing it up and adding it to my body lotion, and hey presto, a beautiful shimmery body cream that's great for summer. I've loved using it like that.

Similarly, I have a shimmery eye base that's rubbish on the eyes because it transfers, but it's a wonderfully subtle collarbone and shoulder highlight that's also great in the warmer months, so it's getting used that way.

Be creative and find new ways to use old things that don't work for their intended purpose.

You're allowed to change your list

I think most people know this but it's worth mentioning anyway: your list isn't set in stone and you can change it.

I'm sure that most people who've done Project Pan have occasionally found themselves with a product or two that they're not using for whatever reason. Maybe you thought it would be a good PP product but in practice you haven't found a way to work it into your daily routine. If that's the case, remove it from your list and replace it with something that you'll actually use: there's no point keeping something that's just taking up space.

It may be a sign that the product needs to be thrown out or passed on: if so, you've successfully found a way to remove it from your collection, and you'll at least feel better that you tried to use it before giving it the flick ; )

You don't need to stick to makeup

I think most people - myself included - generally include makeup products on their PP lists because those are the hardest to finish. But that doesn't mean you can't include skincare or haircare products if you've got any of those you'd like to finish too.

I recently included a skincare product on my list because I've had it for ages and just can't seem to finish it, and later on I have both haircare and nail care items that I'd like to move into circulation. You can use Project Pan for any beauty product you'd like, so don't feel tied to using makeup products because that's what everyone else seems to do : )

Find a happy number

This is something I've learned over time: last year I started off with a smaller number of PP products (I think around ten) and over the year, my list expanded to twenty products. Yikes! For me, that's too many. It wasn't so much using them all that was the problem, it was having to photograph and comment on them all when it came to doing PP updates! If you don't blog or youtube, this obviously won't be a problem - but it's still worth finding a number of products that works for you, otherwise you'll feel overwhelmed.

For me, fifteen products is a good number and I'm going to keep my list at around that figure from now on. This doesn't mean that I haven't been using additional products at the same time (and ones I plan to move onto the list once I've knocked off a few existing ones), it just means there's a certain number that I feel I can handle when it comes to posting updates.

You may not be able to finish products, and that's ok

This is an important one to note: I've touched on it above, but I wanted to include the point under its own heading. 

People who've been beauty junkies for ages often have a bunch of products that are already showing pan or have huge dents in them. For those like myself who started gathering a collection only a few years ago (keeping in mind that I'm always decluttering and passing on things I don't use), there's barely anything I own - I'm talking powders like eyeshadows etc - that I could possibly finish within a year (or whatever your set timeframe is).

If that's you too, there's nothing wrong with including items that you won't finish, but that you'd like to make a dent in. So for example, I've got a blush and a highlighter on my list at the moment that I can't hope to get through by Christmas, but at least they'll be looking a lot more worn by then!

Include 'easy' products to help keep you motivated

This is another important one, or at least it is for me. I always make sure that my list includes things that will be finished soon enough because then I'll be making progress and I'll feel like I've actually achieved something. 

So if you want to include eg a sample or travel-sized setting powder, that's not 'cheating' and there's no rule that says you can only use full-sized products. If your list includes some smaller items as well as ones that are in for the long haul, you're more likely to stay committed and last out the timeframe you've set for yourself.

Have fun

I really should have put this point at the top of the list! If you're not going to get some enjoyment from at least part of the Project Pan process, then it mightn't be for you. Like many beauty junkies, I get a thrill from seeing a flash of pan appear in the bottom of my powders, and I'm super excited whenever I finish something and can remove it from my collection. To the rest of the world this may seem rather sad or bizarre, but I'd say that most beauty junkies will understand it ; )

Does Project Pan get tedious? Yes it does. But it also feels worthwhile for a bundle of reasons: you're getting use from things you've paid good money for (instead of being wasteful); you're making an over-sized collection a little bit smaller; you're perhaps even creating gaps in your collection that can be filled by fun new purchases.

There's enough good stuff about Project Pan that makes us keep doing it, but if you're not finding any enjoyment in the process, then don't put yourself through the torture. If you're committed to doing it, it's worth finding others in the beauty community who are doing it too so you can make new connections and keep each other motivated. That's the good stuff : )

In sum

That's my list! Hopefully something in there is useful for anyone thinking about doing Project Pan for the first time. If you have anything to add to the list, please do - I'd love to hear : )

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