Project Pan 2018: lessons learned, and plans for 2019


I sat down to write an empties post this morning but I don't feel like doing that because the kids are at kinder and childcare for a few hours, meaning I'm better off writing the kind of post that I can't write when they're here.

As you may know, I recently wound-up Project Pan 2018 - and I promised to write a couple of wrap-up posts after that project to round things off for the year. While I've already done my finale and tally posts (see here and here respectively), I thought it might be useful to do a lessons learned post. Yes I've done plenty of these before and don't have heaps of other things to add, but I wanted to use those lessons to set myself up for Project Pan 2019. So that's what we're doing today.

Oh! Note that I have set down specific panning goals for 2019 (eg how many bronzers I would like to finish): that post is here if you're interested.

No buys and inventories help

Yes I've done makeup and skincare no buys before, but this was around four years ago and I only started writing inventories at the end of 2016 - so 2018 was the year that I did both for the first time, and I discovered that it really helped with my panning.

Yes of course if you're not buying stuff and you're also tracking how much you do have, then that's going to help you get your numbers down - but I'm more talking about the idea that if you cut yourself off from buying new things, this can help you look at what you already own in different ways.

For example, cutting myself off helped me look at my blush collection and work out what can eg be panned as a bronzer and what makes a better eyeshadow than a blush, and it also eg forced me to look at my highlighter collection and work out what gaps I have and what products are more similar than I thought. There's something about putting your whole collection in front of you in the knowledge that you can't change it anytime soon: it helps you view things differently and also encourages you to mix shades you aren't using in order to get different colours. 

Definitely worth trying.

I need to start working on the bigger/harder stuff

This is something that's been coming for a while. Often when we're panning, we'll pick things that we know we can finish or that are old and on the way out. While that's a good strategy to start with, there comes a time when those things are gone and it's time to look at the larger things that are going to take more effort.

So while I've found it easy this year to get my numbers down by eg panning my lipstick collection away (lip products are the easiest for me to pan), we're at the point now where all the so-called 'low hanging fruit' is gone.

This means I need to turn my attentions to my full-sized blushes (which will take forever to pan) and also my larger eyeshadow palettes, which until now have been passed over for single pans in my custom palettes and also smaller items like quads. That gravy train is over. I need to commit myself to the long-haul stuff, in the knowledge that it will take a long time to get my numbers down if I'm doing that. But it's time.

Oldest first

This is something that the vast majority of panners know but I wanted to mention it here because it's something I've come across more than once in 2018 - especially via Project Dent but also via Project Pan.

While yes, it's obvious that panning your older items first is the right way to go because they're the ones that are more likely to go off sooner, I think we can all fall into the 'oh but that's my favourite' trap sometimes - and in so doing, we risk losing the quality of our favourite products.

For example, I'm currently working on my Kevyn Aucoin custom palette, which contains various powders from that brand. What I've discovered is that the two oldest eyeshadow pans in that palette have become a little dry - which isn't surprising because they must be four or five years old - but it's reminded me that I can't keep them forever, even though I love them. I can say the same of my oldest Hourglass blush, which still airbrushes my face but I know it won't forever because the top layer had stopped airbrushing until I removed it with tape and revealed the fresher powder underneath.

So there may be some shifting around when it comes to my panning projects next year. Yes I'm still panning my Too Faced palette via Pan that Palette, but it's looking as though I need to move some of those Kevyn Aucoin eyeshadows up the panning list. I don't want to finish them because I love them and they've been discontinued, but I also don't want them to degrade in quality so it's time for some of them to go. At least I'll love panning them.

Preparing products for panning is a good strategy

This is something that I really only started doing this year, and I'm going to keep doing it because it's really helped my panning.

While in the past I had as many as twenty products on my Project Pan list, I found that this made my monthly updates too taxing (too many items to photograph and discuss), so eventually I dropped that number down to ten - but still kept panning some extra items on the side before introducing them to my project later on.

I can't tell you how much this has helped. Not only has it made my monthly update posts easier, but it's also introduced me to the idea of preparing products for panning. So essentially you work on something for a while, give it a rest, maybe work on it and rest it again, and then introduce it to your panning challenge later on when you're already partway through it. This makes panning it easier, and also helps prevent boredom. I'm going to keep doing this forever.

In sum

That's all from me. While I don't have a lot of lessons in this post, I've dealt with panning lessons many times before on this blog (eg see here) and this post is more geared towards what my 2018 panning projects have taught me in the context of what I need to do for my panning projects in 2019.

Do let me know in the comments if you have any lessons you'd like to share: I'd love to hear.

Hope all's well with you, and speak soon x

* All images courtesy of

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