What happens when panning becomes part of the problem?


This post has been floating around in my head for a while so I thought it was time to jump online and tell you what I've been thinking. It may be useful to someone: I can't be the only one who's been in this position.

First, though, I want to give you some background. I've been a panner for as long as I've been a beauty junkie, so I guess over seven years now. While some people might take time to find panning on their beauty journeys, for me, panning was always going to be part and parcel of my makeup and skincare life: I hate waste and also can't bear to have too much clutter in the house, so the idea of finishing things and not being overwhelmed by stuff is part of who I am.

Given that I've been a panner for ages, you would expect me to have faced 'panning fatigue' before - and indeed I have. It usually sets in towards the end of each panning year and I generally push through it, knowing that it'll be over soon enough. Not this time. This time I started the year off and panning fatigue settled in not long after. It's different this time. It's bigger, and it's not shifting.

Perhaps it would be helpful to reflect on how my panning fatigue feels different than before. Not only has it set in six months earlier than it normally would in any panning year, but it's gotten to the point where it has affected the way I view makeup. 

While in the past I've spent my nights on YouTube watching beauty videos and keeping an eye out for the latest new releases, for the last two months I don't think I've watched a single beauty video - or certainly not one I can remember.

Why? Because I don't care as much as I used to, and some of the excitement has gone. Perhaps that's partly because I'm on no buys for both skincare and makeup so there's no point in me keeping an eye on any new releases (I can't buy them anyway), but I think it runs deeper than that.

It's panning that has brought me here, I'm sure of it. These days I see fancy new highlighters, blushes and eyeshadow palettes, and my first thought is: 'How long would it take me to finish that?'

Too long. Meaning I don't want to buy it anymore because I know how long it will be in my collection. And my collection is already full.

Panning has also made me realise that there's only so much you can own and also use. And surely the point of makeup is that you're meant to actually use it. If you're a collector then of course I can see the difference - but I would say that most people buy makeup with the intention of using it, and if you wind up with too much stuff, how much of that stuff will actually get used, or used enough?

On that, I should say now that my collection isn't that big. For all the various different categories of makeup (eg lip glosses, blushes, brow pencils), I can count the amount of everything I own with either one or two hands. Yes, even lipsticks these days: I have less than ten.

But still, there are things I own that aren't getting enough use. Why? Because I'm a panner so I'm focusing on the items I want to finish, meaning that a whole lot of other things aren't seeing the light of day, and won't for a good while.

Perhaps this is why I'm sick of panning. I've reduced my collection to a level I'm comfortable with, but this hasn't meant that more items are getting more use. Indeed, the same items are getting a lot of use and the other stuff is being forgotten until I throw it into a round of Project Dent for two weeks.

So what, then, is the point of panning for me now? Before the main point was to streamline my collection, but now that I've done this, the other points of panning are starting to come to the surface: eg, getting my money's worth from all my products before they expire. But how am I going to do that with all of my products? Only the ones in my panning projects are getting good use, and for the most part, those products aren't my favourites: they just happen to be the oldest items I own.

Do I need to change my focus, then?

So what happens now? That's the question. What happens when panning becomes part of the problem, rather than part of the solution? What happens when panning becomes the reason why some products are sitting around gathering dust, rather than the reason why everything is seeing good use?

Do I stop panning? Do I know how to be a beauty junkie and not be a panner at the same time? I'm not sure I do. Even during January when I usually give myself a break from my panning projects, I still find myself focusing on particular items to see if I can finish them. So even if I were to wind up my panning projects, I know myself and I would still 'pan' anyway - even if I wasn't calling it that. I've always approached my products this way and I suspect I always will.

Given this, I think that stopping panning wouldn't mean the end of my panning mindset - although it would perhaps mean that I could circulate more of my powder products (like blushes and eyeshadows) more often. But this in turn would also mean that the products I want to see gone from my collection (eg those 'usable but not my favourite' products) would never get used.

And if they didn't get used, would that be the worst thing? Or is the worst thing that my favourite products, the ones that aren't in my panning projects, aren't getting the use they should because I'm focusing on trying to finish the items I don't like as much?

These aren't easy questions to answer, and indeed I don't have answers. But I do think it's important to take a step back sometimes and ask yourself why you're doing what you're doing, and whether you're actually doing what's right for you.

Given that I don't have a huge collection, would it be better for me to be doing a weekly or even a monthly makeup basket instead? Should I be doing a One Month, One Palette, rather than a Pan that Palette?

Or would those project frustrate me because I wouldn't be finishing much, if anything, in my travels? I suppose I don't know until I've tried.

I think I've covered everything here. I guess my main point with this post was to pose the question: is panning always the right way forward? I mean, I already know that panning doesn't suit everyone, but is there a time when panning is no longer the right approach for someone who loves panning and has always been a panner?

I suppose there must be, and perhaps I'm there now. Or perhaps I just need to get through the next couple of months and all of a sudden I'll be enjoying seeing all those empties again. Really, I'm not sure.

Anyhoo. I hope I've said something useful here. I'm sure that this material has been covered by others before - I can't be the first person to have found myself in this position - but I do always think it's helpful to raise these kinds of questions for the beauty community, because then we can have a discussion and share ideas.

Do let me know in the comments if you've ever found yourself in the position where you've wondered whether panning has become part of the problem, and if so, what you did next.

At this point I don't plan to stop my panning projects (I would miss the challenge and satisfaction of them), but I do think I'll be looking at other ways to approach them.

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

* All images courtesy of unsplash.com

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