How many lipsticks do you have? How many mascaras? powders? nail polishes? shampoos? shower gels…? The list is endless and if you have to take a closer look and actually count, it may mean you have too many.
Unless you are a professional make up artist, you do not need several of each. I dare not make calculations and give you a number, my own philosophy is one of each and at most two for colours (like lipgloss, eye shadows, nail polish, blush, foundation, etc.). I own only what I use and replace when needed, avoiding overstocking. Beauty products have a certain life span and the better they are, the shorter it is. A number on a sign of a “lifted lid” informs how many months after opening a particular product should be used. This is a prime time, when all qualities remain intact. Later on they deteriorate until they are completely gone, worst case scenario an allergic reaction or irritation may appear if skin is exposed to a product that is too old. I admit that I often have a dilemma of what to do with pressed powders, blushes, bronzers and eyeshadows, as I never get to use them within the recommended period of time, at most I go half way through and it doesn’t feel right to throw them away so soon. I usually decide to keep on using, unless the main qualities like consistency, smell or colours are affected, which to my own experience rarely happens, but it is an individual choice – I never noticed any side effects of giving an eyeshadow or bronzing powder one extra season, but I cannot promise it will work out the same for others.
Storing temperature is also very important. The more organic, natural the product is, the lower temperature it requires. For this reason I keep my precious face care products from Aesop in the fridge, it is advised to store them below 22 – 25 C degrees or even below. If like I you keep your beauty arsenal on a bathroom shelf, be aware that warmth and humidity affect them. To keep your creams and serums in good condition, enjoying best results longer, keep them in your fridge, it won’t harm, can only help.
Thinking about face and body care, less but better is a good rule to follow. I do not save money on skin care or make up. My wise Grandmother told me once that I can always buy a new dress, but I can never buy a new skin.This made me think and ever since face care is essential for me. Where I do economize is body care, excluding hair care and hand creams. I have fine, delicate hair that get moody and static if I do not keep them in good shape, especially in winter time. As for hand care, I grew to believe that face and hands speak volumes about a woman, and those volumes get thicker as she becomes older. For overall body care – body lotions, shower gels, peelings – I rarely go beyond popular brands, unless I really want to treat myself. Currently my go to brands are Nivea and Neutrogena, for more luxurious feel I chose Rituals. Same as before, I limit products that I use at the same time to maximum two, I like some variety, but stick to my limits.
You may perhaps wonder how is this related to slow fashion and essentialism. Well, one thing is to focus on quality, not quantity. Chose the one that really does it for you rather than a handful bought on impulse and for wrong reasons. Secondly, same as with garments, beauty products are another commodity that uses intense and highly persuasive marketing practices designed to lure consumers into buying things they do not need and into doing so frequently. If you flip through pages of an average fashion magazine, beauty advertising takes great deal of space. Certain products are being associated with beautiful people and certain lifestyles, cosmetics are no longer utilitarian, they became status symbols and are meant to make consumers covet them for those reasons. To be rational and aware is the best defence against emotional purchasing. Ask yourself same questions you ask when choosing a new piece to add to your closet – do I really need it, why do I feel an impulse to buy it, what do I expect from this product, how often and where will I use it, can I afford it, do I have similar product at home, …?? Do not give in to marketing manipulation or to your own urges to have “something new”.
You will see the difference when you apply more systematic approach to shopping for cosmetics and make up, because as a result you own only what you need, what is right for you and what makes you feel beautiful. And if you still feel an urge to experiment a little and be more adventurous, sign up for a surprise box service (like Glossy Box), where you subscribe to a monthly delivery of a package containing a selection of beauty and wellness products in regular or sample sizes, it is not too pricey and can satisfy your craving for something extra.