This post was supposed to be the one where I shared just how the “spending less, using more (of the beauty products I already owned)” experience went last year. I started writing this article in January when it was supposed to go up and yet I hesitated. I was unsure of how much to share. You see, some of what follows is stuff I never shared before, with anyone.
As I started writing the original post, I decided that a bit of of background on how it all started, how I started spending so much was needed. The original post ended up being too long so I decided to split it. I am yet unsure how many parts there will be to this, but what I do know is that this is the first. Like I mentioned above, this is part I aka the most personal I have ever gotten on this platform. If you are easily triggered, then it might be best to avoid this part.
As some of you might know, last year I embarked on a journey where I attempted to track all my beauty spending as well as give myself some sort of an allowance based on the amount, or more specifically, the value of the products I used up.
I had a very good reason to embark on this journey. One of my friends (I am looking at you B) once told me that my spending on beauty was a bit out of control. I knew it then, but I was in no way ready to accept it. However, in 2020 I decided to embark on the journey by my own free will. I thought it would be fun. Plus you know that things like these never work until it is our idea to do them (without external influence). I was finally ready, you know?
This is something I have never done before. I never intended for any of this to be shared on here, definitely not in this article and yet here I am. Before we move on, you might want to skip the next part to avoid any triggers.
I mentioned time and time again that I got interested in beauty quite late in life. I was 18 maybe when I started wearing makeup regularly. Sure, I wore a bit of colour here and there when I was a kid and used kid friendly products, but I never tried foundation, eyeliner etc before I was around 18 years old. Then, in college my collection started growing a bit, but I was still focusing on essentials such as trying different kinds of foundation, trying various brands of shower gel. body creams, cleansers – small stuff. I was by that time living abroad and was curious about the stuff my roommates were using ( never used their products, I went out and got my own). However, most of them were new to me, not new because I never used them, okay that too, but also new in the sense that I never saw any of those brands before. As such, I started getting some subscription boxes every once a while. I got beauty boxes such as My Little Box. GlossyBox, LookFantastic, Birchbox. I was about 22-23 at this point. However, I was curious and started trying some of them. I loved playing with all of these new products as they were something I had not experienced before. It was fun. Looking back, I guess it was a way for me to get more used to the new culture, to the world around me, but also to try products or concepts that never in my wildest dreams thought that I would ever be able to find back home. Not then, in any case. All good so far.
The major change occurred several years later, in 2017.
In early 2017, I decided to get more serious about beauty and take better care of myself and of my skin. Things were finally more comfortable, if I can call them that. I no longer felt like a fish out of water and started enjoying myself more, started enjoying my new environment and even started thinking of it like a second home. People knew me, I had some roots, fragile, but roots nonetheless. I belonged.
Since I was finally able to focus on other things, I decided to focus on my acne. By that time, I had become more invested in beauty and was ready to try more high end stuff, however I needed a better canvas.
My acne was never bad, however I had and still have cystic acne and the pollution levels and everything else around me did not help. I decided to get myself some Dermalogica products. Those were the first products from a brand that truly focuses on skincare that I ever purchased. I enjoyed them and kept getting more. This was all fine and well.
Maybe you thought that this story was a happy one, but then again when is it? My acne was better, my stress levels were higher than usual but manageable. I was finally, after so many years, settling in. My professional life seemed to have taken a good turn, my prospects were looking up and for the first time in quite a few years I was certain that I was back on track. My confidence levels were back up after nearly half a decade. Everything was going well so stupid me decided that maybe my personal life should become a bit more important. I was not being stupid, personal life is important obviously. Plus it was normal to take more of an interest in it after focusing so many years on everything else. I am not going to get into more details, but somehow I ended up comparing myself to someone else for the first time in my life. I realise how lucky I had been up to that point, I truly do. However, it came as a shock to the system.
It was a shock to the system. I started having weird thoughts. “What if I were prettier? Maybe I am simply not pretty enough.”, “What if I were smarter?” and so on. This is something I had not done before, not even when I was bullied on a regular basis. Not once during all that time did I stop and think that maybe it was my fault or that all the awful things that I was being told on a daily basis were true. I knew they were not. Had I accepted them, my torment would have been shorter, at least that is what it seemed like. But no, I never gave in, at least not to them. I was on the brink of breaking, but I did not succumb to my bullies wishes, not to their knowledge anyway. As every such experience leaves a mark, so did this one. It look me a long time to get back to some sort of “normal”, however some scars might fade, but they never truly go away. No, I did not self harm, but I developed an ED and then a whole lot of issues followed, some I am still struggling with today.
It was those marks that hurt the most when I started doubting myself and comparing myself to someone else. They are not only a constant reminder of that awful time in my life, but they made me doubt myself further when they should have reminded me that I am strong instead.
I told you this was not a pretty story.
Summer came, I started packing up my stuff and occupying my time with other things. I started getting better, or so I thought. To some extent yes, I was healing, but I should have spent more time exploring the underlying issues. I did not and instead, I took refuge in the things that made me happy and that I enjoyed. One of them was beauty. It worked, until it got out of hand.
I am not even sure how to explain it without sounding crazy. Yes, I started becoming more invested in these products, but it was the wrong thing to do despite genuinely loving them. I hid behind them when I should have explored my feeling in more depth. I did not and that sense of calm lasted until I hit another snag. You see, the underlying issues were still there, waiting patiently to make another appearance and that is exactly what they did. I hoped that beauty would provide that sense of comfort once again, especially since my environment was once again new. There were many external factors that were new. That was the point when beauty stopped being something beautiful and become more of a “bad” habit.
It took some time, but I started working though those issues. I am still working through some of them, but I refused to let something I love (such as beauty) become a negative which is why I ultimately decided to take control of my retail therapy. There are so many things beyond our control, especially these days so I decided to focus on the little things, the rest will come later.
On one hand, I decided to start this platform and do something useful with all the products that I got during that time, but I also decided to take over my spending, especially my beauty spending rather than letting it take control over me. I have never gone into debt or anything like it over beauty, I am not Becky from my favourite book series growing up – The Shopaholic Series by Sophie Kinsella, but better to prevent the things that I can have control over, you know? As such, I decided to design this whole plan which I shared with you and made the decision to make my results public so that I feel like I am held accountable.
After all, I still love beauty and I am still curious about a product here and there, but I want it to be something safe and healthy to engage in rather than something to hide behind. Hope that made sense.
These always is a complicated reason behind our actions, at least that is how I see things. There are not many things I do on a whim, even if beauty purchases are sometimes one of those things, even now. I wanted to share this story with you to see how I got here and perhaps even to understand my interest in employing such tracking system to monitor my spending. Yes, I have spent quite a lot in previous years and as you will see in part II, I spent quite a bit in 2020 as well. My spending has gone down considerably though and now I also have a better record of the stuff I own, of how much I usually spend, of how much I use and what I need, what I do not. It is easy to lose track of things if you don’t have them somewhere where you can see them. This is my way of ensuring the does not happen again.
I have to admit that this was incredibly difficult to write. I mentioned a few things here that perhaps not even my closest friends realised. I sometimes think of “what would X say or think”. I do not share my blogs with people I know, not intentionally anyway, but this is me. Take it or leave it. I refuse to pretend to be someone I am not.
*This article is not sponsored. This article contains affiliate links which means that Blush Suede might receive a small commission at no extra cost to you if you make any purchases by clicking the links included in this article. Thank you for your support. It is you that keep us going.