In the not so distant past, I enjoyed spending money on various products week after week, even though I already had one variation or another of the same thing. Oh look, an amazing new foundation came out? I have to buy it, even though I’m still trying to use up the two I have!

Every time I walked into Target, I headed for the cosmetics section to see what new items they had in stock. This was a bad habit that formed out of watching YouTube videos, of all things. Let’s rewind.

Entering the Workforce – I Have to Upgrade!

It was January 2012 and I was just entering the workforce. I needed to upgrade my wardrobe, big time, especially since I was notorious for wearing hoodies during the winter (comfy and cozy, what can beat that?), and that was what my college clothing consisted of. I did this in an inexpensive way, shopping clearance racks, and going to department stores. I didn’t want to spend $20 for a top, but it’s also important to realize that most clothes should last you a long time, so it can be worth it to splurge on quality clothing occasionally.
Beauty Products
I also began to realize that maybe I should wear my make-up more professionally. I had been using pink, blue, and purple eye shadow, and I definitely didn’t want to be wearing that at work. Upon inspection of the other girls working in my office, everyone was well dressed and had neutral make-up on, if any at all. I wasn’t willing to go bare-faced as I’m self-conscious about my skin (plus I’m really pale and just look like a ghost; most people ask me if I am sick when I don’t wear make-up), so I decided to look around.

The World of YouTube Videos

This search eventually led me to looking through make-up tutorials on YouTube, which subsequently led to my interest in beauty products. I blame all the “beauty gurus” that were showing off their purchases in “haul” videos, where they featured all the products they got in one shopping trip (at least worth $100+ every time), which made me envious.

I wanted to be like these girls. Most were around my age, and YouTube was their main source of income. They did videos, and stayed home. What a life! While I realize it’s quite similar to blogging (and definitely not effortless), I actually contemplated starting my own channel. This is the justification I used as I bought mascara after foundation after concealer.
Every time I went to Target or Walmart, I would head to the cosmetics section to see if they had anything new in stock. If I had just watched a “favorites” video from a guru, I would go and see if they had that product. If they loved it so much, it was worth a try!

My boyfriend was constantly telling me how stupid I was being, that I should be putting this money toward student loans. “Don’t you have enough already?” “Yeah, but…” That was how it went. Every time. Plus, he obviously didn’t like spending time looking at make-up =). I never put myself in debt with any of these purchases, but at the same time, a lot of money was spent here and there, and I definitely could have been putting it to better use.

Reality Check & Getting Priorities Straight

Work got really busy around November of last year, and I got into reading personal finance blogs, so I slowly stopped watching YouTube videos. My craving for new beauty products waned as I stopped watching, and now I only make purchases as I run out of products.

I am committed to not making any “extra” purchases for ANYTHING. I want the large majority of my money to go toward necessities (food, rent, gas, insurance), and I want as much as possible after that to go toward debt. No more buying and trying things. I have chosen the path as a blogger, and while I could probably blog about beauty products, I like the community here better. Where would I end up with an endless pile of beauty products? Not getting my student loans paid off quicker, that’s for sure!

Lesson learned: take away the temptation! Essentially, I stopped spending so much on beauty products because I wasn’t coming in contact with them as much. The cause of all this was my watching the videos in the first place, and trying to be someone I wasn’t.

I wasn’t a beauty guru making money off of my purchases. I had to realize that most of these girls were either getting paid for their reviews, receiving generous amounts of products for free, or living paycheck to paycheck (as some admitted).

That wasn’t the life for me, plus I like remaining anonymous (for now). Those girls get judged a lot. Once I stopped watching, I stopped caring, it was as simple as that. While my coworkers continue to upgrade their wardrobe, wearing new pieces every week, I wear the same things and try to get the most out of the clothes I have.

I have not made any clothing related purchases in a WHILE, at least since February. The past two months have seen a dramatic decrease in my beauty purchases. I have more than enough to last me for years to come, and the sad thing is, many of these girls have outrageous makeup collections (they take 20 minutes to give a “tour” of them), and the majority of products expire. Such a waste! I don’t like waste of any kind, and I’m trying to cut down on it as much as possible.

More Makeup

I think the biggest takeaway is that you can’t buy beauty. You don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars only to end up as miserable as you were before. Don’t put your faith in the cosmetics industry, put your faith in yourself! It’s cliché, but it’s true. If you have self-esteem issues, at the end of the day when you take your “face” off, you’re still going to be left with yourself. You can’t rely on products to keep you happy forever.

Is there anything you’ve ever spent a lot of money on routinely, only to realize that you should stop funding it? What was it, and how did you stop spending?



  1. Holly@ClubThrifty June 12, 2013 at 11:17 AM

    Ugh, I am a reformed beauty addict too. Ugh, thanks for reminding me. =/

    Anyway, I’ve changed my ways. Now I just use the same cheap things over and over – Oil of Olay, Covergirl. Always trying new products can get expensive.

    1. E.M. June 12, 2013 at 12:30 PM

      Sorry! I totally hear you on that though. Trying new products DID get expensive, and even with sticking to drugstore brands, it adds up. The only thing I ever bought high-end was an eyeshadow palette.
      I love Covergirl’s new foundation, it just ran out on me actually :(. But I am using up the two others I have before I buy it again!!

  2. Sicorra June 12, 2013 at 11:27 AM

    I stumbled across some of those videos a few months ago and I was surprised that these women had figured out a way to make money by simple demonstrating some of their routines. One gal, does makeup and home routines, such as how to save money on groceries and how to meal plan, and stuff.

    I can see how by watching them a person would want to shop but good for you for saying enough already.

    I’m sure you look as wonderful as everyone else at work, and I remember reading a post a few years ago where someone said, if you ask people at work what you wore the day before or the week before they probably wouldn’t remember anyways.

    1. Marlene Drouin January 5, 2016 at 10:46 AM

      Well said! Thank you! :)

  3. E.M. June 12, 2013 at 12:38 PM

    Oh I know – a few of the girls I watched had vlogs too and they were monetizing both channels. Smart on their end, since vlogs seem to be catching on these days. They’re like little reality TV shows and everyone loves to get the inside scoop on their lives. It makes them easier to relate to as well.

    The beauty industry is definitely huge for a reason…I don’t pay attention to commercials or advertisements, but coming from another female it’s so easy to say “Look what they have! I want that for myself.” Bad trap to fall into. I did learn some nice makeup techniques at least.

    Thanks :). I don’t even remember what I wore to work a few days ago on busy weeks! I definitely don’t keep track of what others wear, and it’d be silly to. We get so caught up in it sometimes…

  4. Girl Meets Debt June 12, 2013 at 3:59 PM

    You Tube beauty videos got me too!!! I spent thousands on my makeup collection and while I admit it’s rather nice and I enjoy it, I would have much rather spent that money towards my debt repayment.
    On a side note, I have naked 1 and naked 2 and I love them both :D
    Yay, now I have someone in the PF community to talk makeup/beauty with!

    1. E.M. June 12, 2013 at 4:52 PM

      I enjoy mine too, but I think I went a LITTLE overboard because there’s a few eyeshadow palettes I haven’t even touched yet (BH Cosmetics & Tarte). At least some were Christmas presents…Neutrals are so much easier to work with. I don’t regret buying my Naked palette (one was a gift!) at all, it’s going to last for a while and the quality is amazing. I do love my Lorac Unzipped, though. They are definitely my staples in my makeup collection :)

  5. Pauline June 14, 2013 at 8:19 AM

    Great job on scaling down, if the expense was not that important to you. I scaled down on eating out, I have the same fun going for a beer with friends than an expensive dinner, so it is either the bar or their place, and we spend a lot less.

    1. E.M. June 14, 2013 at 8:35 AM

      Yes, it definitely took some time away from buying it all to realize I didn’t need that much, and it became less important as time went on. Now, I’d rather focus on paying off my student loans.

      Those are great alternatives to having dinner with friends. We used to do the same. A night in with drinks and games is always fun.

  6. anna June 14, 2013 at 2:23 PM

    I keep my make-up at a minimum, but my vice was shopping and race registrations. I agree that once I unsubscribed to email notices, my shopping wants lessened a great deal, so taking yourself out of the triggers really helps!

    1. E.M. June 14, 2013 at 2:29 PM

      Clothing used to be semi-big for me, too, but I found make-up was sometimes costing me more than a shirt! I try to just skip over any clothing sections I come across in Target/department stores so I don’t get sucked in.

      I was actually going to write a post or tip about unsubscribing from email newsletters, because even though they might be informing you about sales, if you don’t need the product, you’re going to find yourself tempted to buy! So I agree that that’s a great way to eliminate it from your mind.

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  8. SarahN June 16, 2013 at 8:20 PM

    Wow, I found this post on girl meets debt, and had a similar post all queued up. The difference is I was never beauty conscious (there’s someone in my life who’d like me to be more so ;)) and so I thought I’d work out how much it would cost, in services at the salon, to make me ‘optimal’. It’s insane the money, and I’d much rather save it for a holiday, or spend it on something more worthwhile. That being said, all the things I listed could be done for cheap, but ‘idunwanna!’

    1. E.M. June 16, 2013 at 10:03 PM

      Oh it is really ridiculous! I just read through your post and I don’t even bother with most of those things. I’ve taken to just plucking my eyebrows (the only thing I’m still self-conscious about) instead of going to a salon. I get my hair cut like four times a year, if that (it’s a low maintenance style). I paint my own nails if I do anything to them at all and I still get tons of compliments on them because they grow like crazy.

      I have definitely heard beauty products themselves cost a LOT more in Australia as well. But from your picture I would say you don’t have to worry about it – natural beauty is always the best.

      1. SarahN June 16, 2013 at 11:29 PM

        Aww compliments will get you everywhere EM! Thank you. I do try to ‘love the skin I’m in’ (which is a marketing campaign of some cosmetic brand!). And most things are $$$ in Australia, but we’re paid more too, so it’s all relative. I love a little eye brow plucking too!

        1. E.M. June 17, 2013 at 1:50 PM

          Haha, not a problem :). I’m glad to hear there is a balance over there, as I have seen drugstore brands quoted there at high-end prices here!

  9. KK @ Student Debt Survivor June 17, 2013 at 9:41 PM

    I’ve never been a big beauty product buyer (just didn’t have the money to do so). Ironically, the older I get the more I’m interested in makeup and clothing. I still don’t buy a lot of clothing or makeup, but I’m experimenting with better quality longer lasting clothing. Those eye shadows are lovely.

    1. E.M. June 17, 2013 at 9:54 PM

      I need to do work on that as well for the next time I need clothes. I lean toward shopping the clearance racks, but sometimes it really does pay in the long run to buy higher quality with the higher price tag. I get disappointed when some shirts get ruined after two washes.

      Those eye shadows are my staple product besides mascara!

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  11. Sandy October 22, 2014 at 12:25 PM

    Hi there, I came across your blog post while I was searching for tips to stop spending so much on beauty products. It’s funny cause the way you explained how you got into that make up addiction is exactly how it happened to me…but the problem is that I am still living it.

    I am trying to get better but I always fail, do you have key tips for me to help me ?

    1. Erin M. October 22, 2014 at 12:33 PM

      Hi Sandy! I’m glad you found my post. I’ve been finding that a lot of women get sucked into cosmetics via YouTube videos! It’s a little crazy.

      What has really helped me in the past year are two things:

      1. I stopped watching YouTube videos. There was next to no temptation to buy after that! I wasn’t being inundated with the latest products or reviews, so I didn’t feel any need to go out and buy. I had more than enough left over from my days of shopping, so I was able to go months without buying anything new. If I am interested in trying new products, that’s the only time I will search around for them, and I commit to ONLY buying what I need.

      2. Put blinders on. Don’t shop at places like Ulta, Sephora, or Target, if you know you won’t be able to leave without buying something. My biggest offender was Target, because it was so easy to stop in the beauty aisle while shopping for other things. I breeze past it now and don’t even let myself go there. I stay away from the mall. In the worst case scenario, I usually go shopping with my boyfriend, who absolutely hates standing around while I browse for makeup. He’ll make it a point to tell me I’m buying unnecessary things! Having an accountability partner can help.

      If all else fails – if you have a budget, only allow yourself to spend a certain amount on makeup per month, to help keep your spending in check. It may help for you to add up all the purchases you’ve made so far this year, and to let that number sink in. Buying cosmetics seems harmless because it’s a little bit here and there, but it can add up over the course of a few months!

      Let me know if I can help you out in any other way!

      1. Diva November 30, 2015 at 4:47 PM

        I have the exact same problem and I am not able to Stop watching YouTube videos :-( . And moreover I am addicted to online shopping so stopping myself from going yo beauty stores isn’t helping .. I don’t have many friends so I feel those beauty gurus r my friends and I feel connected . This is affecting my work a lot ..

        1. Erin M. December 1, 2015 at 2:41 PM

          I’m sorry to hear that, Diva! You’re definitely not alone there. I think a lot of YouTubers are able to build up a community based on being so personable, you do kind of feel like they’re your friend after a while. The best thing I can recommend is to find a new hobby, one that’s more productive, and one that allows you to meet friends. If there are MeetUp groups available in your area, I would try that.

          The reason I say that is because it’s super easy to get sucked into YouTube’s abyss and sit there watching videos for hours on end. It’s pretty addicting, just like TV is. What helps is finding something else to take up your time, but that something should improve your life. Either that, or find a better online community where you can make friends with similar interests. There are quite a few out there!

  12. Ute November 28, 2014 at 1:41 AM

    I just unsubscribed from all the beauty youtubers, except for 2. Wow that was big. Now what am I going to do with all that time ?
    Maybe clean my art studio and get back to work . i found you by looking up makeup addictions. It is a real problem and I think the “beauty community” on youtube never talks about it. Who the heck needs that mu h makeup ? They look like clowns . I hope I can stop with that obsession. It is funny how they use the word “obsessed” about many of the products.

    1. Erin M. November 28, 2014 at 10:56 AM

      I’m glad you found my post! I agree that it’s a real problem, just as having any shopping addiction is. I remember watching a few makeup collection videos and being overwhelmed at the amount of stuff some girls were hoarding. It is really unnecessary – most of them weren’t using the makeup on others!

      YouTube can be a giant time-suck in general, but there many more worthwhile things to be spending time on. The longer you’re away from it, the less you’ll be concerned about it!

  13. Carrie November 29, 2014 at 12:29 AM

    Hi Erin,

    I must say, your blog is exactly what I needed to come across this evening. I have had an addiction to buying beauty products for as long as I can remember…ever since I was a little girl, really. I think it’s great that makeup and products fascinate me but it’s when things start to get out of hand and your bank account is empty that you start to see the dark side of the beauty addicted world. I’m slowly trying to get myself out of the mindset that I’ve been in for the past years. I am such a youtube fanatic and check daily to see who has posted new videos. It’s comforting to know that I’m not the only one that has been completely tricked and intrigued by these videos, but I think the best thing that’s happened is that I’m finally acknowledging how unhealthy it is. I’m in my late 20’s, just married a few weeks ago ☺️ But unemployed at the moment due to relocating and what not. With that being said, my husband and I certainly shouldn’t be spending money right now on things that we don’t really need (products) since he is also just getting back on his feet with work as well. Yet, in the past few months that I’ve been unemployed, I have spent so much of my savings on makeup, it makes me sick. It would be my vice for days that I had nothing to do. I even went out and bought the infamous “Alex” drawers from ikea and spend time each day just going through my products and organizing them. It’s so embarrassing and every time a sephora box shows up on our doorstep, I am so embarrassed. It’s like…I don’t even want these things, but I felt as if I had to buy something fun that day, so I bought them. I love the advice that you’ve given and I am definitely going to be checking back to your blog to keep myself in check. I am going to force myself off of YouTube (even though it may be difficult) I’m going to do it. It’s just so crazy how these girls make their makeup hoarding lives seem so perfect and let’s face it, of course all if those products look gorgeous on an HD camera, but like you said, I am going to try my absolute hardest to start using up what I have and only buy when I absolutely need something. This post turned out to be much longer than expected, but I literally drove myself to tears the other night thinking of how many thousands and thousands of dollars I’ve wasted on these silly products. Thank you so much for writing your blog and helping out the beauty junkies in need of your guidance! : )

    1. Erin M. November 29, 2014 at 12:55 AM

      First, congratulations on getting married! Second, thank you for taking the time to leave a comment. It’s things like this that make blogging worth it. =)

      You are definitely not alone, based on the number of views and subscribers that beauty gurus get. The cosmetics industry is enormous, and way too many of us have been obsessed with beauty products because of the great marketing they do.

      We actually relocated several months ago, and while I’ve been freelancing and earning some money, it’s not the steady and reliable paycheck I’ve been used to. It’s a huge reality check to live on a bare bones budget, and one of the first things to go was makeup.

      I let myself browse some beauty related things on Pinterest the other day, and I quickly had to snap myself out of it, because everything looked so pretty. The packaging really gets you sometimes! Since I’m working from home now, makeup is truly a luxury, as most days I don’t bother to wear it.

      In light of that, I’ve only been trying new products when I actually run out of whatever I had. It’s better for myself and my wallet! Plus, I never realized it at the time, but watching tutorials and reviews made me think I needed to buy all those products to look as pretty as the girls doing videos. But how many women actually go crazy with their makeup on a constant basis? Not many that I come across.

      Makeup can be a fun hobby, but when you’re on a tight budget, you can’t really justify the expense. It’s more important to be able to afford necessities like food, rent, and utilities.

      After a year and a half of not watching YouTube, makeup is an after-thought for me. I have a routine I’m happy with, and there’s no reason to buy more. Focus on being happy and grateful for the collection you do have. The fact that you realize there’s no reason to buy anything extra is good! You’re on the right path. Just unsubscribe from all the gurus, any newsletters you get (from Sephora especially, I know they send a lot of emails!), and do your best to avoid beauty products completely.

      If you ever need any encouragement or someone to vent to, feel free to send me an email. =) Good luck with getting back on track with your expenses, and finding a job!

    2. Marlene Drouin January 5, 2016 at 10:58 AM

      Me too! Thousands of dollars!! I decided to throw out everything I owned. Owning makeup seemed to tempt me in some way to maybe buy more when I become employed again. I don’t even want a small collection. The downfall of pride with underemployment hit me too hard.

    3. Tiffany March 16, 2016 at 7:32 PM

      Hi Carrie! I hope this post doesn’t come off weird ? but I can SOOOOOO relate to you. Sephora package showed up today, an ulta package will be in Friday, ANOTHER Ulta Monday, and another Sephora end of this week. Not to mention the Mac order I placed 2 hrs ago ? I LOVE all my items and I LOVE taking the time to get ready and “play”, but all of this stuff will expire way before I can use it and that’s so silly to me. I was wondering if maybe we could email or something and maybe that would help? I’m just now seeing how bad my addiction is and realizing I need to do something about it. I just turned 30 and am too old to be throwing my $$ away like this!

      And thanks Erin for the article! I really do think it’s helpful to know there are others out there that over came the addiction. I also watch YouTube daily and am subscribed to approximately 25 beauty channels. I’m just now realizing how bad my addiction has become ??

      1. Erin M. March 16, 2016 at 9:37 PM

        Thanks for commenting and adding to the discussion, Tiffany! It’s a hard habit to break, especially when it’s so easy to give in. You already know you have a problem and you want to change it, which is great. Try unsubscribing from those channels or find another hobby to fill your time with. You’ll barely remember those videos are there in two months or so. =) At least, that’s what worked for me! Also, getting an accountability partner is a good idea, too.

  14. Carrie December 8, 2014 at 5:09 PM

    Hi Erin,

    Thank you SO much for your reply. I read it the day that you posted but have been out of town and just now getting a chance to reply. I literally felt such a sense of relief just from reading what you wrote. I felt as if someone tapped me on the shoulder and said “it’s going to be ok. So thank you so much for that.

    You are so right in saying that the marketing for the beauty industry is genius. They make everything look so shiny and beautiful. I love how you mentioned that nowadays, makeup is a “luxury” to you. That’s a great way to think of it and since I last wrote I have really been trying to train my mind into thinking that these purchases I make are no longer necessities, but treats…luxuries and purchases that I shouldn’t be making all of the time (sometimes it would be on a daily basis for me.)

    The whole YouTube thing is just insane. It’s so crazy how a little hobby of watching videos can suddenly turn into obsession and envy. I was watching these videos of these girls’ makeup collections and sitting there thinking how crazy it was but also being a bit envious. I was also envious of their lives and how they were making so much money and having so much fun (at least they make it appear that way) just testing out makeup on camera, going to events, getting sent free things, etc. I had to take a step back and think to myself “would I really want that life? A life where you are pressured every week to videotape everything you’re doing and constantly be surrounded by the things that are putting me into debt? It went from a harmless hobby into something unhealthy, obsessive and extremely expensive. The funny thing is, as I’m sure you are aware, when you scroll to the bottom of these girls’ videos, it usually states that most products were gifted and sent for review. Naturally, they are recommending products so they can make money and/or get more free products. It’s really just a vicious cycle. With that being said, I really do want to thank you for the work that you put into your blog and for your reply. I’ve never been able to speak to anyone about this before, and just knowing that there’s someone else out there that has experienced something similar and that I’m not alone is so comforting and extremely helpful as I embark on is journey of letting go of this behavior and only buying products when I absolutely need them.

    I’ve unsubscribed my email to quite a few companies, still working on unsubscribing to Sephora. I know I can do it, haha…I think I will feel much better when I do. Once again, thank you so much for taking the time to write and I hope you’re having a great holiday season!

    <3 Carrie

    1. Erin M. December 8, 2014 at 7:32 PM

      I’m so glad to hear my reply helped! Using beauty items as a reward when you hit certain milestones with saving (or debt repayment) can help curb the feeling of wanting something new immediately, too. I keep a little wishlist on Amazon going, so that when the time comes, I can look forward to getting something nice. While it was a mistake in hindsight (as I had enough already), I did ask my parents and fiance to get me makeup one year, so that’s always an option, too.

      If you have enough makeup to warrant it, you could always try taking inventory. Seeing that you maybe have 15 different lip glosses might help you realize makeup definitely isn’t a necessity. One problem I encountered was that I didn’t have products I was truly happy with. I had 5 different kinds of mascara, but they weren’t great. When you find something you’re happy with, stick to it, and if you’re unhappy with a purchase, some stores will let you return it. Do what you can to keep your collection down.

      I hear you on YouTube. Something else to consider: I did watch a few beauty gurus’ vlog channels, and they mentioned quite often that they lived paycheck to paycheck. Unless you’re getting serious views on YouTube, it’s probably not the best career move! Not everyone can succeed with it (same with blogging, I’ve learned). I would much rather be saving my money than getting tons of beauty items for free, and being in debt. I also think that while it seems like tons of fun to viewers, we don’t know what goes into the making of videos. As with social media, people can edit things to death to make them look fantastic, but on the inside, who knows – some of these gurus might not find their work very fulfilling!

      Sephora actually ticked me off a bit recently! I’m not sure what prompted it, but they sent me an email saying “we miss you, here’s $15 off!” Of course, I clicked, and lo and behold, you had to spend $50 to use the coupon. No thanks!! They try to rope you in with everything and anything…

      Again, thank you for commenting, and I’m happy to know my writing has helped! Enjoy the holidays!

  15. Joddy Wilde May 22, 2015 at 9:19 AM

    Thank you a lot for sharing this article! Once I was crazy about new makeup products but now I really don’t care. I think that with the age people start care about more important things than make up products and we start spending money on better things like vacation for example :)

    1. Erin M. May 22, 2015 at 10:55 AM

      Good point, Joddy! I think you’re right in most cases. My mom is definitely not as crazy about makeup as I am!

  16. Celine January 4, 2016 at 9:26 AM

    I came accross your blog by searching makeup addiction on google…I have been makeup addicted for years, i spend my whole salary and i can spend it in just a few days which is dramatic. I feel very guilty and ashamed at the moment because i just spent my whole december salary in makeup in just 1 week. I feel so bad, i am going to stop all this but cutting youtube and instagram. I generally get tempted only because of IG and beauty blogs. If i didn’t have this addiction i could have saved thousands! I also have the alex 9 drawers which is FULL and i don’t even get pleasure anymore by purchasing makeup, it’s like i just NEED it now but don’t feel pleasure…

    1. Erin M. January 4, 2016 at 11:45 AM

      Hi Celine,

      Thanks for stopping by. It’s crazy sometimes how much we spend without fully realizing it! Don’t be too hard on yourself. You’ve at least realized there’s a problem, and you already know what you need to do to fix it. I understand what you mean with buying and not even being happy with the products. It’s just become an addiction.

      I have a few ideas on how you can make not buying beauty products a little easier. Besides cutting out IG and blogs, try and focus on other financial goals you have. Are you in any debt? Are you trying to save up for something specific? You said “could have saved thousands” if not for this addiction. Pick something to apply that savings to to make it more real. Every time you’re tempted to spend on a beauty product, ask yourself if you’d rather have that thing, or just another product to fill your drawers. Which one is going to make you happier?

      Half the problem is creating new (and good) spending habits in place of old ones. Questioning yourself before buying can instill those good habits. Also, focusing on spending on things that DO make you happy will rid yourself of all this guilt. Throughout 2015, I allowed myself to spend more freely, but ONLY on things I had defined as “values.” And it worked! I cut my spending in all other areas and focused on family, travel, and new experiences. I was much happier with these purchases and it made me see how much I DIDN’T need other stuff in my life.

      I hope this helps!

  17. putri April 1, 2016 at 1:20 AM

    I used to have makeup addiction when i was single due to the same reasons as you: watching Youtube videos, browsing the cosmetics aisle in the drugstore. Now that I am married with a kid on the way, I have learnt how to prioritize my budget. I also don’t have much time to do leisurely shopping and browsing cosmetic aisles. In 2015, I made a resolution not buy any cosmetics unless a product is finished, and I made a pledge not to walk into Sephora. I am proud to say that resolution was successful! I also feel more confident with my bare face as my husband also likes my face au naturel.

    1. Erin M. April 3, 2016 at 5:55 PM

      I am so so happy to hear that, Putri! It’s true, once you have other things to take care of in life, you learn to prioritize and cosmetics usually don’t make it to the top unless it’s a major hobby of yours.

      It’s funny you mention that. I’ve become slightly more confident over the years and don’t use as much makeup anymore. Every guy I’ve been with has said they barely notice the difference between me with makeup and sans makeup. I don’t know how, but hey, I won’t complain! It’s nice not to have the pressure.

  18. Stefhanie April 24, 2016 at 5:28 PM

    Hi Erin,

    First, thank you for writing this article. I cant believe that I’d be searching google again for tips on ‘how to stop spending much money on make up’ for the second time. I remember I did this 2 years ago but I wonder why I didnt come across this. I was not really into makeup when I was in college and I can say I’m a late bloomer because I only got into makeup when I started to work around 2007. I really love collecting lipsticks, my mom also loves lipsticks so I think she influenced me a lot. My collection of course started with it, and what I usually think when I buy makeup is that its a reward for my hardwork. Then I started reading product reviews through blogs as I was not really into youtube at the time, main reason is because we dont have fast internet connection. I was okay with low end makeup at first, buying stuff mostly from drugstore brands then my entire collection started to grow.Then all of a sudden I started this habit of saving online pages on different reviews and then buying the products that rated the most PROs in them. I also had this habit of saving the receipts of the makeup I bought then when I computed it, it turned out I had spent $250 in 1 month. I got so lured by the cute packing, plus, its a korean brand. When I realized that, it somehow helped me stop buying makeup for a while. But…then someone invited me to this makeup group in Facebook where everyone shares their collection and some sell stuff that we cant buy locally. I got so convinced into buying makeup again and it was the holidays so there are makeup brands that has holiday collections. I ended up buying almost all of the holiday collections of this high end brand [using my credit card] and since then I told myself that I will start collecting high end makeup. Bought 5 Mac lipsticks in one go and then listed the shades I want to have, while waiting for the 5 Kylie lipkits I ordered online that I made the effort to send to my aunt in Australia coz they dont ship to our country. Not only did I spent more than $250/month now but I mostly purchased these items without my husband’s knowledge. It now came to me that I kept a lot of things from my husband and I really feel guilty. I want to stop this addiction because its come to a point that I pay for stuff I ordered online rather than paying bills first and most importantly it made me such a liar that I spent this much on myself and spent little on family needs. I feel so bad. I think the first thing I’ll do is I’ll remove myself from the makeup group on facebook since I dont have that many subscribed channels in youtube. I will tell everything to my husband and will ask him to help me stay myself away from makeup sections on malls and to constantly remind me to use up the ones that I have first.

    1. Erin M. April 24, 2016 at 6:01 PM

      Stefhanie, my first thought is that it’s good you recognize all of this as a problem. As you said, it’s not your first time looking for tips on how to stop, and it seems like you’re very aware of how this addiction is affecting your life.

      I definitely think removing yourself from the groups is a good idea. Whenever you come across temptation to buy, write it down so you can actively avoid it or remove it from your life.

      Talking with your husband is also a good move. I believe it’s extremely important to be open about finances in serious relationships – especially if you’ve combined finances. Hiding purchases just isn’t a good idea. If your finances are combined, I’d be prepared to do whatever to prove to him you’re serious about stopping, which might include giving him viewing access to your account. Using him to keep you accountable is a good idea, but knowing yourself well enough to put an end to these purchases is good, too.

      It sounds like most of your purchases are centered around one category. If you still have receipts and packages aren’t opened, is there any chance you could return some of the things you bought? If not, trying to use your current collection until it’s out is the best way to go. If you have to, lay all of your stuff out in one area to see just how much you have. When I did that, I realized I had WAY too much – more than I’d ever need for the next five years, most likely. That made me realize I had no reason to keep buying stuff, other than wanting to try something new. That reason ended up not being good enough for me to continue, especially in light of my student loan debt.

      My advice, in relation to that, would be to focus on any other financial goals you have. And if you don’t have any, think about forming a few. You said you purchase cosmetics as a reward, but then said you sometimes put buying it before paying other bills. I would hate to see your financial life suffer as a result. If you don’t have enough left to pay the bills (I’m not sure if you do), that could have serious negative consequences for your credit. My belief is we deserve to create a life we’re happy with, but in the context of financial stability. I would much rather have my emergency fund than a makeup collection, as strange as that sounds.

      So going back to goals – think of other ways to treat yourself. Do you enjoy travel? Try saving up for a trip somewhere. Do you have any other hobbies? Focus on those. Whenever you want to buy lipstick, remember those goals and ask yourself which is more important. And if you really need to purchase other cosmetics (aside from lipstick), make sure you save a little bit each month for those purchases. Give yourself a realistic spending limit and try and stick to it.

      I hope some of that helped!

  19. Lisa April 26, 2016 at 8:09 AM

    Wow, I see me in this, too. After reading this, I realized that, although I already knew watching makeup videos on YouTube got me buying more cosmetics, I didn’t realize that whenever I stopped watching them, I didn’t think of buying an. I was satisfied with the ones I had. I was in a phase of finding new make-up that worked for me since I had some recent diagnosed allergies that concerned me and sensitive skin. But every time I found something that worked, I’d still keep watching videos and end up trying something new. When my goal was to find a drugstore brand of cosmetics instead of tarte and bareminerals, I found I like a few, but YouTube videos on the new Rainforest of the Sea collection by Tarter got me buying that. And the Philosophy air cushioned foundation, which I actually do like out of all the foundations I have. But still I don’t need all that and it was more than what I wanted to spend. I did start buying thinking I can make YouTube videos reviews and hauls. I quickly grew bored of it but still kept spending…. I should really stop watching beauty videos and Googling about them. I was satisfied with a lip balm I had until I found out about cover girl’s new ones! Although, that one is affordable drugstore brand and cheaper than the Tarte I had purchased…. great article :)

    1. Erin M. April 27, 2016 at 10:35 AM

      Thanks, Lisa! I’m glad you had the same realization as I did. Truthfully, it’s been years now, and I haven’t gone back except for when I’m specifically looking for a new product once one of mine has run out. Even then, I limit myself to trying one. If it doesn’t work, I return it (Target has a good return policy) and then try something else.

      There’s really no use in having 3-5 different types of any product for everyday use. Having a limited amount of cosmetics also forces you to get into a routine, since you’re applying the same stuff everyday, and it’s helped me cut down on how long I take to get ready. ;)

      Finding cheaper alternatives that work well with your skin is a challenge, I know. Just continue being mindful of when you watch, and only choose to watch when you NEED to – when something has run out.

  20. Audrey March 21, 2017 at 4:34 AM

    I’m super thrifty when it comes to makeup, I only buy the absolute cheapest drugstore products out there (most of my stuffs are Wet n Wild, NYX, E.L.F, L’Oreal and Revlon. But I spent the rest of my money into skincare products; that are a lot of times very pricey. I always tell myself that skincare is a necessity and my sensitive skin (with rosacea and atopic dermatitis) just doesn’t react well to drugstore products because most of them are not gentle enough. I’m torn between spending money on high quality gentle skincare products for my problematic skin VS. saving money. I don’t have a debt and always buy anything in cash, to avoid having credit card debts I can’t afford.

    1. Erin M. May 24, 2017 at 1:41 PM

      It sounds like you’re being smart about your purchases, Audrey! I’m in the same boat as you. I started buying Cerave products for my face since my skin is pretty sensitive, and while they’re not the priciest products, they were still more than I was used to spending. In my opinion, having healthier skin is important to me, and if I can improve the quality of my skin I might be less likely to use foundation. ;) As long as you have the money for it, and as long as it’s important to you (in light of your other financial goals), go for it.

  21. Gigi April 8, 2017 at 2:06 AM

    Nice article
    I was really addicted to YouTube videos and I purchased a lot that I didn’t use really
    Then I felt bad about this. I was in situation where I needed a lot of money.
    So I sold most of my makeup because here in Egypt all makeup products are imported and really expensive.
    So, a lot of Facebook groups were created to sell and buy used makeup for girls on budget
    I sold most of my makeup and off course unsubscribe from all beauty YouTube channels.
    What a relief
    Now I saved a lot of time and money cod I don’t watch these videos any more

    P. S
    Excuse my bad english

    1. Erin M. May 24, 2017 at 1:43 PM

      That’s awesome that you found a solution, Gigi! “What a relief” says it all – you’re better off without it. =)

  22. Anna April 19, 2017 at 12:01 AM

    Ironic given the topic BUT

    – what are the eyeshadow palettes in photos 1 and 2?

    They look gorgeous & are to die for. Obviously I’ve spent my money on the wrong eyeshadows.

    The Naked one and the yellow one look particularly good. What set is it? Please let me know!

    (Obviously I have a beauty addiction I’m trying to get rid of!)

    1. Erin M. May 24, 2017 at 1:47 PM

      I have the Naked 1 & 2 palettes (1 – darker, 2 – lighter) from Urban Decay, and the yellow one is Lorac’s Unzipped. And I’m still using them! They last forever and are great quality. Those are purchases I don’t regret…and I haven’t purchased any other eyeshadow palettes since, considering the price.

  23. Annika October 3, 2017 at 11:17 AM

    I’m ironically glad and at the same time sad that other women have dealt with this issue as well, My google search was “how to stop craving for cosmetics”. I feel like I get a kick out of new purchases and a dose of dopamine… a genuine rush of joy. The regret came later when I moved and realized how much makeup I had accumulated. I’m not about to throw anything away but I’m going to keep using the products until they’re finished. I’ve given some away to my mum’s friend who can’t afford to buy makeup. I live in a country where I can’t return anything to store so I’m stuck with my stash. My existing products don’t really bother me anymore but I get sad if I start to think about how much I’ve spent. That money should’ve been used more wisely. Well, live and learn.

    I still have the urge to buy but I’m determined that I won’t. My boyfriend knows about this issue and that I was trying to fill a void in my life with makeup and shiny new products. They didn’t make me happy eventually. Not like my boyfriend, friends and family does. I think that I’ll start to avoid online stores, beauty blogs, catalogs, real stores and definitely Youtube. It will be hard but doable.

    1. Tiffany October 3, 2017 at 12:14 PM

      This sounds SO much like me!!!! And now that I haven’t been watching YouTube as much, I feel like I don’t buy as much! I haven’t purchased anything in months! I still have way more makeup than I’ll ever be able to use myself. I also recently moved and realized how many brand new items I have that haven’t even been touched yet. Almost embarrassing! Best of luck to you!

      1. Erin October 3, 2017 at 12:39 PM

        Moving can be a total slap in the face as to how much stuff you really own. I’ve been there! Good luck to both of you. =)

  24. Annika October 3, 2017 at 11:35 AM

    I have to add that I rarely bought anything that wasn’t heavily discounted. The discounts ranged from 40…70 % and I bought things like a hoarder. I bought clothes originally but switched to makeup as that took less space. Stupid logic but that’s how I thought. Now I’m trying to replace spending money altogether either with reading or physical exercise. It’s hard to change behaviour. If it was easy nobody would be addicted to anything.

    1. Erin October 3, 2017 at 12:23 PM

      Annika, I love how self-aware your comment is! You are totally not alone, and you’re taking amazing steps toward a more fulfilling life, which is awesome. Congratulations, and good luck with your reading and exercise! Those are two things I’ve tried to fill my life with as well. =)

      1. Annika October 3, 2017 at 1:03 PM

        Thanks for the encouragement! Somehow it helps to know that other women have fallen into this rabbit hole as well…and that there is a way out. Youtube and beauty blogs started my cosmetics obsession and because I only have a couple of good friends I too started to believe in a weird way that the Youtube beauty gurus were somehow substitute friends. They sounded so familiar and warm.

        Before the commercial success of blogs and Youtube, women shared experiences of good and bad products. Nowadays there is a horrible selling point in the videos that is hard to resist as it is peer marketing and people like to belong. I couldn’t stop myself from buying even when I knew that I was being marketed a product by peer marketing. Hence I have to stop watching advertisements altogether (meaning beauty blogs and Youtube beauty gurus).

        1. Erin October 3, 2017 at 1:39 PM

          Even in other communities I’m part of, it’s been brought up that YouTube personalities are serving as friendship simulators to an extent. And they definitely know how to market effectively because of that.

          The way I’ve looked at it since I wrote this post is that I’d rather keep things simple. Not only is it cheaper, but consuming all of those videos *and* spending hours in stores (or online) looking at cosmetics is a huge waste of time. Time is even more important than money since you can never get it back. Life is already complicated enough – I stick to the few products that work and I’ve been using them all for the past few years. If something stops working effectively, I search ONLY for that product and I limit myself to a certain amount of reviews and then I turn it off again. It’s been extremely beneficial to go cold turkey on all the videos out there. I hope it works for you!

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