You may have seen this meme on Instagram or Twitter:
Obviously, it's a bit tongue-in-cheek since it's not like if one stopped buying makeup, they would suddenly be able to afford a house or secure that perfect partner, but as in any joke, there's always an element of truth.
It gave me a moment to reflect on my relationship with makeup over the past few years, and more importantly, where I am right now.
Four years into the blog, it almost goes without saying I've accumulated a large makeup collection. Even though I regularly go through it all to see if I can donate or cull anything, I know objectively I have enough colour makeup to last me the next 10+ years, with the possible exception of foundation, mascara, etc. with more stringent expiry dates.
I recently thought about how much money I've spent over the years on makeup, skin care, hair care, nail polish, makeup brushes, perfumes, body care, candles, and everything else we categorise as “beauty”. The truth is, I have no idea. It's in the thousands of dollars, though how many thousands is the question.
It's not exactly that I feel that money was wasted, per se. I tremendously enjoy my makeup collection. Insofar as material things can generate happiness, I do get gratification from having and using makeup. Given the choice to do it all again, I don't know if I'd elect to spend my discretionary income any other way. At least that was true until perhaps the last half a year.
Don't get me wrong, I still really love makeup. I have fun playing around with it, I look forward to applying it in the morning, I continue to get a kick out of both the process and the end result. But I don't know if I can allow myself to spend on it as freely as before. Especially now, in my late 20s, needing to confront certain realities about my financial position and my future. This city I'm in ain't getting any cheaper. It's also about more considered consumerism, pardon the oxymoron. I need to think very carefully about anything I buy — makeup or otherwise. David Karp once said “liquidity is the new luxury”. It's a quote I resonate with but could do a lot better exemplifying. Stuff does weigh you down, though as humans, we also are comforted by the mere fact of having things. We identify with the things we own. We come to depend on them to maintain a certain standard of living, and often cannot imagine going without.
It's not so much deprivation that's the goal — but perhaps being satisfied increasingly with less, and appreciating what I do have more. Being mindful of and deriving greater utility from current possessions. For me, that means a big step towards actually finishing things before I buy replacements or alternatives. Really conceptualising how long it would take me to hit pan on an eyeshadow or blush before surrendering to that feeling of needing a new one.
What does that mean for the blog? There may be fewer posts about new stuff I've bought. There may be more posts on shopping my stash, or rediscovering underappreciated items, or finding connections or common themes between products I already have. There may be (as has actually been the case) more time in between posts in general. But it's all part of the natural progression of a live thing, and I'm still here (on the blog, on Twitter, on Instagram). Thanks as always for reading.