Are back-ups worth it?

For something that I’ll use up, sure, absolutely. I’ve learned over time that it’s just very, very hard to finish most cosmetics for me (even when I wasn’t blogging as much!) that I don’t buy backups much for anything color-wise. I’ve done so with discontinued holy grails like Chanel Dragon or Burberry Trench. I’ll purchase backups of certain skincare products or basics (like foundation, brow gel, etc.) when there’s a good sale but try to limit to just one backup… except lip balm, since I go through that often enough!

— Christine


Comments that do not adhere to our comment policy may be removed. Discussion and debate are highly encouraged but we expect community members to participate respectfully. Please keep discussion on-topic, and if you have general feedback, a product review request, an off-topic question, or need technical support, please contact us!

Please help us streamline the comments' section and be more efficient: double-check the post above for more basic information like pricing, availability, and so on to make sure your question wasn't answered already. Comments alerting us to typos or small errors in the post are appreciated (!) but will typically be removed after errors are fixed (unless a response is needed).

We appreciate enthusiasm for new releases but ask readers to please hold questions regarding if/when a review will be posted as we can't commit to or guarantee product reviews. We don't want to set expectations and then disappoint readers as even products that are swatched don't always end up being reviewed due to time constraints and changes in priorities! Thank you for understanding!

Comments on this post are closed.
Athena Avatar

The only situation where I think it IS worth it, is regarding skincare that really prevents my breakouts or those that I am absolutely sure I will repurchase, cannot find anywhere else and take some significant time to be delivered, for example some of my beauty orders take 2 weeks to arrive from specific destinations.

cherie Avatar

Hardly ever for makeup with the exception of Nars concealer which I also keep a tube of in my purse.. I really don’t have any holy grails for makeup outside of that, just skincare. There are a lot of products I like to try and I never finish them up. I only get backups of basic items that I’ll run out of from a lot of use like a lip balm, body butter, shampoo or soap. With makeup, I feel like there are so many dupes out there now along with formulation changes that it’s just bester to use up what you have.

Debbie Avatar

As you said, if there is a sale on an item on a basic product yes, but only one for the shelf.

I have, however been know to buy a backup of some lip colors so that I have one in my bag and one at home. Less chance of losing it, but I haven’t done that in a while.

Where powders are concerned I will buy a backup once I have hit pan, or when I start seeing through my bottle of foundation so that there is an easy transition from the older one to the newer one.

Seraphine Avatar

I’ve done some pretty stupid things when it comes to back-ups. I’ve bought stashes of products that were being discontinued only to find something I like better a few months down the road. Nowadays I try to limit it to keeping just one back-up of eyebrow pencil and mascara.

Aj Avatar

Yes, if it’s something I know I have/will use/d up and will want to use again. Mostly applies to skincare, but I have a few makeup backups too. Those makeup backups are mainly for a few LEs that are my absolute favorites.

kjh Avatar

Yeah, one back up on skincare, when on sale. Same w/pseudo-skincare I use up more than once a year…FAB triple duty and Paula long name TM. Although, my first CP SSS that I kept in their boxes are getting wonky; kind of sad, in the case of more unique shades. Maybe they will resuscitate w/isododecane/duraline. I used to have dupes, for say, home and work. Not feasible or necessary now.

Nichole Avatar

I struggle with this. Knowing I probably have two of every shade in lipstick, gloss, eye shadow…I will still buy a backup if it’s a limited edition. Not bragging, just admitting I have a problem. I have several makeup bags of backup lip products in my fridge. I’m think I may get to one of those next year, SMH.

The one product I liked and didn’t get a backup of is Mac’s Lorelei. I use it sparingly.

Backups are worth it for items you use often if you get it on sale. I always buy multiples of shadow and lash primer during a Sephora sale. Other than that, it’s a sickness.

Chelsea Kennamore Avatar

I usually don’t get backups because I never run through products. I did, however, get a backup of the ABH Mario palette. I haven’t used up all of the original, but there are some bigger dents. Since I think I will probably use all of the palette, I’m glad I got a backup.

Wednesday Avatar

I used to have an issue with buying in twos esp. LE, lipsticks but I very rarely buy backups with the knowledge I am usually on to something different. I have, however, purchased twosies of my fav nude colorpop lippie stix and pencils when they have been on sale so I have one for purse and one at home if I lose (Oh snap, Lumiere, Contempo). I bought a second backup of my loose LaMer powder when I learned they were d/c’ing the formula I use. I’m on my last container.. my HG and thankfully the tub is huge. I can’t think of anything else, particularly recently, where I have purchased a backup.

p.s. I do love buying points based mini versions of things of products that I use for travel or for purse.

Alice Avatar

The only things I keep back-ups of are lip balm and hand lotion since I have them stashed around the house/lose them/go through them quickly, and contact solution which I buy in 2-packs. I’ll occasionally have a back-up of like makeup remover or lotion if there’s a two-for sale but not often.

I don’t buy back-ups of color cosmetics anymore (in the past I did a few times) because I just don’t go through them fast enough and even if something is LE or being discontinued there’s almost always a dupe. I don’t have any HG products that I love enough for me to buy & store multiples.

Anne Avatar

I’m to the point where I buy back-ups of skincare to last me through the next year during the greats sales before and after Thanksgiving. I’ve got my favorites and when I use up something, in May for example, I’m glad I have that backup that I bought months ago on sale. I used to buy too much during the Sephora sales, but now I buy far more sparingly, usually items I’ve been thinking about for quite a while, which may include a back-up or two of my HG foundation and my HG lipstick that I know I’ll need within the next 4 months or so. And, I do the 3 for 2 mascaras at Nordstrom once a year. Every now and then, I’ll buy a back-up of a HG that’s being discontinued or a LE I fell in love with (very, very rare). But, my rule for back-ups is that only my best friends are invited to that party.

Momo Avatar

I thinks this varies based on a person’s situation. Someone like me who owns a barrel load of makeup, backups seem almost unnecessary. Chances are that I’ll actually have something else to replace the empty/finished makeup product. For those who don’t have a mega stash, I understand why a backup could prove to be valuable.

Now, when it comes to skincare products, I would think a backup would be worth it; especially if it’s a product that you use frequently. I use a lot of Korean skincare products, and have quite the day and extensive nighttime regime. So I like keeping backups of my serum and various moisturizing agents because I fly through them.

Pearl Avatar

Yes! I buy a backup of any LE product that I really like, even though I know there is a chance it will be made permanent later on or there are dupes. A lot of times it has to do with the packaging. I stock up on my staples during sales and also buy backups of anything powder-based if I find out it’s going to be discontinued.

Deborah S. Avatar

I definitely purchase back ups for skin care products and can’t wait for Sephora’s fall sale as that is when I purchase most of my skin care. I have purchased a couple of backups of colored products but that is not my norm. I have a backup of Catfight from Urban Decay and keep it in the refrigerator because heaven knows when I will ever finish the original. I have a backup of my Tarte Shape Tape because for awhile you couldn’t find it anywhere so when I saw my shade come back in stock I grabbed it. The only eye shadows that I have a backup of is Coloured Raines Queen of Hearts palette. Stunning shadows from my perspective.

Nicole D Avatar

I never bought back-ups of makeup. For skincare, yes, especially when there is a sale for products that I’ve been using on a daily basis. However, I don’t buy skincare back-ups that go beyond 6 months for products with natural/organic ingredients (most of my skincare stash) or 12 months for the others.
I regret not buying back-ups for some much loved fragrances that have been discontinued (Trouble by Boucheron, Midnight Poison by Dior, Flora Bella by Lalique, L’Eau par Kenzo Eau Indigo).

Nancy T Avatar

Yes, sometimes they are! If I happen to find a true gem that’s LE, I will sometimes buy a backup,ie; MAC Royally Riotous lipstick. Also, will do so for a much-loved HG item being DC’d, UD Revolution lipstick in Catfight and Streak. Basic skincare and haircare HG items on sale would be one more case of me adding a b/up, ie; Hada Labo Plumping Gel Moisturizer and FAB Pure Mineral Sunscreen Moisturizer SPF 40.

AB Avatar

Absolutely for HG items that I’ll be glad for the backup if it gets lost, or if I decide to have duplicates in purse/home/office, or to give me breathing room for the replacement search if the item’s discontinued.

There are maybe a half dozen such items for me — what comes to mind: UD Riff, UD Spike, ABH Brick eyeshadows; NARS matte soft complete concealer; Lorac eyeliner in bronze; Chanel eyebrow pencil (I think my favorite’s been DC so helpful that I have a backup), E Lauder Naked Truth lipstick, Jack Black lip balm.

Mariella Avatar

Sometimes but not often. I do wish I had a back up of MAC Jardin Aires pigment (I’ve only got a small one that was part of an Xmas set) and I now regret not buying backups of 2 of MAC’s discontinued Matte2 shadows but it’s not so severe that it pains me a whole lot (I just wish they’d not been so stupid as to discontinue them). But since it’s lipsticks that I go through most quickly, yes, I do regret not getting a backups of a few (MAC Red Necessity and Red Dwarf, 2 Clarins ones the 3 shades Guerlain Rouge Automatique lipsticks that I love and use often).

kisha Avatar

Yes, folks kill me with back ups to highlighters especially when you’ll neveeeeer finish the first one lol. With so many dupes and brands, to back up lipsticks unless its truly ur HG u use everyday isn’t worth a backup cuz we have so many more options now.

Lesley Avatar

I used to buy skincare back-ups but then my skin started to change and I am now stuck with products I really cannot use. I have a weakness for Chanel nail polish and I sorely regret not buying back-ups of the ones I really loved.

Erica Avatar

Probably not since I rarely use up most things but I have gave in and bought a back up of a few select things. MAC eyeshadows in blanc type, folie and mystery. I also have a back up of MAC LE Real Redhead lipstick. I plan on getting a back up of ABH Modern Renaissance Palette too

Kari Avatar

I am allergic to a lot of the ingredients used in skincare so when I found a bodywash that worked for me without making it worse, I was thrilled. Less thrilling was the news that it was going to be discontinued shortly after. I bought as many bottles at half price as they would let me add to my cart online to hold me over until I find an adequate dupe. Otherwise, I only keep backups of things I know will get used up no matter what and will keep without spoiling until i get to it: deodorant, shampoo/conditioner, toothpaste, lip balm, lotion, etc. and even then, it’s usually not a ton of them but only 1 or two. My foundation & concealer gets a “backup” once I’m 2/3rds the way through the bottle, but everything else can wait till it’s almost out and just replace it then. I have enough of a variety of most other items that I can just substitute another product if I run out of anything else.

Genevieve Avatar

For favourite skin care, primer, BB creme and foundation items it is worth it to have backups when they are on sale, otherwise it would be so expensive. Blush too – if you have only one favourite like I do.
Certain lipsticks I have backups for because they get discontinued so easily (Milani Colour Statement lippies in my favourite shades).
But for eyeshadow palettes – nope – I have more than enough to use through 5 lifetimes…..

Alice20c Avatar

I have a backup of my holy grail foundation. The color is perfect. I spent too many years and dollars finding it. Only one backup. If they ever discontinue it, I’ll get half a dozen before they disappear.

Jasmine B Avatar

Never. I’ll repurchase staple skin products but never had a reason to purchase a backup. With foundation, I just repurchase as well, no need for backup.

Natalia Avatar

To me personally? Simply put – no. I’m a self-proclaimed sucker for all things new (makeup and gadgets especially) and having a backup means no opportunity to try new things. What is more, I am good a making my products last a good while. The industry evolves, so, again, on to the newer, better products we go 🙂 Even skincare. That said, I don’t have any specific concerns when it comes to my skin that cannot be taken care of with a good mask, rest, collagen cream, serum and a moisturizer. If I did, I would quite probably be buying backups of a product that does a great job at addressing these concerns.

Tracey E. Avatar

I was once dissuaded by a MUA from buying a backup lipstick as I like new shades and formulas. She was right. I’ve since learned that I don’t always favour the same shade, or have had some lipstick go over, despite fairly regular wear, so I’m even preferring smaller vs. full-size lipsticks where offered.

I do keep backups of skincare, setting powders, Bobbi Brown’s Art Stick in Dusty Pink (my HG liner), and always corrector and concealer. I also have backups of Charlotte Tilbury x Norman Parkinson cream blush (HG) and highlighter. The blush never leaves my vanity and I just love the beautiful compacts (though I’m not really a collector, these grabbed me). Thankfully, having a CCO nearby allows me to buy some regularly used items in advance of finishing them, and sometimes earlier if at an extra discount, which saves me from buying multiple at the counter during a sale.

Erin Avatar

For LE items you have already decided you love, yes. I wish I had a few back ups on a few LE products over the years, but I’m not a large buyer and usually wait for reviews to show up. This usually means something is already released so I missed out on a lot of LE backups. Currently, I really only count on Temptalia for reviews and try to get off my duff to return things that are horrendous. This has kept me from missing out as much so I can get those LE backups.

I usually have a few skincare backups too. If I’m close to finishing something so I order it before I run out at about the 3/4 used up stage.

We try to approve comments within 24 hours (and reply to them within 72 hours) but can sometimes get behind and appreciate your patience! 🙂 If you have general feedback, product review requests, off-topic questions, or need technical support, please contact us directly. Thank you for your patience!