Are you an impulse buyer or serious planner?

Impulse in the sense that I purchase a lot of just-released products for review, so I don’t wait for reviews or anything like that, but they aren’t wholly unplanned, you know? I don’t do serious planning within the beauty space, but for larger purchases in other areas of my life, I definitely do–I would say I’m more of a planner than an impulse buyer overall.

— Christine


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Mariella Avatar

I’m a bit of both, to be honest. While I try to be a planner and think sanely about my purchases, I can look at my collection and see plenty of impulse buys, many of which I am actually very glad I purchased (MAC’s She Who Dares comes to mind most strongly – I nearly got whiplash walking past it at the MAC counter). But over time, I’ve become much less subject to these impulses, probably because I have such a lot of makeup and I’ve seen it all and bought most of it! 😉

Naomi Avatar

I’m a planner through and through. A lot of makeup sales happen so I know when it’s best to wait on an item. I think unless it is something you will absolutely love or of course need, then you can always wait to get a deal. I purchased the Decadence palette which was a bit of an impulse purchase, though I wanted it for a while and told myself that I would purchase it if it returned.

Leigh Avatar

I used to be an impulse buyer. Then I had my daughter who is now three. To scratch the itch I allow myself twice a year to go crazy at Ulta. My birthday and after Christmas. And usually by then I have some points from all the mundane things I have to buy (hair stuff foundation…) to get a bit of a discount.

Pearl Avatar

Short answer: YES.

I allot a generous monthly budget that rolls over because I know my weakness (eyeshadow, lipstick and nail polish) and need plenty of room during certain seasonal launches, especially holiday. I will not wait for reviews from Tom Ford or Pat McGrath and typically impulse buy from those brands. For other brands, I typically will wait for reviews and go through putting items in-and-out of my cart several times before I drop it altogether or just buy it and have done with it.

I do 90% of my buying online because my schedule is such that I don’t really have an afternoon to browse the beauty counters and I don’t like pushy sales people. I also feel guilty for taking up their time by asking a lot of questions and then deciding not to buy something (another reason I avoid the beauty counters). I also don’t like the anxiety of being some place to buy the thing that everybody else wants to buy and we’re all standing around wondering who’s going to get waited on 1st and then am I not going to get it because they just sold the last one to the person in front of me and then proceed to tell me that in what I perceive is the loudest voice possible (“OH SORRY HON WE JUUUUSSST SOLD THE LAST ONE! AWW SO SAD NOTHING ONLINE ANYMORE EITHER. THOSE SOLD OUT SUPER FAST!” fake sad baby face then cheery smile as I thank them and leave). Not the sales person’s fault but I sometimes wonder if they take extra delight in gleefully telling a customer “NO!” and that there’s nothing they can do about it and also if they have 5 stashed in the back for themselves, friends and family. Both are probably true and from some of the interactions I have seen, I can’t really blame them. This has contributed to a well practiced online buying habit and a nagging sense of fomo that I still try to manage during heavy launch seasons.

Cil Avatar

I buy makeup mostly online as I live 5h away of a Sephora in Brazil and we don’t have other makeup store chains here.

I am an impulse buyer most of the time. See it. Like it. Has the credit card number memorized (unfortunately). Buy it. ???

TropicalCowgirl Avatar

I used to be impulse which is why I am constantly destashing. I really appreciated Christine’s post on curating a collection. It doesn’t help that my husband eggs me on.

Now, I read reviews and am more discerning. I find I am more impulsive in the store vs online. I am pretty close to my Sephora perfume guy and he always checks my bag before I leave and gives the lowdown. I notice with PMG and ND now in my collection, I really haven’t bought any palettes on impulse.

It’s the skin care stuff I impulsively buy. There is less risk there because I will use them and seasonality and my husband guarantees they won’t go to waste.

I also have accepted I finally, after almost 40 years, have found the best products for my curls. Not all curls are the same. There are more and more products for curls coming out, but I think of my product graveyard and talk myself out of it.

One of my cures has been watching my husband shop. We get packages almost daily from Amazon. When he tells me we “have to watch” our spending the rest of the month, and I just ask, why aren’t you looking in the mirror. 😉

Deborah S. Avatar

I think my spending habits have changed a bit over the past year to 18 months. I use to be a terrible impulse buyer and rarely curtailed myself if I saw it and wanted it. Now, I try to put the things I am really wanting into a cart and then I force myself to leave without ordering and then I go back and revisit a few times before making a definite decision. I know it sounds crazy but it seems to be working for me as I have that well-mentioned Marc Jacobs Steel-etto palette in my cart and it has been there for quite a while. I currently have carts going in most of the major retail outlets and on-line stores. Doing things this way helps me to wait for reviews and yet I know it is there so that I don’t forget what I was interested in. A while back I remembered seeing a post and review of an e/s palette that I thought would go well with the Viseart Coy palette and I spent days hunting for it here on the blog and never could figure out which one I was remembering so now I try to put it into my wish list or into a cart right away so that I don’t have to do all that searching.

Genevieve Avatar

A little bit of both – I can be a little impulsive when it comes to sales and deals, but generally on skincare products that I would use, or low cost beauty staples.
But when it comes to eyeshadow palettes, I am a planner and really go through the dupe list to see what I have already.
But every now and again, like with the Sultry palette or the Maybelline Spice for Me lipstick, it’s love at first sight. Without doubt, it has to score well here.

Silvia Avatar

With makeup I’m almost always buying on impulse although I have reached a point where I’m covered from head to toe so am shopping lot less these days unless I see something extra unique I don’t own already. I been much better lately which I’m happy with. If is expensive I will research a much more but with drugstore which is mostly what I have walking in those makeup isles at Target mainly, I need someone to follow me with a hot pan in hand and smack me on time. Lol! With fashion I do research more since I’ll keep the piece longer and getting older I want less of the mess and better quality. Being a fit 5’3 petite can be a real challenge always on the look for stores which sell petite sizes almost non existent! If anyone knows of one or a few please email me the links would greatly appreciated it.

Caroline Avatar

When it comes to makeup, I’m a bit of both. Sometimes I just open the floodgates and spend, spend, spend – usually when I’m stressed out or feeling mad or anxious about something. Then I realise what I’ve done and clamp right down.
When it comes to clothes and footwear, however, I’m more discerning. I have problem feet with bunions and hammertoes, so I look for very specific footwear rather than go for ‘fashion’ items or heels.
Clothes wise, I find most jeans and trousers are far too baggy for my skinny legs, and I hate the hassle of having them taken in. I don’t usually replace clothes until they’re about to fall apart anyway.

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