Have you ever been on a low-buy or no-buy? How did it go?

Not really! The only thing I’ve done is try to concentrate on getting through what I’ve already purchased to review before buying a lot more, but if something new comes out that I think should be reviewed, I’ll grab it regardless!

— Christine


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Joy Avatar

Yes! I have done both! I think I have succeeded most when I really did not have money for anything other than necessities. When I have living at stake I can stand by my no or low buy. The lemmings are what make it hard. Especially when everything reminds me of makeup and skincare. I don’t tell others how deep my strange love for makeup is. Having nobody who understands to talk me out of purchases in a successful manor would be helpful. How it goes during the no or low buy: if I want something I mentally go through all things I have that are close to it. I am fortunate to most always find a substitute in color. This reminds me I have more than enough. I honestly don’t need anything. The craving is put away. I will also remember I have somethings. That’s all I need to do my makeup. It never has to be new or special. Makeup is already special. This helps me only buy the least expensive things to get me by if needed.

Nancy T Avatar

Not in a really long time, but I think I really need to after February or beginning of March at latest. My crazy spending on makeup has begun to get a little bit off the rails, so I know I need toget tough with myself. Not sure how with my terrible lack of monetary self-control!
Especially now that I’m trying to make a major decision on whether to move back across town nearer to my 2 kids and 2 grandbabies. Life passes by too fast, and I’m missing big chunks of it.

Alexa Avatar

Yup, been on low-buy since the summer and no-buy since the semester started. Owing almost $1k a month for tuition payments doesn’t give me much wiggle room to buy makeup, unfortunately. I gotta have $ for rent and utilities and all. The only time I broke my low/no-buy recently was in early December to get Platinum status at Ulta, since those points actually save me quite a bit of $ on larger purchases. Otherwise, the only thing I’ll be buying is replacements of my drugstore mascara and maybe of my drugstore foundation/eyeliner.

Katherine T. Avatar

My low buys haven’t gone so well in the past, but I’ve been doing much better this time around. First, my stash is now much larger, so it’s harder to justify getting the same or similar colors. Second, I’ve been re-organizing and re-inventorying my stash this year, and that’s helped a lot in cutting down on buying. If I know that I already have 5 bluish-purple shadows, then I won’t jump on the next one that comes out, and instead focus on colors that are missing in my stash. I’ve also done a much better job of rotating my stash too, so things don’t get forgotten. For example, I swatched all my purple shadows one weekend, lumped them into color categories (blue purples, lavender purples, rose purples), figured out which colors looked good together, wrote down the different combos, so when I’m rushing in the morning, I can just look at my notes and grab the right shadows. I found some hidden/forgotten gems this way, and some really interesting combos, so that curbs impulse to buy every “new” purple that comes out.


It’s true about make up. I am following a finish 6 by spring challenge and one of my products is a Cargo blush. I only have a thin rim of product left and am now enjoying using it as a crease shade too.

Astrild Avatar

I have so much makeup that I’m constantly trying a no-buy situation. I fail constantly but at least It makes me more conscious about purchasing products.

Bibi Avatar

Since I moved to India my cosmetic shopping has switched to a low or no buy.
High end brands like Bobbi Brown, MAC, Clinique, and Estee Lauder are 25-30% more in price than what they cost in the US. (That is IF you can find them, and their stock is VERY LIMITED. No gifts with purchase, and the new releases don’t reach the make up stores here until they’ve been out for about 6-8 months already in the US.)
But then about twice a year we go to Miami, Bangkok, of Dubalu and then it’s SHOPPING FRENZY!!!!

Anna Avatar

I decided that I need to use up some lipsticks before I bought new ones last year. Lipsticks are mainly what I tend to hoard and it is unnecessary having so many that they go out of date. Never had a lipstick go out of date though even though it probably has been out of date. That has gone fairly well. Don’t think I bought any new last year but don’t think I have used up more than like two or three(and I had to reapply like crazy because “must use up so I can buy new”). So I should still be on a no-buy when it comes to lipsticks but there are many bright pink lipsticks I want at the moment so probably will buy one.


i am same and have avowed this year to use up old lip products. I did however pull a Smashbox lipstick from my stash that is about 15 months old and think this has gone bad. Have emailed Smashbox and they are looking into this for me.

Lisa Avatar

Yes. No buy until Christmas, for example. Never works because I have very weak self control and give in easily to skin care and cosmetics. But maybe I was never serious enough. But my birthday is coming up… Lol

Fran Avatar

No, but not that I’ve mostly figured out what kinds of things I like/what I think looks good on me, I try to buy only what I really love and know I’ll use at least fairly often. I really have so many things that I love that it’s almost hard to use them all on a regular basis already, so I feel like something should be really gorgeous and well-performing to justify the purchase and the space is my stash!

Pearl Avatar

Sort of – it’s more of that nothing will be out/worth buying for the next few months, so just save the money I’d normally spend on it for later. It hasn’t been where I have spent so much money that I need a restriction (yet :-|) but if that ever happened I’d do it. It helps that I only buy from certain brands for certain things so I don’t get overwhelmed by the constant releases of collections, and that I have a ballpark budget that I set aside every month and if I don’t use it, it rolls over.

Pearl Avatar

Well crap. Scratch that – I just got home from the MAC store and I had mentioned to an MUA that while pretty, I’m glad that nothing is really calling out to me in the upcoming Flamingo Park collection because strong pinks are not a go to color for me, but that if there were any jewel tones, I’d be in trouble. And he said, “Oh, then you are going to love the Summer collection!” I asked him to elaborate but he said he only saw the color story and wasn’t sure what the products were or the finishes, etc. (I had asked if there were going to be any new extra dimension products) but that if jewel tones were my thing, that I’d be very happy with the Summer collection. I don’t think an MUA would say something like that just to say it, so between today’s question and him saying that I am taking it as a sign and COMMENCING LOW BUY NOW.

Katherine T. Avatar

I think he’s talking about the MAC Semi-Precious Collection coming out this summer, or the Poesia collection -both have strong, bold colors

Jennifer Avatar

Yes, for the past two years I’ve been on a low buy for nail polish…I failed miserably this past December with the OPI Hello Kitty collection since I decided I had to own the entire collection lol

This year I’ve decided to do a low buy for lipstick cause I do have a lot and I’ve never finished a single tube of lipstick so I’m doing no more than 5 new tubes of lipstick this year…I still haven’t decided if liquid lipstick counts too (ugh I’m such a backslider haha)

monica Avatar

For years I’ve been saying that I need to go on a low-buy/no buy, but it’s never worked out for one reason or another. But this year is going to be different. I think I’m finally at the point where I’m a little overwhelmed by choices, and I just need to use what I want. The makeup industry is all about sense of urgency, making us believe we need it. And at this point, I really don’t need anything else. The only thing that I’m allowing myself to purchase is things I know I will use up like eye brow pencils, skin care, and etc. There is one exception my friend and I made for the OPI x Hello Kitty line though. I’m going to acquire all the colors because I love pink and Hello Kitty. I’ll actually use these colors, so it’s a win-win.

Ale Avatar

i keep a list of things that i want to finish and it’s really satisfying for me to cross them out. I have done things like ” you have to finish one bronzer to try a new one”
I also allways ask for samples of foundations in sephora since that is what i am always looking for my next hg. saved me big bucks and also satisfied my curiosity.

jaz Avatar

Yep. I’m actually on one now -mainly because I’m dealing with something in my family and I’m trying to watch my purchases right now and mainly because I don’t have a lot of extra money right now. I do plan on picking up the new Nyx blushes this week, but other than that, I plan on not buying makeup until my birthday or until the April vib sale.

Kimberly Avatar

I’m currently on a low-buy because I’m saving up for trips overseas with friends. I think two of the most effective ways to stick to a no/low-buy is to constantly update your regular rotation with something you haven’t used in a while, and to use what you have to replicate items you want. For example, I’ve been lusting over the Nyx lingerie liquid lipsticks so I’ve been experimenting with mixing KVD’s Lolita with her other colours like Berlin, Lovesick and Double Dare to get colours close to the Nyx ones.

JCarbonel Avatar

I’ve tried and for 2016 I’ve given myself a monthly budget. Though I haven’t been successful at a total makeup no-buy, I have been successful at not buying any foundations or bronzers for 2015. Baby steps lol.

Tara Avatar

A few years ago my stash was HUGE! So I became more picky with my spending. 2 years ago I went on a no-buy when my daughter was born. Then a few months ago, I became active on this site and have been adding to my stash. My stash is now much smaller than it used to be. I’m currently expecting my second daughter next month, so I’ll have to be more picky or go on another no-buy again. πŸ˜›

Marcela Avatar

I live in Brazil and cosmetics here are extremely expensive, so I used to buy a lot of makeup in the States and had it shipped. But now, my currency isn’t worth much, so I can’t afford to buy all that much anymore. I do have a huge wishlist, but I’m trying to be conscious and buy only one product per month. That makes me think of what I really need or want, just so I won’t regret my purchase. It’s been working really good (:

Valerie Avatar

I have tried in the past and failed horribly. I feel like I do better when I don’t feel restricted. When I impose no buys on myself I will go out and make “one last big purchase” before the no buy. Or when I do buy something I think “oh I’m already breaking the no buy rule, so I may as make this a big purchase.”

Deidre Avatar

I am trying to this year buy not much makeup as I spent and bought way too much last year. My goal is to use up some products that I already have. So far this month it hasn’t gone too badly I have resisted buying things in the past I normally would have just bought because it was pretty, liked the packaging or justified buying somehow. The stuff I have bought is stuff I have been waiting for to come to Canada (drugstore stuff), waiting to come out (Tom Ford) or backups of items I use regularly (skin care).

If you ask me in 6 months how it is going, I hope I can say it is going really well and I haven’t bought much and I have used up quite a bit.

Lilli Avatar

Currently on a no-buy and have been since November. After almost a year of buying 100 or more dollars of makeup every month I decided it was very nessicary! Now my collection is well built and I basically have more makeup then I need so I intend to be mostly low buy or no-buy all year. With the exception of mascara, cleanser and things like that. Although I think I will have to buy the third too faced chocolate bar palette, too faced peanut butter and jelly, and finally the upcoming peach scented palette from them also sometime through out the year to treat myself for not going overboard! ?

Jessica Avatar

I am on a low-buy, and I find it really satisfying. I have done this in the past and love taking my leftover money and putting it in savings accounts or investments. I also bought the 2 Lorac Pro palettes late last year, so I have lots to do with my hands and brushes. I still go to Sephora once in a while to swatch and plan future purchases, but I don’t mind walking out empty-handed. I fall back on nail polish a lot, rotating that stash and enjoying the colours, and if I need a pick me up a new bottle of Essie makes me feel pretty great for the price point.


I love your post. It’s really refreshing to read that somewhere realises the amount they can save. As part of the no buy challenge I am following I have been putting Β£1 (I’m UK Resident) in a pot for every cosmetic item I finish and the pot is already very heavy. Am going to transfer this sum to a savings account each month.

Andie Avatar

Sometimes I limit myself on extra spending in general. Not on makeup specifically. I’ve come to realize that a little indulgence every now and then actually keeps me in check for the rest of the year.

Lulle Avatar

I have been on very short no-buys, and much longer periods of low-buy depending on my finances. It usually goes fine, I don’t have too much trouble sticking to my budget. A complete no-buy is quite unrealistic though, so I’ve only done that for a few weeks (for example “I can’t buy anything else until the end of the month” kind of thing).

JackieC Avatar

I am always on a low buy meaning that I only buy things when I run out. Tallying up an inventory of my collection really helped me see that I have too much to finish in a timely manner. The only times I break that low buy are when Sephora and Ulta have their major sales. Then I stock up on all of my expensive staples that will run out before the next sale.

KJH Avatar

When I lost my job (and was replaced by three, not two, three new grads,) and had zero $, it was not hard, bec. I still had basic living expenses I needed to cover… and four dogs. I simply didn’t go there, not reading T, Sephora, blogs, brand sites, etc. I realize it’s addiction, rather than need. I need nothing. One of my old friends is similarly afflicted. Basically, we’re going to do brushes, not color. I also have ‘aged out’ of products/ brands, like Vice, high intensity color. Plan not to have another year @ Rouge/Platinum, will do better planning, take advantage of sales, etc. This year is low buy, but I realize that means something different for everyone. For color, will just fill in the holes, and get perm products that I have been eyeing a while. Course, those Devils at CP and MUFE raise their little heads, to replace the brands I have left in the rear view mirror. Low/no is hard!

Shiri Avatar

I’ve been on a strict no buy for about two months now and it’s awful!!! But I’m saving for IMATS NY so there’s a lot more shopping on the horizon!

Erica Avatar

I do low buys and I’m pretty successful with them. That’s no mean feat since I’m a native New Yorker. You can swatch makeup and impulse shop all day in NYC, seriously. My major low/no buy period is now – late January until the Spring Sephora sale. After that I calm down again from March through July. I save my major purchases for the 2nd half of the year. My birthday is in July and coincides with the Nordstrom anniversary sale. My purchases usually go full blast from July – January.

Eileen Avatar

No. Although I love makeup and don’t have a budget to worry about, I am very reasonable when it comes to making purchases. I very seldom make impulse purchases and only get the things I know I will enjoy using. I am a high end purchaser (Guerlain, Tom Ford, Chanel, and ClΓ© de Peau are faves) so I do spend quite a bit, but there is little waste.

Marissa Avatar

yes! i am in one now. i have too much makeup (due to the fact i just use it on myself) and i’m trying to actually use it more instead of wanting//buying everything… i broke it because the morphe 35O went back in stock a few weeks ago… and after months of waiting it was an opportunity to finally test it. right now i’m talking to myself on how i don’t need the ud spectrum palette and jeffree star’s liquid lipsticks in celebrity skin//androgyny because i heard the formula is really good. (you should review them btw) … but i’m doing good. no trips to my local mac counter and well, i’m doing fine.

Tracey E. Avatar

Yes. I’m often on a ‘use what you have’ before buying more kick. Right now, I’m on a ‘no buy’ for moisturizer, eye cream, foundation and setting powder and I have no problems sticking to it.

I find if I turn off notifications, e-mails, etc. that alert me to what’s new in beauty products or minimize walking through department stores, I don’t desire collections of the moment. Of course, moving or being between jobs curtails any need to buy more makeup.

lauren Avatar

i failed initially this year, but then returned the items in shame. the only things i’ve bought in 2016 are chanel sunrise trip nail gloss and maybelline a touch of spice because it was recommended to me. i have gone through my makeup recently and culled a lot of items i don’t love. i only kept the things i truly love. this method works better for me than a no buy–i don’t buy things i don’t really need. i’m starting to really develop a makeup style, and that also helps since i’m not all over the place buying a bunch of different types of looks. 2016 is the year of natural beauty for me. i’m focusing on low maintenance skin care first.

Laura Avatar

I am on a low buy now and it is going well. It really needs to be no buy because I am in the middle of starting a private practice, but my skin has been going crazy due to the stress, and so I did purchase a new Pixi sleep mask. Other than that, I have been working my way through mascara samples and such because I draw the line at using mascara that is more than two or three months old because my eyes turn red and itch.

Rachel R. Avatar

Many times. Due to financial struggles of having two special needs kids, I was on no or low-buy for 15+ years. Stay-at-home mom + huge medical bills. I also went on a no lipstick buy for two years, so I could use up some of my old stash. I still go on shorter low buys now when things are tight. i always try to follow a budget.

Laura Avatar

Yes! Actually, I’m on a no-buy right now. I did a “No Buy July” last summer, which was great! I went and got the new products I wanted at the end of June so I wouldn’t be tempted too bad.

Leigh Avatar

I’ve been on a no buy except for replenishing (and only drug store=with coupons) for 7 months and will have to continue until June while I’m away from work to complete a non-paid internship! My lovely work family gave me a Sephora gift card when I left, but I tore through that with all the holiday items. 2015 was such an amazing year for makeup and I just had to watch and wait….I have been riding the struggle bus and it has not been fun! πŸ˜‰

Judy H. Avatar

I have been on a low buy budget for the past 3 years. The advertising firm we worked for was purchased by a larger firm and our jobs were eliminated. Our ages, (50s) have proven to be a hindrance in finding new jobs. Consequently I have been on a low buy or “trying to find a cheaper dupe” buy and it has been horrendous! I was never a makeup junkie, but what I did buy were good quality items and foundation, lipstick, blush and skincare, it seems that the better products cost more. I realize this may seem rather trivial in terms of us being able to keep our home, cars and healthcare, and we are blessed in those areas. But, since this question was about makeup, I just had to say, it has been a TRIAL!

Paola Avatar

I did this whole no buying new makeup until I’d use everything on my stash at least once. For four months I managed not to buy anything, though I also realized how much makeup I owned after not even going through 10% of my collection after all that time.
Then the CHANEL Rouge Noir Absolument 2015 collection broke me. I’m weak!

miekogirlie Avatar

right now! LOL actually the things coming out are not that exciting for me lot which is a GOOD thing. I also have been more picky since i have so much already.

Karen Avatar

I put myself on no buy when I see a lot in my stash.if something comes out that’s amazing or limited edition likely to sell out quickly I may reverse my own no buy decion. Of course if I can’t I can’t. It is only makeup after all.

Cheryl Mayers Avatar

I’m on a “no buy” right now, I really NEED to use what I have especially mascara & lip products before buying more! It’s going okay so far, but I really wanted UD Vice 4 so I broke down and bought it and am I glad I did …. I looooove it!!!!!!!!!!!!

Erin Avatar

I’ve been on low buys that have equalled no buys. I’m always into makeup and skincare so the pull to buy things is always there. Perfume too. Because I’m very strategic about my purchases and I sample as much as I can before hand, I’ve never had to roughly cut myself off as such. Eating and having a roof are more important to me, so I’m wise with my $$$. I wish I didn’t have to be but I do!

Tiff Avatar

I actually just finished a year of no buy and blogged about it (and told most people I knew) for accountability purposes! It was great! I only bought sunscreen and some moisturizer and cleanser. And this one panic buy for eyeliner, which was a bad idea on so many levels. It worked really well for me. I was really sick of how much I just had sitting at home and I wanted to use it all up. Every time I’d waver I’d picture empty tubs and tins. Or I’d look at all the photographed empties I had on my blog whenever I felt the urge to shop. Oh and samples really helped! Accumulating them, using them–that helped keep the urge to shop at bay.


I have been following a no buy challenge online for a few years mainly because it’s such a lovely community that I don’t want to “graduate “. It has made me better about considering what to purchase. It was mostly skincare that was the problem for me in that I was addicted to buying QVC kits but I now realise that they are only “phenomenal ” value to me if I’m going to use all the products in the kit.

Marte Avatar

This year, I’m trying out low buy. The rules being I have to finish, give or throw away in order to get a new product, so my collection doesn’t grow any bigger. Also, there are certain products I don’t need to stack up on, like primers, foundation, mascara, highlighter and bronzer, as I am inclined to use my go to products 99 % of the time anyway… Oh, and specifically no eye shadow palettes, as I have quite a few of them, and haven’t hit pan on a single shadow! So, if I am missing a unique color, I have to buy it as a single, or not at all. So far, it has worked pretty well (since the end of November), and saved me s lot of money! πŸ™‚ But oh my, I do have some make up cravings, like hourglass blushes and Asian BB creams…

Susan Dowman Nevling Avatar

Yes, absolutely been on no buy. Lasted two weeks at best. I get paid once a month and domes times have more week than money. Otherwise it would last two days only.

Natalia Avatar

My only “incentive” for low-buy is my budget. Never had a successful no-buy (and not feeling ashamed of it.. Yet πŸ™‚ )

If I have some money left after all the bills are paid, etc. and there is a product that I just HAVE TO have, I will find a dozen of reasons why I should have it.. It’s sad really. So the only barrier between me and a beauty product I want is my budget and the “low-buys” happen only when I do not have any money left to spend on anything else, but necessities. Otherwise, there is always a bloody product that I think I should own like now πŸ™‚

I did try to have a “no-buy” autumn last year. EPIC fail. We had such great sales back then, so WHY should I not buy a new blush, lip gloss, powder, eye shadow or a liner that I don’t really need if it is like 40-50% off?? πŸ™‚ I am getting better though, cause it seems I have accumulated a critical mass of makeup and it is easier to say “I do not need it”, but there is always a new collection or a product that has “Natalia must have it” written all over it that it still is a struggle πŸ™

Beth Avatar

I put myself on a no buy after Christmas waiting for IMATS LA. That went well because it was for such a short time. But I have managed to significantly cut my makeup expenditures overall by only buying from cruelty free companies. When a new product/collection pops up I am able to immediately ignore it if they test on animals.

Jenna Avatar

Oh geeze I said that after I bought the Gwen Stefanie blush palette I would go on a no buy until the Too Faced Peanut Butter and Jelly palette but this has not happened. lol I have no will power when it comes to makeup, but cheap when it comes to everything else lol

BeyondtheBath(Stephie) Avatar

I’m on a ‘no-buy’ right now – mostly because I need extra money to go toward paying off bills from the Holidays! (LOL)

It helps me to rediscover some favorites from my stash.

doroffee Avatar

I have been on a low-buy, telling myself to only purchase things I have run out of and really rarely some new color makeup. It actually went well, I learnt not to buy loads of make-up on impulse never to wear again.

Alecto Avatar

I never have, but that’s mostly because I really only started getting heavily into makeup in the last 3 or 4 years, which coincided with enough income to manage it comfortably. I probably will, at some point, make a point of low- or no-buy just because I’ve reached a limit on what I can justify having. When I buy from Sephora and Ulta, I buy mostly mid-priced makeup, and I’m VIB Rouge and Platinum, respectively; however, I’ve purchased the vast majority of my makeup from indie companies online — that should give you an idea of my stash.

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