Have you ever participated in project pan?

For those who aren’t familiar with the concept, project pan typically involves using up products you already own – e.g. you have to finish your foundation or five lipglosses before buy more of that type of product. Much like a low or no-buy, it can be set-up however works for your stash, but the premise is really to encourage you use to use things you already own. I have not!

— Christine


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Nancy T Avatar

I’m down for finishing a pan of my homemade lasagne or brownies!!! ?
That’s a project pan I understand!

Okay, getting serious now. Only mascara, foundation or skin products. Those 3 categories I always use up what I have before buying more or a new version of the same, unless it starts causing problems with my skin or around my eye area for an eye cream. Although usually reactions happen during the first few weeks. Then I’ll return them.

Lasagne anyone? ?

Cat Avatar

Lasagne sounds good! I haven’t had homemade lasagne in at least seven years. I’m going to make some within the next week! My family loves it so they’ll be more than happy. I’ll tell them that they have you to thank! =)

Katherine T. Avatar

I haven’t, but I’m probably going to start 2 projects soon. I have a bunch of glosses that I want to use up before they go bad, so I need to start wearing gloss everyday instead of my usual lipstick. I also have a lot of Colour Pop shadows, and their website says they last 1 year after being opened. Some of mine are over a year old and still look good, but I don’t want to push it too far

Anne Avatar

I personally haven’t. I know some people count skincare items in their Project Pans, and for me I try not to have extra skincare items lying around (aside from seasonal stuff which hasn’t gone off), though currently I’m on a no-buy for Face Masks until I use some of mine up, and hand/body moisturizers as well as I was inundated with them over the holidays.

I try to not have too many of any particular beauty item at one time (aside from lipsticks at the moment, but that’s partly due to lipstick being the thing I can wear even when I feel too sick to do the rest of my makeup so I could it as a self-care/mental health thing).

I particularly limit the amount of cream/semi-cream products, so currently I can’t buy any more ColourPop eyeshadows until I use up the ones I have, and I think I only have one cream bronzer (The Charlotte Tilbury x Norman Parkinson one) and one cream blush (also Charlotte Tilbury x Norman Parkinson) and I think 2 ColourPop blushes and a bronzer, though I’m technically holding on to those for my mom as she mostly lives in the tropics where they’d get moldy very fast, and she uses them when she’s up here.

I think things like Project Pan are a great idea, though for me it’s more I limit myself to a particular number of items per product type, and can’t buy another until I finish/pass on/toss an expired item in the same category.

LindaLibraLoca Avatar

I set myself my own “Project Pan” goals numerous times, but never managed to see them through completely. Currently I am on one regarding red lipsticks, because I have so many, it is just ridiculous. After one month in, I have already received two other reds for Christmas. I guess that could be considered cheating, as I had specifically asked for them….

Lisa Avatar

I’ve usually done it in a more general way, like I have to use up 5 products before I can buy a new one. I’m pretty good at using up things like cleanser, eye cream or non-SPF moisturizer before buying more, but it’s more difficult with everything else. My backlog of foundations and brow products are largely due to shade match fails.

Laura Avatar

I see people do this, and they often complain that they want to get this product that they do not love out of their collection. I do not understand that. Why use something every day that you do not like? I thought about doing a project like this, but it discourages me when I think about how long it will take. Imagine, what would it take to finish a full-size blush? 40 years? I just cannot do it.

I did inventory my stash lash week with the intention of getting rid of all of the sample sizes and identifying which makeup is old and should be used more frequently though. It was eye opening.

Tracey E. Avatar

I inventoried by Bobbi Brown stash due to a large turnover at my local counter and wanted to have a snapshot of what I have and used (and what I dislike). I was shocked at the length of the list. The good news is that I use what I buy but it also suggested that I had enough BB eye shadow palettes (I refuse to buy any more until the sparkle/metallic is improved).

Leah Avatar

I have a Physician’s Formula blush that I don’t love and that takes up too much room (no more PF for me; their packaging is way bulky!) and so I decided to use it up at the beginning of the summer. I used it four or five times a week from July until about a month ago, and while I’ve hit pan, it would probably take another six months of as frequent use to use it up. I’ve finally decided that it doesn’t make sense. I have so many beautiful blushes I’ve never even tried, and I’m forcing myself to use that one. Enough is enough.

Laura Avatar

That is a VERY big blush. I could not ever complete one of those. I have some expensive ones and some NYX and Cover Girl Cheekers. Sometimes I like the powdery formula versus the expensive blushes. My theBalm Instain for example…goes on so heavily.

Laura Avatar

You ladies understand my sentiments exactly. For example, I put some heavy focus on my Chocolate Bar recently. Then, one day last week, I was just tired of using it. I am not going to get rid of it, but it is getting put away for awhile.

I also learned I have an excessive amount of Bobbi Brown things! I am going to sell my rose shimmer brick for example, I won it recently, and it is just not a good color for me. During my inventory I also decided that I do not want my Naked 1. I like the quality in general but there is just so much glitter. So, that is one I will destash.

Kelly Avatar

Yeah I don’t at all understand using a product you don’t like. I have a ton of makeup so if there’s something I don’t use I’d rather re-home it, or toss it.
I try to rotate through my stash as much as possible, and not buy more if I have a lot of a similar thing, but I won’t hang on to stuff I don’t use, and I won’t use something I don’t like just for the sake of using it up, especially if someone else can enjoy it.

Laura_Lou Avatar

I tried it for a while as a way to use up products I’d bought and not finished, but I didn’t like it because a lot of those products (especially foundations and powders) weren’t used up in the first place because they weren’t the right shade.
I think there’s always too many new and interesting things coming out to do a no-buy/no spend/project pan. How am I meant to find my HG stuff if I can’t try them? Haha!

Aj Avatar

I’m going to this year, I plan on finishing at least 2 lipsticks, a lipgloss, the only bronzer I have, and a browbone shade that I’ve hit pan on. I plan on hitting pan on another browbone shade, a powder – which is more likely to happen during the warmer months than now, 1 or 2 eyeshadows and maybe a blush.
I’m trying not to buy any lipsticks until I’ve finished the 2 I planned on, but it’s hard. Lol. At least eyeliners and mascaras aren’t a problem. 😀

Christina D. Avatar

I have not but I should! With all the makeup I have, that would mean never buying anything new again and I know that’s not going to happen.

Mariella Avatar

If I did that, I’d never buy ANYTHING at all and I work hard for my money and makeup is how I enjoy spending it so I don’t feel the need for this. I do try to finish up skin care products before replacing them (well, I sort of overlap so if I’m getting close to running out of my eye cream or moisturizer, I’ll pick up another one and then HOPE I remember where I put it!). But lipstick is pretty much the only colour cosmetic I ever finish up. I’m more likely to do a “no buy” than a “project pan” and I think in part it’s because I really like almost all the colour cosmetics I own and so I’ve no real interest in finishing it and being rid of them (especially since some are LE products I can’t replace).

Alyssa Robinson Avatar

I totally feel like this! I love my products, so I don’t want to use it up and have it be gone forever! If I find myself using something so much that it’s almost gone, it makes me want to STOP using it so that I can keep it! I’m more likely to use something up that I only sort of like. My makeup is my collection. It’s special to me. I don’t want to see it go away!

Mariella Avatar

It’s not so big a problem with permanent products but, honestly, you should see how greedy I am about MAC Jardin Aires pigment….I only have a little bit left from one of those Holiday pigment sets (I gave the other vials to my daughter – I only bought it because of Jardin Aires which had been LE and then brought back in that Holiday set). I use it for special occasions and I’m so careful not to spill it!

GUSnail Avatar

I didn’t know the term at the time, but I did that with foundation. Of course, once I finished them, I went out and bought like 6 new ones within 3 months LOL!

Lacey Avatar

I’ve tried, but it usually ends up being more of a low-buy period with an emphasis on finishing up products I don’t like or that are nearing expiration. I think I’ve always failed when I tried to use up, say, 10 lip products or 5 lotions or something specific! A certain number of products of any kind is definitely easier to do.

Toni Avatar

I am particular about this with mascaras because I don’t want them to dry up and go bad on me. Otherwise, I feel it is difficult to do since I only use a small amount of products, even if I wear eyeshadow/blush/Iipstick, etc. every day. It may be more feasible with lipstick than other products…

I focus more on purchasing beauty items that aren’t strikingly similar to those I already own…especially lip products. That limits what I buy and gives me incentive to use–and possibly resurrect–things I already have.

xamyx Avatar

Kind of… I recently purged a ton of old lip products & foundations, so I was able to “justify” buying more, although I still have plenty more lipstick than I can ever finish, and I still want to try a couple new foundations. I also hit major pan on a L’Oréal True Match blush, so I’m allowing myself to pick up the new NARS blush at some point soon (and *maybe* the UD Gwen Stefani blush palette…). I also never have more than one mascara or black liquid liner going at any given time, but I will buy them if I see a good deal (or BOGO), even if I have more at home.

After this month, I am planning a general low-buy, though… I have so much stuff that has been used a handful of times, then moved aside for something new…

Deidre Avatar

I have been trying to do my own since the end of December.
I only allocated myself a few items of each makeup product to wear during the week so that I would hit pan or at least use up more of the product. On the weekends is when I go for other products I haven’t been using during the week. So far it has gone okay, I have used up a travel size primer, most of a foundation/illuminizer/2 concealers/lipgloss/2 lipsticks. It does make doing my makeup easier but not as fun as I like to go for something different everyday. I am going to continue to use up the rest of the foundation, concealers, 2 eyeshadows in one palette, 1 lipgloss before I start using different products.

This month I also decided to start using up some samples/products of skin care/hair care I bought a while ago. I will continue to do it throughout the year as it isn’t as hard as using makeup.

Fran Avatar

Never formally. But I do tend to use base products, concealers, finishing powders, and mascaras until I use them up. (Skin and hair care products, too.) That’s assuming that I love and will re-order them. Now I return those kinds of products if they don’t work for me instead of keeping them hanging around in the hope that I’ll figure out how to make them work. Sephora’s sample policy helps with that, too — I ask for samples of foundations, concealers, moisturizers, cleansers, hair styling products, etc. that I want to try when I go into my local store. They’ll give you up to three per visit. So I return fewer things (mostly just the ones I had to order online in order to try them). Color cosmetics are a different story. I love and want all the colors. But I make an effort not to buy actual dupes of things that I already have. If the finish is different or the formula is significantly better, then I might. Lipstick, eyeshadow, and blush I can keep sanitized and keep for a long time. I limit my lipgloss purchases because I don’t use it much and think it’s harder to keep sanitary if it has an applicator that you put back in the tube.

fuji Avatar

I kinda have done that before last time I decided to move to a new city. (well it was cross-country moving lol) Everything was used up almost to the last drop, especially my CC cream, sun screen, skincare and mascara. Still it’s hard to hit the pan of color products.

Ashleigh Avatar

I’ve tried and failed with fragrance. 🙁

I’m currently trying to get through body and hair care products before I purchase any more!

JCarbonel Avatar

I don’t say I need to finish 5 items before I can buy something, but I am actively trying to avoid buying any more concealers/foundations until I’m done my stash. I definitely pay more attention to my liquid products compared to my powder products.

Tracey E. Avatar

Haven’t formally participated in a formal project pan but believe I do that naturally with certain products like eye creams, facial creams, foundation, pressed powder, mascara, makeup removers, and facial cleansers. I haven’t implemented it for eye shadows, blushes, highlighters or lipsticks.

Rachel R. Avatar

Before “Project Pan” was a thing, I didn’t buy any lipstick for a couple years so I could use up part of my stash. It takes too long to pan an entire eyeshadow palette, though, so I wouldn’t do that. I need more variety, and don’t want to wear the same palette every day, no matter how many colors are in it.

Deborah Avatar

I like to plan projects that I might actually have a chance of completing – but this is not one of them. To many new and pretty things coming out all the time. But I have succeeded (for the most part) in waiting until I read your reviews before buying!

Glenda Avatar

Not formally but since I keep track of my beauty and skincare purchases on a spreadsheet, I’m Very aware of how much I’m spending.
Some items are just easier to use up because they’re used daily; others, like eyeshadow palettes, not so much.
It’s goal I intend to work on though because makeup does have a shelf life. And if it’s not used, it’s like throwing away hundreds of dollars. Just throwing it away.
That I will not do!

Janeen Avatar

I don’t do project pan as I have so much stuff and barely have any dents on anything so instead it is project “what can I give away to friends” hahaha. I just sent my cousin 2 blushes and like 5 eyeshadow quads and nail polishes and stuff so I feel better about my stash. I used to only ever have one blush and now I’m like “….I have 10, no more” though if I’m in the mood for almost no make up I ALWAYS do my foundation (acne worries), blush, and a nice tinted lip balm, so at least I use my blushes. I need to start using more lip stuff 🙁 I have a ton. UGH I have too much make up.

Genevieve Avatar

Well I generally do with my lipsticks – I tend to buy 3 or 4 at a time and then use them all up. Same goes for mascara, blush and foundation. My only real weakness are the eye shadow quads and palettes. I think I will be using them for a very, very long time. It’s a great idea though.

IRockFaces Avatar

I don’t see me hitting full pan on too many of my products but I have gotten pretty close so far. I just shop my stash and use what I have as creatively as I can. Over time it gets used up and I track my progress so I know what I’m getting the best results with and re-purchase complimentary products.

Jessica Avatar

Yes! I officially started project panning toward the end of last year. I’m currently working on Finish 14 by February 14th, Finish 7 by Spring, Finish 12 MAC items by June, and working on my body lotions and perfumes. These projects include mainly makeup with 1-2 skincare items. I love it! I started following many project panners on YouTube and Instagram. We have a growing support group! It’s loads of fun!

Lisa Avatar

I really didn’t know there was such a name! My stash is starting to get out of control. Being constantly seduced by new products is a big weakness for me. I’m pretty good when it comes to skin care, I only have what I need. But makeup is where it’s at. I’m really trying to finish my MUFE up light before I start using my Becca one, but it’s taking forever!

I set a goal to myself that by the end of Feb in gonna finish 5 things. I think that’s doable. Hopefully the five items will be makeup. How satisfying will that be?!

Debbie Avatar

I am in the middle of doing this now. I have an empty container to place my finished products in and will be trying to fill it over the course of the year. I will only be filling in necessities as they become empty and only if there is nothing in my stash to take their place. Wish me luck, since there is always something gorgeous calling my name.

Flaky Avatar

I’m doing this now. I’m trying to use as many lip products as possible. And, I really want to use up a blush. I know I used to be able to do that, I’d love to see if I still can.

Anything that looks tempting, I go to the stash & try to find a dupe (or close enough). If I can’t find one (and that’s yet to happen) it’s going on my wish list.


Yes. Am participating in a challenge online not to buy cosmetics until I have actually run out of that particular item. After the influx at Christmas i only have one category where I only have 2 items at the mo which is face masks. I have been putting money in a pot for each item I use up and have saved a lot this month.

Rica Francia Avatar

Yes, I did it once and haven’t did it again. It was kinda hard because of all the temptations from the beauty brands releasing all the time especially limited edition collections from MAC, but it makes me proud whenever I finish a product all the way to the pan!

Arpita Avatar

Using up my current products( project pan) is my new year resolution. I have bought a few things which i did not have or replacements for what has reached expiry date or skincare which i finish up; but the rest… I am definitely still on the project pan . Definitely trying to use up products before they reach expiry date. …. Lets see how long it lasts. sigh!!!!

Dua Avatar

I used to be more strict and organized with my makeup. But the more makeup I buy the messy the situation gets. I used to have 2 foundation open at a time. One concealer. One setting powder. One bronzing powder. Now is a different story ?. I use the rotation method where I used every palette, highlight & lipstick I own.

2016 Plan: I will stop buying make up starting March and will buy again with the Black Friday & Cyper Monday & Holiday Craze. Hope my plan works!

Natalia Avatar

No, I have not ever. Too much temptation everywhere 🙂 That said, I’m seriously considering doing it with my lipsticks/glosses. I have 20, but even with those I do not think I will use them up before they go bad and it annoys me mildly. So I think it’d be good to do smth like “two for one” deal, that is to use up two that I have to be able to buy one new one. Ohh, will I have enough will power for that I wonder? :))))

Courtney L. Avatar

My pan project is to try and use up things that are about to expire. I got an app that lets you search lot codes and create an index and so I know when all 9 billion of my cosmetics are going to expire. Now I can definitely tell what stuff I don’t like enough to buy again and what stuff I have blown through way before it will expire and should definitely buy again.

Cat Avatar

Not yet… but I’m thinking I need to start! One of the (numerous) weird things about me is that I hate to use all of something. It bothers me to not have something anymore. I’m like this with just about everything. I end up throwing the last bit of things away after they go bad. The exception, of course, is when I have more on hand.

Emilie Avatar

Not really with makeup (I just find I like everything I have enough to use it equally and not want it to run out quick), but I tend to do this with lip balm. I have all the eos lip balms so I really try to finish the older ones I have before they go bad so I don’t waste. I never buy doubles of flavors until I finish one.

Chelsea Avatar

I do project pan! Doing a bad job of it but I’m trying lol!! I’m still trying to finish it, I have a little under half of a bottle of UD naked skin liquid foundation, almost out of too faced chocolate soleil bronzer, and a third of the way through a maybelline age rewind concealor. I would like yup add an eyeshadow palette but I’m taking baby steps lol.

Lex Marie Avatar

I’m currently on a very strict project pan. I have accumulated a severe overabundance of cosmetics over the years, so much so, I can’t even give it a number, just yet. I’ve been on a no-buy for the past 4 months. Impressively enough, I’ve managed to stick with it. The most difficult thing to use up quickly is definitely eyeshadow, for me. I have a ton and they last a long time. The only real downside, so far, is that my tastes have changed a lot over time, so using products and colors I’m no longer interested in has been rough, but it’s also incredibly cathartic and I highly suggest anyone considering this to pick through your makeup collection thoroughly and try out a project pan for yourself. Also, if you’re a cosmetics hoarder such as myself, you will definitely save quite a lot of money. Personally, I’ve even incIuded perfumes. I don’t regret it.

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