How do you resist temptation to buy a beauty product?

I usually table the want and put it on the backburner, revisit in a week or two, and see if I still want it. I think about why I want it, whether I need it or whether it fulfills a specific need that I have at that time.

— 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.
Emily Avatar

I don’t. Lol. But literally, I have a problem with not making impulse purchases, especially online when all you need to go is click because all your billing details are already stored. I think I should try unsubscribing from marketing emails because yes, I actually do look at them haha. But then I worry about missing out on promotions, early sales, new product releases, etc! It’s a real quandary.

Emily Avatar

I know! I swear I got 3 in a row from Beautylish last night reminding me I still had a Goss brush in my cart. The ‘psssst’ part was a tad obnoxious haha.

Net-a-porter is an offender too lol. The ‘alerts’ in your wishlist are never related to the product going on sale (ok rarely but still), 99% of the time it’s like ”Only a few left, BUY NOW!!” I am embarrassed to admit how often this tactic works on me.

Lea Avatar

The only a few left doesn’t usually get me, but I understand the feeling and, if we’re honest, I don’t usually resist either. I generally go by Christine’s method but then buy at will. I’ve been restricting myself for the past month and only broke that after returning a few items (more than what I left with). There’s 1 thing I didn’t get, but if I’m still thinking about it around the end of the month/beginning of December I’ll get it. Amazingly, I think I’m skipping the Sephora sale instead of buying early back-ups of my Sunday Riley. I’ll lose out on the discount when I do rebuy, but they’all be “fresher” at least and maybe I’ll break my beauty Armageddon prepper tendencies!!!!!!

CoastalCali Avatar

I have to avoid prepper tendencies too… oh, it’s on sale! And I’ll be out of my current one in like 8 months! And what if they discontinue! But I’m learning… there is often a “next great thing” and I really don’t need 3 backups of my current favorites.

Lea Avatar

Completely agree. I have gotten into such a bad habit because of the regular discontinuation of permanent products and it’s just expanded into my overal purchasing style and the instant gratification feeling. It’s taking an effort to only use what I have and try to use it up (without wasting to make it go faster), but some shampoo and conditioners I had and loved, I just don’t like anymore (I started with shampoo/conditioner and body soap). Then I moved into samples and refilled a full-size jar (A JAR!!!) of eye cream with sample packets. Potting it (can I make that a thing?) made it less frustrating to use and leaves my countertop less cluttered with products. It will take longer with skincare samples and then full sized make-up products, but I’m feeling better about my changes. My lipstick back-up situation is nuts, so that’s the longest adjustment to work through but I’m not adding to it at least! Stick to baby-steps and product areas to work through. It helps.

Connie Avatar

I’m a little embarrassed to say, but I buy from a place I can return and, after having it for awhile and possiblity not even using it, I can return it and feel fulfilled. How sad is that???? 🙂 🙂

Lea Avatar

Relate!!! I just returned 3 very pricey skincare items that I wasn’t going to get to for awhile. One was a dupe/backup to an item I hadn’t opened yet. Trying to break that habit but thank goodness for Nordstrom return policies. I just try not to abuse it.

Denise Avatar

Same here. Hey we all work hard for our money, so if I purchase a product that I’m really,really not satisfied with, why not return it. But I never,ever abuse the return policy.

Pearl Avatar

1. Check for dupes on here
2. Load up the cart online and then sleep on it. This is really helpful because then if/when I buy it, I will have its purpose in mind and I don’t feel like I’m being flagrant or wasteful or that it was a frenzied, emotional buy. Even if I’m only collecting it, I still know what its purpose will be and why I’m adding it to my collection.

Something else that helps me resist temptation – It helps if it’s a brand I don’t normally buy from. For me, it makes it really streamlined to only purchase from certain brands. I have seen some really lovely palettes and colors and finishes but I don’t want to expand my brand range (right now).

Ginny Avatar

Totally agree with your brand range comment. I do the same thing and it really helps me resist even the most hyped up products. I buy less and my purchases feel more calculated and… loyal, I guess. And my collection is more organized and pleasing to look at when the items are homogeneous in packaging.

Martha Avatar

I shop my stash for similar products and if I still feel that I need it after all the pros and cons and functional uses I reevaluate my stance on th product

Carson Avatar

This is an ongoing struggle of mine, but I’ve been doing better at it for the last year or so. There’s two things that have really helped: one, I’ve realized that scarcity can influence me to make bad decisions (“this palette is LE! / this product is going to sell out!”), so when I recognize myself feeling that panicked “DONT THINK, BUY NOW” feeling, I try to take a step back and reassess whether I REALLY want it or if the ‘scarcity panic’ adrenaline rush is just making me react! I know marketers do limited runs of products and create false senses of scarcity because they count on people like me to make those rush decisions and buy buy buy!

The other thing that has helped is trying to think about my long term goals. My wife and I are hoping to move to NYC sometime in the next few years, so when I’m making a purchase I try to ask myself ‘would I move this to New York?’ I know I’m going to have to downsize a lot of my stuff to move to a New York-sized apartment, so I don’t want to buy something now that I wouldn’t love enough to make the trip!

Tracey E. Avatar

I avoid temptation by walking away from it. When I change my focus and take some time, I can assess the need or want more clearly and consider any tradeoffs. If the temptation causes me stress, I walk away. Period.

SarahJayne Avatar

I try to imagine what the grand total of a normal shopping trip would be and then try to think how far that would go to paying down my car, student, and home loans.

Caroline Avatar

First, I check my stash to see if I already have something similar. If not, then I ask myself whether I’d really make good use of it, does it fit in with my existing makeup wardrobe, does it work with my colouring etc. Then I have a really good think about it, and if after a couple of weeks I’m still interested, then I go ahead and buy it (budget permitting).

LindaP Avatar

Right now I have $972.50 in my Sephora cart in anticipation of the sale. HA! Trust me, I will end up with a pale fraction of that. It’s my “list.” For the new products on there, I will research, read reviews, then go have a swatching party. I let it sit emotionally, and then cut back. As I have said before, as much as I love makeup, I do not have a ton of it. My collection… I think most women would think was quite small (and possibly boring :). I call it curated. 🙂

To me, sometimes buying more makeup is akin to sending that nasty email written in a temper — especially when the LE hype kicks in. I walk away, let it settle in and let the emotion die down. Then I can make a much more rational decision about what to purchase. I do fall short of this at times, but it mostly works for me.

I do need to kick start my eye looks a bit — shadow options are most of the total in that Sephora cart.. But I want to buy ONCE, and be kinda done with it. So is it a couple of Burberry palettes, a Viseart selection, MetalMattes, or will the Tarte Pro do the trick? That is my current dilemma and the choices I want to make. I’ll figure it out….

Mariella Avatar

Lately, going to the store to check it out for myself and finding it’s not available yet will do the trick! That will generally cool my ardor and my frenzied “I have to get it NOW” feelings. Happened with the Nars Give in Take palette (I really only wanted it for one shadow – which I can dupe with a Sephora one – and because it was such good value; when I went to buy it – not launched yet; that “failure to launch” was enough to reinforce for me how little I actually want or need the palette!). Sometimes, just taking time and willingly letting an item slip through my fingers will do the trick. Of course, what works BEST is reading a poor review of it here….that will shut down that urgent feeling for me almost every time.

Mariella Avatar

Christine – a question for you (and for anyone else here who has a beauty blog or similar) – how different would your purchasing be if you didn’t have a blog? Is your love for cosmetics (and skin care, hair care, etc. for those who blog about those products) so great that your blog is just a spin off from things you’d buy in any case? Chicken/egg question, I guess – do you purchase because you blog or do you blog things you would purchase for yourself even if you didn’t have a blog?

Christine Avatar

I really don’t know what my purchasing habits would be, because I purchase a very, very high volume – and many things I buy, I donate within a few months, because I have no need for it going forward. There are definitely things I buy to review and that I am also interested in, but as I’m presently purchasing the majority of products I review, it far exceeds what I would ever dream of buying as an individual. I love beauty, so I would definitely buy new products regularly, but I can’t imagine even spending a fraction of what my monthly spend is now.

Mariella Avatar

And I guess that’s what I was asking. I know I’m not the only one who feels for your predicament of rarely getting to wear your favourite products over and over because so much of your time is taken with trying new products for the site and for the benefit of all of us. And I know you’ve commented more than once on having completely different looks on each of your eyes to maximize your ability to test/review the tons of products (eyeshadows, especially) that you do test for Temptalia. I think most of us get to use our faves for a week or two at a time, every day, or once/twice a week for months and years but I guess you only get to do that for “special occasions”.

Debbie Avatar

I wait for the reviews. Temptalia helps, as do the few beauty gurus that I actually trust. Comparison to what I already own helps. I have to admit it is harder with limited editions, but even then I have become more able to edit what I want with what will enhance my collection.

Lea Avatar

And what brands you can count on to know if you need to see in person to decide or if you can go ahead and just buy an LE with faith/experience

Lea Avatar

One thing I’ve been doing lately is paying for more (in general) with cash. You’d be amazed at how much more you think about purchases and how fast you can spend money when making cash transactions. It’s been an interesting experiment. The other “trick” I just used was with two lipsticks I wanted – I know I’ll buy the one I passed on, but it will wait. I wanted two reds, different formulas and tones, but I’m still learning to wear red so I made myself choose one and wear red more regularly before getting a second one. The passed on one isn’t going anywhere and as much I really want it to have and play with, I’m trying to earn it and resist the urgency – that’s where the cash comes in!

Aj Avatar

These days it’s easy because I tend to forget what I want after awhile because a lot of things in my life, especially college are keeping me beyond busy. Also, because of that I haven’t had time to go to the mall and just browse which allows me to avoid the temptation of impulse purchases.
Other than that though, I just make myself remember how many of that particular item I have in my collection so that if I want to add this product can I justify using it more than 3 times? I do like to use up at least 1 – 2 items from my collection every so often, so this helps me.

AB Avatar

I keep a running list of items of interest, which hones over time as new products come out, reviews come out, or I recall I have dupes or realize something is really to fill a gap. So when I find myself in Sephora or somewhere, I already have a direction — since, it’s not that I will resist temptation or impulse as much as I’ll funnel it somewhere.

Ginny Avatar

I try to use something in my stash, maybe something I haven’t used in a while or combine two products, to see if that quenches my thirst. Then I consider why I might *not* like it, like the packaging is too bulky for my limited storage space, just too expensive, the formula may not be right for my skin, etc. Then I wait a month or even two, three, and see if the desire goes away. If I still really want it after all that time, I usually will order it, especially if it’s LE. I have no problem resisting permanent products, because I can always say “oh, maybe I’ll buy that next month, or next season.” I have wanted the Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar duo for like, three years and I’m still not in a hurry to buy it.

Katherine T. Avatar

It’s hard, but I :
1) check for dupes in my stash
2) look for reviews, and if they are mixed or bad, cross off my wish list
3) purging and re-organizing my stash helps me realize how much stuff I have already
4) make exceptions -I have no buy on gloss but will make exceptions for unique colors/LE packaging. It’s not realistic to say you will stop eating all cookies, but having a cookie once in a while helps control the urge

Stephanie Avatar

That is exactly what I do, except my no buy is on blush. By eliminating (almost) all impulse purchases, I am much happier with what I do purchase in the end.

Mo Merrell Avatar

lately, I think about all the makeup I do have and ask myself if what I want is something I need as a refill/replace or can it wait. If it can wait, i’ll hold off…it’ll be hard to do it but I do it. lol

Trina Avatar

The only way I can calm my inner addict and control my impulsive crazy need to buy everything is your blog. Seriously! If your review was not good that usually stops me. The other way is by going thru the dupes. If I already have several dupes then I can convince myself i don’t need it. Your page has saved my wallet many times lol.

Fran Avatar

I check to see if I have dupes, and I’ll postpone the decision, because sometimes the wanting fades. I’ll think about how much I’ll actually use it and whether or not I can/will be willing to return it if it doesn’t work out for me (I get unreasonably attached to some things; it’s hard for me to return a brush, even if it isn’t quite what I wanted, and I tend to forget to return hairstyling products that don’t work for me — I keep thinking of other ways I should try them out before returning, and then suddenly it’s too late to take them back).

Jaz Avatar

Higher end: I wait for reviews. Drugstore: meh, I see it , it looks good , if I have a few extra dollars I buy it. If it doesn’t work I either toss it or take it back. I currently have just over 300 worth of stuff in my sephora cart ( down from 1500 , still not sure how it got that high) and I’m still trying to get this down further, because bills to pay.

Diana Avatar

I have simply imposed myself to have only one item of a kind (well, one of a color for lipstick, eye shadow, eye liners, face powders). There are products getting out every month so just buying more than I need is wasteful. There is a lot of temptation, but if the product I am using is not almost finishing, I won’t buy. Even if it’s a sale; in the long term, I save more like this, and sometimes I get more information online while waiting so I make better purchases. I mean… even mascara… I trash mine after 3 months; this means 4 a year, but even L’oreal or Rimmel release more mascaras than this each year.

Erin Avatar

It used to be budget related. Now I have a little more free cash in my life it’s tough. I’m considering spending quite a bit at the next VIB sale. To my credit, I was pretty thrifty for about 6 years. While our financial troubles aren’t over, it’s still tough because I really just want to to be able to buy whatever and not care. After the holidays, I’ll have to be more selective about my discretionary spending.

Other than that, I only buy what I love usually and what I actually need. Need is a strong word with cosmetics, but I usually spend most of my moolah on skincare which is a need.

Marie-Estelle Avatar

I have been working a lot on this in 2016! In 3 years, my makeup collection went from barely having anything to owning a substantial amount of products. Nothing too extreme, but definitely more than average!

I go through a long process.

Does it add something new to my collection in terms of formula/color?

Would I be able to make use of it on a daily basis, or at least weekly?

Does anything in the packaging could make it annoying to use. Anything bulky or inconvenient to use… Out! I have little space to store and I don’t want to waste it.

How many products do I already own in this category and how many did I already buy this year / months? I sometime think of how much have spent on one category of item. Now that I have 5 highlighters and all high end, I am very VERY selective.

That is were your blog is of great help. Anything which doesn’t score A is almost sure to be remove from my list (except if the default of the product becomes a quality for the use I would make of it).

Of course, like a lot said… It is hard to resist LE. Nevertheless, I now check if the LE performs better than some permanent items that I am already eyeing.
I almost always wait for a reduction as they tend to be redundant where I live.

I also try to put things in perspective. Each year, I will have the opportunity to discover wonderful products. No need to rush and max out my drawers in a year.

It can also be very satisfying to offer what I am craving to buy for myself. You have the pleasure of gifting, to see or hear that the person genually love the product and eventually finish it! ❤️

Jen P Avatar

I’ve gotten better at this in recent years. In the past, I would buy anything appealing to me with not a lot of thought or research involved. This left me with plenty of items I didn’t like, which I then donated to friends and family or re-purposed in other ways. I am also on a limited budget as a student, with student loan payments looming ahead. Usually I can resist by telling myself 1) is this worth not getting out of debt quicker or 2) do you really not already have a dupe for this? At this point the odds are pretty high that I have a dupe. If I do not have a dupe, reviews have been positive, it is a color I would actually wear, and I have the money, then I will buy.

rachel Avatar

I compare it with what I have in my collection, cross-reference as many swatches and tutorials as I can find with the product and consider exactly how much use I’ll get it out of it. I have a pretty thorough(but not large) collection so chances are if it’s something completely different than what I have I might not even wear it. I love going with cheaper dupes of a product though, ColourPop, NYX, and Wet ‘n’ Wild are great for dupes of an experimental colour whereas mid-range or high-end brands are good for staple products. Also, to be honest Temptalia reviews/swatches are more often than not my make it or break it decision maker because they are the best quality and no sponsored bias so Thanks, Christine! 🙂

Kyra T. Avatar

I’ve gained a little self control by really researching the product before I just get it. I try to look at tutorials and swatches and really try to select what I want. For example, with the MAC holiday 2016 collection, I waited a little to see swatches and whatnot to see what I liked the most. With the ton of choices I did good and only got 3 things lol yay me!

WildDove Avatar

Check a range of reviews, iteratively swatch the product on different occasions, get a demo of the product on myself then check it out in various lighting at home and outside, look at images and swatches online, consider whether I can get the same anticipated effect of using the product from other items I already have in my collection.

Elle Isforliving Avatar

Inventory my stash (I have SO much). If that doesn’t squelch it, then play with my stash which makes me realize how many great products I have and I don’t need more. Worst case is, I put it on a wish list and don’t buy it for at least two months. By then, the desire has usually gone away (along with the YT hype that created the desire to begin with lol!)

Nusayba Avatar

I don’t shop much online as I don’t have a credit card and it’s hard to wrangle one outta my dad so that sorta helps I guess. Also just bringing the exact amount of money I need in cash when I go to the mall is super helpful. And finally, simply not having a giant budget as a high school student pretty much decides all my purchases.

BonnieJ Avatar

I consider myself a recovering beauty product addict! I resist certain purchases first by asking myself if I really need something first, then how often I’d use it. If there is a Sephora F&F sale coming up next week, I can definitely wait a bit. My only two big splurges a few times a year are Bobbi Brown BB Cream and Jo Malone colognes. I know what works for me.
Finally, at my stage in life (retired and glam grandma/artist/singer/gym rat) I find I have other desires these days. I would rather save my pennies for travel… Spent nearly a month in Italy last October (Tip: flight prices go down dramatically on 1 October, and the weather’s still very warm and sunny most of the time). Besides seeing great art, food, wines, and scenery, I bought a super leather jacket made to measure in Florence unlike anything I’d find in the States. So I watch my spending, and that includes my beloved beauty fixes because it all adds up. Going to the US Southwest late next winter, and to my ancestral lands in Eastern Europe in Spring of 2018 (have researched my genealogy and my husband’s). It’s all about priorities.

Meredith Avatar

Yes, that’s how I do it too, Christine. Resist the impulse buy. Slow down and think about it, even if for just while I stroll around browsing at other things while shopping. I wanted one of the new Tom Ford lip foils but for $53 plus tax, really? Am I sure I want to receive that bill and how will I feel about the lipstick then? Hmm, maybe not I think. I’d rater have that money or spend it on some healthy food than just another lipstick that will do nothing to improve my life.

Deborah Avatar

I have so much fun buying things for my children and grand children that it is usually an easy choice … that being said, some cosmetics I just have to have!

Karen Avatar

I use the same strategies, that is to give it time and be sure it is something I really want, need and will use. I think that is one of my biggest beefs with a limited edition and limited produced, item. It takes away my timetable so that I end up acting, and spending money, emotionally rather than intelligently.

Hildegard Avatar

I do lots of lists, read lots of reviews, but mostly it comes down to whether a certain product I’m after is available in my part of the world or not. If I have to import it, then it’s out of the question (I’d have to borrow a credit card, think about international shipping rates, etc.) until my budget truly allows it. If I can find it in a local shop, then I’ll read and reread as many reviews as I can, check out swatches and ask myself if it’d truly be an addition to my collection. Since I came into this site it’s become easier to avoid impulse shopping – not going to risk buying something that’s no good.

Genevieve Avatar

I guess you’re talking about a beauty product that you want, rather than need. I usually shop my stash, look at your dupe list and then think about it. Is it worth the money? Are the rating great?
Case in point: The Lorac Rose Gold Pro Metal palette – I missed out last year, but now I feel like I have been given a chance. Love the shades, great rating etc. So I have decided to get it.
As for Too Faced, Tarte etc – their quality is not worth the money – so I can easily walk away.
ABH Renaissance – not my shades – again an easy pass.

Bon Bon Avatar

I don’t. I’m an impulse buyer. I just ordered my first Mac lipstick. I have way too many lipsticks already, still looking for the perfect one!

Chacha Avatar

Can i give an answer if in 2 days i have bought 3 palettes??? lol
*Champagne pop collection face palette from Becca
*Face and lips palette Sarah Moon from Nars
*Face palette Nutcraker Sweet Peach from Mac

And the 2 latest after reading reviews from Temptalia,so can i really give an answer Christine? Because mine will be “NEVER READ THE NEWSLETTER FROM TEMPTALIA” 🙂

Donna E. Avatar

It’s just difficult when you have your eye on it (palette, collection) and the company throws a 20% off sale and am not ready to buy.
I find I make more mistakes on my impulse buy than if I wait, give it time and then buy.

Vida Avatar

Like a lot of people, I am susceptible to impulse buying. So, to remedy, I’ll do a whole bunch of research on it, and usually i can find a bad comment or review that will help me balance my mind a little. And, if I’m still iffy, I’ll talk to my best friend. You know that friend that just tells it like it is? Yeah, that friend. And as much as it might hurt when she questions my want for a $60 eyeshadow palette, I bow my head like a sad puppy. And then I’ll eventually forget about it 🙂

Naomi Avatar

I used to have an impulse purchase problem. Usually I wait a couple weeks and then I revisit it to see if I truly want it. Then, if I still do, I shop my stash to see if it will add anything I don’t already have to my collection. If it’s too simillar or exactly like something I already own then 99% of the time I end up passing.

Silvia Avatar

That has been a super challenge! I’m fully stocked right now with every beautiful eyeshadow, blush and lip colors. Have all the basics covered including brushes, different foundations, powder, eyeliners, one contour item I love a lot the bronzer duo from WetnWild and highliters. My space is getting tight so I really have to think whether I need something more or not but especially with drugstore beauty items is hard to resist since the price doesn’t drain my sickly bank account. Lol! But the best thing for me, is not to go near any! No Sephora! No Ulta! No drugstore. It is a great challenge indeed!
Oh! And every color of the rainbow in great polishes.

Adriana Avatar

What has worked for me is creating a stock list of all the products I have, it was time consuming and took me a while to complete it. When I’m tempted to buy a beauty product I check my stock and when I see all the stuff I have in use or back up then it freaks me out! 😉 LOL! Works great for me, confronting myself with my past purchases. That being said, it also helps me buy products I truly need that I absolutely love, that’s how I built my wishlist for the Sephora upcoming sale 🙂

Zeeoe Avatar

It’s a daily struggle </3 I have a wedding to save up for and just keep telling myself my guests can't eat eyeshadow … Even if it is limited edition and beautiful </3 …

Lori Avatar

I think about why I want it. It’s usually an impulse, so I also think about how many I already have LOL. Do I really need another palette with similar colors? I wait a couple of days and the “want” disappears.

Terry Douglas Avatar

The way I resist the temptation to buy a beauty product is I put it off for a day. When I see a new product in the store, I tell my self that I need to go online and look at reviews. If discover a product through social media, I still wait a day at least. Waiting at least a day allows the frenzy I get in over makeup, to calm down some. Lol. And if the frenzy calms down, the next day I may decide to wait another day. This can continue and I may never get a product. If I do this I get more stuff that I really love and end up returning stuff less.

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!