Much of the features Temptalia’s built over the years have been guided by trying to help readers make better, more informed purchases that they’ll love. I approach this from the standpoint that I’m not necessarily trying to convince someone to buy or not buy any specific product but to provide the information, resources, and tools for someone to make that decision knowing their own needs, preferences, budget constraints, and so on.
1. Why do you want it?
Ask yourself questions that will help you figure out why this particular product is pulling at you. Here are some examples of questions:
- Is it because you’ve been looking for this type of eyeshadow palette for awhile?
- Is it because you haven’t bought anything in awhile and want something “new and shiny”?
- Is everyone else raving about it, and I just want to see what the fuss is all about?
- Did a friend say it was life-changing and I want that experience?
- Is it the type of product I’m normally drawn to and enjoy?
- Is it the type of product I love seeing but rarely use?
- Do I just enjoy trying new products?
- Am I bored with what I own? Am I in a rut with my own stash?
These are the type of questions you want to think about (as applicable!), and your answer may or may not stop the want — it’s not necessarily about saying no (or trying to justify a purchase either) but being mindful about any new purchase. You might have the budget and desire to buy something just to see what the hype is for yourself, while someone else may feel like, “I didn’t want it before the hype, so I’m going to move on.” You might really trust your BFF’s recommendations and go for it, or you might remember that they often don’t work for your skin type/preferences, so then you can look at whether this recommendation might not work for you after all.
2. Can I afford it / will the purchase have an impact my financial goal(s)?
Whether your budget is $10 or $1,000, if you’ve decided that you still want to purchase the product, then the next step is to determine whether you can afford to purchase, whether making that expenditure is in keeping with whatever financial goals you’ve set for yourself, and so forth. I’d also consider whether it’s something that might be available on sale later on, say you there’s an upcoming % off promotion from the retailer.
If it will set back a financial goal, but it is something you can afford (like you’ll have to skip the movies the next weekend, not that you’ll skip rent to buy the product!), that’s your choice to make! Acknowledging the pros and cons helps to ensure that you really want the product and will feel good about the purchase afterward (and less likely to regret spending the money!).
Further reading: Guide to a Low- or No-Buy and Avoiding Temptation
3. How does this product fit in my collection?
Next, assess how the product in question will fit in with what you already own. You’ll want to think about how likely you are to use it, when you’ll use it, whether it’s something you know you’ll use sometimes but still really enjoy or whether you think it’s going to be a real workhorse for you. The answer and whether it gives you the go-ahead is personal. The point of the process is to think through a purchase methodically as sometimes the “want” will go away with time or we can’t find good justification to allow the purchase, so that tempers the want. I also like to spend more of the initial time thinking about the product and myself rather than doing a lot of research for reviews or swatches (which can sometimes feed into the want, I think) initially.
4. Do I have any dupes? Can I mix what I own instead?
Right now, the most popular tool on Temptalia is our Dupe List, so duh, that’s a good place to start, but there are some more advanced ways to use the Dupe List along with some other handy tools that are great for comparison. Sometimes we don’t need dupes so much as something similar enough, as similar enough shades can still be a good starting point to figure out whether we actually use that type of product.
Limit your search results to show only dupes you own!
- Check for dupes. Use Temptalia’s Dupe List to lookup color products to see if you have something similar (enough) in your collection. Sometimes this gives you a way to recreate the look and feel without buying something new, but it can also be a baseline for you to better understand if and how you use that type of product/color normally. If you’re a registered user, you can add products to your vanity and refine our Dupe List results to products you own!
- Compare Any Two. Use our comparison tool to pull up swatches of any two shades (that I have swatched) on the fly.
- Compare Any Two Palettes. Use our comparison tool to see what overlap exists between any two palettes I’ve swatched in the past. It will highlight similar shades as well as mark actual dupes (that are on the Dupe List).
If you don’t have anything that’s similar enough, consider layering (or mixing) two or three shades to get there. You can mix a gold and green to get a warmer, more olive-toned green shade. You can layer a sparkly top coat on top of a more matte/satin eyeshadow to change the finish. You can pat a bit of eyeshadow on top of a lipstick to create a shimmery effect (add a touch of balm or gloss to give it some luminosity).
You can also look across categories; for example, if you’re after a duochrome highlighter for cheeks, perhaps you have something similar enough in eyeshadow form that you could experiment with.
5. Have I done my research on it?
Research includes reading reviews, browsing swatches, or even seeing and trying it in person, should that be an option. If it’s a relatively new product or it’s slim pickings for reviews on it, you can also look at past performance by that brand and for that type of product–some brands are fairly consistent and others can be all over the place. If you live in an area that allows returns, make sure you’re familiar with the return/exchange process as well.
You can use a tool like Fakespot for certain retailers, like Amazon and Sephora, to help eliminate the impact of “unreliable” reviews (fake or otherwise). My other tips for wading through reviews on retailer websites is to look for longer reviews, sort by “most helpful” or “lowest rating,” and if possible, sometimes looking at the user’s review history can show you some insight into what they’ve liked (or disliked) in the past.
It’s a good idea to invest some time (at any point!) to find reviewers that suit your needs, whether that’s in-depth demonstrations, written reviews, or having similar coloring. This will help you build go-to resources for future purchasing decisions as well.