6 Questions to Ask Before Buying Another Beauty Product


6 Questions To Ask Before Makeup Shopping

6 Questions to Ask Before Buying Another Beauty Product

Shopping for makeup and beauty products can be extremely overwhelming. I mean, paralysis by analysis is a real thing and I see more often times than not, people buying beauty products that don’t need, don’t know how to use, and products that won’t work for them. Beauty companies thrive off of impulse purchases and know people will cave with ‘shiny new object’ syndrome.

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And to jog your memory, 2020 and 2021 really paved the way for easier and more impulsive beauty purchases because all the largest retailers have stepped up their online shopping/e-commerce game (learn more about that here). Here are a few questions I’d encourage you to ask yourself before you click ‘buy now’ or impulsively grab something at the store.

Question 1

Is this product formulated for your skin type?

The first question I ask anyone who asks me a makeup-related question is “what’s your skin type?”

90% of the issues my clients and students have had over the years is a result of using the wrong formulations of products for their skin type.

If you do not know the answer to this question with 100% certainty, grab my skin type guide and read this skincare for beginners post to discover how to determine your skin type and care for it.

If you already have a copy of my book, Be Your Own Makeup Artist, refer to page 15! This is SO important because if the makeup isn’t formulated to your skin type or if you’re not prepping for your skin properly, this will likely be a huge waste of money.

Natalie Setareh Skin Type Guide

Question 2

Do you already have a similar product in your makeup bag?

Makeup bag Stuff


I have a weakness for loose pigments and in the old times, especially glitters. However, these pigments take FOREVER to use up and well — they also aren’t the easiest and most convenient products to use. So while they swatch beautifully, I know I have to walk away from the pigments or else I’ll be tempted.

When I go shopping for makeup, I find that I almost always have a similar product in my makeup bag *or* a product that does the exact same thing as something that already lives in my makeup bag. Very rarely do I need anything except for a new mascara, lip balm, or serum (the three products I use up the most frequently). I don’t even go through eyeliner or foundation as fast as I think I do!

P.S. did you know that biodegradable cosmetic grade glitters are bad for the planet? I had no clue!

Check out Sustainability in the Beauty Industry to learn more. If you’re a makeup artist, don’t miss this article on how to have a more sustainable pro kit.

Bottom Line: Use up what you have first and find how what you probably have is multi-purpose. Check out this amazing article on what happened when my long-time friend and blog contributor Alexanna committed to one-year of no-buy makeup. It’s pretty amazing!

Question 3

Is it {really} the right color for you?

Maybe you already know the product is formulated for your (or your giftee’s) skin type but do you really know if the color is going to work for you? I mean, just because the color looks amazing on the salesperson and they have the same skin tone as you doesn’t mean it’s actually going to work on you. That’s where an understanding of color theory comes into play.

Don’t worry, it’s not very difficult, you just need to know the basics! You can go back and check out my podcast episode with the wonderful and talented Terri Tomlinson to get a rundown!

Color Theory and Makeup - Be Your Own Makeup Artist Podcast with Natalie Setareh

Don’t Miss This Amazing Interview on Color Theory and Makeup with Terri Tomlinson

I know a lot about this, as evidenced by the MAC Heroine lipstick I impulsively bought because I loved how it looked SO much on the MAC salesperson. I wore it once, at home, for a picture, and it’s lived in my drawer of impulse lipstick purchases. (FYI – you don’t have to toss the lipstick. MAC has a great recycling program I outline in episode 32 on sustainability).

Question 4

Do you honestly think you’ll use it up before it expires?

I’m looking at you, eyeshadow palettes…

Colorful Shiny Eyeshadow Palettes

Are ALL the colors right for you in that eyeshadow palette? Or rather, do you honestly think you can use every single color? Refer back to the previous question!

How To Know When Makeup Expires

I don’t need to reinvent the wheel on this subject because Sonia Roselli of Sonia Roselli Beauty made a fantastic video about makeup expiration dates. I’m including it below so you can bookmark it, take notes, and cull your collection today. Don’t buy anything you don’t think you can use up!

P.S. Check out my interview with the queen of skin prep on the topic of  Makeup For Mature Skin here.

Question 5

What need does this product fill?

Now it might seem like I’m being a huge Debbie Downer with all these questions, but this is where it can get fun! If you want to buy something to try something new, or practice a new technique, or simply have to display on your vanity because it’s so darn pretty… that’s OK!

Not sure if liquid liner is for you? There’s only one way to find out. Try it out for yourself! However, why not reach for a drugstore version before purchasing one at a department store? It will save you money while still giving you the opportunity to try that new color or formula!

Not sure if red eyeshadow will work on you? Buy a single pan of the eyeshadow and pop it into a magnetic palette. You can always toss the pan of shadow if it doesn’t work and free up space to be adventurous with another color without breaking the bank or throwing away another eyeshadow palette.

Want to read more about this? Check out this blog post called “To Dupe or Not to Dupe? 5 Tips to Help You Decide What to Buy.”

Question 6

Do you actually know how to use this product?

Makeup Brushes image via Unsplash

Image by Hazel Olayres via unsplash.com


Let’s face it, there aren’t many makeup teachers out there simply teaching people how to wear makeup without some kind of ulterior motive. There’s no such thing as a free lunch, after all.

Some makeup artists teach makeup while promoting their products or their brushes and tools to supplement their makeup artist salaries. Some makeup artists use affiliate links for products they promote or set up online shops on Amazon to receive financial compensation for their time in creating free-for-you content (I do this occasionally). And some makeup artists develop courses and trainings to coach other makeup artists (heck, I do this too!).

I like to offer unsponsored, unbiased makeup education – no strings attached. I’m not trying to sell you anything except for the knowledge and life-skill of wearing and shopping for makeup confidently and based on your unique preferences and features.

Have any questions about shopping for makeup? Leave a comment below (I won’t bite!) or send me an email. Yes, I really do read all my emails! 😊 You are important to me. Alternatively, you can submit a question at nataliesetareh.com/asksetareh and I may answer it in an upcoming email, in a social media post, or in a future blog!

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P.S. If you asked me a beauty question, if I don't immediately know the answer, I must thoroughly research every question I receive, and sometimes do not have an immediate answer or I need clarity on unlisted ingredients in certain beauty products, sometimes getting a clear answer takes up to 3 weeks... have patience, it'll be worth it!

Beauty is about perception, not about make-up. I think the beginning of all beauty is knowing and liking oneself. You can't put on make-up, or dress yourself, or do you hair with any sort of fun or joy if you're doing it from a position of correction.

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