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.
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.
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, go grab my skin type guide and ready this skincare for beginners article to discover how to determine your skin type and care for it (especially prep it for makeup). 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.
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 bio-degradable 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!
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!
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 here).
I’m looking at you, 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!
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.
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.”
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.
Be Your Own Makeup Artist: Unleash Your Inner Beauty
My book, Be Your Own Makeup Artist: Unleash Your Inner Beauty (which is now also being used as cosmetology school curriculum) is the perfect book for beginners or those of you looking to elevate or refresh your makeup game. Get your copy today. Free for Kindle Select readers.
My online course, which is launching soon, will teach you ALL the basics of an everyday makeup look without the fluff or drama! Whether you choose to receive a daily, weekly, or bi-monthly email – you’ll learn all you need to know about makeup in 7 days. Sign up today.
Enrollment is open year-round but limited to 8 spots per session. This life-changing program is my whole heart – and I can’t wait to roll up my sleeves and welcome the next round of students next Spring (April 10). Learn more about this program here.
Last but not least, if you enjoy this sponsor-free content and learning from me please consider becoming a ‘star’ via my Patreon page. Your contributions allow me to stay caffeinated and motivated to continue doing what I’m doing. I won’t lie, it gets hard to not sell out.
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!