My current project is to reduce my spending on makeup as much as possible, as well as to reduce my makeup stash to only what I really need and use. I've been trying to find ways to do this over the past few months, and this is what I've learned so far:
1) Creating a spreadsheet to organise your stash and wishlist
I got this idea off a user on Temptalia. I organise all my makeup on a spreadsheet by brand (different rows for different brands) and type of product (different columns). That makes it easy to see much makeup I have, which makes me feel less inclined to add to it. I have different pages in the same file for how much I spend every month and a couple of wishlists - one is just for anything I feel I want to buy and the other is pared down to a small fraction of that - what I feel I really need.
2) Making a list of blacklist of brands / products / ingredients you won't touch (for whatever reason), and a list of favourite brands you want to focus on.
This works for me, because my dealbreakers include extortionate prices (that is all "high-end" makeup), unethical practices by makeup companies (both in manufacture of makeup and advertising) and toxic ingredients. One of the marketing strategies that turns me off is releasing limited edition products all the time - it creates a frenzy and turns off the rational side of our brains. Anyway, this is meant to narrow down the list of makeup that I allow myself to buy. If I know a company is unethical, then it makes me not want to touch their products.
On the other hand, my favourite brand is a very reasonably priced high street brand that caters to women of colour - Sleek. They come out with amazing quality limited edition blushes every season and that's all the "luxury" I really need.
3) Budget all your expenses, create savings goals and try to put a cap on unnecessary spending.
I also created a spreadsheet for my budget - including spending on rent, travel, groceries, etc. It has my savings goals for every month which is the most important thing for me. Makeup is a totally unnecessary luxury which I try to avoid as much as possible - again, if I think I *need* something in my life, I look at my stash spreadsheet and remind myself I have more than 70 lipsticks and similar amounts of blushes and highlighters.
I tried setting a limit on spending for makeup every month, but that didn't work. I had to go cold turkey on makeup - which worked for a little while - for a few months I didn't buy *any* makeup.
4) "Shopping your stash"
This is a term that I've seen on youtube, which is a really great idea if you can stick with it. This is what I did during those months where I didn't buy any new makeup. The problem with me (and I think the problem with many people) is that I had a lot of makeup that I had bought and never even used. I was buying it to have it, or to collect it, not to use it. But makeup is meant to be used! If you have enough makeup, try to use it and enjoy it - don't buy more!
5) Limit the amount of space you dedicate to makeup, and don't allow yourself to expand beyond it.
This is not only a good idea, but absolutely necessary for me, since I travel so much. I would really like to reduce *everything* I have to two suitcases - I have about four at the moment. (This is not including all the boxes full of books kept at my ancestral home in India.) Makeup forms too large a part of that. I want to buy a medium-sized train case and put all my most-loved products in there - that's more than enough makeup for me!
And the most important tip I can give is this:
6) Educate yourself on media and marketing strategies, and apply what you learned in your real-life and internet experience.
Make a list of red-flag words that advertisers use ("age-defying", "must-have", "hydrating", etc), and realise how you are being manipulated by them. My biggest concern is that this kind of language has seeped into our consciousness - I hear teenagers on youtube showing off a product that they've bought and reading the back and repeating all the marketing crap that the companies tell them.
When did it get this bad? When did this become our hobby? Realise that these companies don't care for you; they just want your money. I find it reprehensible really - they make ridiculous profits and don't even compensate these poor bloggers who spend their time giving them free advertising. Don't let yourself get exploited. If companies want advertising, ask for a cut of their profits.
But it has to start with self-reflection. Do you need more makeup? Are you spending more than you are capable of spending? Are you addicted? Are you filling a void in your life by buying things you don't really need? Is this what you want from life? Does buying more really make you happy? Or does this make you supremely unhappy, like it does me?
When you answer that question, you can start really taking action to reduce your spending and your stash and really start enjoy the makeup that you have - and other things in life as well - the more important things, like friends and family and love and learning.
Good luck! :)