How Deliberate and Thoughtful Are You About New Makeup Purchases?

Published in: Just For Fun

A visit to Sephora


I’d like to say that I carry a cheat sheet with me everywhere I go with a laminated matrix of makeup cross-referenced and sorted, with ratings for finish, formula, wear time, pigment and perceived value…

Wait — no I don’t. I’m not that cray! πŸ™‚ Most of the time I just go with my gut.


Assuming that I don’t barf a little or curse when I see the price, if I see a product and swatch it and get that fluttery feeling in my tum, nine times out of 10 I’ll make my way to the cashier (after first checking the store’s return policy).

I think I’m easy prey for savvy sales associates and makeup artists. When they see me, they’re probably thinking, “Oh, boy. Here’s another one. It’s like shooting fish in a barrel today!”

“Let me just try this on you,” they’ll say, and my gut will respond, “OK! Yeah! It looks gorgeous! Gotta have it!” πŸ˜€

So, yeah, when it comes to new makeup purchases, my gut usually drives the decision-making process.

Not exactly the scientific method, but it works for me.

How about you? How deliberate and thoughtful are you about new makeup purchases?

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



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  1. Divya says:

    I am pretty impulsive with new makeup! because most brands are hard to find here I tend to go overboard! but trying to get a grip on myself.. I probably wont be able to use everything before it expires so I am holding back! But things which I know ill use everyday I definitely go ahead and pick! πŸ™‚
    Divya recently posted … My Makeup Bag for Summer

  2. Erin says:

    With my finances being very tight right now, I am exceptionally calculated. If I don’t need it I won’t get it unless it’s under $10 and I really want it. Even that is limited to about a once a month splurge. I’d rather have a hunk of brie and a nice glass of wine than a very expensive cosmetic I may not like. I’ll splurge for skincare though!
    Erin recently posted … Covey Run 2011 Chardonnay Review

  3. Icequeen81 says:

    Ummm most of the times after swatches, but I learned my lesson about it if it fits person A doesnt mean it will fit me so , there my make up mistakes
    But some I have been able to go with gut feeling and get the right one

    BUT I know just one thing it has to be matte πŸ™‚

  4. Devora says:

    I either go and swatch and then buy online if I really like a product… or vice versa. I’ll stalk a product online for a bit and then maybe buy it in store once I see it in person. Stuff sits in my cart for quite a while. But then there are those days when I need ALL THE MAKEUPS! *sigh*

  5. Lilly says:

    I’m a sucker for any thing that a) moisturize and b)glow-ify. Cream foundation, primer, serum, mist, highlight, blush, refresher (wth)… pat it on me and I fall in love… I don’t buy everything, though, mainly for money reason. Just last weekend, I stepped into Sephora and came out with Laura Mecier Silk Creme foundation…

  6. Angela says:

    Yeah… Ummm… You pretty much just described me and more times than once I’ve ended up returning too because once I got it home and played with it and swatched it under natural light it just wasn’t love anymore. Of course there are those that have haunted me that I have gone back to get – Nars night porter and Malacca, MAC coppering, patina, vex, and seedy pearl. Thanks to an SA’s recommendations I have my foundation loves which are Nars and hourglass immaculate.

    Now, When it comes to LE MAC releases I’m a bit insane. I obsessively google swatches before deciding if its worth it to me to be at my counter at 10am. Cray, I know. Haha

  7. Rachel P. says:

    Lol at the “shooting fish in a barrel”! I’m a bit more resistant to salespeople, although I truly appreciate their input/expertise when I ask. I almost always enter Ulta, Sephora, or dept. store beauty counters with something specific in mind, so when they lay on the “this is new and hot” or “this would look great on you”, I’m like, thanks but no thanks! Online is worse… I feel like the richesse of coupons and sales is so much more prevalent there, so I tend to buy more online than I would in a store. Is that weird? It’s all the variety (usually more) with none of the pushiness. Although I don’t buy foundation/concealer online unless I already know my shade, because I have to be sure I’m getting a good match!

  8. Alison M says:

    At drugstore prices, there’s a little voice (okay, a reeeeallly big one) that yells, “BUY BUY BUY BUY ALL THE THINGS!!!” But somewhere like Sephora or Bluemercury I take more time. Lots of mentally racking my brain for other products I might own that are similar and then trekking back and forth across the store to swatch.
    Alison M recently posted … How to Blow Dry Hair From Curly to Straight

  9. Nowadays? I’m incredibly deliberate and thoughtful. I used to be much more impulsive, especially when I had the beauty blog. However, now that my “stash” is very established, and I’m not writing reviews every day, I don’t feel the need to buy every new item that hits the shelf. In fact, I’ve been on a mission to use up as much as possible before purchasing anything new! {With the exception of my day-to-day products, of course.}
    Kristen {a Modern Mrs.} recently posted … What My Husband Thinks of My Blog

  10. Alix says:

    Occasionally I’m impulsive, but most of the time it takes several swatching trips to Sephora before I finally decide to buy a product. This method has saved me from many a mistake!

  11. Shannon says:

    Totally depends on my mood/the price range.
    Around $5, my logic goes something like “hey, that’s about the same price as, say, the bag of starburst candies I got last week. Whyyyyy the hell not?”
    Closer to $10+, there’s a little more consideration, like “will I use this?” Or “do I have a color like this already?”
    Over $10, and we’re into you-better-think-about-this-seriously territory.
    Oftentimes if I’m in need of something specific (like, a new BB cream) I’ll do some research, comb some online reviews – for which your blog is an eeeexcellent resource, may I say – and settle down on a single product that will fulfill my needs. If something catches my eye “out in the wild” (i.e., if I see a lipstick that I like at Sephora), I’ll think about it for a while and really “decide” if I want it before I make the purchase.
    I feel like I’m pretty rigorous about not making impulse makeup buys! Or impulse-anything buys, for the most part. Sometimes the spirit grabs me, but I’m definitely not a shopaholic.
    The only exceptions, I think, are when a) I (very periodically) NEED a new lipgloss – a drugstore brand often satisfies the need; b) I have an “XX% off your entire purchase” coupon, with which I’ll often get 3-4 products I’ve had on my mind but hadn’t really “settled” on yet; or c) I fall into some Christmas/birthday money. Then sh*t gets CRAY, lol! πŸ™‚

  12. Alex says:

    Extremely. As a teen, I was all about buying makeup until I realized how much money went into that expense department and how I never finished anything I buy. Now, I research the crap out of what makeup I buy, get samples if possible and test it out. It takes me at least a month to make a decision. I usually end up with more expensive products but they’re worth the investment since I only buy once of each (1 foundation, 1 red lipstick, 1 mascara, etc.) Saves me money overall, really.

  13. Michele DiCola says:

    If you like it , then I will probably like it !
    So if its $ 100.00 I will buy today anyway !
    thats all I have to say !
    I am a true beauty junky !

  14. Nikita says:

    I research the heck out of 95% of the things I buy. I check for dupes, quality ratings, and then like to do swatches and get samples. I’ve been known to stand in the middle of a Sephora with my phone in one hand and a swatch or product in the other. The other 5% is pretty much all impulse purchases. I tend to be a collector (I like complete sets), but I’m more picky about that these days.

  15. Oh I used to be so impulsive. But lately I’ve been trying to use my head and really think everything through before I decide on a purchase. I’d say that 90% of the time I make sensible, calculated purchases. And the other 10%, well… πŸ™‚
    Kiss & Make-up recently posted … Easy polka dot nail art in coral pink and orange using a toothpick

  16. Tracy says:

    Last November I threw away all of my makeup and started from scratch. I made stops at Sephora, Ulta, Nordstrom, Macy’s, drugstores in search of each item I wanted and that I would use on a regular basis/per season. I finished my quest in April and getting rid of all of the clutter really changed how I put on my makeup, how I think about makeup and how I purchase makeup. Did I really need 14 different foundations when I really only used 3 in my regular rotation. I’m no longer overwhelmed by the sheer quantity I had lurking in my vanity. I know that no matter which item I pull out of my collection that it’s going to look good and work for me. Now putting on my makeup has become a very relaxing and enjoyable part of my day. I even had a new custom vanity built with enough storage to house my current collection.

  17. Kim says:

    Hey, what a coincidence. I go with your gut, too! πŸ™‚ There’s not a lot of swatching out here in the sticks so I definitely read reviews. If it’s pricey (I’m looking at you, Le Volume), it goes on a list until I’m out of my current favorite. My only impulse buys are usually to make the shipping minimum.

  18. When I go into a higher-end store like a Sephora, I have an idea of the *kind* of thing I want to buy (e.g. a matte red lipstick or a night cream), and I’ll probably have looked at online swatches, too. Beyond that, though, my gut calls the shots. I actually find that my favorite products are the ones I stumbled on in the store, not the ones I ordered online after weeks of research. There’s no substitute for seeing something in person.

    My worst impulse purchases happen at the drugstore, though. I’m not going to buy a Rouge G on the spur of the moment, but $8 for a Maybelline lipstick…well, that’s another story.

  19. breyerchic04 says:

    I have lists on my ipod, of things I definitely need and then things I need to swatch. They’re not end all be all, but they keep me from getting lost in the store.

  20. Natalye says:

    It takes me a really long time to decide since I want to make sure I’m getting a really good quality product for the price
    Natalye recently posted … Lorac: Unzipped Palette Review and Swatches

  21. Kwmechelle says:

    Totally deliberate & calculating! When I get wind of a product that’s all the rage, I’ll research the heck out of it first to see if it’s worth it. So, I’m checking reviews for quality, texture, how long it lasts, etc. Though I adore makeup & beauty products, hoarding a bunch of crap (especially expensive crap that may expire or I may never use) drives me insane. So I try to make smart purchases. I pretty much have my staple products down pack- like cc cream, mascara, brow pencil, lip liners, etc that I try to keep on hand.

    Otherwise, with new lipsticks, eyeshadows, blushes & the like, I’ll splurge (but only occasionally) if I don’t already own something very similar & it enhances my stash. I’m the chick who walks through Sephora, Tar-jay, and beauty dept counters with my phone out checking on YouTube & Makeup Alley for reviews. I’m truly an anal retentive makeup nerd! My mantra? Want not, waste not!

  22. Natalie says:

    I’m pretty considered about purchases these days. It’s partly because my skin is so fussy and partly because my life has changed so much that I don’t really have any interest in accumulating loads of things. I still like to keep an eye out for new formulae and other such things but unless it is spectacularly promising I’m not really interested.

  23. fancie says:

    I’m always picking up new goodies but I do like to do a little research before hauling like crazy. I always look up swatches and reviews first. Everything doesn’t look or perform the same way on everyone but I’m usually able to get a good idea of how a product might work for me when read reviews. The few times I didn’t research I ended up regretting it. Definitely a lesson learned!
    fancie recently posted … Urban Decay Electric Palette Swatches

  24. Angela says:

    I wish I could like Kim’s comment!

    I rely a lot on online swatches and blogs, I get samples before diving into a big purchase like primers and foundations. Lipsticks, blushes, eyeshadows are all impulse buys except LEs that require craziness.

    Now… A $10 purchase for something like an originally $40 lorac palette. I’m all over that s$&?!!!

  25. Bee says:

    yeahhhhh. so last month was my anniversary and I went to Sephora. I wa sjust swatching things and totally fell in love with YSL babydoll #3. INSTANT purchase. I realized it 2 days later how out of my budget it was. hehehe
    how is that for deliberating…. LOL
    Bee recently posted … Benefit They’re Real! mascara Review & Swatches!

  26. Laure says:

    I’m a student and I’m perpetually low on money, so I deliberate loooong and hard before I part with my cash.

    If I see something in the store that I want, I’ll go home and look up reviews online to see if I REALLLLY “need” it. Even then, I’ll still try to convince myself that I’ll survive without that coveted make up item.
    I also keep a (ever growing) wishlist on my computer that I constantly add to. Sadly, I’m rarely able to check an item off. Aaaaaah, the college life… ;D
    Laure recently posted … Lush | Angels On Bare Skin

  27. Majick says:

    I used to be deliberate, then I went nuts, now I’m back to “thinking about it” (for a sec) before I purchase. LMAO!

    Seriously? It really depends on my mood. If I’m at a makeup event I tend to purchase a little more impulsively because they are using new products (hopefully) and usually do such a nice job that I WANT to look the way them made me look, so I buy.

    I’m trying to use up what I have (will take a million years) so I only buy everyday use items that I run out of. I STAY AWAY from Ulta and Sephora because if I go in, I usually come out with something.

    Frankly, I love the folks that said they go with your gut LOL. I swore I was not going to buy another palette and guess which one is on my list now? The cat one from too faced. YOUR FAULT!


  28. Dominique says:

    I am much too impulsive and it’s clearly an addiction. But I know exactly what I want, the only issue is that my wishlists have no end.

  29. Dee says:

    Oh sweet lord I wish I was less impulsive. I almost always need to have a long chat with myself before heading into a makeup store to avoid being super impulsive. A chat that is usually overlooked lol.
    I am trying to be better about using what I have though!
    Dee recently posted … Chanel Rouge Allure Velvet Luminous Matte Lip Colour – #34 La Raffinée

  30. Sarah Lowes says:

    I cross reference and check beauty reviews I’ve cut out from magazines – how anal is that?!!

  31. Doreen G. says:

    Most of the time I know what I’m looking for. I usually look at reviews about the product before buying. But…then I also have the impulsive side where I go into a store and become overwhelmed that there is so much to choose from. I love so many different products, Mac, Nars, laura
    mercier, to name a few although there is a ton more that I love.
    Anyway, i can go in with something on my mind that I want and buy other things also. I can get very cray and spend way too much! I’m a true makeup junkie!

  32. brenda says:

    Most of the time, i buy a product i’ve seen on a blog. MAC limited editions are one of my favorites, BUT lately i’ve decided i don’t need that much make up anymore, i have so much i don’t use. I really need to start using my own stuff first!

  33. Gina says:

    I’m really bad with impulse buys!! I also get swayed by reviews and gifts with purchase. I’m waiting to buy anything new until Nordstrom reveals their beauty exclusives for the upcoming Anniversary Sale. I hope there are some goodies!! I really want to buy one of the Mac “look in a bag” or whatever they call them, hope they’re good this year!!

  34. Iris says:

    I am very thoughtful with my makeup purchases. I plan everything out, research the product and company, look for sales (if possible). I rarely, if ever, impulse purchase items anymore. I have a growing stash, so I try not to purchase unless the product is limited edition or if I need a replacement.

  35. Lisa says:

    I’m pretty thoughtful about my purchases. I keep a google doc of everything I see in beauty blogs that peaks my interest so that when i’m at Sephora or wherever, I can whip out the list on my phone and do some focused swatching and potential research on reviews too. I am at a point where i have a lot of “stuff” and don’t want to accumulate more for the sake of more. My best (male) friend is in the same boat and often asks me for purchasing advice. My advice to him was that we have too much stuff to get something new that is mediocre, so my guideline to him was to only consider items that were significant upgrades to what he already has…or to put it in words he would understand “don’t buy it unless it gives you an enormous boner” So i try to go by the same guideline…I do my research, i get swatches and if that new lipstick swatch gives me a girl boner, i know I’ve done my due diligence and can buy

  36. Katherine M says:

    I am more thoughtful and careful now than I may have been when I was younger, though even then I still set price limits for myself when in stores like Sephora, Ulta, or Nordstroms. I typically go to Sephora maybe twice a year, and I really think about my purchases because a lot of stuff costs good money there. I’ll pretty much jump on the NARS Orgasm line, because it really complements my skin, but most other stuff I think long and hard about the price. Drugstore purchases I used to go more crazy with, but after a while I realized I was buying some things that I didn’t end up using, so it was a waste of money in a sense. I now spend a lot of time reading beauty blogs like this one, and thinking about most of my purchases (some will still be spontaneous, like if I see something new in a drugstore line that I had heard good things about or looked fun).

  37. Bianca Gallegly Horkan says:

    I’m extremely frugal with my makeup & skin care purchases. Two adult boys living at home eat a ton of food — not much in my budget left over for makeup unless I’ve “run out” of something.

  38. Stephanie says:

    I go through phases of being impulsive and then other times I take my time and really ask myself if I truly need another neutral palette.

    I don’t buy as much in the store, I go nuts online. Usually it’s products I have at least seen in person. Sometimes I buy off online swatches.

  39. Vanessa says:

    I’m VERY deliberate and calculating.

    I have to be looking for it.
    In most cases, it has to be replacing an item that I used up.
    And, I really give myself heartache about whether I REALLY like it.

  40. Sylirael says:

    I do research like you would not believe! It’s one of the reasons I love blogs like yours so much, Karen – you can’t get a decent cosmetic here in NZ for less than about $20 (Even Revlon lipsticks are $27, remember), so you have to be *so* careful unless you have really enviable expendable income!

    Even on my recent jaunt through Dubai and Duty Free, where prices were much lower, I still did a lot of research before I left and while I was there to make sure I was getting something worthwhile πŸ™‚
    Sylirael recently posted … Operation Desert Rogue Part 4: The Loot! What Did I Buy in Dubai? (Photo Attaaaaack!)

  41. Kaelyn says:

    Most of the time I try to work off of a wishlist or a pinterest wish list board, but often times I can be very impulsive especially if I hit the clearance section of Sephora!

  42. Tiera says:

    It’s probably evenly split between over-analyzed & hyper-researched and impulse buys. I’m trying to be better about keeping those impulse purchases in check, though!

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