Eight years ago, I found myself in a period of multifaceted transition. I'd just exited a long-term relationship, left a toxic job, and had three of my closest girlfriends move to different cities across the country to put down roots and start families — all at the same time.
I spent days allowing myself to feel blah: eating crappy food, binge-watching TV, compulsively shopping. If I'm being honest, I was looking for a fix. I felt lonely, left behind, confused, and empty.
I'd been feeling sorry for myself over all the things I'd seemingly "lost" recently, but it became clear that I had more than enough. Everything I needed, in fact: a safe home; great family and friends; and now, the luxury of time I could use to save money, improve things I wanted to get better at, and reflect on who I was and wanted to be.
I started bringing my lunch to work every day (and lost 10 pounds and saved $700 in the process). I read every night instead of watching TV. I stopped shopping for three months, which led me to love capsule wardrobes and develop a true personal style.
And then there was the one that was seemingly impossible for my product junkie self: the “buy no beauty products until everything you have is gone” challenge. Wanna know what happened?
My skin cleared up thanks to a simplified and consistent routine, people could pinpoint my “signature perfume” because I stuck with it, I spent less time getting ready, and I enjoyed what I had. And though I’m a blogger/writer/person who loves to try new stuff, I still employ this system that I developed eight years ago to keep my grooming routine blissfully simple and enjoyable.
Consider me your makeup bag sheriff. I may be ruthless, but I promise this approach will preserve your sanity without sacrificing your good looks. Take note: This challenge is not for everyone. It’s for folks who seek relief from chaos in a more minimalist approach.
Here's how to do it yourself:
1. Limit yourself to 30 products for a whole month. Period.
Take stock of your desert-island products, what really works for you, and what you turn to repeatedly. Keep those around. Put the remaining products you don’t use on the daily in a bag, and stash it away. If in a month, you find yourself feverishly digging through the stowed away bag deeply missing its contents, I’ll eat my hat.
If you need guidance on where to start, here are my 30 products, all vegan and cruelty-free:
Hair & body essentials