“I ’m addicted to buying makeup”.
These aren’t words one is used to hearing. You’ve heard of alcoholics, sexaholics, even foodaholics and shopaholics. But, the next time someone utters the words “I’m obsessed with makeup”, you might want to think of how even something as seemingly benign as cosmetics can rapidly turn into something extremely detrimental for the person by completely taking over their lives (and their bank accounts).
“I wasn’t very much into makeup earlier, but since I had started watching all these beauty channels on YouTube, my interest had quickly grown. It started off pretty slow – I’d glance over at a lipstick when I’d be out shopping or just log on to a makeup website like Nykaa and add a few items to my cart on a whim”, said Alanna*, who claims she’s an avid project panner. “A few months later, I was in pretty deep. I remember, this one week, I came home to multiple packages of makeup daily and my mother demanding to know where I had been spending my money. Lipsticks were and still are, my biggest obsession”, she confessed. “That’s when I sat down and counted out all of the lipsticks I owned and the number came up to 75. That’s when I was like, holy shit, this needs to stop”.
Cultivating mindful makeup habits is at the heart of Project Panning.
That is the community in which Alanna* found like-minded individuals who were desperate on getting a hold on their extravagant spending and makeup habits.
The act of Project Panning usually involves making an inventory of all your makeup items, de-cluttering items that you don’t use from your collection, and committing to curbing makeup spending as much as possible and make use of all your products. It’s sort of like training yourself to realize how long a product takes to be completely used up, and how you really don’t need 10 bronzers on a weekly rotation. Moreover, it makes you more aware of your makeup usage, spending habits, product preferences and which brands you gravitate towards. In the long run, it also helps keep your bank balance in check and make you think long and hard about whether you really need that new eyeshadow palette.
Many people have jumped on to the Project Pan bandwagon, so much so that an online community on Reddit dedicated to Project Panning and curbing excessive expenditure on makeup called r/MakeupRehab has been created, with 53,000+ active members. Stories worse than Alanna’s* exist – one user calculated and realized that he had enough highlighter to last him 8 years, while another wrote about how she was often falling short on rent money because she kept buying makeup instead.
But why the spending? Why don’t they just… stop?
Much like any other addictive substance, buying makeup leads to instant gratification and happiness. Social media has played a major role as well, with the rise of the ‘beauty guru’ telling you what’s hot and what’s not.
The beauty industry has also seen a rise in its value, with the global cosmetics products market expected to reach a market value of a staggering USD 805.61 billion by 2023, according to a report by Orbis Research. Clearly, we aren’t too far behind on reaching that statistic.
The Indian consumer has also heavily contributed to these numbers.
“I’ve noticed that in our current generation, very few people wear makeup every day, and I honestly think that’s because the Indian weather isn’t exactly conducive to it. The most I see is usually eyeliner and lipstick. But, I feel that the older generation and most of Gen Z carries a full face of makeup very often. I think it’s a huge trend gap – the younger people have parents with more disposable income, and are highly influenced by social media stars who wear and promote makeup. And the older generation, well, they were often married off earlier and exposed to makeup at a very young age post-marriage, so they tend to be more inclined towards wearing makeup”, said designer Stuti Gupta.
There has been a saturation (and almost over-saturation) in the number of brands and weekly new releases in the cosmetics market. Add in social media, the need to look “good” 24/7, smart advertising and marketing techniques, lucrative prices and the millennial FOMO (fear of missing out), you create a recipe for makeup addiction.
No wonder then, that makeup addiction has become a real phenomenon. It really is time to separate the wants from the needs as a whole, and step back and take a good look at everything you own. And if that little reality check overwhelms you, maybe it’s time to check yourself into Makeup Rehab.
What’s your opinion on makeup addiction? Let me know in the comments below!