I find it really satisfying to completely use products up (which you've probably already figured out from my empties posts) and I love the idea of streamlining your collection, but at the same time, some products are a struggle. No one is going to like every single thing they try, and it's always the ones that I'm not so crazy about that are most challenging to finish. I don't want to waste things, but at the same time, I don't want to be constantly working to finish products I don't like and neglecting the ones I really do enjoy in the process.
With that in mind, these are the questions I ask myself when deciding what to do with those products I don't especially like:
- How much do I dislike the product? If it's something I'm pretty neutral about, that's one thing, but if I legitimately hate every minute of using a product, maybe it's not something I need to force myself to use.
- How long will it take to use up? If I can use something up in a short time, I'll usually push through, but if I know it's going to last 6+ months, that's when I'm more likely to call it a day.
- Will products I genuinely like go to waste while I use this? There's no sense wasting products you love just to get your use out of a product you don't even really like.
- Does it have a negative impact on my skin/hair/appearance? Whether it's skincare that breaks me out, hair products that don't work for my hair, or makeup that just doesn't look good, I've realized that some things just aren't worth it!
- Can I repurpose the product for something other than its original use? Maybe something didn't work for its intended purpose, but is there some other way I can use it? Face products on the body and conditioner as shaving cream are my most commonly repurposed items.
- How much did it cost? This one only goes so far as I don't want to waste inexpensive items either, but there's no question that it's easier for me to accept defeat on a $2 item than a $50 one.
- Is there someone I can pass it on to? I'd much rather someone else enjoy the product than me just suffer through it for the sake of using it up.
- Is it expired? Pretty much a no-brainer. I'm not always a stickler for exact expiry dates, but if I already don't like the product, I'm not going to use it after it's expired. On the flip side, if something is expiring soon, that often pushes me to use it up more quickly before the expiry.
Products I'm Working to Use Up:
Boo Bamboo Line Lifting Face Cream*
I actually think this is a great face cream, but I don't like the scent. Boo Bamboo uses a naturally derived fragrance, but to my nose it smells very similar to a lot of mainstream skincare (and vaguely synthetic) and it's just not a scent I enjoy close to my nose. I've been using it on my body, however, and I don't notice the smell nearly as much.
Pollen & Wax Apollo Cleanser
This cleanser has since been reformulated to have a smoother texture, but the one I have is a little odd. On the one hand, it's a seemingly gentle cream cleanser, but at the same time, it feels quite harsh on my face. It has sandy particles that are way too abrasive for my skin on a daily basis and while I tried using it as more of an exfoliant, once or twice a week, I consistently noticed my skin didn't look as good on the days I used it, so I stopped using it that way as well. I'm going to give it one last try on my body, and hopefully that'll be the end of it.
Balance Me Wonder Eye Cream
I don't really dislike this eye cream, but it doesn't do a lot for me beyond just moisturizing. I do want to get my use out of it, but I don't think I'll be sorry to see it run out.
Weleda Skin Food
I really like Skin Food, but I only use it in small amounts and with the rate I go through it, I definitely didn't need to buy this big tube, which sadly expires in April. I'm not going to toss it at midnight on April 30 or anything, but I want to make a real effort to get through it at least within a couple months of the expiry.
Schmidt's Lavender Sage Deodorant
I mixed and modified my Schmidt's and while it no longer irritates my underarms, it's still not my favorite deodorant. I've got this pot and half of another, but I'm determined to work through them.
Carina Daily Moisturizing Shampoo
This smells good (like pineapples!) but it did nothing for my hair. I've been using it to wash my makeup brushes for the last several months, and it actually works great for this purpose.
Products I'm Saying Farewell To:
ELF Metallic Purple Mineral Eye Liner
My problem with this is twofold: the formula is way too hard and the color is unexceptional. It's a plummy-brown with some purple shimmer on top, but once the shimmer falls off (within the first half hour or so), it's just another brown liner and not worth the effort of struggling with such a hard pencil.
Acure Leave-In Conditioner
I love Acure and I think this product works well, but I can't stand how it smells. I've made an effort to use it many, many times, but I smell it in my hair every time I turn my head and it just drives me crazy. I have about half left, but I also noticed it expired a few months ago, so it's got to go.
The Bottom Line
Like basically everything, I think it comes down to balance. I don't know of anywhere local to me that accepts donations of lightly used products - only brand new ones - so if I don't have someone to pass a product on to, I do really try to finish most things myself. That said, I've also come to realize that it's okay to get rid of the occasional product that just doesn't work for you. I feel a little guilty throwing things out, but if it's just going to sit in my makeup drawers unused - like the ELF liner - or make me sick to smell it - like the Acure Leave-in - what am I really accomplishing by hanging on to it?
I'd love to know where you guys fall on this one! Are you someone who has to use every single thing up, or are you okay getting rid of products that you don't like or can't make work for you?
* Press sample
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