Will the popularity of the ‘No Buy’ alter the beauty landscape?

You’ve seen it everywhere – the no buy. People who have overdone it on beauty products in the last few months (or years) and vow to not spend a thing in an attempt to use up product and save money. It has varying degrees of success, but ultimately the cause is the same – we can’t keep up with constant releases and it’s hurting our pockets.

Where did the no buy come from?

The beauty landscape has changed. It’s not what it used to be. New products are launching left, right and centre with little sign of slowing. Once upon a time, consumers were able to save up for quarterly launches and pick up a lot more from brands as products would drop much less regularly. Rampant consumerism has us forever chasing the next big launch and forgetting about the enormous collection of makeup sitting at home.

In light of this, the ‘No Buy’ (or even low buy) movement has been gaining some serious traction. People can’t afford to keep up with the constant slew of releases that are being pumped out by beauty brands these days. Project Pan (where you try and finish selected products) and Shop My Stash (where you go back through your collection and use forgotten about products) are increasingly popular, with major beauty Youtubers supporting them too.

The current rate at which products are being released is undoubtedly the catalyst for this introspective look into our own collections – we know it’s impossible to keep up anymore. With a real focus being placed on wastage and products expiring, while it might be pretty to have a large collection, it doesn’t serve anyone if it’s all out of date and unusable.

So with consumers looking to save money and get more use out of their current collections, will this influence the beauty landscape in any capacity? In theory it should. If consumers are increasingly holding onto their money, in an ideal world, three things should happen:

Releases slow down, more innovative products introduced and quality improves. 

This craze can’t keep picking up momentum – things will have to slow down if people aren’t purchasing. People have beauty release fatigue – trust me, it’s a thing. Consumers have been very vocal about their dislike of constant launches, so if brands are astute, they will take note. The only way to keep people interested in products in an over-saturated market is to offer something new and exciting. Greater attention needs to be paid to innovation and what the community is actually interested in, rather than pumping out more of the same. There are only so many rainbow palettes that any one person needs. On top of that, consumers are increasingly comparing new releases to their existing collection, so another warm toned neutrals palette with a pop of blue won’t cut it. The age old saying of ‘quality not quantity’ rings particularly true here too. In a rush to bring products to market, brands are releasing TRASH. Non-eye safe glitters, poor formulas, sub-par shade ranges, the list goes on. In a market that is ridiculously overcrowded, quality is king. One bad formula in a hyped up launch can completely alienate a consumer from that brand (Ciaté Jessica Rabbit collection, we’re looking at you). If you want to keep up, you can’t afford a slip like that. It’s very dangerous to become irrelevant in today’s beauty space.

‘Vote with your dollars’

The fact that the no buy has become so popular at a time when the beauty machine is going full speed ahead speaks volumes. People are starting to recognise that while they may have fallen into that trap at first, they don’t have to keep falling for it. Consumers can tell that brands are just trying to milk the cash cow and are actively choosing not to participate in it anymore. The term ‘voting with their dollars’ is often used in cases like this and that is exactly what the no buy movement is doing – by not spending any money at all.

2020 – the year of change?

The message is starting to come through – in the first few weeks of the new year, it seems as though the beauty machine has started to slow. Anastasia Beverly Hills announced that their latest collaboration with Amrezy will be their last palette launch until Christmas 2020 (though there will be two new palettes launching as part of the Norvina off brand). This seriously implies that release fatigue is being noticed by brands and that they are altering their strategy to stay relevant and popular, especially considering ABH launched 8 palettes in 6 weeks last year. Other brands like Colourpop aren’t quite following suit, having launched 3 new collections in 3 weeks…

We can’t have it all. At the end of the day, as long as the no buy benefits the consumer – allowing them to use up their current collection, avoid purchasing similar if not identical products and saves them money – that’s the most important thing. Brands will soon get the message that consumerism is out and more thoughtful purchasing is in.


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25 year old Beauty Writer Instagram - @smalltownbeautyaddict

6 thoughts on “Will the popularity of the ‘No Buy’ alter the beauty landscape?”

    1. Colourpop definitely aren’t getting the vibe! I think because they have the capacity to keep pumping stuff out (because they have their own lab/warehouse) and they’re at a lower price point, they think they’re exempt from this, but they’re the worst offenders!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I definitely agree. I only have one palette from Colourpop and I love it, but last year they seemed to have been coming out with more collections than necessary. They looked very pretty but I think they are becoming a bit overwhelming for consumers in my opinion.


  1. Great article! It would be nice if the brands slow down on their releases so purchasing makeup becomes special again — not just something that we feel the need to do every week. I think many of us are overwhelmed!


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