Look Great With Less: 4 Tips for the Beauty Junkie

One might be inclined to think that minimalism and zero waste living are essentially the same thing. However, from my perspective I still very much see the former as the trendier version of the latter. Minimalism still – in general – is more concerned with aesthetic. The primary argument for minimalism is still based on the psychological reason that ‘less stuff will give you a simpler life’. Zero-waste plants itself firmly in the ‘I want to save the planet by creating less pollution’ category.

So for example, let’s say a couple living in a small apartment has 33 mugs in their kitchen. I think we can all agree that’s an amount surplus to their requirements, right? These mugs are all mismatched and many of them are chipped or faded. A zero-waste approach might be to get rid of the excess, but keep a reasonable amount of mugs if they still function. A minimalist approach might be more inclined to replace them all with a sleek, matching set of 4. The latter is more concerned with aesthetic.

Now, of course, that’s being totally presumptuous and I don’t wish to tarnish everyone trying to do good with the same brush. Hell – I’m not perfect! But, I’d say that I spend a good portion of my time thinking about zero-waste and minimalism. And, from how much I’ve immersed myself in both communities, this is the distinction I tend to notice.

It would be a great thing if both efforts could merge as they are essentially the same ideals: purchase only what you love and need. And thus, excess can be avoided.

One area that I’ve been very consciously trying to change is my skincare and make-up stashes. Having worked in the beauty industry and having obsessive tendencies towards trying every product on the market, I spent a good 5 years accumulating more and more. The result was stuff that sat there and expired because I either couldn’t use it up in time or I hadn’t done enough prior research, so the product didn’t really work out for me.

Over the past couple years, I’ve not only gravitated towards a simpler make-up routine, but I’ve also paid more attention to the products that I use. I’ve realized that skincare only does so much and that no amount of lotions and potions can substitute a healthy lifestyle and diet.

Marketing is an amazing tool for those putting a product out there. Intelligent advertising and manipulation will send buyers–wanting to look and feel better– running to the store in minutes. But if you stop and focus on yourself and what you really need next time you’re being persuaded to shop, you just might find that deep down your gut is telling you that you should put your wallet back in your bag.

Below are some changes that I’ve made in recent years. I recommend giving them a try if you’re looking to reduce how much beauty ‘stuff’ you have. There’s something really empowering about consciously purchasing less as a matter of choice.

Water in the morning

 I live in the UK and have normal skin. For most of the year, with this climate, I have no need to wash my face with anything other than water in the mornings. This wasn’t actually something I planned. A couple months ago I took a short trip to Dublin and realized when I got there that I had only packed my usual evening cleansers. Instead of using them in the morning, I instinctively felt it unnecessary and so resorted to a good splash of warm and then cold water and a pat of the towel. This was followed by eye cream and moisturizer. It worked and I just kind of continued that routine when I got back home. So for me, that’s one less product I need.

Oily scrubs

 I have been steaming ahead these past 6 months with homemade beauty products, and luxurious, oily shower scrubs have been a favorite for sure. I still have a separate body lotion (DIY as well), but 3-4 times a week I use a shower scrub with a coconut oil base. After scrubbing, my skin is left gloriously smooth and nourished. This means I can hop out the shower and get dressed – skipping the step of moisturising separately. This is a great tip for saving time when you’ve got places to be and people and see.

Studying my complexion

In this day and age, it is so easy to convince yourself that you need this or that, especially if a beauty guru whom you admire is advertising it. I cannot count how many products I’ve purchased and then let fall to the bottom of my drawer all because the color or texture is wrong for my complexion. Orange lipstick, blue eyeshadow, or worse: ten versions of the same chocolate brown eyeshadow. I’ve purchased things that really don’t work for me and that I really didn’t need – all so I could satiate the longing I had for just one more product. The years have gone by and I’ve spent enough time staring at my face in pure daylight to know the kinds of colours that do and don’t work for me. I recommend doing this so that next time you’re being persuaded to make a purchase, you can check in with reality first and see if it’s something you’re actually going to use.


This has been a hugely helpful tip across the board for me on the mission to accumulating less ‘stuff’. Buy exactly what you want and you’ll be satisfied, rather than looking for a cheaper alternative and ultimately buying several of them because none are doing the job properly. It’s not about buying top of the range, but it’s about buying the best that you can afford after having done your research and knowing what your skin will appreciate.

However you choose to condense your cosmetics, it’s about having the same ethos as you would when streamlining any other area of your life: selecting only what you truly need. And that shouldn’t feel like you’re depriving yourself. In fact, it should reaffirm how in-tune you are with yourself. You know what works and what doesn’t. You’re not so swayed by novelty and shiny packaging. You have opened your eyes to what what is meaningful, scrapping the rest that lays in unnecessary excess.

What are your tips for looking great with less?

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Photo via Unsplash

Kat Kennedy
Written by Kat Kennedy
Writer, science nerd, tattoo enthusiast, cactus queen, travel junkie and tea connoisseur, Kat Kennedy is a lot of things. Join her in 2017 as she undertakes a different wellness challenge every month and read more of her articles over at www.sphynxkennedy.com