Consumption, Cosmetics

Noticing “Needs”

I’m out of my face wash, and getting philosophical about it.

When it comes to the things I think I “need,” I like to imagine that I’ve cut a lot of things out of my life. Rather than throwing my stuff away, I’m using it up; wearing clothes until they are irreparable, as opposed to getting rid of them when they’re unfashionable, using up my makeup that isn’t strictly organic rather than chucking it out and buying all-organic replacements. 

But what do I actually need? What are my baseline necessities that allow me to maintain my health, preferred aesthetic appearance, and lifestyle? 

 Most of my consumption can be sorted into those categories, but how are those categories defined?

My consumption around heath trends more toward ‘wellness’ spending, like expenses related to food and exercise, but obviously extends to medical treatments for things like gynaecological health and dental health. 

My spending to achieve my preferred aesthetic appearance has changed drastically in the last year, but my underlying goals are the same. I want to have clear skin and a relatively bare face; I don’t want to spend too much time on a morning and evening skincare/makeup routine. When it comes to clothing, I want to respect my body’s shape and develop a small wardrobe that is allows me to transition easily between work, cultural events, and social activities. 

Lifestyle spending is a bit more nebulous, but it includes my activities like going to the theatre, having a party with friends, spending for coffee shops and my mild addiction to the florist’s shop. 

While I have idealised levels of spending for each of these three categories, there are real constraints on my budget even though I am now receiving a paycheque through my internship. It’s small, but it covers rent and a bit more. Still, that’s no reason to spend it all, especially because I’m not sure what will become of me after August. 

So what do I need?

I tend to be very free about buying food and seeking regular health maintenance. Some important questions to ask myself are : What am I actually buying at the grocery store? Do I need literally everything that I buy? I’m not arguing that I should just switch to a meal replacement and call it good, but do I enjoy everything that I buy? 

Aesthetic consumption seems to have the most potential to be enormously high or minuscule. My goal for all forms of consumption is to be as close to fair trade, organic, and low-waste as possible. It’s not always easy or possible, but I have the most control over those goals as they interact with aesthetic consumption. I’ve gone on and on about being careful about my next clothing purchases, but I haven’t spent nearly as much time examining what I believe is a baseline amount of cosmetics, clothing, and skincare. 

This dearth self-examination is partially due to the fact that I’m still using things up, I haven’t reached a baseline or gone beyond it. But now that my skincare is running out, I have the chance to decide what I replace and what I don’t replace. On one hand, I don’t know what my skin will tolerate. Could I use a cleanser, moisturiser, and sunscreen, or will I need to keep using a toner and a serum to keep my skin calm?

When it comes to makeup, I already stick to a mascara, brow gel, and the occasional blush for everyday wear. Still, on special occasions I’ll do a full face of makeup, including a face primer, foundation, eyeliner, eyelid primer, eyeshadow, bronzer, blush, setting powder, and setting spray. 

My clothing tends to wear out more quickly than my makeup (which seems to last forever) and presents the most exciting challenge for establishing the bare necessities. I already did the 10 X 10 Wardrobe Challenge, and enjoyed the experience but didn’t necessarily feel terribly challenged by it. What do I truly consider the essential parts of my wardrobe? How many dresses do I need? How many pairs of shoes, and what kind? 

At this point, I’m more restrained in my principles around lifestyle spending, but things really got away from me this month. I bought E a birthday gift, I spent 100 euro on an application, and kept cut flowers in the house every week. I’m planning a post to breakdown my April budget at the end of the month, but just a preview : I spent way too much on flowers!

I’m going to wait to purchase a cleanser until I have used up all of my samples and little leftovers. Once I’m sure that there’s nothing in the house, I’ll evaluate my skin and decide on a cleanser in a recyclable bottle. Micellar water has been amazing for my skin, but there are so many brands available that I will be able to pick one with a recyclable bottle. 


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