No Makeup Challenge – Buy No Makeup For a Year. Get Creative With What You Have!

no makeup challenge nomuchallenge

Are you drowning in a sea of cosmetics? Here’s the new No Makeup Challenge. YES, you can wear makeup. But use your hoard in new creative ways – and buy no new makeup in the year ahead!

This is Chris, Mooky’s resident Tarot/makeup dragon. I am a hoarder. And up until recently, I was okay with that.

In 2018, my goal is to buy NO cosmetics for the whole year. NONE.

no makeup challenge

Well, there are a couple of small exceptions – things which I will undoubtedly run out of – but otherwise, I’m barred. Consider my credit card maxed out, folks – I am off impulse purchasing for 2018. Welcome to the #nomuchallenge!

#nomuchallenge yourself:

If you feel up to the challenge, join me! Do it for a week, a month, or the whole year, and use the tag to let us know how you’re getting on. While you can just jump in and not buy stuff, for a hardened spendaholic like me, it’s not that simple.

In November, a sporadic clear-out reminded me of how many fantastic lipsticks I own, but rarely wear. So I challenged myself to go outside my comfort zone, and wear a different one each day. I posted about it on Instagram using the hashtag #alipaday, and I had a lot of fun with it. By the end of November, I hadn’t even got through half of my lipsticks. That’s a LOT of lip stuff, yo.

When you wear a different lipstick every day for a month and still used less than half the lipsticks you’ve got…

The whole thing made me realise that my collection needs a serious downsize. And so, the No Makeup Challenge was born!

Part of the push for this was that I need to save for my wedding, so I’m going to be tracking how much I’m NOT spending on random cosmetics every month. A lot of it was also the realisation that I have so much stuff already, and I don’t use half of it, even though I like it all!

To make the process easier for myself, I’ve written a list of No Makeup Challenge rules, exclusions, a blacklist, and a shopping list. (Yes, a shopping list. It’ll make sense. Trust me.)

no makeup challenge

The No Makeup Challenge Rules:

  • First and foremost – this is supposed to be fun. Makeup and cosmetics are a good way to practice regular self-care. I’m not to deprive myself or stop caring for myself just because I’m not buying anything new.
  • Exclusions apply! Write a list of exceptions to the challenge. These are items which will inevitably run out, and will need to be replaced. However, do not bulk buy them in between uses. Wait until the product is nearly gone, then replace it.
  • Unsubscribe from all beauty boxes, subscriptions, email offers, and clubs. This is a really hard one for me, but an essential step. There’s nothing more tantalizing than a shiny email with the word SALE splashed all over it.
  • Get creative with what you’ve got! Each month/week you could give yourself a different theme or skill to practice, a brand or colour you want to test, or a style you’ve always wanted to try. Really rummage through your collection for hidden gems, and have fun with them!
  • Fallout factor – if my skin or hair really start to suffer, I’m allowed to buy a rescue item – an old reliable that’s never let me down – to “reset” everything. There’s no point in suffering.


These are things that I am inevitably going to run out of, and can’t do without. Obviously I could literally live without them, but I’d be sad, and we don’t want that.

no makeup challenge

You can make your own list of exclusions. The key is to know yourself and plan ahead. What will you put on yours?

  • Hair dye. I have long dyed red hair, which is fairly high maintenance. It takes two boxes every six weeks to keep it in shape, so my hair dye usage is going to continue as normal.
  • Toner. This is something I use every day, multiple times a day, to freshen my face, set my makeup, dampen my sponges, and so on. I use a lot of toner, so if I run out, I can buy more of my usual.
  • Mascara. There was once a time where young Goth Chris wore no makeup – not even moisturiser, arghh – bar a scribble of eyeliner, and a hefty coating of mascara. I have vitiligo, meaning there is no pigment in some of my hair, namely my eyelashes and eyebrows. Mascara is a must for me. I feel absolutely naked without it. I will run out, and so I will replace as necessary.
  • Shampoo* and conditioner. Obviously, I need to stay clean. I will probably get a lot of use out of the little conditioners that come in my hair dye box, but they won’t do forever, and I can’t go without. My hair will be ruined and I’ll have to shave it off and be bald for my wedding, which just isn’t my jam at all. Hair essentials stay!

*Shampoo is a funny one. I use Lush’s solid shampoos, and in fact have sworn by them for my long, colour-treated, fine, tangly, oily-rooted, stupid hair for years. I currently have three unused bars of my favourite Lush solid shampoo, Jumping Juniper. It’s a vital product for oily beasts like me – and according to Lush, each bar lasts approximately three months. I know I’ve gotten even longer out of them before, but I’m going to supplement my collection with an extra bar, then try to stretch the four of them out for a whole year. I’m even going to tweet the company about it and ask for a free year supply for 2019 if I make it through 2018 – which, by my calculations, should only be four bars of shampoo.

Oh, and, I don’t get a lot of beauty treatments, so brow tints, massages, and basics such as hair cuts are all still allowed. It’s important to carve out that bit of me-time.

Banned items:

I am already in excess of these items and am absolutely NOT to buy more.

  • ANY lip item. I must have about forty lipsticks, a dozen lip balms, and at least a couple of lip scrubs. I’ve got enough to survive a nuclear blast and emerge as the most fabulous survivor in the bunker. NO LIP THINGS.
  • Any kind of body cream. I’m dreadful for buying it and not using it. I’m lazy. It’s cold. I hate waiting for it to dry. Even my hands, which are typically as dry as the Sahara, don’t get as much cream as they should, because I’m BUSY. I haven’t time to wait around for creams to be sinking into my mitts, and I’m often too tired to put it on at bed time. End result – good intentions, far too much cream. It’s gotta go.
  • Face wash or masks. I’m a bit nervous about this one. My skin is a temperamental beast, but I’ve got half dozen tubes of assorted face cleansers on the go, some of which aren’t even open. They’re all organic and natural and so on, so I’ve got to at least try to use them. This is where I’m most expecting the fallout rule to come in. I’m going to at least give all those washes and scrubs a go. I’m sure some of them are bound to do me some good!

No Makeup Challenge Shopping List

This might seem counter productive, but if I’m to survive 2018 intact with no beauty purchases, then I’m going to need to stock up on some multi-taskers and general beauty wizards.

jason revitalising e cream

rosehip oil

  • Face cream. I’ve been rotating between a few different ones for a while, but I settled on trying Jason’s Revitalising Vitamin E cream for next year. A lot of people with my skin type swear by it, so I’m hoping it’ll work for me, as well as help to reduce scarring. Also, at 113g, it’s a massive pot and won’t run out. And if it doesn’t suit me, I can always put it on my bedside table and pretend to use it as hand cream.
  • Rosehip oil. I was working in the natural health industry when this guy happened, and I have never, ever, EVER failed to be blown away by it. It’s a goddamn liquid miracle. It mattifies oily skin? And heals spots? And smooths out lines? And works under makeup? And gives a glow like no other? And can smooth down dry hair? And lasts basically forever?? This is, as far as I’m concerned, an essential. We all need more rosehip oil in our lives. I’m buying an approximate gallon.
  • As mentioned, I like my toner. Lush, again, comes to the rescue here – I rather love their Breath of Fresh Air toner, which is affordable and well as effective.
  • This is still a sort of a new one to me, but I was, like any good beauty blogger, intrigued by the hype around The Ordinary, and decided to randomly them. I’m still not entirely sure what Squalane does or how it works, but my skin has improved a lot with its use, and I want more. It’s another affordable one, and will make that face cream stretch for so much longer.

I’ve got large stocks of foundation, eyeliner, brow stuff, deodorant, hair spray, and other every day essentials already. I probably have enough eyeshadow to last me a lifetime. If you’re joining the challenge, have a good hard look at your supplies, figure out what you need, and what you need to use up. Go from there!

lipstick a day

I will be posting about my progress on Instagram with the instatag #nomuchallenge, so you can track my progress there if you like. And you can use the same #nomuchallenge on Twitter. See you there 🙂

Wish me luck, guys!