I blame it on the enthusiasm of getting into a new hobby, and my late-night, fear-fueled shopping. In any case: I had too much eyeshadow. I knew I had too much. The shopping had been fun until it wasn’t—until every new palette that arrived started to fill me with a terrible anxiety. This was around the time when I started browsing the panning subreddits, following panners on Instagram, noticing how palettes actually became more beautiful with use. The panned makeup looked well-loved, no longer a shiny objection to covet, but more like art supplies, the raw materials used to create what matters: the makeup itself. I became enamored with the look of the pans, the dips, the glamour of the usage itself.
Then I unexpectedly hit pan on a Pixi blush I’d gotten from an Ipsy bag, many, many months ago. It was the very first time I saw that tiny gleam of metal at the bottom of the pan, and I was thrilled. I thought about what Gurung spoke of, about the cognitive dissonance and the big gap between who I thought I was (ethically conscious, uncompromising in my values) and how I was shopping for and using makeup. I thought about the community Elease spoke of, how I wanted that shared bond of appreciation for what we already had. Soon, I thought about the allure of new purchases in a different way: they were obstacles to panning the palettes I already owned.
Panning isn’t the solution to the beauty industry’s waste problem—to really produce less waste and encourage a thoughtful approach to consumption would mean asking brands to step away from their fast-fashion model of new releases, their frequent sales and aggressive marketing campaigns driven to create want—and panning can admittedly build its own type of obsessiveness. But it’s a form of beauty enthusiasm that encourages dedication over dabbling, conscious use over mindless “add to cart.” It’s a place to start.
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