Confessions of a repetitive buyer

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Please welcome fashionably cheap blogger and wht member, Gianna as our latest extraordinary guest author! She’s a San Diego girl with a love of all things 80’s. Make sure to check out her blog, Nouveau Cheap, which offers her charming personal reviews, product comparisons and photos, and is “devoted to helping you find the best beauty products possible without breaking the bank.”

6 pink lipglosses on a white table

Do I really need 27 lipsticks in the same color? A chronic color-hoarder’s tale of introspection and acceptance.

If you were to look at my makeup stash you’d see 27 lipsticks, all variations on a theme of Bobbi Brown “Tulle” lip color. Sure, I’ve got the occasional peppering of deep brick reds and peach shimmers, but for the most part my lipstick collection consists of the exact same color, repeated over and over again. Yes, they’re all made by different manufacturers, but they’re all basically pinky-brown.

So why do I do it? Well, why does my friend have 16 taupe eye shadows? And why does my mom own 12 bottles of fuchsia nail color? (Us too. A quarter of Stef’s coral lip gloss collection is shown above ~wht)

Some may say this is a predominantly female issue. For the most part, I tend to agree. Sure, there are men who hoard sports-related memorabilia or automobile parts, but I challenge you to find a guy who has 27 versions of the same football jersey with just a slight nuance in color or design. Yes, there may be a few guys out there, but not nearly as many as the percentage of women who own 13 pairs of black flats.

In my opinion, the practice of color-hoarding starts early in females. With our first Barbie doll, we realize quickly which type of shoe we prefer Barbie to wear. For me it was a hot pink high heel number. Every time my mom took me to the store, I combed the Barbie aisle in search of hot pink shoes that were similar to the pair my Barbie already owned. I just had to have more cute options for Barbie, and they had to be hot pink because Barbie looks amazing in hot pink!

In college, I had an obsession with beige boots. A college roommate, whom I considered to be a true fashion maven, once said to me, “Wow, those boots are a really cool color. They look great on you.” Naturally, I proceeded to snatch up every similar pair of beige boots in my area. I attributed my beige-boot-buying frenzy to the fact that I had found an item that I really liked and my choice was validated by someone whom I respected (well, I didn’t end up respecting her for long, but that’s a whole different story).

I guess what I’m trying to say is that while color hoarding is a learned behavior, it’s actually quite logical and can be practical as well. When it comes to makeup, clothes, shoes and accessories, we women have so many options it’s mind-numbing. When we find a color that works, our inclination is to purchase this color in as many variations as humanly possible.

If we get it in our heads that a particular color positively enhances our overall look, is there anything wrong with purchasing multiple versions of an object in that color? When it comes to my 27 pinky-brown lipsticks, sure they’re all extremely similar, but one is sparkly and I wear it on the weekends, one is perfect for the office and one is great for nighttime use. It’s all about options, right?

So next time you chastise yourself for buying yet another canary yellow handbag, ask yourself why you bought it and if it has a purposeful place amongst the others in your canary yellow handbag collection. You may discover that you were lacking a yellow handbag that’s perfect for trips to the beach. In this case, that purchase was totally justifiable. But if you already own seven yellow handbags that are solely for use at the beach, well…you may have to exhibit some self-restraint in the future. But you didn’t hear that from me.

Gianna is obsessed with drugstore and budget beauty products. She is the writer/editor of Nouveau Cheap, a blog that’s devoted to finding quality beauty products that don’t break the bank.



  1. I really don’t think I do this. Not things that are the exact same color anyways!!! If I like a certain style of something, I try to get it in lots of colors!

  2. Well, I obviously do this (as there is photo evidence!) I pick up something in Sephora, and the inner struggle begins… Oh boy, that’s pretty, I need it. Wait, do I have something like this already? Of course I do (I put said item down). I make my way back to it eventually, pick it up again and think well, maybe not EXACTLY like it. This is a bit more (pink/shimmery/matte/translucent). I buy it, then set it down next to it’s identical twin on my vanity.

    Your reasoning for this makes total sense! You always want to look good. So when you find something that does that, you hoard it in an attempt to always look good.

    Great post Recessionista!

  3. I not only think that women are destine to have this issue I’m almost certain it’s hereditary! My mother with all things beige and a pretty faint lime green, my middle sister Tyna with black tank tops and me with black tank tops and shoes. My eldest sister doesn’t have this issue. I too agree that not all things of a similar color or style are the same. Shoes for example are weekend, office or bar appropriate but for most people they can’t be one in the same. As for the men not having this issue….My husband is a TCA member (Train Collectors Association) every and I mean every one of those people has this issue. My husband has 5 train cars that to me look exactly the same but according to him, and the price value, they have slight color variations, whistles, wheels etc that make them more/less valuable. On a few occasions when this was explained to me, I rolled my eyes and gave the “whatever” face and he promptly pointed to my closet. I don’t say anything to him about it anymore.

  4. Whew! I am so glad that I am not alone in my chronic color-hoarding. Thanks for backing me up here, ladies. And Susan, thank you for sharing the story about your husband. I was wrong: Color-hoarding knows no gender! :)

  5. I think there are instances of Men doing this (like Susan’s hub) but I do think this is a predominately
    female thing. But it may come down more to shopping than anything for a man. My husband would have to actually enter a store to hoard something!
    .-= stef´s last blog ..YouTube week – Island of Misfit Clips =-.

  6. I guess I should have prefaced my earlier comment by saying, that I definitely UNDERSTAND the coral lipgloss syndrome.

  7. Great post! I absolutely do this – mostly with shades of brown eyeshadows and lipsticks, but also red lipsticks. And I don’t think it’s hording with me – I think it’s that they TRULY ARE all different colors – this one looks good, but that one looks even better for a particular situation,etc. Like Katie said too – I will do this with styles of shirts or pants. If I find a style that looks particularly good – b/c it’s so difficult to find an appropriately fitting anything when you’re short-waisted and 5’1″ – I will buy it in just about every color they make!

  8. I do this constantly! I’ve started to force myself to choose another color lately. I reach for my usual shade then stop myself and pick something else. It’s kind of nice too. Rather than being ashamed of myself when I go home and look at my purchases, I’m congratulating myself for branching out. And if it’s just too pretty and I have to have it (even though I know I have others like it) I buy it and swap the older one on Makeup Alley!

  9. I do this too! Just recently my boyfriend asked me why I keep buying blazers that all look alike and why I need so many tubes of lotion from bath & bodyworks! Whoops! :-)

  10. Katie – you think you’re safe now, but one day somethings going to sneak up you and you’ll be all “why do I have so many red skirts or dark blue berets?!”

    My vices: black tank tops, brown based eye shadow palettes, black zip up mid calf boots with a 1 to 2 inch heel and minty chap sticks/lip balms.

    Cheers to Recessionista for her fab post!
    .-= tyna´s last blog ..Weekly Deal-lights 7.12.09 =-.

  11. Yup, so true. I suffer from color hoarding, and it really is because I am looking for variations of the same color. “Maybe if I tweak it a little, it will be better.” This is my thought process, then, next thing I know, I have 15 glosses and lipsticks in the same color family. Then, I move on to the next color obsession.

  12. I do this also. I can’t tell you how many purses I have that look so much alike. Even my husband seems to notice. I also have about 10 bottles of nail polish that are so similar I can do touch ups with any of them and you can’t tell. At least we know what makes us happy!

  13. Oh my goodness–I feel like I just walked into a support-group meeting and I am finally amongst people who really understand my addiction. THANK YOU!! lol! :) It is wonderful to know that I’m not alone in my color-hoarding and that so many of you go through the same mental anguish.

    And T–I totally agree and should have mentioned this in my original piece. Sometimes I purchase a new pinky-brown lipstick because I feel that the variation of a new pinky-brown lippie may be *slightly better* than the one I’m currently using. This happens to me ALL the time when, in fact, the reality is that there IS no “perfect” shade. There are great shades and no-so-great shades. That’s it, right? But what keeps us re-purchasing the same color is our neverending quest to find the one, be-all-end-all shade that trumps the rest. lol.

  14. Katie, I agree with Tyna! One day you might take a look around your room and notice that there’s 6 of the same (essentially the same) item sitting there in a row. It happens without you even being aware of it. lol. :)

  15. Tiffany, I am cracking up at your comment about the nail polish! OMG, I am right there with you. I can do touch-ups with 10 different polishes and you’d never be the wiser. Soooo true! :)

  16. Ha! Awesome Post. I am a total color hoarder too, I have enough red lipsticks to paint a room with!
    I also have enough baby pink blush to do several years of watercolors with. :)

  17. Hey Christy kane! So THAT’S what I can do with all the bubblegum pink blushes I own and never use! I’m painting my bedroom this weekend! lol :)

  18. Awesome ;) You know I saw a whole thing on Martha Stewart about using left over make-up for water color ink and it works like a charm!! so there’s more of a reason for me to add to my thirty shades of pink lol!

  19. Christine Hamele says:

    I’m so glad to hear that I’m not alone. Today I’m carrying six Burt Bees Lip Shimmers (Champagnes my fav), three Macs, one Bobbi Brown and two Cover Girl (cuz they’re SPF). Does anyone know why Burts Bees doesn’t make the lip shimmers in SPF?

    I agree with Stef that Men ARE hoarders too.

    My husband is currently hoarding glass jars….hmmm…are we canning something that I’m not aware of? Or are we collecting nails in the garage? LOL

    Great post….love WHT!

  20. I am such a horder…If I see a mustard yellow sweater or top, I must possess it. If I see a medium rosey pink cream blush, I must have it. I also have several lipglosses that are the same shade of reddish berry with a hint of shimmer (think Chanel Spark). I have about 10 lipsticks the same shade of berry pink and even more red lipsticks that are identical hues. I don’t know why I do this…I think maybe I think one day I will find one brand that makes THE best whatever EVER and I don’t want to regret not purchasing____(fill in the blank). I suffer.

  21. Hey Christine! I love those Burt’s Bees Lip Shimmers too (and I love “Champagne”!). I’m so glad you can relate to my color-hoarding and I do agree–men can hoard as well. But sometimes it’s not so much a color issue for them, right? :)

    Hi Krista! I totally agree with you and I should have added that in my original post. I think that part of my drive is to find the BEST shade of all pinky-brown lipsticks, and if I pass up just ONE of these products, I’m left thinking, “That could have possibly been the best pinky-brown lipstick shade in the entire world.” So naturally I go back and buy it and guess what? It ends up being good, but never “The Best”. lol!

  22. Christine~
    My hubby has a thing for containers too! He stockpiles them in the garage like he’s thinking of opening up a hardware store. Coffee cans, mason jars, old Tupperware. It’s very bizarre. Much more bizarre that 27 coral lip glosses!
    Thanks for your comment.

  23. Oh how I hoard! I save all my empty perfume oil bottles for one, I have TONS. I could make checker sets with them LOL!

    I have a stack of black eyeliners, and I just ordered a new one! Every time I see a new one, I can’t imagine life without it! I seriously have over 20. It’s nutty!!!!

    I have ALL those burts bees shimmers too :)

  24. I do have about 6 pairs of metallic sandals. I suppose I fit into this group now. Black with gold, gold platform, gold gladiator, gold wedges, gold heels (bridesmaid), bronzey-gold flat sandals…

    I have a problem.

  25. Hoarding is another addiction all on it’s own. T and I come from a long line of hoarders. My grandmother saved every thing she ever wrote, you have no idea how many notes we found cleaning out her house after her and our pop-pop moved to assisted living. They said “Ray, went to the store for peppers – Barbara”. Not kidding, she saved these. I hoard shopping bags, jeans (even if they don’t fit) tupperware and every birthday card or Christmas card I’m sent.
    The other thing of color I’m constantly buying is red nail polish. Mac had the perfect red it was called Vino but of course like all things I finally find perfection in, they discontinued it. So now I am buying red nail polish about twice a month to find that perfect color again.

  26. OMG, I’m home!! No one in my circle of friends understands me like you guys do. I have 20 red lipsticks, probably 300 servings of assorted teas, and a whole shelf of lotions (about 30). I’ve been beating myself up, b/c honestly, who needs that much stuff?, but really, a girl likes to have options. My make-up drawer, (yes, an entire dresser drawer-full), is groaning under the weight, but I get so happy whenever I rummage around in there. YAY, COLORS!! =) like I told my best friend, it’s a cheaper addiction than shoes and clothing. Great article, and I love this community.

  27. Oh Jen, welcome home honey! We DO understand. I have a basket of lip gloss that I dump out on to the floor and try to edit every once in awhile. 20 minutes later, I put them all back in. I need them all, what was I thinking? Edit, ha!

    Thanks so much for your comment!

  28. Aww, we’re happy you have found your people Jen! We promise never to judge you for your lotion or tea collection (and we will most likely point you to new lotions/teas you must get!)

  29. Hey Jen! Let me echo Stef and Tyna when I say, “Welcome home!” lol. I don’t think you’ll find anyone here who says you don’t *need* twenty red lipsticks. :) I’m so glad you found we heart this. I can think of no other online community I’m more happy or proud to be part of. The girls here truly ROCK! Enjoy. :) xo

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