A beauty blog for the makeup lover and savvy consumer

Project Panning: Can You Dig It?

Project panning has been popular across the online beauty community for a couple of years now. Maybe you’ve done it yourself. If you don’t know what it is, a project pan is basically a goal you set yourself to not buy more makeup until you’ve completely used up or “hit pan” on a few products already. The pan of a makeup item is basically the base; if you dug a little hole in an eyeshadow, you would see the pan underneath. This project isn’t just for eyeshadows though, you can include any beauty product you’re looking to finish.

You determine what period of time you want to have it accomplished by. For example, one beauty enthusiast might decide they won’t buy any new products until they’ve panned 6 of their existing products by Christmas.
This will either sound scary or literally what you’ve always done anyway without realising it was a thing.


If you’re scared, don’t be.


Be as flexible as you want, there are no hard and fast rules. You may decide you’ll only do this for mascara, and leave yourself free to buy other products. If you have a big collection, you might find it easy to project pan up to 10 items. You could do it with haircare, skincare and fragrances also, it’s really up to you. If you find you have products you genuinely hate, don’t feel like you have to include them in your project, just get rid of them.


So what are the benefits of project panning?

  • Reduces your contribution to consumerism.
  • Allows you to really appreciate products you already have but don’t use much.
  • Saves you money, which could be a little to a lot depending on how big your project is.
  • Less waste as you’re using a product to completion before you need to throw it out.
  • You get the full value of what you’ve already spent your money on. I think this one is so Whether you’ve spent €4 or €40 on a mascara, you’ve basically just thrown that money away if you haven’t used it.
  • Gives you a more ethical, conscious perspective on how you spend your money.


                                  Image Via Pixabay

Some tips:

  • As I mentioned earlier, do not do this with products you have and hate. It’s meant to be a positive experience, not a punishment. If you are determined to incorporate them somehow, aim to use up a certain amount of them, e.g. if you have 90% of a foundation you hate left, try to get to 50/60% before throwing it out or giving it away.
  • Aim to include products you would use every day, i.e. a certain concealer. You might not love the product but you know it works, and that it will feel satisfying to completely finish it. Avoid getting sick of using it by alternating the days or weeks you use it.
  • Consider prioritising older cream or liquid products, as they don’t have as long a shelf life as powders.
  • Make a note of every time you resisted buying something, and the cost of it. Keep a record and see how much money you’ve saved even within the first couple of weeks. This will
    motivate you to keep going.

                                    Image via Pixabay


  • When you do see a product you’d love to buy, think about if you really actually need it or just want it. You might already have something similar. Rediscover what you have.
  • Get creative. Face exfoliators can be used on your body in the shower. If you’ve included a face moisturiser you aren’t overly fond of, could you use it on your body after showering instead? Eyeshadows can be used as highlighters, blushers, brow powders, bronzers, etc. Put the lip gloss you’re trying to use up on top of a matte lipstick….which you might also want to use up! Pop it in your bag and top it up during the day. Apply highlighter as an eyeshadow and on your collarbones. Micellar water doesn’t just remove makeup, it cleanses the skin so use it on no-makeup days.
  • If the concept of project pan intrigues you but you’re not confident about how well you’d do, pick one of your favourite items to do it. Set a realistic goal for when you want to have it finished by. Let me give you an example. I love my Wet’N’Wild Precious Petals highlighter. I use it regularly, and it wouldn’t be challenging for me to incorporate. However it’s a powder that’s hard pressed, so it would take a while for me to visibly hit pan on it, especially when there’s about 90% of the product left. So I would set myself the goal of finishing it before I die of old age within a year of starting the project. On the flip side, I also love my Blistex lip balm. I always have it beside me and use it constantly throughout the day. I have about 50% left so a realistic goal to finish it by if I started right now would be by the middle of September. Are you picking up what I’m putting down? Be realistic and choose wisely. 

I’m going to do this with skincare in the winter. If that sounds oddly specific and like a cop out in some way, it’s because my skin gets so dry in the winter and I have heavy creams I can only use that time of year. I need to finish them up! I definitely do not need to buy any more products for dry skin. I have a few sample sized moisturisers taking up too much space that need to get gone also. None of these items are actually full by the way. I have opened and tried them all. I just didn’t use them enough when I should have because I am a ridiculous person.


Just to be clear, you don’t even need to do this only with beauty products. I’ve been doing it with clothes since March. I don’t need to buy any more when there’s still so much I haven’t worn enough yet. A lot of people already do it with books; they don’t buy more until they’ve read the ones they have. I am not one of those people, but I believe they exist in the wild somewhere.


Is there anything you’d like to pan?

Beauty Bay

4 thoughts on “Project Panning: Can You Dig It?”

  • Excellent idea
    I always hit pan with foundation and mascara first but takes ages with eye shadow

  • I really like the idea of making a note of how much the things you don’t buy cost – I might try to apply this to more than just makeup!

    • Definitely. I feel a lot of the times we don’t appreciate how much we’re saving when we decide not to buy something, but keeping a record shows how it all adds up.

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