As I returned home from midday errands the other day — I spotted a familiar sight waiting in my mailbox. The unmistakable hot pink of an Ipsy bubble-mailer. Ipsy, for those not in the know, is a beauty-bag subscription service. Each month subscribers receive a curated collection of five (usually sample size) beauty items delivered to their door in a cute custom bag and their conspicuously bright pink packaging.
I remember how thrilled I was when my first delivery arrived. Beauty boxes were still a pretty new thing, and I jumped on the bandwagon wholeheartedly, signing up for Ipsy and Birchbox — a competing service I preferred. But Canada Post went on strike, so they halted Canadian service.
I have to admit the first few months of deliveries were rather exciting. I’m a big fan of lotions and potions, and despite being challenged when it comes to applying makeup, I aspire to be great. I think that’s part of the draw, actually — that a few samples and time spent watching YouTube tutorials will transform me from amateur to artiste. And sure, maybe that happens for some. But it’s not been my experience.
These days I’m a lot less stoked about their arrival, too. In fact, for the better part of the last year, those custom bags have been piling up in the corner of my bedroom — glanced at, but ultimately ignored. (There’s no room in my overstuffed makeup organizer anyway.) The monthly ‘treats’ that used to bring me joy now set off my anxiety and OCD over letting them languish, unused on my floor. And that’s a cost I’m no longer able to bear.
There are other costs too — on top of the money paid for stuff I don’t even use. Ipsy, and services like it, cost the earth. Every month a mass-manufactured bag gets stuffed into a plastic envelope and shipped via ground or air, eventually winding up at my door. As for the products inside — it’s impossible to know if they were ethically or sustainably crafted, or a concoction of toxic sludge. And don’t even get me started on the all the single-use plastic. I’ve spent the last few months trying to purge toothbrushes and straws, food wrap and disposable razors, bottled shampoos and conditioners from my life. Because if there’s one thing I’ve learned this past year, it’s that plastic is the worst. It clogs waterways, kills birds and mammals, and becomes a mountain of regret in our landfills.
I’m over it, for real. And I’m over Ipsy, too. So I’ve decided to set aside my #FOMO on that one miraculous face cream or perfect lip tint. Instead, I say ‘goodbye’ to my MUA aspirations, ‘see ya’ to the self-judgement, ‘so long’ to the waste, and ‘farewell’ to that conspicuous pink package. 👋
Robyn McNeil is a Nova Scotia-based freelance writer, bartender, and editor of the Whole Family Happiness Project. She lives in Halifax, with her son and a penchant for really strong tea, yoga, hammocks, and hoppy beer.
The Whole Family Happiness Project is a group of moms exploring our connection to our individual purpose, our family happiness, and the happiness of the world around us. Come join us on Facebook.