What is project pan and why you need to try it

If you love using makeup and testing out new beauty products, project pan is something you should try!

Why? Because it will forever change your view of cosmetics – for the better.


It’s a challenge to finish up your beauty products, so you hit ‘the pan’.

The main goal of this project is to shift the focus on what we already own instead of constantly purchasing and trying out new things.

But what is the difference between simply finishing a product or doing the project pan?

The main difference is that you consciously decide to first, finish a particular product and second, not to buy anything similar while you’re using it up.

With that, you’ll increase your awareness around beauty products which will change how you perceive them forever.



The biggest problem with beauty products is that it takes us five seconds to buy them, but it can take us anywhere from 3 months to 3 years to use them up.

It’s crazy if you think about it. And it’s even crazier we’re not conscious of it.

The project pan opens up your eyes about how much use we get from one product. We may think a small blush will not last long, but in reality, it’s quite the opposite.

I’m even seeing the trend of making blushes and bronzers bigger, so we feel we get more for our money, but honestly, who is using this stuff up? Maybe makeup artists and beauty influencers, but I don’t know anyone close to me who uses an insane amount of makeup.

So ask yourself: when was the last time you finished a nail polish? Or an eyeshadow palette? Or even a lipstick? And if you do finish something up – how frequently does that happen?

When we bring in awareness and we consciously start focusing on using what we own, we start shopping differently – we think at least twice if not more, before buying it.

And because we know long it will take us to use something up, we also have to make sure we really love it in order to justify buying it.


  • You’ll save money: when you start focusing on products you want to finish and at the same time you stop buying new products until you need to replace them, it will save you some money, if not a lot!
  • Less decision making: if you’re one of those people that have to decide each day, which cream, perfume, blush or lipstick to use and you find it a bit stressful, then this is good news for you. Now you don’t have to think about which product to use, because you already decided in advance.
  • Sense of accomplishment: this might seem weird to some people, but there comes this amazing feeling when you use something up or hit the pan. And the more you do it, the more you want to feel like finishing your products because it gives you a sense of achievement.
  • Less waste: buying beauty products that we don’t use up and we keep replacing with new shinier things, is very wasteful. Imagine how much less waste there would be if we only bought things once we would completely use them up.
  • You’ll learn a few new tricks: beauty products can be more versatile than we think – an eyeshadow can be used as a highlighter or a contour powder, and even as an eyeliner. Lipstick can be used as a cream blush, and so on. Once we make a commitment to use something up, we suddenly start experimenting with that product more and that leads us to learn a few new things.


If you’re interested in trying it out for yourself, here are some tips that will help you be more successful, and also make sure you’ll enjoy it more:

  • Pick only items you love: there is no need to force yourself to use something you hate. Instead, you can repurpose that product or give it to someone who will appreciate it. 
  • Pick one item in each category only: if you decided to hit pan on a blush, pick only one blush! You may be eager to use a lot of your things but trust me; this works best if you focus on one particular product at the time. If you want to use up multiple items that serve the same purpose, it will take you much longer and you’ll enjoy it less.
  • Be mindful about purchasing a new version of the product you’re trying to use up: I used to get really excited when I was close to finishing a product, so I went out and bought a new version of it. That resulted in me being disappointed that I had to continue using the old one, so I was rushing through it. On the other hand, having a replacement can be a great source of motivation, but we have to do it mentally only. That means that you can browse and find your new thing, but without purchasing it. And then, once you finish the product you buy it! This will feel like a reward and you’ll enjoy the panning more.
  • Decide if you want to use up the item entirely or do you want to hit the pan: when using up skincare, body products, creams, foundations and perfumes I always use every drop. But with powdered makeup, that can be a bit tricky. It can take us years, yes you heard me right, years to finish a certain product and in that case, I decide hitting the pan is enough for me to replace it, especially if I had it for a while.
  • Look at the dates: some people don’t know that cosmetics come with an expiration date. So if you want to pan successfully, look at the dates to help you decide which products to focus on first. You can also use dates as your finish line: if you see that a particular item will expire soon, but there is still a lot of it left, commit to using it as much as you can before it expires. Indeed, sometimes the product is still good even after the date, so you can extend that line for a few months, but if something is off, smells bad or the consistency isn’t right, then just chuck it.
  • Put similar products out of sight: if you’re trying to use up your face cream completely, but you have a few in your cabinet, I recommend that you put others into the storage, so you don’t have to worry about them. And then when you finish your intended product, you can bring them back.
  • You can name your project pans and set up a deadline: this is not necessary in order to pan successfully, but it can be a lot of fun for some people. You can do seasonal challenges or even travelling challenges – I love doing the last one; when I’m going somewhere I take products I want to use up with me in hopes of not bringing them back because there would be none left.
  • You can share it online: there are a lot of different communities out there that love sharing their progress of panning.
  • Include nail polishes as well: when was the last time you finished a nail polish? It probably takes us years and usually, we get tired of that colour and we buy something new. So try committing to one colour (or maybe two colours) and see how you like it.
  • Think about other non-beauty products you can use up: my friend decluttered a bunch of pencils, and because I use them daily I took them and I’m now using them us up as I go. It’s very gratifying for me. Other non-beauty product you can use up: food, paper, notebooks and journals, stationery, books, cleaning products, and so on.


Below are some things that I plan to use up in 2020:

  • A powdered foundation that I use as setting powder
  • Blush from The Body Shop that I’ll try to use as much as I can
  • Eye pencils in blue and medium brown
  • Lip pencils in nude and rose
  • Another finishing powder in a small travel edition
  • I also want to use up setting-spray from Lily Lolo
  • And lastly, the perfume I got as a gift (which I love, but I got a bigger size that I want to continue using after I finish the small one up)
  • Another thing that I’m panning which is not beauty related are the pencils I was talking about before

As much as I love decluttering and getting rid of things that I don’t want to own, there is a beauty in using things up. It makes us appreciate them more and makes us a much better consumer.

So if you haven’t already, I would encourage you to try it – simply pick products that you want to use up and commit to using them up. It’s that easy!

Let’s stay in touch…

Have you ever tried a project pan? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below or write me an email 😉

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