The Nail Polish Purge

I loved painting my nails! Past tense. There was a time when I found doing my nails relaxing and fun. I used to enjoy picking a color based on my outfit & season and making an evening out of it. It made me feel more 'put-together' whatever that meant. I've owned close to a 100 nail polishes in my collection at one point of time before admitting that I had a problem.

I fell for every gimmick the beauty industry perpetrated - dark colors for fall, pastels for spring, sparkles for holidays, nail polishes make the look complete, some colors are feminine and others powerful, use certain colors to look professional...the whole lot. - mnmlgrl

It has been a long time since I fell for these beauty standards. Doing my nails may have helped me relax temporarily because it required me to stop to let my nails dry but it did nothing else. I nails didn't help me exude the power I felt, I felt more feminine when I bought myself flowers, emojis on my nails didn't make me laugh out louder. discovered other ways to relax - going out for a walk, hanging out with friends, a phone call with a loved one, a DIY project, or a spa day! I mean men find ways to relax without having to paint their nails so why was I restricting my relaxation to such a small activity?

Granted it was not an obtrusive activity but, when you're buying things you'll never use, for an activity you no longer enjoy, it became obvious what I needed to do.

A friend brought it to my notice that I hadn't done my nails in ages. I realized that I didn't enjoy painting my nails anymore. When I did my nails they were always neutrals. Perhaps I grew up or got wiser. Who knows? I just knew I didn't want to hang on to something I didn't need and didn't spark joy.

During a recent declutter, I found 14 bottles of nail polish lying around. The first nail polish purge reduced my nail polish collection from over a 100 to 35. I had to downsize because I was moving countries and needed room for my makeup palettes - which is a topic for another time. At the time I used nail polish for every single DIY - made art, used it as enamel, finished and retouched (and ruined) several vintage finds.

I honestly didn't realize how sizeable my nail polish collection was until they were all laid out. In my mind it was a tiny number - like 5. Seeing all bottles lying on their side was a shock. I guess we all do it. We organize our collections in groups to make it more manageable, at least in our minds. So I had several such groups. A group of top and a base coats. A group of glitter top coats. Another grouping of bold or occasional colors. And finally a bunch of neutral (favorite) colors. I realized that whenever I thought of nail polishes, I only thought of my neutral colors and never of the glitter or bold colors hence, the number always seemed lesser than the actual collection.

In the second stage of the purge I discarded nail polishes that were old or colors I didn't enjoy wearing - yes I bought colors I didn't like bringing the total from 35 to 14. That was almost a year ago. I have since held on to these 14 for no reason except that I may need it sometime. That time has not yet come. So I will declutter them instead.

My nail polish collection before the declutter.

Declutter count - 8

I sent pictures of the 'giveaway stash' to my friends. The tiny purple nail polish and the browny-nude (not photographed) were snapped up by my neighbor almost immediately. A friend who enjoys fun colors took the rest. Leaving me to trash 0 nail polishes (yay zero-waste declutters!).

Nail polishes I gave away.

Keep count - 5

I hung on to a white & a 'cementy' color my favorite nail care brand - Wet n' Wild - they are cheap and cruelty-free! I also kept the neutral shade I mixed (in Wet n' Wild bottle) and pink shade from Milani. I've also retained a clear base coat. (I discarded the mattifying top coat after photographing my keep stash.) I plan to reassess these colors after 3 months .

Nail polishes I kept - A pink, a cementy color, a white, a neutral and a base coat.

This declutter taught me how much we buy and hold on to things because of social, cultural and advertising pressure. It also encouraged me to rethink beauty practices and their role in my life - whether they truly relaxed me or it was another idea I had bought into.

What are some beauty products you have decluttered?

-mnmlgrl publishes a new article every Friday.

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