While many of us may occasionally drop some cash on a few beauty products we don't really need, Alene Dawson, writing for the Los Angeles Times, notes that for some people, purchasing and hoarding cosmetics is a serious problem.
Exploring the compulsive buying and storing behaviors of beauty product addicts, Dawson writs, "Yes, there is such a thing as 'too much,' and it's a fine line between the mildly messy makeup lover and someone psychologically addicted to beauty products." Behavioral specialist Dr. Renae Reinardy tells Dawson that the catalysts for such behaviors might be related to "psychological conditions such as body dysmorphic disorder, compulsive acquisition/spending, obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety or depression can all be part of the problem...A therapist has to do a full diagnostic interview to determine the root of the dysfunction."
Dawson, along with Reinardy and Dorothy Breninger of the Delphi Center for Organization, have also compiled a list of warning signs to help readers discern whether or not their current purchasing behaviors might be indicative of a larger problem, including things like "there are negative consequences associated with your behavior - physical, safety or financial," and "Most items that aren't out on shelves or stashed into the closets are still in the bags in which you purchased them, along with the receipts."
While I don't think I qualify for cosmetics hoarder status, I'll admit that I currently have way too many bottles in my shower and a makeup drawer that is in desperate need of cleaning. However, I'm also aware that my tendency to buy shampoos, lipsticks, body washes, and basically anything else one can purchase at Sephora is directly related to my eating disorder, in that I started going to beauty stores and makeup counters during my early days of recovery as an alternative to the stress of going clothes shopping, and still find it comforting to purchase things that make me feel happy and don't come with sizes attached. I suppose, roughly 7 years later, that I do it out of habit more than anything else, or simply because I just like buying products and find buying shoes and clothes boring and sometimes stressful, not only for ED reasons but because it's just easier, in some ways, to experiment with shampoos than it is to experiment with sartorial identities.
Still, my tendency to purchase products isn't out of hand or interrupting my life in any way, as it would with a true cosmetics hoarder who keeps unopened, unnecessary, or expired products sitting around simply because they cannot bear to let them go. Reinardy clarifies the difference between someone who perhaps buys too many products and someone with a legitimate addiction by telling Dawson, "I look at my cosmetic drawer, and do I have more cosmetics than I use? Creams that I can't let go of? Absolutely. The difference is when you're not able to use the space in your home that it was meant for. So if my entire bathroom is full of cosmetic products so that I can't use the shower, sink or toilet anymore, it's a sign that it's out of hand."
So what say you, commenters? Do you have a cosmetics addiction? And if so, how do you cope with it?
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