Beauty · Project Pan

A Year of Panning – Lessons I’ve Learned

A year of Project Panning Lessons

As of this last month, I have been working on my Largest Project Pan Ever for a full year. Though I have a long way to go to finish it, I have learned a lot from it. I wanted to share the twelve lessons, that I have learned over this past year to help you get through your project pan too.

1. Always include something you love into the products you’re using, even if it isn’t a project pan item.

I had to learn this one the hard way. When I first started I was getting myself burnt out quickly because I was using a bunch of different items that I wanted to finish, but not one of them something I actually enjoyed using. I started questioning if I should throw out my project all together. For me, the item that keeps me going is my Smashbox Full Exposure Mascara. No matter how frustrated I am, I can put on my mascara and feel good about myself and the look I put together.

2. Practice makes perfect.

I have always been horrible at painting my nails. Polish would get everywhere, including the carpet. Since I’ve included my nail polishes into my project pan, I now paint my nails on a regular basis and the mess continues to get smaller. This is good for two reasons: I am getting better at painting my nails, and I am not biting my nails as much. I’ve come to train myself not to bite my nails if I have polish on, but that means I’m peeling the polish off when I’m anxious now.

3. Patience is needed, but hitting pan is worth it.

That moment when I hit pan on an item, or finish one completely, I get more excited than most would think reasonable. Especially if I have been working on that item for a long time and it has been quite a frustrating journey.

4. You need to get creative.

I ran out of eyebrow powder about halfway through this year and have started using matte eyeshadows and matte bronzers to fill them in since. So far it has really worked for me and actually brings some warmth to them to help them match my hair better. Doing things like this can help you get through items faster as you begin to multi-task them.


Yes I will scream that for the people in the back. There are a lot of project pans out there that don’t use, or refuse to include samples. Including samples are a great way of keeping yourself from getting burnt out over time. If you are frustrated with not having the progress you want from full sized items, taking a break by using samples will help you see the progress you want without relying on full sized items.

6. Learn how to properly sanitize your makeup and brushes.

Cleaning my makeup brushes regularly has helped me get through my makeup faster as I am washing off any excess makeup built up on the brush. I also learned how to properly sanitize my makeup since I will often switch between different palettes or blushes through the year. I have a spray that I use to sanitize my brushes after each use as well as to sanitize my makeup as well to prevent mold from growing on it. It is the same spray I use to repress my makeup as well.

7. Be brave on your day off.

I know this sounds weird at first, but my craziest makeup is always done on my day off. Doing this helps me work through all of my makeup but also not have to worry about makeup that isn’t really “work-appropriate” (I’m looking at you purple lipgloss) during my work week. Doing it on my day off gives me a quick boost of confidence as well as a change of pace when I really need it.

8. But also remember to take a break.

Sometimes you need you let your skin breathe and remember what you look like without makeup. I have had a couple times over the past couple of months, where I didn’t recognize myself in the mirror without my eye makeup on. Also Sunshine keeps getting mad at me for getting makeup on his shirts.

9. Keep your lip products in front of you.

When it comes to lipsticks, I have a difficult time remembering to reapply my lipstick throughout the day. I have started to go through them faster when I started taking them everywhere and always having one in front of me. When I’m working on one for the month, it is always on my desk within arms reach so I can reapply between sips or cups of tea.

10. Take pictures of your progress.

This is something that I have only done with my eyeshadow palettes. Taking pictures when you start on a palette and then proceeding to take pictures each month or week helps me motivate me a lot. When using the same palette day after day, it’s hard to see the real progress you are getting out of it. If you have pictures, you can go back and look to see a side by side comparison of how much you have gotten out of it. Doing this keeps me motivated and reminds me that it is possible to finish off shadows completely. For example my photo progress on my Profusion 48 Shadow Palette on Instagram

11. Have a repurchase list.

The entire point of this project pan, for me at least, is for me to cull my makeup collection down to the things I enjoy using. As I have been going through each product, I question whether or not I enjoy it enough to repurchase and make it a staple in my makeup. If the answer is ever yes, it goes on my repurchase list as well as the price. This list has become incredibly helpful as it keeps me from going through the trial and error process but also keeps me from buying things I won’t need that I wouldn’t be sure about. After the project is over, I want my collection to be only of items on this list.

12. Don’t forget to declutter.

Remembering to declutter is vital to any project pan. There will be times where you question how long you have had an item, or it will change in texture or application, or it will even grow mold. I had this happen to a lipstick I decluttered last month and had to toss it. I came to realize that I had this lipstick for almost a decade and it seemed it was starting to grow some bumps on the side.

A current trend among project panners is checking the lot numbers on the products to see what year the items were produced and know how old the product actually is. Many of them are basing their declutters off  of these dates. My favorite video on this topic and how to is by Amber F on Youtube. (Side Note: I also love her Get Ready with Me videos since she often recommends different eye-shadows to complete the look if you don’t have the same palette.)

Like I’ve said, over this past year of panning makeup I have learned quite a bit. What have you learned from your projects? If you are currently doing one please let me know in the comments below I we can cheer each other on!



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