The Limited Edition Factor: To Back-Up or Not To Back-up?

September 14, 2009

I think we’ve all experienced the “oh no!” panicked feeling from having discovered that a beloved product or shade was discontinued or limited edition. How do you feel about limited edition items or back-ups?

I have to admit I’ve been sucked in a number of times to products because of the limited edition factor, yet there are certain lines (which will remain un-named) that I now refuse to buy from because of so many product revamps, constant product discontinuations or because of overzealous sales associates pressure me to buy because “it’s limited edition, you have to buy it now.”

We all like new things, so I have to ask myself, why do I a back-up or duplicate of something I already have? My back-up obsession has gotten out of control as has it has exceeded capacity of my MAC Train Case and now filled up a drawer in my Ikea unit. I think I need an intervention to help get rid of my pack-rat tendencies.

(For example, I have a number of MAC Mineral Skin Finishes duplicates such as the So Ceylon released back from 2004, yet I have never come close to finishing a MSF! Why do I continue to buy backups of such items? I have no idea.)

I’m interested to know in how you all feel about “limited edition” collections. Especially when certain lines have been known to release monthly limited edition items. The pros are that they release a number of products with innovative colors or textures that are inline with seasonal trends. I value creativity and innovation. The downside is sometimes you will see a re-hash of similar colors when it seems that they have run out of ideas of what to release next.

Since I hate falling in love with something only to worry that it might be discontinued someday, I have come to appreciate lines like Nars which doesn’t release “limited edition” items unless it’s in the form of a palette or a set.

So, all that being said, what do you have back-ups of? What are your thoughts on limited edition items? What do you do when you are desperate to find something that is no longer available?

Perhaps your insight will help me avoid getting sucked into buying so many back ups. Especially when some cream-like products have a certain shelf life.

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  • Well written post! I hardly have backups on color cosmetics, just because they take forever to finish. But if it is something that I really like and use often, I might be tempted to get a backup of it.

    Limited edition items are great but only if you purchase them because you like them…not because they're limited edition. *cough MAC cough*

    When I am desperate for something that is no longer available, I turn to Google, eBay…or MUA. You'll be surprised what you can find with the help of the internet!

  • I don't buy backups of anything since I think I'll never hit pan on any product LOL.
    I might get backups of holy graal products if they were discontinued and they would keep quite a long time, but other than that I don't see the point.
    I have stopped buying certain brands, too, for the same reason that you explained. Don't want to have to change foundation every year!!

  • SB

    I've stopped buying back ups and won't even replace skincare until I have less than 1/4 of the product left.

    I completely understand the internal panic of "but what if I run out and can't get anymore?" but my backups seem to just collect dust and since I'm fickle, no matter how much I adore a product, by the time I get to the end, I've usually found something else I love. I say this as I stare at 2 MAC French Greys, 2 Lancome Erika Fs and 3 Lancome Seismics.

    No more!

  • i don't do back-ups.the only exception is a cream eye pencil from clinique which the mua fooled me by saying they will be discontinued.for mac back-ups are definitely waste of money as they eventually re-release it sooner or later.for others like dior, no need to do back-up since they always come up with sth. fancier or prettier or more glamourous.just say no to yourself the next time you want to buy an extra and once you do it, you'll find it easier to bear the temptation of back-ups:))

  • Jessie from Melbourne, Australia

    I make it my rule never to buy Ltd Edn as it's just torture if you fall in love with a product and can't find it on eBay or it's through the roof expensive. Recently I broke my rule and bought MAC Patisserie lipstick, but I hear they make that perm anyway, and it's so close to Hug Me I wouldn't be shattered if was Ltd Edn. I freaked out when Clinique discontinued my favourite lipstick Moisture Sheer in Sheer Violet and Sheer Natural so now I am scarred and stay away from anything that won't be around long!

    You gotta stop the backups! Unless it's a lipstick which you might be able to finish in a reasonable amount of time. By the time you finish your MSF, you might have moved on to bigger and better things πŸ™‚

  • Miss Melissa

    I went on a major backup tear last year and am now many of them because I realize how long the originals are lasting. Still, I have other items I wished I had backups of because now they are discontinued and I am getting low. The reality is it does take years to hit the pan on my favorite items, which makes LE releases pure evil! In hindsight, I don't see backups in my future save for one or two HG items.

  • OMG! That's some serious backup collection!!
    I have never bought a backup in my life … but I've never finished a beauty product!! (aside of shampoos and skincare stuff)
    I love limited editions, though. The exclusivity factor makes the product more interesting, IMHO.

  • I'm a sucker for LE, the more "exclusive" the more I want it or even *need* it! But then I find it hard to actually use the items; what if I do love it and there's no way I can get another? When I buy back-ups I find I'll use the "original" but never even consider touching the back-up…alas this item sits like a piece in a museum; collecting dust ang guilt! I do not believe in back-ups unless it's of something you use daily. I was heartbroken when TBS cancelled my favourite lipgloss AND blush at the same time… then again; cream formulas only last so long; even if I had a lifetime supply they would get old, separate, or develop own legs… I would buy back-ups of favourite face cream, shampoo and powder blush/eyeshadow. If something is being disc. I'd get enough to last 1 yr, the approx time it takes to find a replacement.

  • I stopped buying back ups 2 years ago and ya know what? I feel FREE! Sure I might have hit the pan on a highlighter or blush that was d/c'd or l/e but I have sooo many others that I adore as much I will be fine if I ever run out. The ONLY time I buy a back up is when I get foundation on sale. I have one that I use often and if it ever goes on sale I buy more than one bottle. I seriously have so much makeup that I doubt I will ever finish it all.

  • You are the tidiest person in the world! Full of admiration for fabulous storage skills! BBBX

  • Great post, really!

    I never do buy backups because I believe that even if I eventually hit pan on my beloved entertheproducthere, I would be able to find something similar. Frankly speaking I have never found a beauty product which I would find so unique to be worried about it being discontinued. Plus I think that brands releasing limited editions product every two weeks are just money makers.