For years, influencers have played a huge part in how and where we spend our money. And why, thanks to their #GRWM and “Amazon find” videos, you probably see a new product on social media every few scrolls. But ‘deinfluencers’ are tired of it — and are trying to change the game by telling us that we really don’t need this stuff. We chatted with Paige Pritchard, a spending coach and host of “The Money Love Podcast,” about how deinfluencing might impact the way we shop. And how to keep your spending habits in check.
First off, what is deinfluencing?
Social media influencers want you to buy certain makeup, clothes, or lifestyle products because (in most cases) they’re either paid by a brand or get a commission from the sales. Deinfluencers are trying to convince you otherwise. “I think of deinfluencing as not being influenced to buy a product just because someone that you see on the internet has something,” said Pritchard.
Deinfluencers work their magic in one of three ways: By either pointing out that you don’t need anything at all, showcasing cheaper product dupes (though Pritchard still considers that a form of influencing). Or, by debunking overhyped brands or items — giving you the TL;DR on why you don’t need to buy them.
Why is deinfluencing happening?
A few reasons. Some people want more transparency about products being advertised. In part, fueled by “MascaraGate” — when content creator Mikayla Nogueira was accused of wearing false eyelashes while promoting a L’Oréal mascara in a sponsored post. “It was just a very clear example of an influencer not being forthright [and] misrepresenting a product,” said Pritchard. “MascaraGate was just the straw that broke the camel's back.”
There's also the fact that society is obsessed with consumption. Yes, we're talking about all those unboxings and Amazon hauls on your FYP. With the threat of a potential recession, many people can’t afford to keep buying into product trends. And they’re tired of it, said Pritchard. “The products that we've been influenced to buy on the internet aren't changing our lives the way that these influencers are promising us they're going to.”
Is social media really that influential?
Sure is. And if you’re feeling the pressure to shop, you’re not alone: About a third of Americans say content creators influence their shopping. “Social media, as we all know, is a highlight reel,” Pritchard said. “We figured out, ‘If I wanna be happy or confident like her, I just need to go out and create what she's created. I need her wardrobe. I need her skincare routine. I need her kitchen.’” Deinfluencers are here to remind us that we can, in fact, be happy without all these things.
I’ve been there. How can I avoid being influenced?
Be aware of how you (and the people you follow) talk about products. “We talk about them in very extreme, polarizing ways,” said Pritchard. “We say things like, ‘This changed my life…I'm absolutely obsessed.’” Even though it might seem harmless, “You'll notice when you hear things like that, your brain will start to kind of go haywire in a sense,” she explained. Which makes us feel like we need a certain product even more.
Be mindful of the items you want. Anytime you want something, add it to a list — either on paper or your phone — and wait at least 24 hours before add it to your cart. “[This] allows your brain to have a cool off period,” said Pritchard. And it extends the period of anticipation of getting something new, which Pritchard says is often more exciting than actually having the product itself. If you want to take things a step further, write down how much each item costs. You'd be surprised how quickly it adds up.
Create “personal boundaries” around your shopping habits. Pritchard’s example: Don’t buy another makeup or skincare product before you run out of the one you’re using. “It's this practice of using all of your products, which obviously saves you a ton of money and it really reduces the amount of junk and clutter that you have in your environment,” she said.
Deinfluencing is changing the way we think about products we see on social media. And reminding us that the trendiest or most expensive item out there isn’t actually going to change our lives.
Subscribe to Skimm Money
Your source for the biggest financial headlines and trends, and how they affect your wallet.