Thanks to the online beauty community, it seems like you have to be worth a million bucks in order to look that way- literally. Makeup and beauty products are ridiculously expensive, and given that something new is always coming out onto the market, it feels impossible to keep up with the new makeup trends. As soon as you save up enough to purchase one palette, another one has caught everyone’s interest across the Internet.
Between primers, foundations, eyeshadow palettes, and brow pencils, there always seems like something you need to buy in order to complete your beauty routine. But, being a beauty guru doesn’t have to be expensive! There are tons of ways you can cut costs and save while shopping for makeup- you just have to be a bit creative and savvy while doing it!
We’ve compiled the best tips and tricks for being a beauty guru on a budget. From shopping at opportune times during the season to knowing when and how you can score makeup for free, you’ll be surprised at how many ways there are to save a few bucks while satisfying your makeup urge. Then, you can put all the money you save towards buying even more makeup… because it’s not like you already own too much, right?
20 Find Dupes For Designer Products
When it comes to makeup, an expensive price tag doesn’t always mean it’s going to work better! There are tons of drugstore alternatives that work just as well as higher priced brand-name items.
To save a ton of money on makeup, do your research and find drugstore dupes for luxury items.
Tons of Youtubers and bloggers have put out content dedicated to helping you find inexpensive alternatives to brand name makeup that works just as well or even better. This hack requires you to do a bit of research before spending your hard-earned money, but it will ensure you’re getting the most bang for your buck.
19 Read Reviews On Products Beforehand
There’s never any excuse to buy a makeup product without checking the reviews beforehand!
Tons of Youtubers and bloggers make videos or posts devoted to reviewing a single product or makeup collection. Likewise, makeup stores like Sephora allow customers to leave online reviews. They’ll often tell you their honest opinion about the pros and cons of the item, and whether they think it’s worth the price tag or not.
Doing research before you buy an item can also reveal if there are cheaper alternatives available. That way you won’t waste your money on something that turns out not to be worth it!
18 Try Out 1 Dollar Makeup
Okay, we know that makeup for only a dollar sounds like a scam, or at least super sketchy. But we promise you’ll be pleasantly surprised! ShopMissA is an online retailer (which just opened its first in-person store in the US) that carries makeup for $1.
Tons of beauty gurus have reviewed this site and discovered great, budget-friendly products.
They carry brands from Elf to Kleancolour, and also their own in-house brand, AOA Cosmetics. Since everything is only a buck, it’s a great way to try out new products without breaking the budget. We suggest trying out their liquid lipsticks- they’re giving Mac and NYX a run for their money!
17 Fix Broken Makeup
The worst feeling is when you drop a makeup item and pick it up only to realize it’s crushed into a million pieces. You might think that this means you have to trash your beloved product- but there is a way to save it!
You can save virtually any makeup product by adding a few drops of alcohol. To do this, gather all the broken pieces of the makeup product back into the container. Add a few drops of rubbing alcohol, then let it soak. Smooth down the product with your fingers, and then let it sit overnight.
The next morning your makeup product will be as good as new- no money wasted!
16 Put Your Products On Double Duty
Did you know that many of your products can serve two purposes?
To really get the most out of your makeup and to avoid needing to go out and purchase more, put your makeup on double duty. This means finding multiple ways to use a single beauty item.
For example, lipstick can easily double as blush, and blush and bronzer can easily double as an eyeshadow.
Even use lip liner as eyeliner or vice versa, or use eyeshadow to fill in your eyebrows. Search a site like Pinterest to get even more inspiration about how you can use your makeup products for multiple purposes. The world is your oyster!
15 Buy Travel-Sized Instead Of Full-Sized
Let’s face it: even if you love a product, chances are you’re not going to finish the entire thing before it expires.
So many products go to waste each year because you’re not able to finish them up before it's time to toss them, which means you’re essentially throwing money in the trash! A great way to combat this is to buy travel-size versions rather than full-size.
This is an excellent way to test the product out and see if it’s something you want to repurchase and use regularly. It also reduces the risk that you won’t use the full sample before the due date, so you’re being less wasteful financially and environmentally. Plus, it’s great to have travel-sized options on hand if you do find yourself taking a vacation!
14 Buy Holiday Gift Value Sets
Thought the holidays were only about buying presents for other people? Think again!
Usually around the holidays, stores like Sephora come out with special holiday bundles that combine travel-sized luxury items at a huge discount.
Because you’re buying them in bulk, the bundle is priced at a lower rate than if you bought all of the products individually.
This is an awesome way to test out new, brand name products without breaking the bank. If you want to be even more budget-friendly, considering splitting the bundle in half with a friend and dividing the products inside. Or, give away some of the products you don’t want as gifts.
13 Request A Sample Before Buying
Did you know you can actually get samples of makeup from most stores?
If you go to any department store or hit up a Sephora, the sales associates will be more than happy to send you home with a sample of a product you’ve shown interest in. This is a great way to test out a product that you’re not sure if you’ll love or want to use entirely- and it’s free! If you end up loving the product, you can always go back and purchase it.
If you’re really on a budget, hit up multiple stores to get samples of the same product so you’ll end up having just as much as a full-sized bottle would offer!
12 Shop When There’s A Gift With Purchase
One way to get the most out of your beauty buy is to shop when there’s a gift with purchase.
Most department stores that carry high-end makeup will offer special deals or promotions where, if you spend a certain amount, you can receive a gift bag for free or at a discounted price.
Often these gift with purchase feature a trendy makeup bag and some smaller samples of creams, lipsticks, eyeshadows, and more. This is an awesome way to try out new luxury makeup at a discount. And, if you don’t end up loving the stuff in your gift with purchase, you can always re-gift it to someone in your life.
11 Search For Makeup Coupons Online
You’ll be surprised at what a little Googling can do!
Tons of drugstore makeup brands release coupons that will save you a few bucks in order to encourage you to try their products. Sometimes you can find makeup coupons in flyers delivered to your mailbox or even in-store.
But, if you want to be extra diligent, we suggest doing some sleuthing online before you jump at what appears to be a low price. There are tons of online sites, such as CouponsCanada or Promocodes.com, that offer printable coupons you can use in person on tons of products, not just makeup items. Money-saving measures are only a few clicks away!
10 Get A Student Price Card (SPC)
Did you know that an SPC card can get you discounts at many of your favorite stores and restaurants? The Student Price Card is available exclusively for students and is designed to help you get discounts on participating vendors.
Many retail stores offer up to 15% off your entire purchase when you show your student card.
Find out which of your favorite makeup stores are participating and hit them up when you need new makeup goodies. That way, you’ll always be getting a discount on your purchase, even if it's small. After all, when you’re spending hundreds of dollars on makeup, a 10% discount can go a long way!
9 Always Use A Primer And Setting Spray
Part of getting the most bang for your buck when it comes to makeup is ensuring that your application lasts all day so you don’t have to go back and touch up what you’ve already done!
Makeup artists all swear by using a primer before beginning makeup application and applying a setting spray after to lock in the look. A primer helps to smooth imperfections and provide a base for foundation and concealer to stick to, helping it last longer. Setting spray is then used after applying all of your makeup to keep it staying the same all day, sort of like hairspray.
If you’re creating a strong foundation and layer of protection for your makeup from the get-go, then you won’t need to use as much product throughout the day to touch-up your look.
8 Sign Up For Rewards Programs
There are tons of benefits of signing up for rewards programs at stores like Ulta and Sephora- and all you need to do is give them your email address!
For example, when you become a VIB (Very Important Beauty Insider) from Sephora, all you need to do is give them your email, phone number, and birthday.
You’ll instantly begin collecting points on all purchases, which you can later trade in to get rewards, like travel-sized samples of your fave items.
And on your birthday, Sephora will even treat you to a little B-day surprise if you make it there on your special day. It’s nice to be a VIB!
7 Don’t Be Tempted By The Packaging
You’d be lying to yourself if you didn’t admit that packaging is often part of the reason why you’ve chosen a product!
An aesthetic display can easily reel customers in without them even realizing. Many makeup brands, in particular, spend countless amounts on marketing every year to increase the chance that you’ll buy their products. But simply because an item has cute packaging doesn’t mean it’s going to be worth your money.
This hack is simple: don’t let yourself be tempted by the packaging. If something piques your interest because of the way it’s packaged, do some research to see if the reviews prove the item is worthwhile. After all, sometimes the best products come in the most inconspicuous packages.
6 Shop At Off-Price Stores Like Marshall’s Or TJ Maxx
You’d be surprised at some of the amazing makeup steals you can find at off-price department stores!
Stores like Marshall’s, TJ Maxx, Ross, or Winner’s (which are all owned by the same parent company, believe it or not) receive tons of brand names items that didn't sell in department stores and then sell them for a fraction of the price.
In addition to a plethora of beauty products, you can often find a wide selection of both drugstore and designer makeup for jaw-dropping prices.
I’ve seen everything from Louis Vuitton to CoverGirl to Anastasia Beverly Hills in these types of stores, so you know the variety and options are endless.
5 Save Up Before Your Splurge
If there’s an expensive makeup product that you really want, then take a few weeks or months to save up for it rather than buying it right away.
This tip is helpful for several reasons. First, this will give you a chance to put some money specifically away for this purchase, so it will be easier on your budget. Second, it will give you time to research and read reviews on this product. Since you’ll be spending so much, you want to make sure that it’s worth your time.
Finally, saving and waiting before splurging is important to make sure you really want the product. If you’re still thinking about it after a few weeks, then it’s likely that this will be a worthwhile purchase. But, if it's lost its appeal after a while, then maybe it’s wise to spend your money elsewhere.
4 Wash Brushes Regularly To Make Them Last
Your makeup brushes are one of the most important parts of your beauty routine, and one of the most expensive.
Thankfully, it’s easy to make your brushes last years by taking proper care of them.
First, you should be storing makeup brushes face-up in a container so that the bristles aren’t getting squished or dirty. Next, it’s important to wash them regularly to keep them in pristine condition. We recommend washing them with baby shampoo, which is gentler than regular shampoo.
Finally, make sure you’re keeping your brushes somewhere cool. Bathrooms aren’t the greatest option since they often have moisture in the air, which can encourage the growth of bacteria on your brushes.
3 Be Wary Of The Expiry Date
Especially when you’ve invested a ton of money into a makeup product and it’s not even half-used up, you’re not going to want to throw it away! But, if it’s past the expiry date, then you need to toss it no matter what.
Hanging on to old makeup isn’t financially savvy and it's not going to get you the most bang for your buck. Using products past the expiry date actually threatens to ruin your makeup look, since the makeup isn’t going to apply or last the same way as if it was fresh.
Go through your makeup regularly and discard products that are past their shelf life. Foundation and concealer usually last up to 12 months, and powder products, like brush and bronzer, can survive for 18 months. Products like mascara, though, should be tossed after only three.
2 Shop Directly After The Holidays
You’re probably tempted to do the most shopping before the holidays, given how elaborate and enticing all the seasonal displays are. But the best time to shop is generally after the holidays, when all the sales are beginning.
As soon as the holidays are over- like, we’re talking Boxing Day- stores get busy marking down their holiday items so they can get rid of them.
You can often find tons of brand name makeup marked down to ridiculously low prices, which will allow you to try out new makeup for the fraction of the price.
We suggest focusing on buying holiday packages that have several travel-sized makeup items for an already discounted price. The price tag will be even cheaper when the holidays end, which means you can treat you and your friends, too!
1 Only Buy What You Know You’ll Use
It’s easy to get carried away when shopping for makeup and end up with more than you really need or will ever get around to using. And, given that most makeup products have expiry dates, this often means you won’t make a dent in them before it’s time to toss.
A good habit to get into is only buying what you know you’ll use. If you have a dozen eyeshadow palettes at home with a ton of product left in them, then consider passing on getting another one. Wait until you use up all your red lipsticks or eyeliners before bringing another one home. Don't buy glittery eyeshadow if you know it's not really your style.
This will help you to use the products you have, and become more selective while shopping so you don’t end up wasting money.