Beauty | Money Saver

20 Tips on How to Save More Money on Makeup Products

Written by Chelsea Raineri | May 15, 2021

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When it comes to saving money, the last thing you want to do is cut back on your favorite purchases. Let’s be honest, makeup usually falls into the overspending category. In fact, one study showed that the average woman in the U.S. spends $300,000 on face products in their lifetime. Think about all the products you’ve purchased from watching YouTube beauty hauls or a temporary trend that you’ve only tried once or twice. These makeup hauls can definitely add up over the years.

Fortunately, you can make some simple swaps to your purchasing habits to save money on all the beauty products you’ve been eyeing. Before you swipe your card at Sephora or Ulta, check out these tips to help you keep some money in your bank account while still getting quality beauty products on a budget.

1. Give Makeup Dupes a Try

Did your favorite high-end beauty brand just release a new liner, lipstick, or eyeshadow? We bet you can find a similar if not identical shade from a brand you might have not heard of before at a drugstore, Target, or Walmart. Google the name of the brand, the item, and the color name along with “dupe" and you’ll receive a whole host of options to help you save even more!

2. Make a List and Stick to It

Buying something you see at a store, on an Instagram ad, a YouTube haul, or on TikTok can be so quick and easy you almost forgot you even bought it. To avoid purchasing something on impulse, make a list of items you know you want and will actually use. This will take a lot of self control, but it will save you money in the long run.

3. Take Advantage of Beauty Recycling Programs

Have a bunch of empty or used products from the same brand? See if they offer a personal care or beauty recycling incentive. Places like MAC Cosmetics offer customers the chance to bring in six empty MAC containers for a free lipstick. This is a great way to try out a new color or restock your favorite at no cost to you.

4. Figure Out Your Go-To Looks

Still playing around with new looks and colors every day? Once you nail down your favorite makeup or bold evening routine, you can adjust and stay focused on the products that complement your look. Figuring out the products that best go with your routine can help from overspending or indulging on random things you may be tempted to splurge on.

5. Research, Research, Research

Before trying out a new makeup item or beauty tool, it’s important to do your research before buying it. Even if the product was highly recommended by a friend, it’s important to take some time to watch videos, read through reviews, or even go on a deep dive on Reddit. If you see an overwhelming amount of people saying it’s not worth it, maybe it’s good to skip that one.

6. Try In-House Brands

Walking straight past the aisle that sells Sephora or Ulta branded products? It might be smart to double check and see what they have to offer. Most of the time, these are quality products that are cheaper than other options and could be exactly what you’re looking for at a better price.

7. Ask for Gift Cards or Gifts

Have you made that wish list yet? Recheck that list during upcoming birthdays or the holiday season and see what items you still are hoping to get. Add these to your list of gift ideas and you may end up getting just that.

8. Try Product Samples

The best way to try a product is to ask for free samples! Most places are happy to give them out if there are available samples. If you’re purchasing something online, there might be an option to add a free sample to your package as well.

9. Go Makeup-Free

If you’re working from home and want to have a make-up free day, go for it! For a more natural look, put some moisturizer and sunscreen on and follow your natural skincare routine.

10. Use Up Every Last Bit of Your Makeup

Want to purchase a new bronzer but haven’t finished your current one yet? Remember: you don’t need to purchase something you already have. Finish the makeup you own before adding more to your collection. There are also plenty of beauty and environmentally-friendly hacks out there to make your makeup last longer and get the most out of that empty concealer bottle.

11. Invest in Quality Brushes and Makeup Cleaning Mats

If you’ve overused your makeup brushes, it may be time to invest in better quality ones. If you take care of your brushes and invest in a makeup cleaning mat, you won’t need to spend more money and purchase new brushes as frequently.

12. Review Products Online

Loved your last beauty purchase? Tell your community about it by writing a review on the brand’s website. Some brands may offer discounts or other incentives for those who write a review!

13. Sign Up for Rewards Programs

Are you consistently purchasing products at one brand or store? Sign up for a rewards program and get the most value out of your purchases. You’ll wrack up points and receive discounts or free products so you’ll be able to justify a purchase or two.

14. Sign Up For Newsletters

Newsletters can be a great way to stay up-to-date on upcoming promotions and discounts that you might not know about. Also, some newsletters incentivize customers by offering a discount of 10%-15% when they sign up.

15. Leverage Employee Discounts

Do you have a shop that you frequently visit? If you’re a loyal customer or don’t have a friend who can let you use employee discounts, consider applying for a seasonal job at your favorite shop. This way, you’ll be able to receive that special employee discount. Not only will this put some extra cash in your pocket, but you’ll also be able to nab your favorite items at a discounted price.

16. Fix Broken Makeup

Just dropped your new highlighter palette? If it’s cracked, it may still be salvageable. Simply apply rubbing alcohol on the top to smoothen it out. Once the liquid evaporates, it’ll be as good as new. If your makeup is completely shattered, scrape it into a small jar and use it like a powder.

17. Use a Setting Spray

When you touch up your makeup before going out or after coming back from work, you’re using extra product—even if it’s only a little bit. To avoid doing this, use a setting spray to keep your makeup looking fresh and to avoid it from fading throughout the day or night. Makeup enthusiasts love Urban Decay's All-Nighter—while a bit pricey, it's super effective and should save you money in the long-run.

18. Check the Expiration Date

Believe it or not, makeup expires too. If you’ve been using expired makeup it’s probably time to toss it out or see if you can recycle it at the brand you purchased it from. However, if you’re constantly throwing out old products, it’s wise to check the expiration date before you open one up.

19. Repurpose Old Products

Products that haven’t quite yet expired but are still sitting at the bottom of your makeup bag could still be repurposed. For instance, a black eyeshadow for the smokey eye look you don’t wear that often can double as eyeliner. Or, if you have a creamy lipstick, it could also moonlight as a blush.

20. Mix Colors

If there’s an eyeshadow trend that you’re dying to try, see if you have a few colors you can blend together to create a similar look. You can also do this with blush or lipstick. If you love how it looks, you can continue to just mix them together for a fun new makeup routine.

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