12 Easy Ways to Save on Common Beauty Buys


In today's tough economy, it can be difficult to shell out money on your hair, nails, and makeup. Fortunately, you don't have to spend a fortune to look like a million bucks. Try these simple, effective ways to save money on beauty, beyond just the coupons and store loyalty programs.

1. Don't Overuse Products

In most cases, a smaller amount of product than you think is enough to get the desired results. For instance, you never need to use more than a nickel-sized amount of shampoo, conditioner, face wash, face moisturizer, or leave-in conditioner. Any more than that, and you're just wasting product (and money). The same goes for makeup; start small and build up your look. Not only will this save you money in the long run, but your lotions and makeup will last longer, so you don't have to replace them as often.

2. Look for Cheaper Alternatives

There is a drugstore dupe for nearly every high-end cosmetic. You can use sites like Dupethat to figure out which cheap alternative matches your favorite color and formula. DIY recipes are also a great alternative to your favorite masks and scrubs, so start looking for free recipes online using ingredients you already have in your kitchen. (See also: 9 DIY Beauty Masks Made From Food)

3. Get More Out of Old Makeup

If your makeup is still unexpired but in bad condition, you can probably breathe new life into it. For instance, by adding four to five eye drops into your mascara tube, it will re-moisturize the dried out wand and formula, making it work like new again. You can also place a closed tube of mascara into a cup of hot water to warm the solution and get a few more uses out it. Just make sure you throw your mascara away after three months of usage.

You can also repair any broken eyeshadow or powder palette by simply reforming it with alcohol.

4. Use Multitasking Ingredients

Multitasking ingredients can save you money, clear space in your travel bag, and actually speed up your morning routine. They can help you get the biggest bang for your buck. Here are three easy ones:

  • Use oil as a makeup remover;
  • Try baby powder as dry shampoo; and,
  • Use lipstick as impromptu blush.

Some of the best multitasking ingredients are oils (like coconut and argan oils), Vaseline, and baby powder.

5. Use Multitasking Products

Multitasking products can help save you money because you can get the results of several products by just using one item. BB cream is the perfect example of a multitasker, because it can replace your sunscreen, serum, moisturizer, anti-aging products, and even your foundation.

Your eyeshadow is another great example because it can also be used as an eyeliner, eyebrow powder, blush, highlighter, or bronzer. Eyeshadow can even be transformed into different shades of lip gloss and nail polish.

6. Return Beauty Items That Don't Work

Most drugstores and beauty stores will gladly accept your return. In fact, many stores (like Walgreens) pride themselves on the ease of their return policy, in the event that a certain shade of lipstick or foundation doesn't work on you. Not every shade or formulation of makeup will work for every person, so don't waste your money if you get home and decide it doesn't look right on you.

7. Buy Splurge Items on Sale

Shopping for beauty products when everything is on sale will make you feel less guilty about your splurge. Certain items, like makeup sets, go on sale after the holidays, which would be a great time to stock up on whatever you think you might need for yourself or for future gifts.

8. Use Every Last Drop

When you're down to the last bit of shampoo, conditioner, lotion, or makeup, it's time to get creative. You can cut the bottle open to scrape out any last bit, use a Q-tip to dig out any leftover foundation, or invest in an affordable beauty spatula so that you never have to throw out another drop. You can also use a damp makeup sponge to cut down on the amount of foundation applied.

9. Use Ebates

Ebates will give you cash back on certain purchases, including beauty buys. For instance, they offer 4% cash back on all Sephora purchases.

10. Take Advantage of Recycling Policies

If you gather up six empty MAC containers, they will recycle them for you and you can even pick out a free lip gloss as payment for your empties. Stores like Lush and Kiehl's offer similar programs.

11. Leave Items in the Online Shopping Cart Overnight

This trick can save you money on any makeup, clothing, or furniture purchases. It doesn't always work, but when it does, you'll be glad you waited the night. By putting items in your cart, but never completing the order, the store thinks you forgot about the items and will often send you an email reminder that you have items in your cart that need to be checked out. They will usually offer a promo code to entice you to complete the purchase, so you can save more on items that you already planning on purchasing.

12. Stop Going to the Salon so Often

DIY hair color, at-home manicures, and homemade face and hair masks are all the rage these days. Take advantage of the never-ending trend and save money in the process. Don't waste your time or money at the salon if you can achieve similar results at home for a fraction of the cost. Many salons will also offer free bang trends or discounted prices on hair trims, so make sure to ask what your salon offers. (See also: 10 Ways to Get Great Hair Without the Salon)

Do you know of other ways to save money on beauty? Please share your thoughts in the comments!

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