7 Beauty Savings Secrets Every Woman Should Know


According to The Huffington Post, women spend over $426 billion a year on beauty products. This can get exceedingly expensive for women who buy into the high priced anti-aging skincare lines and like to stay on top of the latest cosmetics trends. Fortunately, there are a few new ways to save that don't require sorting through the bargain bin at the end of each season.

Here are the seven best ways to stretch your dollar in the beauty department.

1. Sign Up for Surprise Beauty Box Subscriptions

Beauty box services like Glossy Box, Ipsy, or Sample Society all work in more or less the same way. You select a plan with the type of products you're interested in getting and how long of a contract you want (typically, the longer your contract, the bigger the discount). Then every month you get a box in the mail, filled with sample or full-size beauty products to test out.

What's the Catch?

Most of these services are upfront about the fees and quality of products, but there's no way of knowing what you'll receive from month to month. It's possible to end up with a box full of products that you have no interest in using.

2. Sign Up for Retailer Rewards

Beauty companies that offer rewards systems pay you cash, redeemable points, or special discounts depending on the dollar amount you spend at their store. Some may even offer lower members-only prices. When signing up, make sure to ask about the program's benefits, so that you can figure out the best way it can work for you. For example, the CVS reward program offers personalized coupons, weekly sales to members, and 2% cash back on all purchases. Other programs to consider: Beauty.com, Sephora, Sally Beauty Supply, Ulta, and CVS.

What's the Catch?

Rewards programs are a good deal, but read the fine print. Some companies may limit the items available to purchase with reward points or price reward items ridiculously high. For example, Sephora offers one reward point for each dollar spent, but it takes 100 points (or 100 dollars spent) to redeem one sample-size mascara.

3. Shop Online

Online beauty retailers like Dermstore, Beauty.com and Beautybar.com can offer better prices because they don't have the same overhead costs as a traditional brick and mortar. These retailers pass on the savings through daily or weekly sales, special promotions, and additional coupons found on third-party coupon websites.

What's the Catch?

You don't get the luxury of trying new products like you would in-store and to receive free shipping you have to meet the minimum order value of $35-$50.

4. Buy the Bundled Kit

Some brand-specific retailers promote the use of their products in a group or kit, for best results. For the full package, they offer big savings. For example, at Murad their "Environmental Shield Introductory Kit" costs under $40, but if you bought all the components separately, the cost would be $125.

What's the Catch?

As long as you want all the products in the kit, this one's a no-brainer.

5. Get Those Free Samples!

There are four ways to get free samples.

  • When the woman at the department store counter asks if you want a free sample, you say, "Yes!"
  • Stores like Sephora have sample containers waiting to be filled with products you'd like to try; you just have to ask an employee for it.
  • Check websites like Womanfreebies and Shopathome for updates on a variety of free stuff including bath and beauty supplies.
  • Manufacturers new and old are fighting for your business and offer free samples so that you can try them out, so check their websites for details.

What's the Catch?

You may not get the full benefit of a product from a sample size. Especially with skin and hair care products, potential results may not show up until a certain number of uses that can't be fulfilled in a one or two-time portion.

6. Compare Ingredients

According to a ShopSmart interview with cosmetics chemist Randy Shueller, "if the first five ingredients are the same or nearly the same, then the product is probably very similar." They compared three similar products and found that the less expensive products were 50% cheaper — for the same ingredients!

What's the Catch?

You'll have to spend a little more time doing the research on these ingredients. But even if you know them inside out, the unfortunate truth is that beauty product labels don't state the usage amount of the ingredients listed. For all you know, they used a drop of the ingredient you need in your beauty product.

7. Buy Reusable Applicators

Every time you use a traditional foundation applicator, you have to throw it away. Instead, replace your one-time use foundation sponges with a reusable foundation brush or beauty blender sponge that will last you up to 3-6 months. Depending on how often it's used and how well you take care of it, it may even last longer. This will eliminate your restocking fees and decrease the unnecessary waste that's produced by traditional sponge applicators.

What's the Catch?

Nothing more than a change and learning curve, but there are hundreds of YouTube beauty tutorials that will show you the best ways of using it.

What are your best beauty savings secrets? Please share in comments!

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Guest's picture

RE: #4, the sizes in the kits are significantly smaller than the sizes the individual products are sold in. In my experience, the kits are frequently more expensive when you take the container sizes into consideration.

Guest's picture

I can't believe that a newsletter on frugal living would suggest buying beauty products on subscription, especially as the #1 tip. I understand that subscription models of business are appealing to millennials, but most people end up getting a pile up of too much product and delay or forget to cancel, running up unnecessary expense. For the most part, beauty products don't work as advertised, and expensive products don't work any better than cheaper versions. My tip #1 is don't buy the hype. Tip #2 is edit--for example, pick one decent generic drugstore moisturizer, instead of a bunch of special purpose creams with silly long marketing names. For hair, there are many "no shampoo" regimens you can find on line. Washing with baking soda and finishing with a rinse of 2 tsp of cider vinegar, with 2 drops lemon essential oil, in glass of water works just fine for me. In fact my hair dresser asked me what I use because my hair seems thicker and healthier. Baking soda is good for exfoliating too. I've also found very satisfactory lower cost makeup options (a lip crayon at $9, instead of a high-end lipstick at $25 to $50.)

Guest's picture
Kelli B

All good tips. If there's a new product you want to try, don't hesitate to contact the company on social media and just ask. You may be surprised at how helpful they are. Another way to save money on beauty products is to make your own. Here are some of my favorite DIY beauty recipes: http://www.freebiefindingmom.com/?s=diy+beauty

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