It might be hyperbolic to compare buying beauty products to something as monumental as, say, deciding between job offers—but we’re going to do it anyway. There’s the initial discontent with your current situation, the slow but steady stream of research of what else is out there, the “interview” (aka visiting a counter to try the actual products), and the final, determined decision. Part of the reason buying products can feel so emotionally draining is because, usually, doing so drains another part of your life: your wallet. Basically, buying beauty products can get expensive as hell, with even the most devout drugstore devotee known to splurge on a particularly tempting luxury product (or two, or three…).
Here’s a little secret: There is another way. Many other ways, in fact. Ahead, we’re sharing seven insider tips for our fellow product junkies—tips that will ensure you never shell out for a full-priced product ever again. A bold claim, yes, but one we’ll firmly stand behind. Now, who wants to plan a makeup shopping date?
Keep scrolling to find out seven money-saving makeup buying tips!
Sephora.com might be your homepage, but there’s a whole universe of other sites out there that sell beauty products—for a steep discount, we should add. Usually, these products are discounted because they are “shelf pull items”—in other words, they may be from last season, discontinued, have original retail discount tags, less-than-perfect packaging, mislabeled, or come from an in-store display. However, this doesn’t mean the actual product itself is damaged. It’s vital that you read reviews and user feedback before purchasing, to ensure you’re buying from a legitimate site that sells authentic products.
You might sign onto sites like Hautelook.com and Gilt.com to snatch up a pair of perfect J Brand jeans at half their price—and it’s time to apply that mentality to their beauty selection, too. Keep tabs on their beauty “events” and get a steep discount on much-loved brands like Too Faced, Mario Badescu, and By Terry. Mass e-tailers like Drugstore.com and Beauty.com are always having sales, too—all it takes is some patience and good timing.
Sometimes, you’ll find the best beauty deals on websites you wouldn’t necessarily associate with beauty—eBay or Amazon, for example. A quick perusal through the Amazon’s Beauty section yields a mind-boggling array of luxe, mass, and cult products alike (see: this Revlon Colorburst Balm Stain, which sells for $5; the full price is $9). Word to the wise: stick to buying from sellers that have a 95% rating or higher, and more than 10 reviews (in the 100’s would be ideal). This will ensure you receive an authentic product, instead of a poorly-made knockoff.
If you constantly buy products from a few key retailers, ask if they have a frequent buyer program or card. Sephora’s Beauty Insider program is probably the most well-known—swiping your card each time you make a purchase at one of their stores (and online) will rack up your points, which you can then exchange for products (like this set of Fresh skincare products—we want). Ulta and even CVS have similar programs—don’t be afraid to
accost politely approach an employee and ask. Plus joining a mailing list means you’ll be getting emails notifying you of sales before everyone else—also, members-only sales are totally a thing.
You might consider your favorite bloggers and vloggers a source of beauty inspiration, but they can also be a great resource for buying actual products. Many bloggers will actually host giveaways or beauty sales for products they’ve been gifted that they won’t use or already have, while others put together weekly deal roundups (Temptalia’s are some of the most extensive we’ve seen—plus, she updates constantly!). For vloggers, always check the description box at the bottom of their YouTube videos—a lot of times, brands will offer special discount codes for the vlogger’s followers when they feature their products in their videos.
Are you sitting down? Allow us to introduce you to Honey, a Google Chrome extension that will be any beauty junkie’s saving grace. Download it, add it to your browser, and shop away per usual. While you’re shopping, you’ll notice the icon turn an orange color, with a number next to it. This magical number is the number of current coupon codes available for that website. But how will I know which coupon codes are applicable to me, you ask beseechingly. Not to fear—at checkout, another tab will pop up that shows you exactly which codes are compatible with your particular purchase. Then, Honey will add them into the promo code section at checkout. You are so, so welcome.
Abandoning your online cart on purpose might seem weird, but often, retailers will try to woo you back by offering you a discount code. Make sure the item isn’t already part of a sale, and that it doesn’t have a chance of selling out—most “abandon cart emails” will send a day or two after you add the product to your cart. Best case scenario, you get a rad discount. Worst case scenario, you wait an extra day to get your order.
Have you tried any of these beauty buying tactics? Sound off below!