Sunday, July 5, 2009

How To: Save Money on Makeup! (And Still Have Fun)

Don't let a tighter budget rain on your beauty parade! Here are some easy ways to save dollars and get the most out of your purchases while shopping for beauty products:

1. Think Multipurpose

The best products are ones you can use for a variety of applications and looks. This rule goes for a lot of things in life-- you'll get more use out of a blender than a Margarita Machine (thanks, Mom). Look for cream blushes or blush sticks you can use as lip colors too. Or pick a highlight shade/shimmer brick that can double as eyeshadow. Speaking of eye shadows, try applying your favorite shade wet with a thin brush as eyeliner! Or put that foundation that was a too light to use by applying it like a concealer under the eyes. Find a face mask that can serve as an acne spot treatment. Utilize palettes of complementary colors instead of purchasing several products separately. The list goes on! Multipurpose products save you money and effort. They are also perfect for travel!

2. Staples First

Invest in good everyday products like foundation, concealer, mascara, and brushes. By invest, I don't mean that you have to spend a lot of money but make these items your priority when shopping. If you have to choose between buying a foundation that matches your skin tone perfectly or a beautiful smokey eyeshadow, go for the foundation. You'll use it everyday and it will serve its purpose of creating a beautiful canvas for the rest of your products. Skip the trendy vibrating mascara and pick up the formula that makes you lashes look long, full, and natural.

3. Know the Return Policy

If you don't like a product, you should by all means return it! But first, know the policy. Most department stores will accept a used product within a certain amount of days after purchase. So don't let that blush (or what have you) you're unhappy with sit there. Take it back before time wastes. And always save your boxes and receipts! Know that many drugstores have tighter return policies (see number 4 on my list), so you'll have to be a bit more sure of your choices.

4. Review, Research & Ask Questions

When you can, check out reviews of items you're looking at on You'll see the comments and opinions of others who have tried the product already. You can filter these reviews by age, skin tone, and skin type. Furthermore, each product is individually reviewed for its price and packaging as well as its overall performance. Write reviews yourself to help others! Look for "top reviewers" (denoted on their MUA profiles or by individual reviews) to find people who review often and accurately.

Check out the web for a comparison of prices for your desired product. You may be available to find a cheaper price or alternative on,, or Just be careful to purchase products that are hygienic and legitimate (fake MAC products are all over ebay!). Look at TJ Maxx and Marshall's for discount beauty products. I've found Lancome, Hard Candy, Sugar, Stila, and the Balm at these stores for cheap!

Don't be afraid to ask a makeup artist at the beauty counter for advice. Sometimes sales people can be pushy but their job is to help you. Don't feel like you must buy a certain product if you're not happy for the look he or she is suggesting. Makeup artists often know the products very well and making friends with one is always a good thing! Building up a relationship with the artists working at MAC has introduced to beautiful products I would have never chosen myself. Likewise, ask family and friends what they think. You're not tied down to their opinions but an outside perspective is always helpful.

5. Be Cautious with Collections

Here's a rule I need to follow better myself! Beauty collections are tons of fun and limited edition products are so tempting! But collections often mean lots of show and expense. I definitely recommend checking out limited editions collections every now and then but don't get too wrapped up and feeling like you HAVE to buy from every one. Trust me, there will be another similar product and colors do get released again (cough MAC cough)! Sometimes, it's worth buying a few backups of a product you just LOVE and won't be re-released (Estee Lauder's Azuree Soleil..I'm looking at you!) but most of the time, I'd skip and save your money for something else.

6. Get Inspired

If you're in a beauty rut, a new bright lipstick can help but more often than not, you just need a little inspiration! Flip through fashion and beauty magazines from the 40s, 60s, 80s, watch an old Hollywood film, browse tutorials on YouTube, or photograph beautiful things around you! Fresh colors and textures could be the catalyst for a whole new look. Check out the artist's color wheel for different but complementary colors. Read beauty books by Bobbi Brown or Kevyn Aucoin for step by step instructions of makeup application. You'll find new ways to use old favorites in your collection!

I hope that helps everyone. Do you have any money saving tips? What your favorite inexpensive product? Mine has to be Ecotools brushes...they are wonderful for the price and good for the environment!

Thanks for reading!

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