7 Ways to Save Money While Shopping for Beauty Products

Shopping for beauty products can be overwhelming and expensive. When looking for a new product, there’s a lot to consider. Cost, quality, and effectiveness determine whether or not you will buy the item again.

You want to look good, sure, but you don’t want to break the bank doing it. Luckily, there are methods for saving on your beauty buys. Whether you’re seeking vitamin C serum or the perfect lipstick, here are seven ways to get the most bang for your buck.

1. Hit the Sales

Have you had your eye on a product for months just waiting for it to go on sale? You’re in luck. Large beauty retailers like Ulta and Nordstrom have sales a few times throughout the year. These sales range from small markdowns to seasonal promotions and value sets.

Snagging a value set is a great way to try multiple products at a lower cost. For example, during the summer, beauty stores offer “fun in the sun” kits. These boxes usually include makeup, sunscreen, and other beauty products that are good for sun use. And buying them as a set means you can score the items for less than if you purchased them individually.

2. Use a Fee-Free Debit Card

Do you ever feel anxiety about a purchase as you are inserting your card to pay? Debit cards and credit cards with hidden fees will inevitably increase the prices of your beauty items. A fee-free debit card, on the other hand, will leave more money in your account for splurging on the ideal eyeliner.

Some debit cards offer a round-up saving feature that will bump your purchase up to the nearest dollar and stow away the difference. That means if you spend $33.40 on some new foundation, the card will automatically move .60 to your savings account. Although you’re not spending less on your beauty products per se, this feature is creating greater savings for you long-term.

3. Take Advantage of Browser Plug-Ins

If you’re among the 25% of consumers who purchase beauty products online, a browser plug-in is a great option for you. A browser plug-in is essentially an add-on to Google Chrome (or Safari, or Firefox…) that provides additional functionality. Did you know there are plug-ins specifically for shopping savings? Some credit cards even have their own browser plug-ins.

Honey and Rakuten are two great plug-ins for your beauty-shopping needs. The Rakuten extension can be used to find sales and coupon codes, and it gives you cash back on purchases. You use Honey primarily to find sales and online coupons. Honey reports that its users save an average $126 annually, while Rakuten can even be applied to in-store purchases.

  1. Join Rewards Programs

Who doesn’t like getting a free birthday gift from their favorite store? You may join a rewards program specifically for the birthday gift, but are you utilizing such programs year-round? Sephora and Bluemercury are popular for their great rewards programs. Gaining points for each purchase can both get you to the next level in rewards and provide you with special perks.

Sephora’s reward system is unique. Not only can you gain points for free products, you can use the points on experiences. For 7,500 points, you can take a one-on-one class with Selena Gomez’s stylist, Cynthia Di Meo. Unlocking new levels of rewards will allow you early access to and greater savings at the store’s sales.

  1. Do Your Research

Have you ever gotten home from shopping, excited to try on a new outfit with your favorite shoes? Only, when you put it on, you discover it didn’t fit as well as you thought it did? Similar things happen with beauty products, especially skincare, hair products, and makeup that requires a color match. Doing your research on what products work best for you will save you time, money, and disappointment.

When buying skincare products, check what type of skin the product is best for. If you’re not sure what skin type you have, consult a dermatologist or esthetician. Makeup can be hard to choose given the variety of products and colors — especially if you’re ordering online. If you can’t go to a store to get color-matched, order from a company that provides color-matching assistance. Buying hair products directly from your hairstylist is a great way to support them and buy what’s best for you.

  1. Investigate Return Policies

Did you accidentally buy the wrong shade of foundation? Is your new cleanser causing your skin to break out? Or is the Dyson Airwrap you bought not worth the $600 you just spent? Have no fear: Provided you bought them from the right retailer, a return is in your future.

Large beauty retailers have great return policies, which will prevent you from squandering money on products that aren’t right for you. Department stores like Kohl’s and Macy’s allow used product returns, as do such beauty brands as Kiehl’s and Dermstore. You will likely need your receipt and to return the item within a certain time period. If so, you should have no issues with returning or exchanging the item for the right shade. (Pro tip: Having a rewards account makes the return process even easier.)

  1. Buy the Sample Size

Are you still hanging on to the same mascara from five years ago because you don’t know what to try next? Rather than spring for a full-size product you might not like, sample a variety of mascaras to find your new favorite. Cleansers, perfumes, and hair products all come in sample or carry-on sizes. Yes, mini items save room in your toiletry bag, but they’re also great for seeing whether you like products before committing to full size.

Some retailers offer sample size kits pre-assembled for you. For example, Sephora has created a kit of mini mascaras so you can test multiple brands. A coupon inside the kit can be redeemed for a full-size version of your favorite from all the samples. There are perfume kits like this, too.

Save yourself the trouble of buying products at full price or items that you’ll never use again. By implementing the tips above, you’ll love your new face while being able to face your bank statement afterward. Happy shopping!

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