Wednesday, October 29th, 2008

How can I save money on makeup?

There are a whole bunch of ways to save money on makeup, and let me tell you some of my favorite ways.

Bargain beauty. There are bargain websites, like, which sell some name brands for up to half off.  YMMV, though, because sometimes nothing strikes my fancy and other times there’s a bunch! also has a few brands available at discount prices, too.  My favorite way is just doing some preliminary searching on the internet to try and find a deal.

Friends & Family Sales. These days most brands are getting into the friends and family spirit by holding annual (or sometimes semi-annual) sales where you can save 15-20% off on everything.  I have found many of these deals are good online only, though.

Keep a Lemming List. Don’t ask me the history of “lemmings” and why they’re called such, but if you keep a list of products you have an eye on… you can easily check it to see if an item is on sale.  Say you spot a F&F sale going on, but you’re not sure what you loved–your list will help you remember.  This also helps me keep my eye on the “prize” (prizes?), because I’ll often save up for an item I really want and skip on an item that’s just so-so but might catch me with its fancy packaging.

Know What You Have. There’s a good reason why people ask, “What’s a good dupe for _______?”  Most of us don’t want to own ten versions of Deep Truth eyeshadow (though, despite this, many of us own at least one or two).  You can easily save money by not buying duplicate products, but also going for variety rather than collecting them all.  Even when there is a slight variance, you might ask yourself, “If I used a different base or layered it with X shadow, could I dupe it that way?” An easy dupe might not be available, but you might find a good dupe by layering colors (e.g., lighten your deep green with a frosty yellow).

Gift Sets and Gift With Purchase. With the holidays right around the corner, nearly every cosmetic retailer gets into the spirit of the holidays by pushing gift sets, palettes, etc. Usually, these are a good deal.  Often you’ll get more for your money than buying things alone.  Sometimes you can try new products out by spending less (like getting a trial set).  Also, brands do GWPs throughout the year, which let you try new products or rediscover old favorites, plus a cute makeup bag or what have you.  (By the by, Clinique has an amazing one coming up!)

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18 thoughts on “Makeup & Beauty FAQ: How can I save money on makeup?

  1. kat

    i heard was one of those website you have to watch out for because they may sell fakes….

    just to keep everyone in the know.

    • I know a few months ago they had this issue, but they had made an error themselves — they weren’t deliberately selling fakes. I believe they issued a notice to those who purchased. I’ve purchased before with no problems!

  2. Jen is reputable in my books! I just wrote a blog about it. I bought a brush roll for only $12! I needed something to protect my brushes while traveling.

    Thanks for the tips, Christine!

  3. Eniana

    Excellent advices!

  4. Tanya

    I found one thing that really works well for me to cut my make-up costs. I am brand loyal…not out of any real “love” for just one brand but I find that it cuts down on any type of impulse buys. I ONLY buy MAC make-up, and have done so for the last hmmmmm two years or so. I love looking at other brands but I made a choice to only buy one brand and its made a nice savings for me in the way of cutting out all impulse make-up shopping. After a year of buying only MAC I started doing the same with nailpolish and it has also really helped with cutting back on impulse buying and in reality all the brands have similar colors…why buy different brands when you can get everything you want in one brand…and you dont have to worry about dupes.

    I would also suggest MUA or the Temptalia forum swaps for “saving” money and having fun.

    • I agree that being brand loyal helps you reduce impulse buys for sure!! These are great tips 😀 Good call on MUA/Forum for swaps! Sometimes you can get makeup at a deal, too :)

  5. DevilishDoll

    I too will only buy MAC. And I usually wait to see swatches of colors and/or looks posted using those colors. Then I keep everything in a list in Notepad, which I go through regularly to make sure there are no similar colors or ones that I really don’t need.

  6. cloudburst

    The best way is not buy any! But since we all know that won’t happen, I find the best thing that works for me is the lemming list. It really does help me fend off impulse buys.

  7. I do the lemming list too :)

  8. Julie

    I just found another site like the ones you mentioned above that carries discounted department store cosmetics called The Cosmetics Connection They have a lot of well known brands but dont offer the entire line so I check a couple times a month for whatever new stuff comes in. Like you mentioned sometimes I cant find anything and other times I find a ton of stuff at great deals. I stock up on any of my favs whenever they come in and sometimes they offer an additional discount for purchasing in quantity. I like sites like this also as it gives me the opportunity to try other brands or products that I otherwise would have been afraid to pay full price for not knowing if I would like them or not but at these places at a reduced price it gives me the chance to experiment!