All of us beauty junkies feel a shopper's remorse all too often after another spree on skincare or make-up which we didn't exactly need (raise your hand if you don't!). I feel that especially around Christmas, with all the necessary spending on travel, food and gifts and then also those hard to resist Holiday offers (hello Black Friday), one's budget may prove to be a little too tight. Or maybe you'd simply like to regain control over your spending on beauty products or just shop more wisely and consciously. With all this in mind, I've attempted to compose my list of beauty shopping tips to try and save you (and myself!) some cash. I know this long list looks a bit daunting, but just take from it whatever suits YOU best.
'People above the line of base subsistence, in this age and all earlier ages, do not use the surplus, which society has given them, primarily for useful purposes. They do not seek to expand their own lives, to live more wisely, intelligently, understandingly, but to impress other people with the fact that they have a surplus... spending money, time and effort quite uselessly in the pleasurable business of inflating the ego.'
(by Stuart Chase, taken from 'Your Money or Your Life' by Vicki Robin & Joe Dominguez, which I recommend, by the way)
It certainly rings true with me! Ok, let me get off my high horse and finally get right to it:
- First and foremost, try to think about your 'needs'. Of course, in case of beauty products which are frugal most of the time, it's mostly about what you want rather than need. Anyhow, prioritize your wants and write down your wishlist.
- When composing your wishlist, think about what you already own. Maybe you don't need another black eyeliner before the one you already own starts running out? How many face creams can one person be using at once? Compare the shades of cosmetics you want to get with the ones you have already by using online swatches or bringing your make-up to the store to compare - it will prevent you from owning two (or more) very similar products.
- This also brings us to researching before you buy. Check the online reviews for ratings, look at the swatches, read the ingredients' lists carefully if you're allergic to a certain ingredient.
- Check how much product you get for the price and how much product you need to use for it to be effective, especially in the case of everyday products such as shower gels or moisturizers. The cheapest is not always the most cost-effective!
- Check the 'dupe' lists (the most extensive one I've found can be browsed at Temptalia) for highly hyped up products you'd like to get. Maybe you don't 'have to have' the exact product but still enjoy a very similar shade and finish for less than half a price from a less expensive brand?
- Inversely, when shopping for 'essentials', it may often be more cost-effective to buy more expensive, high quality products. Good quality brushes, tweezers or hair tools will last you ages saving you money in the long run.
- Similarly, multi-purpose products (3-in-1 face cleansers/exfoliators/masks, lips & cheeks stains etc.) also give you more bang for your buck.
- Think about how long you can go on using a certain product before replacing it with a new one. Maybe you could use that tube of mascara a month longer before opening a new one? Maybe you could still use your powder until it's completely gone even though the pan's already showing? Try to really use up what you have before buying the new product. If you can't help yourself and already have 5 foundation back-ups sitting in your drawer, join an X Pan Project!
- Now, think if maybe some of the items from your wishlist could be given to you by the loving ones as birthday/anniversary/Christmas presents. For the rest, think how much you can/want to spend on beauty products in a given period, for example a month. Then you can decide what products from your wishlist you want to spend the allocated sum on.
- Stick to your wishlist! Do not buy something you don't need just because 'it's an amazing deal'! My husband often says: 'I don't care it's 20% off, if I don't buy it, it's 100% off.'
- Look for sets of products, especially around Christmas time. They are often a great value for money and allow you to try lots of different products for a lower unit price. Do not however get a whole set for just one product; if you know you're not going to use the rest of the set, why pay the higher price?
- For drugstore products, follow the weekly ads and opt to buy when a product goes on sale, be it your favorite shampoo or a lipstick. I very rarely buy drugstore make-up full price, I always wait for a good deal and get it 40-50% off!
- Shop around. Don't just get the product at the first place/website you see it. Comparing prices using tools such as Google Shopping can save you a good couple of bucks. Also, check if the product is available on eBay (but wouldn't recommend that option for high-end products) or Amazon; oftentimes you'll find the latter has better prices or shipping costs than the manufacturer.
- If you plan on buying a product online, join the company's mailing list first: some etailers offer introduction deals such as 10% off or free shipping, and you'll get the inside scoop - latest promotions, GWPs (Gifts With Purchase), new items on clearance or coupons.
- Similarly, follow a given company on Twitter or Facebook to get access to their latest sales (and giveaways!), some of which are only valid for a day
- When you need/want to purchase something online right away, search for coupons online; many websites specialize in listing active coupons for different etailers. These coupons might not always work (joining a mailing list is definitely a safer bet), but they're definitely worth trying.
- Plan ahead and save on 'necessities': if you repurchase a certain product regularly, make sure to buy it at the lowest price possible during the sales rather than when it runs out and you just have to get it. A good example would be stocking up on your favorite perfume during Sephora's Friends & Family sale or buying 2 packs of cotton rounds when they go BOGO at your local drugstore.
- Join a private sales website (e.g. HauteLook). While the incredible deals can sometimes prove too tempting and result in harming your wallet, if used sensibly, they may save you a lot of money on high-end brands.
- If you have unloved and unused products cluttering your drawers, try to swap them for something you might enjoy using beauty community websites such as Makeup Alley. If you have a blog, you could also organize a blog sale for your readers. If all else fails, pass the product to a friend or family member; it still much better than allowing something to go to waste!
- Take good care of your possessions so that they last you longer. Wash your make-up brushes regularly, twist the jars of cream products tightly, try not to expose your nail polishes to high temperatures and so on.
- Try to fix broken items before you throw them away: press broken eyeshadows, add some thinner to old gloopy nail varnishes, mend the plugged pumps or pour the product into a different container.
- Similarly, try to give a new life to products you no longer use: try applying a bit of old facial moisturizer to the ends of your hair or rehouse your various single eyeshadows in one free form palette. Shop your stash!
- Remember, all those saved dollars and cents (or pounds and pennies, or złote and grosze) do add up! If you don't believe me, write down how much you saved off the original price everytime you buy something for less and add these up at the end of the month. Impressive, huh? Maybe now you could spoil yourself with a lovely beauty-related reward... ;)
If you have some other tips, please share them in the comments below! Hope this was helpful to some of you! x