27 Tips On How To Spend Less Money On Makeup

Essential Hacks For Saving Money On Cosmetics & Makeup

Are you makeup obsessed but can’t spend a lot on cosmetics? You’re not alone. Makeup is easy to spend a lot of money on.

There’s not just one lipstick color. There are hundreds. Even more when you consider matte vs liquid lipstick vs gloss. Extrapolate that over each an every beauty item and it’s easy to see why you have so much makeup.

If you’re short on cash, beauty items are often the first things that get cut but they don’t have to be. The following are my best tips and tricks for saving money on makeup.

Continue reading if you want to learn how to spend less money on makeup but still look fabulous.

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1. Fix Broken Makeup Instead Of Tossing It

Instead of tossing your cracked and caking pressed powders and eyeshadow, spritz a little bit of rubbing alcohol to the top and use a brush to smooth it out. Once the alcohol evaporates, you’ll have your makeup crack-free and ready to use again.

If the makeup is really cracked, you can scrape it into a small jar to use with a makeup brush instead.

2. Find Budget-Friendly Cosmetic Brands

If you need to save money, the easiest option is to find a less expensive makeup brand. You may not even realize how many great affordable makeup brands there are out now.

If you’re looking for a cruelty-free makeup brand that adheres to strict European standards, this is my favorite. I love finding high-quality makeup at drugstore prices.

Related: Learn more about this budget makeup brand that’s brand new to the USA!

tan makeup flat lay with powdered and liquid foundation, eyeshadow, and bronzing beads with eyeshadow brush

3. Keep Track of Makeup Expiration Dates

Yes, makeup expires! Some quicker than others. If you have tons of opened makeup that is getting older, you may be about to throw away hundreds of dollars.

Check to see when your makeup expires and make it a point to use those items first. If you have a lot that needs to be used up quickly, going on a makeup spending freeze saves even more money.

4. Use Employee Discounts

For those who are makeup-obsessed, picking up a part-time job at your favorite store is a great way to take advantage of the employee discount. Some stores even allow friends to use their employee discount for up to a certain amount yearly.

Don’t have time for a second job? My favorite way to save money on makeup is by becoming a Beauty Influencer. By doing this, I’m able to save 50% on this already budget-friendly makeup brand with no pressure to sell.

5. Ask For Product Samples

Many department store makeup counters will allow you to choose a few samples to try later on. Also, if you’ve made a purchase, ask if they have samples of other products you’re interested in.

At certain stores, a makeup purchase online includes the option to choose samples. If samples aren’t offered unprompted, it never hurts to ask as long as you’re not only there for free samples.

6. Always Buy Makeup On Sale

Find out when your favorite makeup brand has a large annual or semi-annual sale. Several large makeup companies have twice a year sales that their loyal customers look forward to.

These sales are often during the holiday season but I’ve seen them during spring and summer as well. Once you know about upcoming sales, hold off on replenishing your supply until you can get it at a good price.

7. Use Quality Makeup Brushes

You can have the most expensive foundation but if you’re using low-quality brushes, it can still look streaky. A good quality makeup applicator and brushes can give even coverage and a nice finish for inexpensive makeup.

If you do use quality makeup tools, they can be expensive so it’s essential to know how to properly take care of and clean them. While you may initially spend more on these, they’ll outlast numerous purchases of low-quality brushes over time.

close up of high quality makeup brushes on white background flat lay

8. Get Cash Back Shopping Rebates

There are many cash-back shopping apps out there. Two of my favorites are Rakuten (formerly Ebates) and Ibotta. These apps allow you to earn a percentage of cash back on your normal purchases.

Each store you want to shop at will show the percentage cash back you’ll earn and whether you need to shop online or in-store to receive it. Some of the companies I currently see listed include Sephora, Ulta Beauty, and Clinique.

I suggest signing up for both and checking which has a higher cashback rate at the time of shopping. Rakuten is available to use as a website, app, and Chrome browser extension. Ibotta can only be used as an app.

✅ If you sign up for either one through these links you’ll get a $10 cash back bonus.

9. Avoid Impulse Buys

It’s so easy to impulse buy, especially when the price is $10 or less. BUT $10 here and there quickly adds up so it’s good to be aware if you have a tendency to do this.

Sometimes impulse purchasing becomes more of an issue and is compulsive. One quick fix is to implement a 24-hour rule for items you didn’t specifically go to the store for.

Related: Learn why you impulse buy and how to stop it.

10. Check Out The Store Brand Versions

You can often find store brand versions that perform equally to the more expensive name brands. This is similar to how grocery store brands cost a lot less but are basically the same as the fancy brands.

Stores like Sephora and Ulta Beauty sell high-end makeup but also sell their own brand of products. Since these stores are so popular, you can often find reviews of the store brand version online to see for yourself.

You may be surprised to find out you can get essentially the same item for half the price just because it isn’t the name brand. The higher price is paying for that brand’s marketing and exclusivity.

11. Stop Watching “Haul” Videos

Did you know that many of the beauty haul videos on YouTube are made up of products brands sent the YouTuber for free? The brand may have even paid them to include their makeup in their video. Yes, even for the 16-year-old beauty gurus!

While makeup hauls are fun to watch, the efficacy or benefits of the products are often overhyped. It ends up making you feel like you’re missing out on amazing products which can cause you to go on a cosmetics shopping spree of your own.

eyeshadow, nail polish, compact, makeup brushes, and sunglasses flat lay pouring out of purse

12. Use Coupons

Many drugstore brands offer coupons in the weekly flyer. Ask friends and family who live nearby save coupons for you if they won’t be using them.

One of my favorite ways is to get coupons through the mail using these 4 easy methods. By doing this, I get coupons from companies I normally don’t find coupons for otherwise.

13. Mix Colors Instead Of Buying A New Item

If there’s a trending new color or shade you want to try, attempt to recreate the look with your current makeup. Can you mix two shades of eyeshadow you already own instead of buying a new pot of color?

The same goes for blush and bronzer. Multiple colors can be mixed to create an entirely different look.

14. Find Your Signature Look

A signature look sounds a lot fancier than it really is. Usually, you have a go-to eye makeup routine or daily makeup that you know how to do well.

By narrowing down your number of looks, you can cut down on the amount of makeup you need. You may have 10 tubes of lipstick and 20 eyeshadows, but it’s unlikely that you consistently use all of them.

I suggest perfecting a daily look, classic evening look, and bold party look.

15. Buy During Bonus Time

A lot of makeup companies have loyal customers who know to stock up during special bonus times. Clinique and Estée Lauder are two companies that come to mind.

The bonus deals become available if you purchase over a certain amount of product in one transaction. This is a great opportunity to ask for samples as well since sales associates are more inclined to keep their customers happy and coming back for more.

16. Finish What You Have

Make it your mantra to not buy any more makeup until you finish what you have. It’s incredibly easy to accumulate more and more makeup until it’s unlikely you’ll ever be able to get through it all.

If this sounds familiar, opt to instead not buy any more cosmetics until you finish what you have. As mentioned above, makeup does have an expiration date so you don’t want to risk having to toss everything in the trash.

makeup brushes and makeup compacts on white background with foliage flat lay

17. Sign Up For Free Samples

Some companies let you sign up for samples directly from them. It’s best to directly email your favorite makeup brand to find out if they will send you samples.

There are also product sample boxes you can try out. PinchMe and Influenster are two of the better-known sample companies.

You sign up for free samples with the agreement that you’ll write an honest review and provide feedback.

18. Unsubscribe From Newsletters

While signing up for newsletters is good for knowing about sales and coupons, it can sometimes get overwhelming.

If you’re finding that the constant barrage of sales emails is making you want to overspend on cosmetics, it’s probably best to unsubscribe.

Another option is to set up an email filter for those emails so they go to a separate folder. You don’t have to see those emails on a daily basis this way.

When you run out of an item and want to pick up more, hop over to the folder to check for coupons and deals before repurchasing.

19. Buy Makeup That Works Double Duty

There are products you can buy that can do more than one function. Just make sure that the makeup product is safe for use in another area of your face, especially eyes and mouth.

For example, lipstick can be used as a cream blush. Eyeshadow can be added to clear nail polish to create a custom shade. It can also be applied as eyeliner with a liner brush.

20. Use A Setting Product

Every time you reapply or touch up your makeup, you’re using more. To combat this, a setting product may be all you need.

This can be a topcoat for nails, spray or powder for face, or liner and gloss for lipstick. Setting products typically are less expensive than products with color and pigments.

21. Keep A Makeup Wishlist

A makeup wishlist should have a handful of items that you’ve been eyeing for a long time. This includes high-end luxury products and classics that seem out of your price range.

Instead of buying another shade of lipstick you don’t need, put that money towards saving for something on your wishlist. By doing this, you’ll stop to think more critically about your purchases and will find that doing without becomes easier and easier.

The motivator is that by the end, you’ll eventually have enough saved to splurge on your makeup wishlist. Yay, positive reinforcement!

pink makeup with makeup brush on lavender silk with cream pearl necklace

22. Sign Up For Rewards Programs

Ask your favorite store if they have a rewards program. Many do. If you shop consistently, you’ll build up points that can be used for products and discounts.

It’s not only Sephora and Ulta Beauty who do this. Your local CVS or Walgreens have discount cards that can save you a lot of money.

Another perk many don’t know about is bringing in your empty makeup containers, or empties, back to the store for recycling. Usually, the “empty” can be from ANY brand and they’ll give you a discount off your purchase.

MAC Cosmetics and The Body Shop are two such companies that participate in this.

23. Ask For Makeup Gift Cards Or Gifts

Ask friends and family to get you gift cards to your favorite store or items off your makeup wishlist. It’s an easy birthday and Christmas gift for them to grab for you and takes the pressure off.

Plus, you get something you’ll like and maybe wouldn’t have bought for yourself.

24. Start With A Good Skincare Routine

Think about it… Your skin is the canvas for your makeup. If your skin is dry, patchy, or oily, you’re going to use a lot more makeup to get the look you want.

A good skincare routine includes removing makeup at the end of the day. If you leave it on your face overnight, your pores will be clogged and will not be at it’s optimum for the next day’s application.

Skincare doesn’t have to be expensive. Understanding what your skin wants and needs to look at its best can be done with inexpensive drugstore brand products.

25. Look For Makeup Dupes

Dupes stands for duplicates in the makeup world. Many of the high-end favorites have products sold by less expensive brands that are the same in every way except for the packaging.

If you have a favorite product you can’t live without, check first to see if there’s a budget-friendly makeup dupe you can test out as an alternative.

26. Use Every Last Bit

Often, the applicators and pumps that dispense makeup leave a lot behind. Before recycling the containers, get every last drop out of the bottle.

My favorite way to do this is by using this inexpensive beauty spatula. You’ll seriously get everything out of your foundation or face cream bottle. It’s silicone so can be washed and reused.

27. Watch Reviews Before You Buy

While you’ll want to stay away from makeup haul videos, watching authentic and honest reviews about a makeup item is smart to do before purchase.

Just make sure that it isn’t a sponsored post or video that could have some bias. Double-check for any disclaimers about sponsorship or ads before taking their word about an item.

Conclusion

Saving money on makeup doesn’t need to be restrictive. There are many easy and realistic options to do so that won’t feel limiting. By combining a few of these tips, you’ll be able to spend less money on makeup.

Let me know your best money-saving makeup tips in the comments below. Have you tried any of the hacks I listed above?

Steffa Mantilla round headshot
Steffa Mantilla

Budgeting & Debt Payoff Expert

Steffa is the founder behind Money Tamer. After paying off over $80,000 in debt through budgeting, she now teaches families how to get their own finances in order. Steffa’s background in operant conditioning and behavioral husbandry has given her an understanding of motivation and motivators. She uses this training to help people understand the reasons “why” behind their money behaviors and how to successfully change them. You can learn more about her here.

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