Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The Ultimate Guide: How to Save Money on Makeup & How to Buy Good Makeup on a Budget

Makeup is one of my great loves. It's also one of my greatly expensive loves. The price tags didn't bother me when I was younger and had my mom funding my life (can I go back to simpler times?). But now that I'm all on my lonesome and supporting myself, paying so much money for what's essentially glorified face paint just isn't in my budget (I still love you, makeup!)

So, a girl thinks of ways to beat the system. And a girl succeeds.

For the record, I am NOT being sponsored by anyone to write this post. Anything I recommend is purely because I've tried it myself and had a great experience.

Part One: How to Save Money on Makeup

1. Swap with friends: Go through your makeup collection and ask a few friends to do the same. Pull out the things that you rarely ever use and swap them with your friends! They might just have an eyeshadow color that you've been dying to have. Of course, don't swap things that can't be sanitized, such as liquid eyeliners or mascaras.

2. Know what to splurge on: While I love designer makeup as much as the next girl, having an arsenal of it isn't economical for my broke college kid budget. So I figured out which products I prefer to have high end–mostly face products, like foundation and concealer–and which ones I'd be fine with just using drugstore products, like eyeshadow and lipstick. I still treat myself from time to time to those expensive Urban Decay and MAC products, but those are few and far in between. My everyday makeup is relatively cheap and, guess what, still gets the job done!

3. Find dupes: I know, I know, MAC eyeshadows are beautiful. Urban Decay comes out with some of the most gorgeous and pigmented shadows. Too Faced has the cutest collections! Here's the thing: so many of these higher end shadows have a low priced drugstore twin that's identical in color and pretty comparable in quality. A lot of the time with higher end makeup, you're paying for the name and the packaging. (Which is fine by me because I love Too Faced's packaging.) Plenty of Youtube beauty gurus make videos listing all the dupes they find for higher end makeup. If there's a certain color or palette you just have to have but can't afford, do some research!

4. Use what your have first: It's so easy to get sucked into the "ooh that's so pretty! I need it!" trap when makeup shopping. Trust me, I know. That's how I ended up with over 50 eyeshadow palettes that I know I'll probably never use up as long as I live. To stop myself, I've set a rule that I can only buy a new palette after I've completely finished one I already own. This works as a great deterrent because a) it's pretty hard to totally finish a palette and b) by the time I actually can buy the new palette I wanted, the urge has usually passed and I don't want it anymore. Bam, money saved. As a side bonus, with all those palettes that I own that have some stranger and more outrageous colors, it forces me to put together interesting looks that I probably wouldn't do

5. Look for multi-use products: I learned this trick from some makeup tutorials on youtube, but you can use one item of makeup for multiple purposes. For example, a shade of red or pink lipstick can also work as a cream blush. Certain matte eyeshadows can work as contours or cheek rouges. Mascara can even work as liquid eyeliner if you use an eyeliner brush and dip it into the mascara. If you really want to keep your makeup collection as minimal and cheap as possible, think of ways that certain products can be used in different ways.

6. Read/watch reviews: If you're planning on buying a high end expensive product, definitely take some time to read or watch reviews of the product. Look for swatches. Get some opinions, because that palette might not be what it's cracked up to be and you might end up wasting money on something you're never going to use. There are always reviews going up even before the release of some products, so it's a good idea to get some information before you buy.


Part Two: How to Buy Good Makeup on a Budget

1. elf cosmetics: I can't recommend elf enough. The prices are so cheap, and the makeup is actually quite good quality! I've heard some of their eyeshadows are actually dupes for MAC eyeshadows, although I personally haven't tested that theory. And elf is cruelty free! There's an elf cosmetics store here in NYC so every once in awhile I walk in there and load up. I think when elf first came out there was a stigma against the company for being cheap--not just in price but in quality and in brand association. But elf has really built itself up and I think it's just as good as any of the higher end brands, it's definitely better quality than a lot of the drugstore cosmetics that are actually more expensive! Some products I recommend: e.l.f. Cream Eyeliner, e.l.f. Contour Palette, and e.l.f. Blush Palette.




Some of H&M's store brand makeup--how cute is that?
2. Fashion Outlets: This might sound weird, and I might lose you for a second on this one, but you should definitely try makeup shopping at some popular fashion outlets like H&M and Forever 21. You're probably like, what? But go with me on this. Those stores usually carry either their own brand of makeup, like H&M, or some smaller and not well known cosmetic companies like Forever 21 does. You can get some cool stuff for dirt cheap! I know H&M always has makeup on sale, so you could raid the sale bin and come out with super cute lipsticks for $1 a pop! And while the makeup isn't always the best quality ever, it's not the worst.

3. Glambot.com: I get it–you want high end stuff! Trust me, girl (or guy, makeup is totally for everyone) I do too. This is where you go to get it. No, glambot is not sponsoring me or anything. I'm just really obsessed with it. Glambot is where you go to buy designer makeup for a discount–sometimes a pretty major discount! Basically people send in their new or very gently used makeup to Glambot, GB buys it off of them, cleans it up and makes sure it's sanitized, and then sells it for much cheaper than if you were to buy it in Sephora or from the brand directly. They don't carry every brand, but they carry quite an extensive list.

4. Make good use of rewards programs for higher end products: If you shop at Sephora with any kind of regularity, you should be part of the Beauty Insider program. It's free to sign up, and you get points with every purchase you make. You can save up points for free gifts that are usually pretty great–I've gotten mini-lipsticks, an exclusive Too Faced eyeshadow palette, some awesome hair serums. There's literally no reason not to have it. And on your birthday, you get a free gift! I think it changes from year to year, because from what I remember the last two years I've gotten a Makeup Forever sample kit, and a Nars lipstick duo. So, so worth it.

5. Shop the sales!: This sounds obvious, but stock up when sales come around! One of my favorite times of the year is the Victoria's Secret Semi-annual sale. Not just because I go crazy buying bras, but because VS also deeply discounts their makeup products. I'm talking well over 60-70% discounts. And the Victoria's Secret makeup line is pretty good–the eyeshadows aren't always the most pigmented, but they're glittery and pretty, so it's okay. Last year my mom and I walked into VS with the intention of buying practically one of everything, and that's pretty much what we did. We got dozens of makeup products for under $80. I'm serious. It's also a good idea to stock up around the holiday time, when stores like Sephora who don't normally offer sales are giving holiday packages and deals.


There it is! My guide to saving money on makeup, and knowing where to buy it so you don't break the bank. Let me know in the comments if you're going to try any of these tricks, or if you have any more ideas for how to be a makeup lover on a budget!

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