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How To Save Money on Cosmetics: Saving On Cosmetic Products

Updated on February 16, 2011


There are ways to save on basically anything you buy.  That said, cosmetics are no different.  And why pay full price for anything is my constant question.

I live in an extremely small rural town.  Yet I'm still amazed at the amount of money that some of my neighbors walk in and spend on makeup.  Just the other day, someone I know walked in and laid out $185 for a few "basic" makeup items.  All I could think (and say) was "wow!"

Let's look at ways that you can save on cosmetics and still look gorgeous.  No one ever has to know that you saved money on your products either!



  • Be yourself. The most obvious way to save money on cosmetics is to use less or none at all! Consider changing your diet to prevent acne, or if you find certain foods or products make you break out more, just stay away from them. If you can't live without some cosmetics, try and take it down a notch. Instead of using both a foundation and a powder, try one or the other. Instead of both mascara and eyeliner, just go with eyeliner. Maybe eliminate eye shadow except on very special occasions. Sometimes less is more! Even on days off or times you're knocking around home, consider going without makeup. It's actually better for your skin and the money you save you can probably spend on good facial cleaning products for a healthier complexion!

  • Consider the cheaper alternative. Instead of buying makeup in department stores, match your cosmetics color for color at the grocery store or the drug store. Try it once and see if you notice a difference. There have been studies that show consumers are being ripped off at the cosmetic counter by paying at least double the cost for cosmetics that are the exact same product or close to the products sold in grocery or drug stores. The added benefit of buying some or all of your cosmetics in a drug or grocery store? They most often have sales that are buy 1 get 1 free or similar great deals and steals! Even changing out your blush from a department store cosmetic counter to the grocery store aisle will save you bucks!
  • Check online. You can buy brand new products on eBay for a fraction of the cost. You can buy them outright or you can bid on them. Either way, you'll save a bundle of dough. Just make sure they are new and unopened, that they have an expiration date that will be into the future to assure you using it up, and get free shipping if at all possible.
  • Price compare online. Do a search of every single product and find the absolutely best rock bottom price for it and then buy it. Try and time your purchase so that you'll receive it right before your current product runs out. This little trick will keep you from changing your mind and running to the department store to buy it.
  • Visit product websites. By signing up for those pesky newsletters, you can sometimes latch onto some fantastic promotional deals currently going on. Or you can email and ask to be informed of upcoming sales or events like buy 2 get 1 free. Look for coupons and rebates. Companies generally have scheduled sales events and it never hurts to ask when your product is going to be at its cheapest price.
  • Consider buying at beauty supply stores. These stores often have great buys on cosmetics and it never hurts to try a substitute. You might just find something you will use forever and switch from a very expensive brand to a more affordable one. It's all about being willing to consider the possibilities when you're trying to save money. I do not ever advocate giving up quality for savings but if you can find something comparable, it's money back in your pocket!



  • Free samples.  Most large department stores like Macy's will give free makeup demos.  When they do, you usually leave with a nice little stash of free products.  Schedule one at your earliest convenience and from time to time, schedule another one.  You'll find you get some great free products!  Even if you don't want to have a makeup application, ask if they have some free samples of products to try.  If you don't wear a lot of makeup, they could last you for a long time!
  • Outlet stores and discount stores.  Have a look in stores like Ross, TJ Maxx or other discount stores.  You never know what cosmetic items will turn up and usually for super low prices.  While you can't bet on anything being there at any given time, checking in periodically can save you bucks.  Again, just make sure that they have an expiration date that is worth the purchase and that they are products you can use.
  • Stranger things have happened.  People find expensive perfumes or unopened cosmetic kits at estate sales, garage sales or swap meets.  Just check expiration dates and if it's the right thing for you.....snatch it up!
  • Promos.  Most cosmetic companies are always offering promotional deals.  Check online and check in stores frequently to see what's available.  Don't buy products just for the sake of buying them.  If the promo is for a product you don't even use, unless you can trade it or give it to a friend or family member, it's not worth spending your money on.  Register online at the websites to get up to date news on sales and promos.
  • Trade and trade alike.  Last but not least, chat it up with your friends and find out if they have cosmetics they're not using and then go through your own.  Figure out if there are ways to save money by buying 2 for the price of one and then splitting the items up with a friend or family member.  Or simply swap long as the expiration date isn't up and you can use the makeup, consider it part of the recycling program to get the most use out of products you've bought and the products they've bought.



In short, there are many ways to reduce the high cost of cosmetic products by following any or some of these money-saving tips. 

These tips can apply to nail polish, makeup products, perfumes and more.  You can even save hundreds of dollars over the years by buying your shampoo online or at less expensive stores.  Think of it all as money in the bank.

Take up the cry "don't pay regular price for anything" and then find ways to save money.  You won't be sorry you did! 

Take that extra money you saved on your cosmetics and plop it into your savings account.  It's surprising how a few dollars here and there adds up to big bucks over time.

Do your homework and find the best places to buy cosmetics for the least price.  You'll be happy you did!

If you have money-saving tips on buying cosmetic products, please leave us more information in the comment section below.


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    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon

      Oh my god, Hanna - I may have to come stalking over there and give you a shake! You are too funny - and you are a beautiful person so no matter if you wear makeup or not!

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

      Very good tips for people using a lot of cosmetics. I don't use hardly any at all. (I am so ugly it wouldn't make any difference) lol

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon

      Chspublish - That is cool - I don't wear that much makeup either so I tend to have things that last a long, long time! Glad you can borrow though which is just as good!

      BJ - I remember all that jargon - I'm still trying to figure out what I am - in more ways than one. I just figure whatever I think looks good will just have to do. When you get beyond a 'certain' age, who the heck is looking anyway I always say!

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 6 years ago from south Florida

      I went to a cosmetics session once, Audrey, to learn if I was a Spring, Summer, Fall or Winter person regarding the proper colors for my makeup.

      Now I don't know what to do. The cosmetician told me I was "out of season."

      I already knew that. I just wanted to know what color that was.

    • chspublish profile image

      chspublish 6 years ago from Ireland

      Good tips. I also save by 'borrowing' from my daughter. I know it may be mean, but I save because I don't use much makeup and borrow from hers when I really need it. She doesn't mind, thank goodness. Cosmetics can be expensive and shopping around is definitely the way to go. She does that - bless her. Thanks for the read.

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon

      Thanks for stopping by, Nora and for the link.

      Cheapsk8chick - Great tips as well! I have perfume that I love but use it sparingly most of the time preferring to use body sprays a lot. The perfume will probably last me forever!

    • cheapsk8chick profile image

      cheapsk8chick 6 years ago

      These are great tips. Sometimes I never think about how much I am actually saving on cosmetics. I get most of my cosmetics for free (or dang-near-free) at CVS. As far as perfumes, I always ask if I can have the tester bottle when I am buying my regular scents at Macy's or Dillard's. Usually they give it to me! Bigger bang for the buck! Vote up & useful

    • profile image

      Nora 6 years ago

      Saving on cosmetics is important for a lot of people. You can get huge discounts on cosmetics by looking at daily deal and group buying sites for big savings. That is a great way to save on beauty products. is an aggregator site that offers consumers a way to save with daily deals and sales in their area being e-mailed to them daily.