Jackie Curtis is a stay-at-home mom who writes about health and fitness, money management, and beauty.
If you’re like me, you probably have an entire bathroom drawer dedicated to makeup you’ll never use again. And frankly, it doesn’t make sense to keep spending big bucks on makeup you might end up hating. While I love to experiment with different shades and products, I know better than to spend top dollar on cosmetics. And by finding ways to save on makeup, I free up cash to splurge on products I know and love. Here are just a few of my favorite ways to save on cosmetics.
1. Look for Combined Products
You can save money and simplify your daily beauty routine by looking for products that are designed to perform multiple functions. What’s more, buying one product instead of four can save major cash. For example, consider the whole moisturizer, foundation, and sunscreen part of your routine – together these products cost about $30. Instead of buying each product separately, invest in a $12 tube of BB cream - a product that combines all three. You’ll save money and time with this do-it-all approach.
2. Swap High-End for Better Budget
There’s a time and place for high-end beauty brands. If you’re in love with a particular high-end product, it might be worth the splurge to keep it in your cosmetics bag. For everything else, it’s time to start bargain-hunting.
Some budget brands offer amazing, professional-level products without the hefty price. HD concealer, for instance, can be seriously pricey – the Smashbox version is $22. Luckily, the budget brand E.L.F. offers a similar formula for just $3, and it works just as well.
When you’re not sure whether to buy a high-end or budget brand, search the Internet for several similar products and read the user reviews. You might be able to score a great product at an equally great price.
3. Make it Last
There’s nothing quite like the sadness I feel when I start scraping the bottom of my mascara tube, or start to see the telltale shot of metal peeking through a well-used eye shadow palette. The real trick to saving money on cosmetics is to stretch the use of your favorite products and really make them last.
Add a few drops of saline solution (I use contact solution) to an almost-empty mascara tube to moisten the dried product and make it last a few more weeks. If you’re running low on your favorite perfume, uncap the bottle and empty it into a small bottle of unscented lotion to create your own custom-scented lotion.
The tools you use to apply your makeup can also help stretch your product’s life. If you use cosmetic sponges for foundation, trade them in for a stipple brush. A stipple brush creates a smoother, air-brushed finish, plus, it doesn’t absorb product like a sponge, diminishing product-loss over time.
4. Choose Double Duty Colors
If you want to wear pink lip gloss, blush, and eyeshadow, why buy three separate products? Look for double-duty colors that suit your skin tone, then wear all-over face powders or cream-based cosmetics that you can apply to all of your features. Pinks are universally flattering – if you have olive skin, opt for peachy pinks, if you have fair-skin, look for rosier tones, and if you have dark skin, choose a berry pink that brings out your cheeks, lips, and eyes.
5. Fix Broken Products
There’s nothing worse than opening up your bag to find broken powders or smashed lipsticks. While they might be messy, don’t throw them away. With a little effort they can be salvaged for future use.
For broken eyeshadow or powder, tap the broken crumbs back into the original palette. If it gets messy, lay a piece of plastic over the powder and use a plastic knife to tame it back into place. Then, add a few drops of rubbing alcohol to the powder – two or three drops is plenty. Finally, use a coin to press the powder down. Just like that, you’re back in business.
If it’s your pricey lipstick that’s been smushed, clean out an old lip gloss pot and scrape the smashed lipstick into it. From now on, simply use a lip brush to apply the color to your lips. In just a few minutes, you have usable color without ever opening your wallet.
6. Use One Coat
Many cosmetic companies urge you to use more product than you actually need. There’s no good reason to apply two coats of mascara or to wash, rinse, and repeat when in the shower. These are total urban legends. If you’re looking to save money, stop applying two coats and invest in a primer instead. By using a primer – a product that keeps your makeup looking fresh – you won’t need to pile on other cosmetics. I’ve even found that eyeshadow pigment pops more on properly-primed skin, making it possible to use less color.
Makeup is supposed to be fun, but if you’re constantly purchasing new product, it could end up blowing your budget. By making simple beauty swaps and getting the most out of what you have, you can get your money’s worth while feeling better about your overflowing beauty drawer.