17 Genius Ways to Save Money on Makeup

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This post was updated on January 24, 2022

I love trying new makeup and skincare products. The “holy grail” is out there, I just know it! So I am always on the hunt for new beauty products. And, since Brooke has joined the blog as Beauty Editor, we are both comparing notes and trying new things. It may surprise you to know that we get very little makeup and skin care free, even though we cover beauty both here and on YouTube. Sometimes it’s easier to just purchase the items ourselves so we don’t feel we have to provide a review or push sales. While we shop for beauty products a lot, we don’t pay near the prices of department stores. In fact, we’ve gotten pretty good at saving a lot of money on our purchases. Occassionally, we even come away with a gfit card, which is great for further purchases.

I want to save money on makeup–especially since Brooke and I purchase makeup for the blog every month. We definitely purchase more that the average woman-as you might imagine. It is fun to try out new cosmetics and experiment with new products–both of us are makeup lovers at heart.

Needless to say, I don’t want our experimentation with beauty items to cost a bundle, so I have found a few unlikely places to purchase makeup and a few strategies that keep our makeup budget lower. Using these strategies help us save a lot of money on makeup which is great for our bank account.

Here is how and where we save money on makeup and skincare:

1. QVC: I don’t watch much TV, nor have I watched QVC, but I did discover their website and signed up for the newsletter which alerts me to sales and new releases of beauty products. The thing I like about QVC is their value sets and full-size items sometimes they even supersize their offerings–I purchase my It Cosmetics from QVC because they often come in a larger size or are pared with makeup brushes and other items for a lower price than I could purchase the items by themselves. They also have great skincare, body lotions, and potions. This is a great place to pick up full sized items that you use often. You can save on expensive products this way.

2. Marshalls and TJMaxx: Recently, I began checking out the beauty section of Marshalls and TJMaxx. I have purchased a couple of kits, some skincare items, nail polish, and some high-end makeup all considerably marked down. It is important to check over the expiration date and ensure the package hasn’t been opened because these items are often older or discontinued. I often see packages that have been opened and tried. I try to go when they are stocking so I know what I am getting is fresh and untouched–yes, some people open the package and try the item, then put it back so make sure the package hasn’t been tampered with.. This is another place to stock up on skincare, hair care products and body care items at low prices.

3. Burlington Coat Factory, and Bealls Outlet also have beauty sections much like Marshalls and TJMaxx. I recently purchased two lip gloss kits, each with 6 colors for $5 each. They were not national brands, but I was more interested in trying out new colors, figuring that if I liked them, I’d look for them at a higher price point. While I don’t shop at these stores often, when I do, I usually peruse their cosmetics and skincare sections. I always check to make sure the packages haven’t been opened, just like at TJMaxx and Marshalls.

4. Occasionally the Dollar Store will have a few items worth the trip. I am still enjoying the Milani eye shadows I purchased there earlier in the summer. I have tried several eye shadow colors without spending a lot of money. The Dollar Store also carries a brand called LA Colors which I have used for experimentation–usually, to try colors I wouldn’t want to pay full price for. I have purchased two eye shadow palates which were nice, and a lipstick that will be great for fall and winter–it was a cinnamon color, darker than I usually wear but a nice formula. While you are at it, you might also try Walmart, and Target–both offer lower prices than drugstores–and both take coupons, but more on that later.

5. Kits and sets. I have not been a fan of kits or sets, but I’ve amended my views on this. If the kit contains 60% of brands, colors, or products I either use or want to try, and it is a decent value, I will give it a go. So far, I have been pretty happy with the sample kits I have purchased from Marshalls, QVC, and Sephora. I save items I am not interested in for gift baskets, I give them to my daughter or donate them to her school’s theater program. I also love that these kits often come with a complementary makeup bag–they also make great gifts.

6. Speaking of Sephora, don’t forget to try out the free samples. They are a great way to before buying! I have saved hundreds of dollars by trying before buying, and am so grateful for this service. I also make use of the free samples provided at check out. In addition, I participate in the Rouge program and use my points to purchase items I wouldn’t have otherwise tried. They also offer sample kits at a discount, which I often purchase– I especially like their luxury kits. for around $50 you can try some really great products.

7. Everyone knows, but we often forget to use coupons, discount codes and double them up when you shop at places like Target and Walmart. Most pharmacies will also allow double couponing also. When I get ready to check out, I will often google for discount codes, and if we are doing a big shopping spree, I will purchase a Sunday paper just for the coupon section.

8. Shop the sales, Sephora, and Ulta have great sales–and Ulta This is a really easy way to save money–even if it is a little old school. I’ve done a few posts on how I shop the Sephora Sale and what you might want to put on your wish list. I always have a wish list going on the Sephora website.

9. I keep a list of items I want to learn more about or try. If I am super interested and it’s expensive, I do a little research on YouTube and beauty blogs–Sometimes YouTubers will offer discount codes on the products they are promoting. In addition, I have my list available in case I get a gift card-which is another great way to save money–using gift cards.

10. Sign up for newsletters from your favorite brands. That’s how I get notice of sales and new releases. I save 25% on my make-up remover for each purchase simply because I shop during their website-only sale. The also throw in a bundle of freebies, so it’s a really great deal in the end.

11. Nordstrom Rack is another great place to get higher-end makeup, skincare, and fragrance at lower price points. I also check the sale tab on Nordstrom and Sak’s websites.

12. Sign up for it is a luxury outlet for clothing, accessories, beauty, and skincare items. I have purchased many high-end skin and hair care items at significant savings. One of the tricks I discovered is to check the brand directly–sometimes they are running a slightly better deal than GILT. One day I googled a few items I found on sale at GILT and discovered that the brand itself was slightly better priced. I wouldn’t have even thought of looking for a deal on the product until I saw it on GILT.

13. Download a money-saving app. There are several apps and browser extensions that you can use to get instant discounts, sale notices, and coupon codes for purchases.

14. Sign up for monthly gift box services. This is a great way to try new products. Ipsy, FabFitFun, and Curater are a great way to try new products-some fullsize.

15. Google to see if the item you are interested in comes in a travel size. While this may be more expensive per ounce, trying before you buy a full size item you might not like will save money in the long run. I do this with hair care and skin care products–those tend to come in big bottles and if you don’t like it–it can be quite a slog to get through–and a bummer to throw away.

16. Have a makeup and skincare swap party. Clean gently used makeup with an alcohol swab. Trade with friends, and have a little party at the same time.

17. Join loyalty programs. Sephora’s loyalty program is pretty great-I’ve saved hundreds of dollars on everything from eyeshadow to facemasks. I’ve even gotten a free lipstick every once in a while.

These are among the strategies that Brooke and I use to save money on cosmetics and skincare products. Let us know if you have great strategies for saving money on makeup and skincare. I’d love to hear how you save money, and if you have tried any of these ideas. Interested in more ideas for saving money?

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