Smart Spending Strategies for Makeup + Hair Care Products

tips for saving on hair and makeup products
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As an aspiring minimalist, my make up drawer is a total #fail, but truth be told, I don’t care.  When it comes to fitness and beauty products, I’m a-okay on thoughtfully spending money on looking and feeling my best, because that has a positive impact on my life in a lot of ways.

I’ll get into fitness-related savings in another post, but today, I want to share some ideas on saving on your cosmetics.  These are my general guidelines around buying beauty products.  If you have other ideas to add to this, I’d love to hear about it!

Tips for saving a bundle on hair and beauty products (my personal weakness). Click To Tweet

Drugstore brands provide better value than high-end brands.

Personally, I think makeup looks best when it’s appropriately matched to your skin tone and applied well, regardless of how expensive it is.  As someone who has been a long-standing fan of Mac lipsticks (which are $23 a tube), I can appreciate higher quality at a higher price, but keep in mind this simple fact….

A $23 lipstick has to look and perform 100% better than an $11.50 lipstick to justify the 100% increase in price.  
Now, while I like Mac lipstick, I don’t think it performs 120% better than my Revlon color stay that was only $7.99.    That said, you might think a certain foundation, lip plumper or eyeshadow is 150% better than every other brand on the market and if that’s the case, stick with it!  This is about understanding the value of what you’re investing in and appreciating how it benefits you. It’s not about getting the cheapest brand available.
Money saving makeup tips

Overall, you’re going to get a better bang for your buck in a drugstore and as cosmetics only continue to improve,  I’m inclined to always start there before going to pricier brands.

Bonus Tip: Got a high-end brand you love but it’s super pricey?  Check out this “dupe” list to see if you can get a less expensive alternative!

Cosmetic Subscription Boxes Aren’t Worth the Investment.  

Personally, I have only tried the FitFabFun box and Ipsy, but I can unequivocally say that unless you have a very high level of control over the products you get shipped, it’s probably not worth the money.  For even though you get a high volume of product in many cases, generally 50% or less of it will be items you will actually wear.  I have a drawer full of cosmetic samples that I probably won’t wear because the color is meant for someone with a very different skin tone than me.  In the case of FitFabFun, I continued to get things like weird scarves and beach blankets that I would never use and would end up in a donation pile.  $49 is a great price for a box full of beauty and lifestyle products, but only if it’s stuff you can actually put to use.  If it’s not, it’s just more clutter.

I recommend staying away from these subscriptions.  They just add to the clutter in your bathroom and the products are very hit or miss.  You would be better off taking the funds you would invest in the annual subscription and applying it to products that are perfect for you.

If you find something you love buy it in bulk.

One thing I don’t skimp on when it comes to beauty products is my shampoo.  I have some hair extensions in my hair (more on that in a moment) and I have to be really careful about using sulfate-free products or they won’t last.   Personally, I swear by Living Proof because it keeps your hair cleaner, longer so I can go 4 to 5 days without washing (with the help of a little dry shampoo as well).  Living Proof isn’t cheap, but because I only wash my hair 2 to 3 times a week, it’s still a good value, particularly when I buy it in bulk from Amazon.

Buy Hair Extensions on eBay.

I wear a few extensions in my hair for fullness as my hair is super fine.  If you’ve ever explored extensions, you know how crazy expensive they are!!  $130 a bundle (which is just a few strands) is not unusual and I find that they only last 3 to 6 months before they start looking pretty gnarly.  But then I discovered that you can buy them on eBay for less than half the price, AND free shipping!  I was a little apprehensive about the quality, but I bought two bundles for $60 and they look and feel amazing.  I’ll never pay full price for extensions again.

Bonus Tip: eBay is also a great place to find cosmetic brushes, eyeshadow palettes, and other makeup products that don’t expire.

Get your Retin-A online, from Mexico. 

If you want to save on Retin-A, I have heard from a number of people, that you can buy it in Mexico at a fraction of the cost.  I’m not going to link to anything here because I haven’t done it myself, so I don’t want to suggest anything I’m not personally familiar with, but I plan to and will report back when I do.  Meanwhile, the folks I know who have done this are trustworthy, so I have no qualms about giving it a try.  PS, you don’t need a prescription for it down there.

Got any strategies for saving on health and beauty products?  Please share them below!


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