Never Pay Full Price For Makeup Again

by Alexandra Kozinski

As a self-proclaimed makeup addict, I am the first to encourage/support/enable the purchasing of beauty products at any point in time. Here is the type of friendly “advice” I tend to give my friends while we’re browsing the aisles of Sephora together:

"Why yes, you absolutely need a 7th pink lipstick in your collection!"

"A bronzer with shimmer is COMPLETELY AND UTTERLY DIFFERENT than a matte bronzer."

"Limited edition?! Buy four."

I'm totally that little devil on your shoulder, but I’ve noticed how many people hesitate before taking the plunge and purchasing a new product. I get it — makeup is freaking expensive.

Have no fear, because here's where I swoop in and save the day! If you're not one to splurge on beauty products, but still need/want to update your makeup bag (and you absolutely need to — makeup expires, remember!), there is a way to go about it economically.

I've learned a few tips and tricks on ways to save in my years of beauty blogging and makeup hoarding, and the time has come to pass my wisdom along to you. Here’s how I’ve managed to acquire an expansive makeup collection without going broke:

1. Join a membership program

Image via WWD

Sephora’s Beauty Insider program allows you to accumulate points with each purchase you make in-store or online. There are three "levels":

  • Beauty Insider. If you shop at Sephora at all, definitely sign up for this program. It's free and gives you points for every dollar you spend. You get a free gift on your birthday, free in-store beauty lessons, and access to other rewards and discounts throughout the year.
  • VIB (Very Important Beauty Insider) Welcome to the big leagues. In order to qualify for this level, you need to spend $350 or more in a calendar year. Believe me when I tell you, this isn't hard to do. You get all the benefits of the Beauty Insider level, plus advanced access to sales (meaning you can snatch up those limited edition products first!), special gifts, and more.
  • VIB Rouge You've spent $1k or more in a calendar year. You are basically a makeup artist, a beauty editor, or a psycho. Congrats! You now get all the perks of the previous two levels, plus free shipping on any online order. Not gonna lie, it's pretty sweet. Not that I would know.

Ulta has a similar program, and even CVS has something called the "Beauty Club" if you tend to shop for products in the drugstore more often. Do your research on the stores you frequent, and sign up for whatever bonus programs they have.

2. Blog sales

Tons of beauty bloggers will host “blog sales”, whether it’s on their actual blog or via Instagram. Here they will sell products they haven’t used. Beauty bloggers are almost always trying to get rid of things to make room for new products, so they discount the products pretty heavily. Something to note, though: I have seen people selling USED beauty products in blog sales (EW. EW.) so just make sure they specifically state the product is still new in the box or unused/untouched.

Try searching "beauty blog sale" in Google, or check out Bloglovin to subscribe to beauty blogs. You'll never miss a post so you'll always know when to pounce!

3. Ask for samples

If you’re in the market for new makeup but feel unsure of what you want to spend your hard-earned cash on, hit up a few beauty counters and ask for samples of products that interest you. Sales associates are usually very generous with sample requests. They would much rather you try a product and decide you love it and come back and buy the full size rather than walk past the counter without checking out what their brand has to offer. A foundation sample will usually last me 5 days!

4. YouTube discount codes

This is a little insider secret: A TON of YouTube beauty gurus have partnerships with brands and have personal discount codes for their viewers to take advantage of. Next time you watch a beauty or hair tutorial, check out the description box below the video. They are usually chock-full of info about the products used/shown in the video, and very often mention discount codes for you to use.

5. Flash Sale Sites

Image via Gilt email

Sites like Gilt and HauteLook post daily discounts and deals on beauty products and services in your area. Gilt has been posting a lot of free vouchers, which basically entails being emailed a coupon to use either in-store or at checkout online. I scored $30 off $80 on recently, and was able to pick up two products I had previously hesitated to purchase at full price.

Now get out there and start hunting! Those deals are lurking around every corner, you just have to know where to look. Your wallet (and your makeup bag) will thank you!

Images: WWD; Alexandra Kozinski; Gilt E-mail

Did you know that you can find Sephora coupons at the Bustle Coupons page? Bustle Coupons is a service provided by Groupon in collaboration with BDG Media, Inc. Each time you use a coupon or promo code from Bustle Coupons to make a purchase, Groupon and BDG Media, Inc. earn a small commission. This article was created independently from Bustle's sales department.