Money-Saving Tips for Makeup Addicts

Money-Saving Tips for Makeup Addicts
Written by Irina Vasilescu

There is probably no teenage girl or woman who does not have even just one makeup item on her bedroom drawer. If you want to add some color to your lip or some flush to your cheeks, a lipstick, lip gloss or a blusher will do the trick.

Unlike a few decades back when makeup was only used by Hollywood celebrities and models, almost everyone can wear makeup these days. Those who know how to use makeup to highlight their features probably have an entire drawer in their cabinets dedicated to makeup storage.

Now, if you are a self-professed makeup addict, you would know that a complete set of eyeshadow palettes in a rainbow of colors, especially those from a well-known makeup brand, does not come cheap.

If you need a bunch of other stuff like blusher, concealer, liquid foundation, mascara, eyeliner, eyeshadow, lip liner, etc. – you would be burning a hole in your pocket.

This is even more so if you use up all your makeup in a matter of months and you have to replace them again. Despite your love for makeup, there is no reason for you to spend any more than you have to on buying such items.

The good news is that there are plenty of ways for you to save money when buying makeup, which we will learn more about here.

#1 Know Where to Splurge, Know Where to Save

What’s the number one tip that you need to remember when buying makeup? It’s for you to learn where to save and where to splurge.

Here are specific examples of makeup items which will give you the best value for your money if you invest in more expensive brands, and which ones are perfectly fine to buy using cheap drugstore brands:

Cleansers/Moisturizers – Save

No matter which skincare, hair care or makeup item you are buying, you always have two options. Are you going to buy the more expensive, popular brands? Or would you rather go with the cheaper, relatively unknown drugstore brands to get what you need and extend your dollar?

Let’s say that you are looking for skincare routine items that include a cleanser and a moisturizer. Instead of wasting money on designer brands, simply choose a drugstore brand.

Both pretty much have the same ingredients and the more expensive one does not work any better than the cheaper brand.

According to dermatologists, studies do not show that pricey face creams, cleansers or moisturizers work better than the mid-level brands. A moisturizer is a moisturizer and a cleanser is a cleanser.

No matter which brand you end up buying, they have the same set of ingredients. The only difference is that one company spends millions of dollars on advertising while the drugstore brands do not, so that’s where your money goes.

Money-Saving Tips for Makeup Addicts

Foundation/Concealer – Splurge

The chances of you finding the perfect shade for your skin when buying a foundation or concealer from a drugstore are pretty slim. Even if you like the color pictured on the box, it would still have a different hue once you open it and the makeup gets in contact with your skin. This means that when buying a foundation or concealer, you will get your money’s worth by buying the branded items.

Go to department stores where there are makeup experts who can analyse your skin. One look at the tone of your skin and the makeup expert can determine if you need a tinted moisturizer, as well as a light or dark concealer. Go to stores which offer makeup from different brands so that you have a wider array of choices.

Instead of wasting your money on drugstore brands which you will not end up using anyway because you bought the wrong shade, it is better to splurge on one that is on-point when it comes to blending with your natural skin tone.

Hairbrushes – Splurge; Makeup Brushes – Save

If you will scrimp on hairbrushes, you might stumble upon ones which have rough, sharp plastic bristles. This can pull, break or damage hair – especially if you are combing after a shower. With a high-quality boar bristle brush, you can take better care of your locks.

The brush will also last you for practically a lifetime. The good news is that boar bristle brushes have become a lot cheaper these days, and you might stumble upon ones on sale at the supermarket or drugstore. However, they do cost more than traditional plastic brushes.

What about for makeup brushes? It all depends on how often you wield those brushes to apply makeup. If you practically wear makeup everyday for work, you may want to invest in mid-range or high-end professional brushes – simply because they will last you longer.

On the other hand, if you only use makeup a few times per week or only during special occasions, the cheap makeup brushes from drugstores will do just as well.

Eyeshadow – Splurge; Eyeliner – Save

Majority of eyeliners are made of wax, so the pricier designer brands are not worth your money at all. If you don’t like the traditional wax eyeliner, look for a kohl pencil or a drugstore brand liquid eyeliner.

For eyeshadows, they are worth the splurge especially if you want your makeup to last for a very long time. Applying those cheap drugstore brands on your lids will not be worth your money because the color would have faded by the time that you do your touch-ups during lunchtime.

Department store or designer brands have richer colors that last longer. If you want to make the color last even longer, invest in a small tube of eyeshadow primer which you can apply before the color.

Lipstick/Lip Gloss – Save

If you like wearing lip gloss, choose the basic ones which are not that expensive because they do not last for a long time, anyway. For lipsticks, it is a cross between designer and drugstore brands. As long as you choose a color that flatters you and has a long-lasting formula, you should get the best value for your money.

Money-Saving Tips for Makeup Addicts

Mascara/Eyelash Curler – Save

Popular beauty brands like Maybelline, L’Oreal and Max Factor all have excellent drugstore mascaras so you can easily save up on them. An eyelash curler is something that you can also save on. The shape and size of this eyelash curling tool is pretty standard, so why spend a few dollars more when the cheaper ones work just as well?

Tweezers/Flat Irons – Splurge

The cheap tweezers at grocery stores and drugstores do not really do a good job of pulling out those stray hairs in your eyebrows while plucking. Choose the more expensive brands that have better pulling power.

If you like having sleek, straight hair, invest in a good quality ceramic flat iron. Not only do they last longer, but they also do not damage the individual hair strands as much as regular flat irons do.

Powders/Blush/Bronzers – Splurge

Lastly, you can go ahead and splurge on powders, blush and bronzers. The designer powders will not make your makeup look caked even if you frequently touch up. Also, designer brands have numerous shades and plenty of other features included in the formula, such as for skin care or sun protection.

#2 Make the Most of What You Already Have

Money-Saving Tips for Makeup Addicts

Now that you already have an idea about which makeup items to splurge and save on, what other makeup buying money-saving tips should you keep in mind? Take a look:

Choose products which do double, or even triple-duty

BB, CC and all those double-letter creams which are very famous these days do double duty. They are a suitable makeup base while also having excellent skin care features in the formulation.

For eyeshadows, you can use them as a highlighter, brow filler and eyeliner by watching instructional beauty videos online.

For your hair, you can use Moroccan oil to style and condition the hair. A lipstick can double as a blusher, or you can buy a specific product which works as a lip and cheek tint.

Stop wasting your products! 

When using shampoo and conditioner, you do not need an entire palm full unless you have really long hair. For facial cleansers, use a nickel-sized amount. For cream-based facial products, a pea-sized amount or even lesser than that should be enough. When you use just the right amount of product, they will last you longer.

Try before you buy

One of the biggest money wasters when buying makeup is ending up with a shade or a formulation that does not really suit your skin type. Fortunately, makeup manufacturers are more than willing to send out sample sizes of their products so that you can try them out first.

There are even stores which accept barely-used makeup if you don’t end up liking the shade. But rather than having to go through the hassles of returning a product and asking for a refund, why not try it out first and only buy once you decide that you really like it?

By following these tips, you can make the most out of each and every makeup purchase that you have.

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Money-Saving Tips for Makeup Addicts

About the author

Irina Vasilescu

Irina Vasilescu is our money-saving and DIY expert and also the editor-in-chief as she's always on the lookout for the latest online deals.


  • Before I buy new makeup I go through what I already own. I don’t need 10 blushes and 10 bronzers. Sometimes I forget that I have something, or I have a brand new product sitting in my makeup drawer. It’s helped me save money because I can see easily what I do and do not own.

    I get a lot of samples from makeup counters. There is nothing worse than buying a product without trying it out, and then realizing it makes you look like a clown. Most makeup counters are happy to give samples out. They would rather you try it out, see if you like it, and then buy it than telling everyone how much you hate the products.

    I do splurge on good foundation but I’m not that picky about everything else. I’ll buy clearance and sale makeup if it works with my skin.

  • The trick to saving money on makeup is to learn what works for you — so that you can stop shopping around so much and really begin to get full use of your products. Always buy a reputable foundation — as it is what people are going to be looking at the most. Expensive and fancy eyeshadows are nice — but cheap ones work just as well if you know what you are looking for. Eyeliner is usually a midrange product. You don’t have to purchase the most expensive but you don’t want the cheapest one either because they either don’t work or will splinter.

    • I agree! Once I find products that I really like/work for me, I don’t have to spend money trying to find new products. I try to stay with items that I know work. Drugstore foundation can be fine, but if it doesn’t blend into the skin it will look cheap. I have very pale skin so I have to either go barefaced or buy higher-end foundation. It seems that is the only way I can find a foundation that works with my skin tone.

  • Great tips! I think one of the most frustrating things is when I buy a full version of a product that does not end up working for me. (my sister is not complaining, though! 😉 ) Trying before I buy is something I will definitely start doing. I have also heard that there are companies and websites out there that will send you samples of beauty products…? Has anyone tried this? Definitely worth the try if it is legit!

  • I find that make up just requires for me only a few items; the maximum of which is six. The concealer, foundation, finishing powder, eye liner, eye shadow, lip gloss. The shade is especially important in order to feel comfortable confident in your limited number of pieces. There are days when i may reduce the number to just eye liner, concealer, finishing powder but i have to ensure that the important stages of the make up process is handled.

  • Huh I never new how much trouble women go through for makeup. These tips were very enlightening! My SO frequently gets samples, and she seems to have no problem getting makeup without straining our budget. I’ll suggest these tips to her, I think she’ll appreciate it.

  • Make up is an investment for me especially when it comes to foundation and a good quality eyeshadow. My main features to focus on are my face and eyes, since those two are believed to be my good assets. Since I also spend money of skin care, it’s actually a good idea mentioning here that you can actually save more by buying two or three things working at the same time. So, a BB cream $15 BB cream would be better than buying an expensive foundation and a moisturizer. With eyeliner though, I agree with buying the cheapest one lying around because expensive or not, all it does is line your eyes.

  • It’s insane how much some boutiques charge for specialty facial cleansers and lash curlers. Especially since drugstore ones for a tenth of the price can do the job just as well, if not better due to not being weighed down by frills and scents.

    I have to reiterate something the article said, just in case someone reading this is on the fence. NEVER EVER SCRIMP ON FOUNDATION!

    Foundation as its name implies is the base for all of your makeup. Cheap foundation gets flaky and crusty. Sometimes it doesn’t keep its color properly on certain parts of your face and can bunch up in creases. Expensive makeup on cheap foundation just makes everything look cheap.

  • I love that this article focuses on the fact that some things really are worth splurging on. Nothing is more horrifying to me than someone saving makeup waaaay longer than it should be just to save a few dollars. My tip for saving money was that I subscribed to a monthly makeup giftbag for a few months, found the products that really worked for me (and it was a great value anyway) and then only bought those. Before my biggest money-suck was testing products and throwing them out because they didn’t work for me.

  • Can anyone tell me a few cheap, monthly (or weekly if they have that) make up gift bags? Or where to get mailed samples?

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