Woman with shopping bag

Bargain beauty cheat sheet

Working as a makeup artist, I am always asked by clients how to find the best in beauty when on a budget. Tiny tubes of product can add up at the register quickly, but there are bargains to be found in your favorite stores, on your favorite websites and in places you might not even consider looking!


Drugstores ALWAYS have specials and bargains that change with their weekly ads.

  • Check online and in the newspaper for coupons.
  • Seek out “house brands” or generic versions of higher end skin care. Don’t be afraid to try them, but be sure to compare ingredient labels.
  • Sign up for loyalty card programs, point programs and email newsletter specials that save you money on future purchases. If you can’t make it into their stores, many of these programs can also be used on their website. Check out www.cvs.com.
  • Added bonus! Many drugstores now have beauty and skin care specialists who can help assist you and offer advice.


Lots of money can be saved and many deals can be yours if you search before heading into the stores or ordering online.

  • Great online resources for coupons are: www.coupons.com, www.redplum.com and www.ebates.com.
  • Don’t forget to check out the websites of the brand that you are looking for, as they often have coupons you can print out and bring into stores.
  • Coupons found in the paper often are tied in with sales that drugstores have that week. Check carefully for the best deals!

Flash sales

Flash sales offer deals galore!

  • They can be found on some terrific websites, like www.gilt.com, www.hautelook.com, www.groupon.com, www.ruelala.com and www.myhabit.com – often saving you up to 90 percent off retail.
  • Be careful, products are often discontinued (which means if you love it, you may not be able to get it again) or can be old. Find out what return policies are, just in case goods are past their prime!
  • Many also have referral programs where you can get credits to your account for future shopping.
  • Most also have smartphone apps now that often have special “deals-of-the-day!”
  • Sign up for www.yipit.com -- an amazing aggregator that helps track daily deals in more than 100 cities from flash-sale sites, and sends them to you in one convenient e-mail.

Brand websites & retail stores

Be sure to check out your favorite brands’ own websites for specials you can’t find anywhere else like samples, free shipping, first dibs on sale items or contests.

  • Sign up for their newsletters for access to exclusive deals. On Three Custom Color Specialists' website, you can find some sizzling deals!
  • Look for sale pages on discontinued products or brands or overstocks. Just remember, these products may not be available once they are gone.
  • Many brands have their own Facebook pages where you can enter contests, find specials and get coupons.
  • In store, you may find all sorts of promotions and specials, like a gift with purchase, free makeovers, spa treatments and sampling. Check out store websites for special events.

Home shopping networks

Home shopping networks may seem just like gimmicky late-night TV, but these companies actually sell top-notch brands at extremely low prices.

  • There are deals galore, specials, amazing makeup education and special values to be found on networks like QVC, HSN and ShopNBC.
  • They all have websites as well where you might find even more bargains and contests. Here are some good ones to try: www.qvc.comwww.hsn.com and www.shopnbc.com!
  • Home shopping networks offer simple payment plans that are easy to make work around any budget.

Watch: How to save money on your beauty routine

You don't have to compromise your looks to economize -- you just have to know a few tricks!

More beauty bargains

Bargain vs big bucks: Savvy ways to spend less
Best Target beauty products for spring
5 Budget beauty must-haves


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