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7 Smarter ways to shop for beauty products

Why spend more of your hard-earned money on looking gorgeous when you don’t have to? Here’s how to save on all your favorite beauty buys without compromising quality.

Woman buying makeup


Shop home shopping networks

Believe it or not, home shopping networks, like QVC and HSN, have come a long way when it comes to buying and trying beauty items, says licensed esthetician and owner of Everyday Esthetics Eyebrow Studio, Pamela Jeschonek. “Want to test out that high-end $400 serum? You can, and use it for a full 30 days to see if it really works for you! If it doesn’t, box it up, send it back and lose nothing but your return shipping,” she points out. “These channels offer items at a discount to traditional retail and often give you bonus accessories and sizes so it can be a tremendous value as well.”


Sample beauty kits


Speaking of trying new products first, another smart option is to sign up to receive sample beauty kits, such as Birchbox or New Beauty test tubes, recommends board certified dermatologist Julie E. Russak, M.D., FAAD. “These affordable kits frequently include full size products and generous sample sizes,” she notes. “This way, you can test a product before committing to purchasing the full size. If you suspect a beauty product caused a breakout or allergic reaction, however, seek a dermatologist’s advice immediately.”


Get on the list

Have a favorite beauty brand you absolutely can’t get enough of? Fashion/beauty expert for Rachel Schultz advises signing up to receive their email newsletter. “Companies are excited to send exclusive deals to their loyal customers,” she explains. “Weekly newsletters often contain hidden coupon codes for extra savings (a.k.a. stackable savings), along with information regarding the best time to buy and new collections that are launching seasonally.”


Buy discounted gift cards

There’s nothing like scoring a sweet deal, right!? According to Joanie Demer and Heather Wheeler of, to do so, you should check online for discounted gift cards to your beauty store of choice. “Whether it’s Macy’s, Nordstrom, Sephora or Saks, sites such as eBay and PlasticJungle offer an abundant source of discounted gift cards to help you save more cash.”


Look at the cost per ounce

Oftentimes, the bigger the size you buy the more bang you actually get for your buck. That’s why healthy skin care expert Celeste Hilling of Skin Authority suggests shopping for beauty products the same way you would for groceries: Examine the cost per ounce to see if you’re really getting a good deal. “For example, if a product costs $20 and is only 0.2 ounces, that’s $100 per ounce, which clearly isn’t a great deal.” With that said though, don’t just invest in the largest size to save cash in the long run. If you can’t possibly use it all prior to the expiration date, it’s essentially a waste.


Take advantage of rewards cards

Did you know that some beauty brands, including Sephora, offer rewards cards to their customers? Well, it’s true! “By taking advantage of this free tool, you can slowly rack up points that lead to free samples, travel size beauty items or other great savings,” says beauty editor at Michelle Dilk.


Say yes to perks

Another wonderful way to save money is by researching which beauty brands are giving away a “free gift with purchase,” informs Dilk. “If choosing between two of your favorite makeup brands means also stocking up on a new cosmetics bag or free samples, pick the brand with perks!”

More smart beauty advice

What your lip color of choice projects to men
Hairstyles successful women wear
Can your makeup look influence people’s perception of you?

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