Wednesday, March 21, 2012

5 Ways to Save Big on Beauty

Beauty{photo via the coveteur}

Last fall, I took on the September Spending Freeze, a self-imposed challenge to not spend a single cent on non-essential items (i.e. clothes, nail polish, Starbucks, accessories, lip gloss, dinners out, etc.)  It was a life changing experience that really helped me take a closer look at my spending tendencies.  Even after the freeze, the lessons I learned stayed with me, and I've noticed some pretty big changes in the way that spend.  One of the biggest areas I've seen a change in how I shop, revolves around beauty.  Here are a few of my favorite tips for reeling in your beauty budget.

1. Rethink brand loyalty for nonesstential items. I'm not asking you to give up your favorite foundation, your go to hair product, or your never-fail-me lipgloss.  I think it's awesome to know what you love and stick with it, especially for beauty essentials.  But for the not so staple items, consider going for what's on sale, what's the least expensive, or what you have a coupon for.  My favorite remover wipes.  I wear a pretty full face of makeup, so for me, removing my makeup prior to cleansing is important.  But what brand I use really doesn't matter.  I like the Neutrogena wipes, but after once getting the Almay wipes at $3 less, I realized, they were pretty much the same, and I'm willing to compromise on that product.  Ask me to give up my MAC brushes for the Target brand and I'll panic, but ask to me switch around on soap, makeup remover, cotton balls, and salon brand nail polish to save a chunk of change, and I'm all for it.

2. Go every other. This has been the biggest help in reducing my beauty budget (and in some cases I've been able to transition to DIY!)  Think about the services you have done on a regular basis.  Manicure, pedicure, highlights, hair cut, waxing, etc.  Now I'm not ready to give those things up completely, but I did start to wonder if I needed to keep such a tight schedule.  Maybe instead getting a manicure every week, I could go one week, then do my own maintenance and manicure the next week.  That's an extra $40 a month ($480 a year!) for just getting my nails done every other time.  On those weeks where I wasn't getting a professional manicure, I was able to do a DIY manicure, with a light and glossy color, my cuticles still maintained from the previous week.  PS: This method of every other was so successful for me, that I eventually got really good at DIY manicures, and now I prefer them!  So think, if you get your hair cut every six weeks, could you stretch it a few extra weeks?  That stretch will save you money, but also probably help you come up with some creative and cute fixes you may not have thought of!  (Example, I started going every other with my hair cuts, and I've rediscovered wearing my hair curly to hide not-quite-perfect ends and cute bobby pins to tuck back longer front pieces.)  If you can stretch yourself to try one thing on this list, it's this.  Go every other and get creative for the time in between!

3. Keep tabs on your stock and shop with a coupon. How many times have you realized you were out of your favorite perfume only to go to Sephora's website and realize the email you got earlier in the week about free shipping just expired?  I've done that one too many times to do it again.  This tip requires you to be aware of your beauty supply and when it's running low.  When your perfume, shampoo, deep conditioner, moisturizer, etc. hits the two-thirds gone mark, start looking to reorder.  That way, you have time to watch for a coupon code, a Sephora email, a free shipping offer, or an Ulta coupon.  And along those lines, don't ever order something from a beauty website without Googling for a coupon code first.  This step takes about ten seconds, but can save you big time.  So watch your bottles and leave yourself time for a great deal of present itself!

4. Don't pay full price for nail polish. I might sound like a bad blogger on this one, but I'm convinced that the big nail polish brands put out the same colors every season, with slight tweaks and new fabulously catchy names.  But the truth is, no one will be able to tell if the gray tone on your nails is Essie Cocktail Bling, OPI Birthday Babe, or the much anticipated Chanel Le Vernis in Frenzy.  I'm all for following trends, so look for what's hot and then search the sale or clearance shelf for last season's version of that.  My local Beauty Brands has the entire OPI Texas collection for 65% off, which is perfect for this season's focus on bright, punchy hues, for a fraction of the price.   Just think, if you buy 4 nail polishes a month this way, you could save $16 a month ($192 a year!)  Score!

5. Use what you have. Sometimes when I dig around the in dark depths of my bathroom cabinents, I find some pretty impressive things.  Full bottles of dry shampoo, a barely touched MAC eyeshadow, a body butter I scored at an after Christmas sale, and ten million fragrance minis from Sephora (several of which I actually like!)  So sometimes I have to get strict with myself and say "No new anything until I use up what I have."  I'll try to reason with myself, saying I'll alternate with the new product, but that's a lie.  The older product will get pushed to the back of the cabinent, and I will have wasted a small chunk of change.  So go digging in your bathroom cabinents, your travel case, and wherever else you store lost beauty products, find what's there and use it before buying anything new.  And if you're anything like me, once you start using what you already had, the urge for the new thing will fade, and you'll be content using up the rest of your stash!

So, there you have it, my 5 most favorite ways to save big on beauty.  In a culture (and a blog world) that often emphasizes the latest and greatest in beauty, I think it's important to realize that we can dial back that spending with a few creative strategies.  So now I'm dying to hear, what are some of your favorite ways to save big on beauty?


Pao said...

Awesome ideas, especially the nail polishes and the manicure!

freebeatfly said...

Hi! I came across your blog randomly a few days ago, and I haven't been able to stop reading! It's perfect for my little moments of relaxation between studying for exams. Great work :)

But back on topic... I agree with all your points (me, of the 25+ Chanel nail polishes... oops), I do actually get satisfaction from 'using' things! I hate wasting, so I try to make sure that whatever I buy stays in my viewing range in the bathroom until it's incorporated
in my routine. Or I do forget about it, and then when I find all those samples again it's like Christmas morning!
I also tend to recycle all those cosmetics my mum buys, tries once and leaves, which she does alot (last time I got a nearly-full bottle of Génifique and some Biotherm eye-cream!).

I think the main thing is to not buy impulsively... I know I get these little colour obsessions where I need-that-one-MAC-eyeshadow-no-other, but a little thinking goes a long way and soon enough I realise I have a similar one already, or I can mix two to get that colour.

Okay this post was way longer than I intended, haha! Take care :)

Nicole said...

I LOVE this post! I do many of the things you mention. I am loyal to my favorite brands, but also love trying new products. I look for coupon codes and use ebates to save as well. I recently was able to score the entire China Glaze Hunger Games nail polish collection for just $3.50 a bottle through Sally Beauty Supply (using the beauty card discount they offer) and by using ebates I got $3.50 cash back!I love getting a great deal!

CB_Wilson said...

I also buy this nail polish at Walgreens, but I've seen it at some other stores as well lately. It's $1.99!!! It's called Sinful Expressions and I really like it a lot. They used to only carry a handful of colors, but lately, they've really grown in that area too. Try it out and see how it works... You may be posting on another way to save BIG on beauty soon!

Whitney said...

Sigh. I have a new love obsession with Essie nail polish, so this post comes as a sad wake up call/very wise solution to my recent nail polish addiction.

Did I really need to purchase $8 mint-colored Essie polish for St. Pattys? No. Did I love it? Yes.

Back to being a frugalista starting tomorrow.

Kelly said...

CVS is my go-to for makeup - I can use coupons and CVS extra dollars. They have limited supply, but it's worked out! I only need to choose between 10 essie nail polishes, etc.

cheryl denise said...

great tips! we'll do the "use what you have" thing with food...because seriously, we all have plenty in our pantries and freezers already! and we can go a week without buying a thing and save at least $100!

a peek of chic