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10 Ways to Spend Less on Makeup

Friday, 21 April 2017
I always see people embarking on commendable spending bans when it comes to makeup but that always seemed too extreme for me, especially since I am also trying to run a blog and try new things. I figured I would share the tips and tricks I use to curb my makeup budget without having to resort to a total spending ban because honestly, life is just too short to not have fun. A lot of these tips can probably be used for trying to spend less in general, whether it be makeup or something else, but I know that beauty is definitely one thing I always feel tempted to splurge on.

1. Know Your Collection
The age old question... how many nude lipsticks do you really need?
This is the most important in my opinion. No matter if your collection is a small and perfectly reasonable single makeup bag or a ridiculous set of drawers, shelves and stashes like mine, if you know what you have you can avoid wasting money on unnecessary double ups. I have the advantage of being able to double check my Instagram or blog if I can't remember what shades I have but honestly I usually remember. If you think you might have trouble remembering what you do have, maybe keep a list or pictures on your phone or, if you are in a store with a loyalty program, they might be able to look up your purchase history on the computer. Either way, know what you have and avoid double ups.

2. Be Realistic About Your Makeup Style

Behold the bold eyeshadow shades I never use!
For a while I kept buying more bright or vivid shades in eyeshadows and lipsticks with the reasoning that I wanted to branch out and try new things. Of course, then when it came to doing my makeup on a daily basis, I would reach for my familiar neutrals and never use the bright stuff. Similarly, for a while there I kept buying liquid lipsticks even though, again and again, I never liked the way the looked or felt on my lips. That just wasted money and I wound up selling all of it or giving it away to family. If you know the types and shades and even formulas you like wearing, stick to your guns and don't let that amazing marketing seduce you into buying something you know you won't really use. 

3. Use Swatch Photos While You Are Shopping

Comparison swatches are your friend!
If you are considering buying a new lipstick for example but think you might have a similar shade already at home but can't quite remember what it looks like, Google Images is your friend. Bloggers like me dedicate hours and hours to taking swatch photos and reviews for you to reference so why not use them? Sometimes, if you do a Google search for both products you might even find a side by side comparison. I can't tell you how many times looking up swatch photos have convinced me that I really don't need a product.

4. Get Samples Of Everything You Can and Swatch In Store First

So many things can be sampled at home before you buy, especially when you are buying high end makeup, so take advantage of the service you get when paying that little bit extra. Mecca will always say yes when you ask for a sample but I know other places can be a bit hit and miss. I simply will not buy a foundation without trying a take home sample first and if a counter says no or tries to make me feel cheap for asking, I walk away and I not buy from the brand... simple as that. You are not overstepping as a customer asking to try things so don't feel shy. Also, if you are at a high end makeup store or counter, you can always ask them to actually apply a product you are interested in to your face before you decide to buy. In doing this, you can be sure you are going to like it and use it, avoiding that collection of dud products we all have but never use, despite spending hard earned money on them.

5. Stay Away From Short Lived Trends

Buying all those loose powders when I cannot bake on on my dry skin.
If you are constantly addicted to trying the new thing that everyone is trying you will be forever poor, trust me. For the longest time, especially as a beauty blogger, I felt like I had to jump straight on the latest application and product trends which would disappear in a month or two. It just left me with so much stuff I didn't use. There is nothing wrong with trying new things but maybe give it a month, read some reviews and really decide if it is something you would wear for longer than a hot minute before you dole out your hard earned cash.

6. Commit To Using Products Up Before You Buy Something Else

Soon Luminous Silk.... soon.
I particularly use this philosophy for makeup products I go through semi-regularly like foundations, concealers, primers and mascaras. Having multiples of each on the go at once just increases the chance that you will forget about some and they will go bad just wasting away in a drawer somewhere. I have a bit of a mental list at all times of products I might want to try next but I wait until I have used up my current open product to get it.  For example, right now I am waiting to finish my current foundation before I buy the Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation I want. Yes, it is an expensive foundation, but if I only am buying a foundation 2-3 times a year it is easier to manage that expense. 

7. Don't Go Mad At Sales

Use sales to your advantage; don't buy into the chaos and let it seduce you into overspending. If you buy things you ordinarily wouldn't have, just because they are on sale, you haven't saved money. Instead, know your sales and how you can make them work for you. For example, I know that the Chemist Warehouse has two sales every year with 50% off Revlon, Maybelline, L'Oreal, Rimmel and Sally Hansen: the first is around June and the second usually starts Boxing Day. Similarly, Priceline has 40% of cosmetics twice a year as well as 50% off haircare and 40% off skincare sales. I keep a list of things I want and wait until the next big sale. The added bonus is that, by the time a sale does roll around, I don't even want half the stuff on my list anymore. 

8. Use Services Like AfterPay Wisely

Adore Beauty can be mighty tempting... AfterPay and a free Tim Tam!
AfterPay is an incredible new service offered by quite a few online stores (my favourite being Adore Beauty) which allows you to get your order straight away but pay off your total in four fortnightly instalments. It really is amazing but it is so easy to get in over your head. Don't think of it as a way to get stuff you ordinarily can't afford because that will just lead to you overspending. I myself use and love AfterPay as a way to space out my purchases. I will never buy stuff I don't have the money to pay for straight up and I'll never have more than one AfterPay purchase on the go at once which helps me space things out. 

9. Unsubscribe from Mailing Lists and Unfollow Beauty Brands on Social Media

Don't tempt me, Frodo!
I know this seems weird for me to say because so much of my viewership relies on the obsession we seem to have with makeup on social media but that is what really makes you spend your money. If you don't see the latest and greatest thing every other day online, you won't be tempted to buy it. It won't even be on your radar! Maybe you can use blogs when you are actually out of something to make a good buying decision on a product you were going to purchase anyway, but if you feel the constant need to buy something every time you open your Instagram, it might be time to cut back.

10. Set a Defined Budget

That time I went to the Sephora opening with a fresh tax refund and no budget. It wasn't pretty, but it was fun!
I'm not saying set a goal "to spend less on makeup". I'm saying specify a dollar amount or percentage of your income that you deem acceptable to spend on makeup or beauty. I know better than anyone that it is so easy to binge buy beauty stuff and realise you have spent a whole week's income on makeup alone over the space of maybe a month or two. That is insane! Now I'm really conscious of how much I earn and how much I should really by spending on makeup. One tip is to literally set aside money in a "Funny Money" account or even cash in a tin so you have incorporated that guilt free frivolous spending money into your budget. It also helps to think about your hourly rate as well. Is that lipstick really worth two whole hours at work? Is that a trade you want to make? If so, go for it. It's about being smart, not denying yourself the things you work hard for. 

Bonus - Don't Run a Beauty Blog

No really... just don't do it. You will always be poor. The reality is, only a fraction of beauty bloggers actually make money; mostly, we just spend it on makeup. 

So there you have the overall mindset I use to try and spend less on makeup. Honestly, I still do buy more than I need but there is so much more I don't buy because I always have these things in the back of my mind. I spend so much less no on makeup now than I used to because I know my makeup style enough to steer clear of hypes and trends and only purchase the things I actually want. You don't have to use an all or nothing spending ban to cut your spending, just some smart shopping and realistic decision making which means you can enjoy your splurges and treats without that awful nagging feeling that you have done something you shouldn't have.

7 comments on "10 Ways to Spend Less on Makeup"
  1. So many good tips Emma! I have been unsubscribing like a mad woman lately!! So many unnecessary purchases made from those new release or limited edition products!! I have been going through my stash lately and I have so many things I haven't even used or have only used once!!

    Mel xx || Loads Of Lifestyle

    1. Yeah, it is so easy to feel like you need every limited edition product the second it comes out but we really don't. It is so much easier when they just pass you by. I am about to do a massive de-stash series to get some money back on things before they expire too. Thanks for reading :)

  2. Love this post! I'm a big believer in samples, especially of higher end makeup and I'm not afraid to ask, lol. Not overspending in makeup sales is so hard and I often fail, but your point is so right though!

    Di from Max The Unicorn

    1. Oh I know it is a struggle but I'm trying so hard. Sometimes I take my boyfriend with me and tell him my budget before my we go in so he can hold me to it. He always has that disapproving glare at the ready when I try to overspend.

  3. I love this!! They are some really good tips! I totally feel you on the baking with loose powder haha it does not work for dry skin!!

    Laura || xx

    1. Yeah it winds up looking like a bit of a flaky horror show haha. Thanks for reading :)

  4. Love this post thanks for sharing has some really great tips.


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