Beauty Makeup

How to Save Money on Makeup like a Pro

When you’re a makeup addict like me you will end up spending so much you won’t even realize it. We go on hauls and never realize how much we spend. And even though our hauls may fit in one small bag they can still add up to a lot at the register. That’s why I’m going to teach you how to save money on makeup! And the best part is money saved on makeup can be used to buy more makeup! 😉

spongebob meme on saving money on makeup

How to get Free Makeup

  1. Join Influenster!– Influenster is a community where people can share their reviews on different products. You can score free full-sized makeup and beauty products or any other product in exchange for a review on the product when you get selected for a VoxBox. Through Influenster I have received products from Maybelline, Dove, Tom Ford, and more! Referral link for Influenster!
      • BzzAgent- This is similar to Influenster but there is no app for it and it’s all through email. They tell you the product before you sign up for the campaign.
      • Get Samples– The best way to save money on makeup is to try out the product first in the form of a sample before you really commit to the item. I get samples through Hunt4Freebies and Sephora. Also many times you get free samples by following brands on their Instagram and Facebook. On Instagram, brands do forms in their stories whereas on Facebook it’s usually through their posts.
      • Enter Giveaways!– I always thought giveaways were rip-offs and that I would never win but to my surprise, they are not! I won giveaways on Instagram with Maybelline and Revlon. I also won a giveaway with Biossance on YouTube. Instagram is the best source to find a giveaway. They usually just ask you to follow the account and tag a friend. I have also seen giveaways on YouTube and Twitter but I feel like Instagram has the most.
      • Coupons and Points– If you’re a rewards member at Sephora you can use your beauty insider points to get free items. There are also many other brands that have loyalty memberships where you can use your points to redeem free items. At Ulta, they occasionally do coupons to get free items. I got the Clinique Hydrating Jelly for free at Ulta with one of their coupons. Sometimes companies also do free gifts with a purchase so you can score some extra goodies! I remember one time I walked into Sephora and they gave away a free gift bag for customers who spent over $25 on the Sephora Collection. This promotion was not advertised outside the store but was definitely some nice freebies! I got a Sephora Collection Lip Stain, Eye Makeup Remover, and Face Mask in sample sizes. Some of my favorite couponers on TikTok are @Karlasavings @Couponwithkayla @Couponswithalysia and @Lovemecoupons.
      • Contests! Many companies do contests where you can create a makeup look and share it with them in order to win their products. Similar to giveaways but requires more effort! I won a contest with Neutrogena once and it was very easy to win because barely anyone participated!
      • Test Products- Sometimes brands will ask you to test their product for them and then share your results. This is definitely more common in skincare than makeup. To find these opportunities I once again recommend following brands on social and seeing if they post any opportunities like this. There are also exclusive communities for certain brands that you can join which are usually in the form of Facebook Groups. Opportunities to test products are also often shared in these insider groups. L’OREAL also has a consumer testing panel that I did once and I got compensated for participating.
      • Birthday Gifts – I don’t know about you but spoiling myself with birthday presents is my favorite thing to do! And of course, eating some delicious birthday gifts! Today I’m sharing with you some freebies and discounts that you can score on your birthday so you can treat yourself to some nice birthday gifts! Something to know about birthday gifts is the offers usually last the whole month so you can grab the gift anytime during your birth month. You must be a part of the rewards program of each brand to receive this and in most cases also sign up for their emails.
        • Sephora: Most people already know about Sephora’s annual birthday gift but just sharing it in case you don’t know! You get to choose what birthday gift you want and they offer makeup and skincare or haircare from one brand. The birthday gift changes every year. Some presents are exclusive to particular membership tiers. You don’t need to make a purchase to get the gift but that’s only possible if you pick up the gift in stores. If you wish to redeem the gift online then you would have to make a purchase. Here are some of the gifts I got in previous years.
          • 2019 = Drunk Elephant Jelly Cleanser and Protini Cream
          • 2020 = Milk Makeup Kush Mascara and Lip + Cheek Stick
          • 2021 = NARS Laguna Bronzer and NARS Lip Balm
          • 2022 = Charlotte Tilbury Lipstick and Mascara
        • Ulta: Ulta also does birthday gifts but they only give one item and they change up their birthday gifts every month. You can redeem in stores for free or redeem online with a purchase. I’m an October birthday so all of my gifts are based on what was the gift in October.
          • 2018 = Lancome Monsier Mascara
          • 2019 = Living Proof Dry Shampoo
          • 2021= Clinique Moisture Surge
          • 2022 = Olaplex No 3
        • Elf Cosmetics: This is an online-only gift through Elf’s rewards program. In 2022 I got a mini lip gloss from them. Since I’m in the highest tier of the rewards program I have free shipping but if you are in another tier you would have to buy stuff to get free shipping with the item.
      • Sephora Digital Events – These do cost 100 beauty insider points so they’re technically not free. You can sign up for the events at the start of the month here. They do fill up pretty fast so sign up ASAP when you find an event you like.
      • Pop-up Events – I have never been to a pop-up event but I have seen these take place in major cities like New York and Los Angeles. New York and Los Angeles are the most popular because most makeup companies are located in these areas. Here is an example of a Maybelline pop-up event I saw on TikTok. Some pop-up events might be invite-only, but if you see information about the event details posted on the brand’s social media, it should be open to everyone. You could always DM the brand on social media if unsure about the event. 
      • Surveys/Appreciation Gifts – Sometimes brands will post surveys on social media or send them through email and give you a chance to win something. They also might just give the first number of people credit to shop on their website. I have gotten credit to shop on IL Makiage and Tower 28 for doing surveys. And I got an appreciation gift from Rare Beauty for signing up for their casting call.

      General Advice for Free Makeup

      1. Even though stuff is free in terms of money it still costs something like time, another purchase, information from you; etc. It’s up to you to decide if it’s worth it. 
      2. Most of these opportunities are done by brands for marketing and brand loyalty
      3. Please use these opportunities for good! Even though the products are free for us it still costs someone else money. There are also a limited number of products they can give out so be understanding and wait for your turn.
      4. Avoid scams! Free stuff being given out is often an easy target for scams. Be smart and only participate in trusted opportunities. Sometimes fake accounts will pretend to be a brand you know so please be careful. 

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      How to Get Discounted Makeup

      1. PoshmarkI have never bought makeup or beauty items on Poshmark but I do sell beauty items myself. Sometimes you may find yourself with makeup and beauty products that you have received but don’t like. These items can be sold on Poshmark and this is a perfect way for people like you to get discounted makeup!
      2. Subscription Boxes– Subscription boxes will give you the best value for high-end makeup. You can score up to $300 of makeup for only like $25. When I tried Boxycharm, my box was worth $278 and I only spent $25 on the box. The only drawback to this is you won’t know what you’re buying as it’s a surprise! For more on Boxycharm, click here!
      3. Sales!– This one is pretty obvious but sales are definitely an excellent time to score a discount on makeup. Sephora does sales in April, November, December and sometimes summer for Rouge members. CVS does NYX lip products on sale during Black Friday for a dollar each after extra bucks.
      4. Referral Codes– Many bloggers like me have referral codes so you can score discounts! Save the referral code of your favorite creators or learn about which creators work with your favorite brands and use their referral code. I recommend seeing people who are tagged on a brand’s social media.
      5. Value Sets- These are gift boxes that you can find at places like Sephora, Macy’s or Ulta. Most of the time they are more available during the holidays but you need to look for “value $x” or “worth $x”. (x = any number)
      6. Buy Drugstore– Drugstore makeup is really underrated but drugstores are changing up their game! They’re coming up with many new products and there are also many new brands entering the drugstore market.
      7. Cashback Programs– My favorite service for cashback is Rakuten! Rakuten supports both Sephora and Ulta plus many other stores. Basically what they do is give you a percentage of your money back through PayPal or another method. My lifetime cashback balance as of today is $265 and I have been a member for 4 years.
      8. Student Discounts!– If you’re a college student, you can score a student discount through UNIDAYS! Unidays offers discounts on Charlotte Tilbury, The Inkey List, Tarte, and more. StudentBeans is another student discount program similar to Unidays. They offer discounts on brands like Elf Cosmetics, Sol De Janeiro, and Starface.
      9. Use a Price Drop Watcher– Is there a certain product you really like but can’t seem to get the product on sale? I recommend using ShopStyle because this is what I’m currently using to track prices. All you have to do is like the product through their search and then you can get emails for when there is a price drop.
      10. Buy discounted gift cards: You can buy gift cards on Raise they sell discounted gift cards. I have only used this a few times so I’m not that experienced but so far my experience has been good. Sometimes major stores like CVS also do discounted gift cards. I don’t recommend buying a ton of one brand because there’s always the chance it goes bankrupt or you lose interest in shopping there. Most websites have a limit on the number of gift cards you can use for example Ulta only allows one and Sephora only allow two. In addition, I recommend using gift cards ASAP to prevent them from being stolen or forgotten about—usually, the higher price of the gift card the higher the savings. Also, remember that returns can get complicated when buying gift cards. Apart from buying discounted gift cards from Raise, you may find retailers who do bonus gift cards when you buy them directly. Sephora did this once for Mother’s Day.

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      Well, that’s how to save money on makeup! I was actually surprised by how many ways you could save money on makeup. The key here is not to give in to temptation and prioritize what makeup you really want to buy plus make sure you buy that makeup at the right time. Let me know in the comments your favorite way to save money on makeup!