24 Easy Ways to Save Money on Makeup

Whether you consider yourself a makeup minimalist, or a gotta-have-it trendsetter in fashion, chances are, there’s a collection of cosmetics in your purse or bathroom vanity. No matter how much makeup you wear, there’s probably one thing we can all agree on – makeup can be expensive!

The average woman spends over a thousand dollars each year on makeup. Yeah, that’s over $100 per month. If you’re like me, you’re reading this with a bit of denial right now. Go check your credit card statement and tell me I’m wrong here – I’ll wait.

Why does trying to look great cost so darn much? It’s simple – the cosmetic companies know we are willing to pay big bucks to look our best and put our most confident foot forward, whether it be for work, a date night, or just because we feel like it.

This is where we have to stick together and share great finds on ways to save money on makeup every chance we get. And, what do you know – here we are! 

Let’s take a look at 24 ways to save money on makeup so we can look our best and score a deal while we’re at it!

1. Use what you Already Have

While it’s easy to get excited with each new seasonal line and jump on the new lipstick shade that was just released, if you want to save money, it’s best to pause before pulling out your wallet.

Take a look in your vanity, bathroom drawers, and purse to see what you already have, and use it up! Then, once you’ve used up that entire tube of lipstick or that compact of blush, you can reward yourself with something new.

Save money on makeup by using up what you already have!

2. Pick and Choose from Cheaper Brands

I don’t know about you, but seeing models on advertisements with a full face of an expensive brand of makeup kinda makes me want to go buy the whole palette. However, that’s a great way to go overboard on spending.

When it comes to expensive brands, ask yourself what you’re really looking for and splurge on the most important piece. Maybe you can buy that lipstick but then go for a cheaper brand for eyeshadow or nail polish. 

3. Grab Free Samples

Believe it or not, there are free makeup samples out there waiting for the taking! And, there are a variety of ways to get them. 

Stores like Sephora, Ulta, and Smashbox will offer free samples when you order online. You can also join review groups like Allure Beauty Enthusiasts to take surveys and provide feedback on products. You can then keep the products you review or be entered into drawings to win free stuff!

You can also ask for free samples from department store counters!

Get free samples when you find them as a way to save money on makeup!

4. Buy Versatile Shades

When it comes to buying makeup, it’s really easy to get sucked into those flashy, bold colors for your next big date night. I mean, who doesn’t love a bright Fuschia or a new shade of red that really pops?

However, if you’re trying to save money on makeup, it may be best to keep away from the adventurous colors and stick to something you can wear on a more regular basis. 

If you mostly wear makeup to the office, buy shades you’re comfortable with, with only one or two cosmetics that can help you transition from the everyday to dramatic nights. Save money on makeup by focusing on versatile shades.

5. Try Before you Buy

Is there anything worse than getting home after an expensive makeup purchase, only to find out that shade of blush looks absolutely terrible under your bathroom lights? And we all know what happens next – we lose confidence in our purchase, and to the back of the drawer it goes.

Don’t waste money on cosmetics by purchasing them before you try them out. For best results, go to the online app of your favorite store to sample the makeup virtually. Once you feel satisfied, then make your purchase.

6. Plan ahead for Cosmetic Sales

If you know your favorite store or brand has a big anniversary sale each year, or you know that Black Friday is the best time to hit the sales, plan for your sales to save more money on your cosmetics.

When the sales hit, buy two of your favorites, especially big-ticket items like foundations or brushes. Save money on makeup by planning out your spending ahead of time!

7. Shop with Coupons

Nowadays, it’s super easy to find a coupon before you shop, even for makeup. Before you checkout in-store or online, pause and double-check that there’s not a coupon or discount for your items. 

It’s time to stop overpaying for cosmetics and getting smarter about how we shop! Use a coupon or discount code to save money on makeup!

8. Double Duty your Makeup

I’ll admit that I keep things fairly simple in the makeup department (although I’m exploring more!) and this is one of my favorite hacks of all. Instead of purchasing blush and eyeshadow separately, for example, purchase a blush shade that can work as both.

You can do this for lipstick, too! This keeps my morning routine super quick, as I swipe it in both places, add a dab of gloss, and I’m off for the day! It’s a great way to save money on makeup and get the most out of what you purchase.

9. Find a Dupe for High End Brands

When it comes to the world of cosmetics, there is an affectionate term for “knock-offs”, known as “dupes”. Basically, we all know we can’t afford luxury cosmetic items all the time, but there’s nothing wrong with wanting that look when we can get it!

This is where dupes come in – those excitable finds that really make you feel like you’ve landed a deal. You can save your money and still look like a million bucks with dupes! Keep your eyes on reviews of less expensive products and see how they compare to your favorites.

Save money on makeup by shopping for dupes!

10. Shop at Discount Stores

This may sound like an obvious tip, but when you want to save money on cosmetics, don’t forget about discount stores. Places like TJ Maxx and Ross are great for more than just clothes! Yep, they actually have a cosmetic and beauty section!

Take a look the next time you’re there to see what great finds you come across in your local store. They could be items that just weren’t sold, or maybe your favorite shade isn’t as popular (hey, more for you!). Shop at discount stores to save on makeup!

11. Rack up Store Rewards

Although our generation isn’t as big on brand loyalty as our parents, there’s nothing that says we shouldn’t consider store loyalty. Trust me, they want your business and are happy to reward you for every dollar you spend.

Sephora Beauty Insider Benefits offer points per dollar and up to 20% off depending on your spend level and the Ulta Beauty Rewards offer up to 1.5 points per dollar you spend for future discounts.

Rack up store rewards to save money on makeup!

12. Recycle Empty Makeup Containers

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, I’m sure you’ve heard about the waste epidemic we have going on in our propensity to throw things away, or the problems that occur from single-use plastics. Some cosmetic companies are working to fight against this.

Not only are they fighting against waste issues but are rewarding customers for recycling their empty containers. This is great news for you because it can mean discounts or freebies like free lipstick from MAC Cosmetics. Check out your favorite brands to see if they offer rewards for recycling.

13. Follow Influencers and Bloggers

You can’t swing a mascara wand in the air without hitting a cosmetics vlogger or blogger. If you haven’t started following some of your faves, do it now! Many of these influencers spend a ton of time in the world of cosmetics and have more than just knowledge to offer.

They often have affiliate deals with specific brands or retailers and in their quest to spread the word on makeup tips and tricks, share discounts with you. Follow influencers on social media to get discounts and save money on makeup!

14. Skip the Expensive Makeup Removers

I get it – you want to take great care of your skin and avoid harsh products whenever possible. Many brands of cosmetics offer makeup removers that promise to go above and beyond the call of duty to clean your face after a long day. But do you really need all of that? 

If you’re looking to save money on makeup, skip the fancy makeup removers instead of cheaper options or a gentle face wash and a washcloth. Make sure to moisturize, but save your money for other great products instead of splurging on makeup removers.

15. Use Brushes Properly

Sometimes, saving money isn’t just what we buy, but how we use what we buy. But, when the morning rush is on and you have to be out the door with kids in tow, who has time to pull out brushes and make sure you have a neat, blended face? 

Most of us stick our fingers in the foundation and concealer to throw it on and go. Unfortunately, that means we end up using more makeup in the long run. Using makeup brushes properly can spread cosmetics more evenly and we can use less, all while keeping our fingertips clean.

Save money on cosmetics by using makeup brushes properly!

16. Safely Dilute your Foundation

If you’re like me, you notice your skin change with the seasons. It’s not uncommon for skin to darken in the summer with tanning and appear lighter in the winter. So, this means you have to buy two different shades of foundation, right?

Well, not always. There are ways to dilute darker shades of makeup to make it work for you year-round. If you have a powder, try mixing it in with a bit of talcum powder to spread it out a little further.

Likewise, a darker liquid foundation can be mixed with a non-tinted lotion to stretch it out. Hacks like this can help you save money, and it doesn’t negatively affect the quality of your look. Save money by diluting your makeup!

17. Buy Off Season Shades

When new seasons are upon us, the hottest shades hit the shelves faster than you can change your wardrobe. Chances are, those shades are going to be full price. This is a great time to purchase last season’s shades or colors that are not as popular. 

Save money on makeup by purchasing shades in the off-season!

18. Store Cosmetics Properly

I think we all have had the terrible experience of keeping lipstick tucked away in our car, only to have it melt and lose its shape. Or, we’ve stored makeup and perfume in the bathroom where heat and humidity can wreak havoc. What a waste! 

While there are ways to fix melted lipstick, you want to limit the heat from affecting your cosmetics negatively. Storing cosmetics properly in a dry area, away from sunlight can help prolong their life and keep their chemical composition consistent. Save money by not ruining makeup!

19. Return Makeup that Doesn’t Work for You

Even after you sample a shade of makeup, sometimes it just doesn’t work for you. The great news is that many stores will accept returns of gently used makeup. Make sure to return it as soon as possible, as I wouldn’t expect them to take back a half-emptied tube.

Returning makeup is a great way to save money when you find something that doesn’t work, instead of just keeping it and never touching it again.

20. Look Down at the Lower Shelves

Surely stores will call out cheaper brands with bright flashing lights and big signs, right? I wish. Makeup aisles are much like the cereal aisles in the grocery store – the more expensive and flashy items are eye level, and the cheaper ones are a bit lower.

When shopping for makeup, don’t forget to look on the lower shelves for cheaper brands of the same item. Save money on cosmetics by taking a good look at all of the options, even those on the bottom.

21. Check out the Drugstore

Sometimes drugstores get a bad rap for makeup, but you can actually find some good, quality cosmetic items at the drugstore or pharmacy. They’re also great for items that you don’t necessarily care to spend a lot of money on, but have been tried and true for your favorite look.

To save money on makeup, check out the drugstore to grab a few necessities while spending less!

22. Create a Minimalist Look

Let’s face it – there are times when getting “all dolled up” is necessary and times when it’s just way too much time and effort. When running errands, do you really need your whole 15-step process, or will a quick swipe of mascara and some lip gloss slay the day?

Create a minimalist look you’re comfortable with to reduce how much makeup you use daily. Save your heavy hitters for when it really matters, and save your makeup and money for the more special occasions.

23. Borrow or Swap with a Friend

Chances are you have a close friend that has a bag full of makeup, too. Have a makeup party to swap and share shades. To be clear, some cosmetics should never be shared (like eyeliner or mascara) for health reasons, but some can be wiped off.

Their not-so-loved blush could be just what you’re looking for. Save money on makeup by swapping with a friend!

24. Find a Friend in Mary Kay

When my bestie got married, she had a family member in Mary Kay who not only gave us all makeovers but gifted us makeup as a bridesmaid’s gift. I have to say, it was pretty awesome! 

Based on how Mary Kay works, they also have their consultants practice their form and technique while promoting products. If you know someone in Mary Kay, sign up to be their practice pal to get samples or free makeovers.

FAQs on How to Save Money on Makeup

How can I save money at Sephora?

There are a ton of ways to save at Sephora, including utilizing their rewards points, getting free samples, and shopping their sale page.

How do I save money on High-End Makeup?

Only purchasing high-end makeup for certain products, using store reward points, or shopping discount stores like Nordstrom Rack are great ways to save money on high-end makeup.

How can I save on wedding makeup?

You can save on wedding makeup by visiting a department store counter or Sephora and Ulta to see what kind of packages they offer for your big occasion!

How much money can I save by stopping makeup?

Reducing how much makeup you purchase and finding a minimalist or natural look you feel confident with is a great way to save hundreds of dollars per year.


Hopefully, you now see you can look great and still have money left over to treat yourself in other ways or put in the bank for a rainy day! You don’t have to spend hundreds per year to look fantastic when you shop more wisely and get those awesome deals.

Check out more ways to save at Koopy.com!

Leslie Roberts is an experienced writer, Salesforce consultant, and koopy.com contributor from North Carolina who enjoys writing about a variety of topics and hates overpaying for things. She also loves traveling, spending lots of time outdoors, and reading.

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