21 Frugal Ways to Save Money on Beauty Products

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Is your addiction to buying beauty products getting a little out of hand? Do you find yourself frequently browsing the aisles of Ulta or Sephora, picking out a few new products to buy every time?

Then you come up with multiple reasons to justify your purchases.

And now you are realizing you need to find ways to save money on beauty products, so you don’t break your budget?

I have totally been there!

I love going into Ulta and browsing. But over the past couple of years, I have limited the number of times I go into the store, so I’m not tempted to buy stuff I don’t need.

The realization that I was spending too much money in Ulta hit me a couple of years ago when I reached their platinum level with their Ultamate Rewards membership program. You have to spend $500 in a calendar year to reach the platinum level.

When I saw the notification that I reached their platinum level, I couldn’t believe my eyes. I couldn’t believe I spent all that money on hair and makeup products.

After that, I knew I needed to stop the frivolous spending in that store. That’s when I started looking for ways I could save money on beauty products.

We were living frugally in so many other ways and there I was splurging on makeup and hair products for myself.

Living frugally is about being mindful and intentional with your spending habits. But sometimes, you may not realize how much you are spending until the totals are right up in your face, like what happened to me with Ulta.

By the way, American women spend about $300,000 on their faces in their lifetime. Crazy right?

So if you are finding that you are spending way too much on your beauty routine, keep reading because I have lots of frugal tips to share with you on how to save money on beauty products.

Easy Ways to Save Money on Beauty Products and Your Personal Care Routine

1. Decide on Your Priorities

I get it. Some things you just aren’t willing to compromise on when it comes to your makeup, hair care, or nails. We all have those certain products we can’t live without.

So think about and decide on the high-end products that you absolutely want. For me, it’s a certain under-eye concealer (when you have hereditary dark circles and under-eye bags, you will do anything to hide them, so you don’t look like the walking dead).

Once you decide what your must-haves are, decide on the products or services you can do without or find a cheaper substitution (see number 2).

2. Research Product “Dupes”

One quick search on Pinterest for your favorite expensive beauty product dupe will tell you what other people are using instead to save money. Who knows, maybe you will like the cheaper option better.

I have done this for several products, and I have, for the most part, been pretty satisfied with the alternatives.

3. Use Drugstore Brands

Some drugstore brands make some really good beauty products. You can save money and get some great products that are sold at the drugstore, Walmart, or Target.

Use drugstore brands to save money on beauty products

4. Research Product Reviews

Are you looking for a new moisturizer with sunscreen to take the place of your beloved super expensive one? Research, research, research.

Not only can you look up dupes to find something similar to the high-end products you love, but check out those customer reviews also.

I love customer reviews because they can give you tons of information about a product.  There is nothing worse than buying a new product just to find out it doesn’t work for you. This brings me to my next tip.

5. Shop at Ulta

I know I said I try not to shop at Ulta, mainly to avoid temptation. However, I do like Ulta, and I think there are definitely times when you should shop there.

Some times when you should try to shop at Ulta are:

  • When you are unsure if you will like a product (They have a great return policy, even on products you have used a couple of times.)
  • When you have a manufacturer’s coupon and the store has the item on sale, making it as cheap as or cheaper than Walmart or Target
  • When you have a 20% off coupon for Ulta that is good on everything, even Prestige brands, and the product you can’t live without is a Prestige brand
  • When you use Ulta brand cosmetics (since they aren’t sold anywhere else)

6. Try the Product Before Buying, When Possible

Find a way to try out the product before you buy it, so you know you are not spending money on something you will not use.

You may be able to try the product at the store (another reason to shop at Ulta) to see if you like it.

Or maybe your bestie has the product already, and you could give it a try next time you are together.

Use up what you have to save money on beauty products

7. Use Up What You Already Have

If you love makeup, chances are good you have lots of makeup you hardly ever use stashed away somewhere. You know what I mean, right?

Or do you frequently come home with new makeup that is literally half a shade different than something else you already have?

Guilty here! I used to have a bad habit of buying new eyeshadows, using them a few times, and then throwing them in my eyeshadow graveyard under the sink.

Well, last year, I was feeling like I “needed” a new eyeshadow palette. I was researching on Pinterest to find the perfect palette for me when I read about something called a Z Palette.

A Z palette is a magnetic case in which you put your de-potted eyeshadows (or blushes and bronzers, depending on your obsession) to create your own palette. It helps keep all your singles handy, so you can create the looks you want without digging around in your makeup bag.

Shop Z palettes here.

I love it, and it’s now the palette I reach for every morning. I have a little challenge going with myself to use up the eyeshadows I already have before spending any money on any more.

Try to challenge yourself to use up your stockpile of makeup before buying something new to save money on beauty products.

8. Use Ibotta

Ibotta is a cash-back app that is well known for helping you save money on groceries. But did you know Ibotta also has cashback deals on health and beauty products? There are cashback offers on shampoo, conditioner, hair color, gray cover-up, facial moisturizers, and eye makeup remover wipes.

So if you do not have Ibotta yet, you can sign up here. It is free to download and use, and new users can receive up to $20 in welcome bonuses!

9. Use Coupons

Store coupons for Ulta or Sephora are a must. If you can get your hands on any manufacturer’s coupons to use on your cosmetics, hair products, lotions, etc., you can use them with Ulta store coupons, or you could use them at Target or Walmart to get some awesome savings.

If you do decide to use your manufacturer’s coupons at Ulta, just double-check the price to make sure it is definitely cheaper than what you would get it for at Walmart or Target with the coupon.

I have found that Ulta’s regular prices are generally higher than Walmart and Target’s prices, so you aren’t really saving money unless the products are on sale or you are using a store coupon with your manufacturer’s coupon.

10. Use Store Rewards Cards or Loyalty Programs

Many stores have some kind of rewards program or loyalty program that you can use to save money on beauty products. Some programs offer special promotions or coupons you can add to your card that are automatically applied when you purchase the item.

Some of my favorite programs are Ultamate Rewards at Ulta (of course), Target Circle, and CVS’s ExtraCare card.

save money on beauty products

11. Use Up Your Sample Sizes or Travel Products

Do you travel and get tons of small bottles of shampoos, conditioners, shower gel, facial soap, etc.? Many people decide to keep these products the next time they travel, but then they don’t travel for months or even years.

Why not use up those products sitting in your closet before purchasing a new full-size product? Challenge yourself to use up every last shampoo and conditioner, no matter how small the bottle is, before you buy a new bottle.

12. Exchange Products With Your Friends

Did you buy a new beauty product, use it once, find out it’s not going to work for you, and now you can’t return it? Maybe a friend is in the same boat and would want to trade products with you (if the products are still hygienic, of course).

13. Get a Low Maintenance Haircut.

Find a hairstyle that works for your hair type so you can use the minimal amount of hair products needed to maintain it.

This will help you save money on hair products, and it will also save you time during styling if you don’t have to fight with your natural hair texture to make a haircut “work” for you.

You may also want to consider a hairstyle that won’t require frequent trims every four weeks to maintain its shape.  Getting a trim every month gets so expensive.

I used to have a stacked bob and hated getting trims so often to keep it looking neat. Now I find that my long, one-length hair is much easier to maintain, and I am spending less money and time at the salon. Definitely a win-win in my book!

14. Use the Services at a Beauty School or Barber School

Sometimes the local beauty schools will have their students, who are getting ready to graduate, offer their services to the public for a much cheaper rate. A previous co-worker used to get her hair and nails done at a local beauty school, and she saved so much money.

Before my husband started cutting our kids’ hair when COVID hit, we used to take our boys to the local barber school for their haircuts. They always did a great job, and it was much cheaper than the chain hair salon at the local shopping center.

DIY your beauty routine to save money on beauty products

15. DIY Your Beauty Treatments

This list of frugal ways to save money on beauty products and services would not be complete without talking about DIY.

Whether it’s manicures, pedicures, facials, hair color, or waxing, DIYing your regular beauty treatments will save you tons of money over the course of the year.

16. Cancel Your Subscription Boxes

Are you getting a beauty subscription box like Birchbox, FabFitFun, Ipsy, or Boxycharm? If so, you may have tons of products piled up that you haven’t been able to use yet.

Why not cancel your subscription box so you can save money while you are trying each product and using up the products you have?

Maybe you will decide that you really don’t even want the subscription after you cancel it.

17. Shop at Walmart, Target, Marshalls, and TJ Maxx for Beauty Products

Where I live, Walmart and Target are definitely the cheapest places to buy beauty products. However, did you know you can get discounted name-brand beauty products at Marshalls and TJ Maxx?

They actually have a pretty decent selection of shampoos, conditioners, face serums, face soaps, facial lotions, and even makeup at those stores.

18. Use Reusable Products in Your Beauty Routine

Using reusable products is not only going to save you money, but it will also help reduce waste.  As you know, reducing waste is better for our environment and helps to conserve our natural resources.

I’m all about doing my part to help to make our planet a better place for future generations. If you want to switch to some reusable beauty products to do your part to reduce waste while saving money, check out these products.

Makeup remover pads

Makeup remover cloths

Reusable organic tissues

Silicone portable cotton swab

19. Use Less Product

You can easily make products last longer by using less of them, which will help you save money on beauty products. Unfortunately, many products come in packaging, making it difficult to control the amount of product that comes out, causing you to use too much.

I know I am heavy-handed with my products sometimes and need to be more conscious of what I am doing. Things like shampoo and conditioner, body wash, foundation, facial moisturizer, and concealer are all very easily wasted.

20. Take Surveys to Fund Your Beauty Addiction

What if you just can’t stop your spending on cosmetics and skincare? A cosmetic and skincare product addiction is a real thing.

But don’t let it affect your household budget. Why not make a little extra side money to use just for your beauty routine?

Use that extra money as your beauty budget money. Taking online surveys is an easy way to earn a few extra bucks you could put toward your beauty products.

Once that money is gone, you could take more surveys to replenish the fund.

My favorite online survey site is Survey Junkie. You earn points that you can redeem for Paypal cash or e-Giftcards.

Check out Survey Junkie here.

21. Try a No-Spend Challenge for Makeup and Beauty Products

No-spend challenges are great for resetting your spending. But sometimes, a full-on no-spend challenge is not necessary if there is only one budget category that you overspend on.

I am doing a no-spend challenge on beauty products this year. I challenged myself to not buy any cosmetics, skincare products, or hair products I don’t need.

If I run out of a product that I use consistently (like face lotion, mascara, concealer, etc.), then it becomes a need, and I can buy it. Otherwise, I have a rule that I am not to go buy beauty products just to buy them.

Final Thoughts

Let’s face it, overspending on personal care and beauty products is way too easy to do. If you want to live more frugally and save money on beauty products, you must start being intentional with the products you buy.

Go ahead and try some of the tips I gave you today to get the personal care category of your budget under control. This will help you be able to put more money to work for you in ways that will help you reach your financial goals.

Do you know of any other ways to save money on beauty products? I would absolutely love to hear them. Please leave them in the comments!

You may also enjoy reading:

20 Ways to Save More Money Every Month

70+ Frugal Living Tips to Help You Spend Less Money

21 Ultimate Tips to Save Money on Beauty Products
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