How To Go Makeup Shopping On A Budget

Money tight? We can help. Here's how to shop for makeup on a budget

Makeup doesn't have to be pricey. Here's how to find bargain buys

If you're like me, reading a single article about a trendy toner or mascara is enough to make me run straight to my Amazon account. However, makeup is one of those pesky hobbies that can add up to a major expenditure if you're not careful. Luckily, most makeup products can last for months, depending on the brand and style, and there are ways to plan your makeup shopping so you can make smart investments without breaking your bank.

When you're shopping for makeup on a strict budget, there are a variety of tricks to try.

Make a budget (and stick to it)

If you research your purchases before you head to the makeup counter, you'll feel a lot less overwhelmed by the pricing. A couple of Google searches for reviews and recommendations can help you find specific products, brands, or styles to look for. This will also help you identify the "average" price of the products you use regularly. Identify how much you're willing to spend on each part of your makeup routine, and stick to those numbers!

Only buy what you'll actually use

This can be tough. I love multi-colored, hundred-pack eyeshadow palettes with every shade under the rainbow. But I always end up using the same five shades of pink and brown. It can be tough not to buy every gorgeous color that comes under our noses, but your wallet will thank you if you only buy the products that you can see yourself using regularly. That bright purple lipstick with the mixed-in glitter might look awesome on the tester swab, but how often will you really wear it?

This point also highlights the importance of trying before you buy: test foundation on your chin or temples, take a few swipes from a sample of eyeshadow, and compare lipstick shades for as long as you need to know if a product is truly right for you.

Shop for the cheaper brands, but invest in what's worth it

Just because a makeup brand is expensive doesn't mean it's automatically the best. For example, drugstore mascara can work just as well as a name-brand equivalent. The "try before you buy" mentality is key here: with a little research and tester time, you may be able to cut a ton of money out of your makeup budget.

However, you should make room in your budget for more expensive products you can't live without. For example, I have very sensitive eyes and a nickel allergy. Many cheaper mascaras and eyeliners aggravate my eyes, so I know I need to spend a little more on quality products I trust.

Sign up for rewards and discount programs (and use them!)

Shop for sales! This might seem like a no-brainer, but shopping at a discount really can help you save money. Many makeup brands market their big sales weeks or months before they come up, and almost all makeup stores offer some kind of discounts during popular shopping holidays like Labor Day, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday. Some stores offer an immediate discount if you sign up for their email list, and those emails often include advanced sale info, coupon codes, and other discounts to try. A quick Google search before you hit the checkout can save you plenty of hard-earned dollars!

Ask for help

One of the toughest hurdles I had to face when I first started my makeup journey was understanding what products were actually right for my skin tone and experience level. I learned very quickly that liquid eyeliner and I do not get along, but I also had a lot of trouble figuring out what shades of lipstick and foundation I was actually interested in. Because of this, I ended up spending way too much money on makeup I never actually used.

The turning point for me was when I actually asked a makeup tech for help. She took a look at my facial structure and skin tone and helped me pick out a few quality products that I still regularly buy today, including a primer that makes my face look like a million bucks. It can be daunting to walk up to a stranger and ask for makeup tips, but beauty students and makeup counter techs are there to help you. Many beauty students offer event makeup or style sessions for a discounted fee, and you can use these sessions to find out what you actually like (and what looks good on you). From there, you'll know what products to purchase and what to avoid.

The makeup aisle can be daunting, especially if you've got a small budget. However, there are ways to invest in your makeup hobby without spending tons of money or crowding your bathroom counter with supplies you never use. Happy shopping!

Resources— Money Crashers, RetailMeNot, Fustany