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10 tips to save on makeup
The makeup industry is sitting pretty, raking in about $7 billion a year in sales.
Everybody wants to look their best. But at what cost?
According to a 2008 study by the nonprofit YWCA, U.S. women spend $7 billion a year on cosmetics (.pdf file). Meanwhile, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (.pdf file) says Americans -- so this figure is averaged across men and women -- spent about $600 each in 2009 on "personal care."
Makeup is a product that in many cases costs pennies to produce but dollars to buy. And spending extra money by shopping at department and specialty stores doesn't necessarily mean a better value.
Even cosmetics professionals acknowledge that expensive brands aren't always the best. Check out the following video, then meet me below for more.
10 ideas to save on makeup:
- Take stock of your makeup bag to see what you actually need. Some people are impulsive buyers who grab something on sale every time they're in the store, while others just forget what they have and never use it. And many people get to the end of a lipstick or mascara but are reluctant to throw it out -- waste not, want not -- but don't know what to do with it.
- When you have only a little lipstick left, scrape it into an empty, clean container like an old lip gloss bottle. You can mix it with other shades and use a lip brush to apply it, and adding a little Vaseline can turn it into a gloss. You should use a lip brush with any lipstick, anyway, to avoid over-applying.
- You can make the most of nearly gone mascara, too: Set it up in a glass of warm water or heat it with your hair dryer to get a little more out.
- Extend the life of your liquid foundation and concealer by using half as much and mixing it with a dab of facial lotion instead.
- For non-liquid foundation, this MSN beauty tips article suggests getting your makeup sponge a bit wet before you dip it in. The sponge will soak up less foundation this way, so you won't overuse it. (The article has a lot of other tips for saving money.)
- Some people get in the habit of putting on makeup every day. Try wearing it only when you go out, or at least minimize what you put on in a casual situation to something simple like lip gloss and mascara.
- Get free samples where you can. Department stores might offer them on certain days, or on request, and you can also get them online. Don't be tricked into expensive "freebies" where you have to make a big minimum purchase to get a free gloss kit: A "$30 value!" isn't worth spending $50. Some sites like Ulta.com and Sephora.com will give you freebies with any order -- which means they actually are free.
- Some products are worth paying more for if you have sensitive skin, but for things that won't affect your skin -- eye liner, mascara, lip gloss -- buy less expensive brands from dollar stores, drugstores and outlet stores. These places often have respectable brands like Maybelline and E.L.F. at much cheaper prices. Drugstores like CVS or Walgreens often have decent weekly deals, like buy one get one free or 50% off.
- If you have to have a department store brand, shop online and look for discounts. Try eBay. Just make sure you're getting a new product and the expiration date is listed.
- If you're really serious about getting discounts, consider becoming an Avon representative or a Mary Kay consultant so you'll be able to buy at wholesale prices for you and your friends. But know what you're getting into, and don't end up on the hook for a huge stock of inventory.