woman testing lip-gloss samples on the back of her hand

How to save money on makeup

author: Fiona Peake

By Fiona Peake

Makeup can be a pricey luxury, but many of us love trying a new product or two. We’ve looked into a few ways you can save on your beauty buys - from hacks to lengthen a product’s lifespan to freebies. 

1. Use free samples whenever possible

All you have to do is go up to the makeup counter and ask if they have a sample you can try. If they say no, then you can try somewhere else. If they say yes, then you’ve got a new product to test before you commit. 

2. Add moisturiser to your foundation 

Before applying your foundation, mix it with some moisturiser. This will make your skin lovely and soft but will also make your foundation last longer. Or instead of moisturiser you could mix it with your sun lotion to give you SPF coverage to protect your skin.

You should also only try and use the amount you need. Squeeze it out little by little until you have full coverage rather than squeezing loads out and then realising you’ve decanted too much.   

3. Add talcum powder to your face powder  

Try buying a face powder that is a little darker than your usual shade. Add talcum powder to your face powder until it looks closer to the colour you would usually buy. This will make your face powder last a lot longer and since talcum powder is relatively cheap, it will save you money in the long run.

4. Shop in the sales  

Shop for your makeup in the sales. You could even try combining coupons with sales items to make things even cheaper. Different shops have sales at different times so it might require some hunting around, but it’s a small inconvenience that will save you lots of money over time.  

If you have a favourite makeup and you see it on sale, stock up. It might cost a little bit more upfront, but you’ll be thankful the next time you visit the shops and notice your brand is back up to full price.  

5. Try less expensive brands  

You might’ve been using the same expensive brand for years and feel like you won’t be able to find a cheaper alternative that’s just as good. But have you tried? This gives you the perfect excuse to go out there and try all those free samples on offer.  

You might want to stick to a brand you love for certain products - like a foundation that’s just right for your skin - and then try some budget alternatives for products you don’t use as often – like eyeshadow or bronzer.  

6. Buy multi-use products 

To save money, use items that have more than one purpose (it’s fewer items to carry around to). For example, Nudestix Nudies can be used as a bronzer and an eyeshadow, or Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream, which can be used as a moisturiser, highlighter, lip balm and more. 

7. Make sure you use it all  

Often people throw away containers because they think they’re empty. Instead, try cutting open any squeezable bottles you have, you’ll be surprised at how much makeup you’ve left behind. You can also buy mini spatulas to scoop out those last little bits of makeup.  

8. Reuse mascara brushes  

Often when a mascara advertises different looks you can achieve (length, volume, etc) these are down to the shape of the brush. When you run out of mascara, clean and keep hold of the brush – you can use these to recreate a look in future with another mascara. 

9. Get creative  

If you have lots of makeup lying around that you don’t use, go through it again and see if you can get creative. Do you have a black eyeshadow that you’ve never worn because you felt it was too dark? Try wearing it as eyeliner instead. Or do you have a pink or red lipstick that you just weren’t feeling? Why not try rubbing a little on your cheeks and using it as a blusher instead? 

Be sure to check the expiry date on any makeup you do use, to make sure it's is still within a use-by date. All makeup products should have a ‘period after opening’ symbol somewhere on the container which looks like an open pot, the small number next to this will indicate the number of months the product will last for once opened. 

10. Go makeup free  

This is the ultimate way to save money on makeup – don’t wear any. If you feel comfortable going natural then brilliant, there’s no need to spend money on makeup products. Or if you love makeup and don’t want to give it up for good, try going makeup-free during the day and only wear makeup when it’s a special night out.    

Find out the best time to find reduced supermarket items.

Disclaimer: We make every effort to ensure that content is correct at the time of publication. Please note that information published on this website does not constitute financial advice, and we aren’t responsible for the content of any external sites.

Author Profile Image: Fiona Peake

Fiona Peake

Personal Finance Writer

Fiona is a personal finance writer with over 7 years’ experience writing for a broad range of industries before joining Ocean in 2021. She uses her wealth of experience to turn the overwhelming aspects of finance into articles that are easy to understand.

woman testing lip-gloss samples on the back of her hand woman testing lip-gloss samples on the back of her hand