Where to Buy and Find the Best Deals on Beauty Products
For the modern woman, deciding where to shop for the best beauty deals is a challenging task, albeit a fun one! With so many diverse brands, breakthrough solutions and product-packed beauty emporiums, a girl can get lost in a sea of pretty options. We’re taking a look at the most common essentials, as well as important considerations to help you make the savviest investments for your overall beauty routine.
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Your skin is the ultimate canvas for the makeup you wear, so it needs to be in prime condition prior to those applications. Determine your skin type first in order to address its main needs. Whether you’re fighting dullness or fine lines, there are lotions and potions specifically made for your concerns.
All cleansers are certainly not created equal, and that’s a good thing. Depending on your skin type, you may require a specific formula that’s designed to treat acne with benzoyl peroxide, or stave off dry zones via hyaluronic acid. Cleansing oils and micellar cleansing water both clean the skin without stripping it of moisture, as well. The point is, if you wear makeup, you need a good cleanser.
Taking off your makeup is an involved process, so look for formulas that tackle eye makeup as well as foundation. Basic face washes usually run between $3 and $10, while high-end cleansers cost closer to $20.
Drugstore: CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser, $7 to $12 depending on deals.
Department store: Philosophy Purity Made Simple One-Step Facial Cleanser, $24 (Slickdealer alineang calls this classic “a great product.”)
Moisturizers and Eye Creams
Keeping your skin hydrated is crucial to preventing wrinkles and maintaining a youthful glow. Most stores will give you samples of high-end night creams to help in your decision-making process. Those with sensitive skin are wise to choose fragrance-free varieties, while noncomedogenic formulas with retinol work well on ance-prone skin.
When choosing a day cream, look for a moisturizer that contains sunscreen to protect skin and eliminate the need for multiple products. Keep in mind, however, that just because you’re moisturizing the rest of your face, that doesn’t mean you can forego wearing an eye cream. This area is especially thin and contains fewer oil glands, making it more prone to wrinkles and discoloration.
We know what you're thinking -- the price difference of the products below is too extreme, right? How can one product cost only a few dollars, while another rings in at nearly $200? Don't worry. We haven't slipped on our night creams, bumped our heads and lost all common sense. The cost of moisturizer just varies widely by brand and formula, which is why it pays to shop around. Some folks believe in the power of simple ingredients and sing the praises of natural wonders like argan oil and witch hazel. Others, however, turn to scientific inventions like those from La Mer, which was developed by an aerospace physicist to treat burns he sustained in a laboratory accident. The main thing is to find a product that gives your skin results – whether that’s a $3 Vitamin E cream or a luxury solution such as La Mer's renowned Miracle Broth™.
Drugstore: Olay Complete All Day Facial Moisturizer with Sunscreen, $5.94 (for 2 oz.)
Department store: Crème de la Mer Moisturizing Cream, $170 (for 1 oz.)
Prep your skin for a restorative night’s sleep by sloughing off dead skin cells. Most dermatologists recommend exfoliating once or twice per week to prevent breakouts and reveal healthier, brighter skin. Plus, exfoliation helps products penetrate the skin easier, so you’ll see better results all around.
You can generally expect to pay at least $3 for a basic exfoliator. Some luxury exfoliating treatments and microdermabrasion products run just under $100 MSRP depending on the other skincare ingredients they offer. These costlier formulas are sometimes just hyped-up basics parading themselves in better packaging, but some resurfacing treatments are equipped to even out your skin tone and fade scars.
Drugstore: St. Ives Blemish Control Apricot Scrub, $3.54
Department store: Kate Somerville ExfoliKate® Intensive Exfoliating Treatment, $22
Choosing your signature scent is no easy task; it usually takes time and a spritz or two of patience. Prior to purchasing a full-size bottle, plan a trip to a department store or beauty retailer, and don’t be afraid to ask for lots of samples so you’re not overwhelmed with a handful of tester strips.
The post-holiday shopping season is usually ripe with fragrance offers. You’ll find lots of discounted layering sets and multi-use products and gift sets. Look for semi-annual sales at stores like Bath & Body Works and Victoria’s Secret in January or February, as well as in June or July, to score items in the $3 range. If your preferred scent is a costlier one, plan your purchase during special promotions or site-wide sales events, and buy a larger bottle if given the chance, as you usually pay less per ounce by doing so.
Drugstore: Victoria's Secret Love Spell Fragrance Mist, $14
Department store: Elizabeth and James Nirvana Black, $60
The best things in life are certainly free, but as Coco Chanel once said, “The second best are very expensive.” The average woman spends $15,000 on makeup alone throughout the course of her lifetime, so it pays to look for opportunities to save on the beauty items you use frequently.
You want to put your best face forward each day, and that starts with a smooth, even complexion. In the past, selecting a foundation that matched your skin perfectly was almost impossible, but Sephora has taken the guesswork out of the process entirely with its Color IQ system. A hand-held scanner is used in-store to pinpoint your unique shade. Once you know your Color IQ number, you can browse the store’s inventory for exact product matches, giving you access to countless brands and formulas.
If you prefer more coverage, look for sets that combine primer, foundation, concealer and finishing powder all in one package. These combinations are typically less expensive than buying the products individually, and using them together gives you a flawless finish. For those who like a sheer base, tinted moisturizers and mineral makeup provide a lightweight glow. Slickdealer theresa7576 is a huge fan of Bare Escentuals, commenting that the mineral makeup brand is “addictive… once you try a product, and then the next, you can't even fathom going back to anything else.”
Spring is typically the time of year when beauty brands unveil lots of new makeup products, so look for slashed prices on foundation around the month of April. If your skin is especially tolerant, most dollar stores carry basic $1 formulas, but their shade ranges are usually limited. For those with skin concerns or sensitivity, you’re generally safer going with a specialized foundation, which can run between $20 and $40.
Drugstore: e.l.f. Studio Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20, $3
Department store: bareMinerals Up Close & Beautiful: 30 Day Complexion Starter Kit, $22
If eyes are indeed the windows to the soul, then eye makeup is the perfect way to make a great first impression. Urban Decay’s beloved Naked Palette is a popular option (and you can often find some good deals on it.) You can't go wrong with drugstore classics like Maybelline’s Great Lash Mascara either. User morningking raves that it “makes your eyes look bigger and gives your lashes more definition.” Frame those pretty peepers with eyeliner and a brow pencil – and don’t forget a gentle, but effective, eye makeup remover, like Mary Kay’s oil-free favorite. If you have, should we say, less than full eyebrows that require a lot of penciling in, you could also explore microblading for a more semi-permanent solution.
Eye makeup has a very short shelf life across the board, so it makes sense to take advantage of lower cost items since you’ll be replacing these products frequently. Depending on the selection, you can often find drugstore brands at dollar stores. Generally speaking, you’ll likely spend between $3 and $9 on eye makeup basics, while department store eye shadow palettes and mascaras will generally cost between $20 and $30. Many times, you're just paying for cute packaging or a dramatically shaped mascara brush, so consider that when making your purchase.
Drugstore: Maybelline Great Lash Mascara, $3.79
Department store: Lancôme Définicils High Definition Mascara, $27.50
Whether you prefer a glossy nude lip or a daring matte red, the lipstick you choose says a lot about your personality. Keep a few classic shades on hand to complement your outfits and eye makeup, or simplify your whole routine with a stick that doubles as cream blush and eye shadow, like The Multiple by Nars.
You typically get more bang for your buck by purchasing lip colors that are safe to use on your cheeks, as well. Brands like e.l.f. offer vegan formulas such as this versatile $1 color stick, while similar products may run you closer to $40. Much like the rules of foundation, keep your skin in mind when deciding between saving or splurging. If you don't have skin sensitivities, you can likely get by with cheaper options. If those ingredients make you break out though, you may be forced into spending extra or using a lipstick that's made exclusively for your lips.
Drugstore: Maybelline Baby Lips Moisturizing Lip Gloss, $4.49
Department store: M·A·C Ruby Woo Lipstick, $16
Hair Care ^
Between heat styling and frequent color treatments, a woman’s hair takes a beating in the name of vanity. When it comes to buying hair care essentials, factoring in your hair type and its overall condition is vital to getting the results you desire. Fine hair can benefit from volume-boosting varieties like Drybar’s Texas Tea Shampoo, while those with thicker hair may prefer cleansing conditioners such as those made by Wen. Dry shampoo extends the life of your blowout, and heat protectant sprays are a must-have for preventing damage caused by curling irons and straighteners.
Brands like V05 and Suave make shampoo and conditioner affordable at around $1 or $2 per bottle. Specialty hair care products can vary, but many fall between $10 and $25. Sometimes, you're just paying for the scent of sandalwood or a fancy bottle to decorate your shower. Other times, you're truly improving the look and feel of your hair, so invest accordingly.
Drugstore: Organix Renewing Moroccan Argan Oil Shampoo, $7.99
Department store: Living Proof Full Shampoo, $24
Shopping Tips ^
When shopping around for the best beauty deals, certain strategies can save you a pretty penny. Take advantage of these tips and tricks to keep your bank account looking just as lovely as you do.
Incentives and Rewards
No matter what you spend on beauty purchases throughout the year, you can always take advantage of rewards programs that offer birthday gifts and access to exclusive products and discounts. Ulta and Sephora both allow you to earn one point per dollar you spend, but keep in mind that their points are redeemed differently. At Ulta, points add up to dollar amounts off future purchases, while at Sephora, points are redeemed for certain deluxe samples. Beauty.com and drugstore.com are linked with one another, making it a cinch to buy high-end and low-end items at the same time. Plus, you’ll score drugstore.com dollars to use toward future purchases. Stores such as M·A·C and Kiehl’s offer free products in return for their recycled containers, which is a great incentive to go green.
Vloggers and Bloggers
Wondering how to “bake” your undereye concealer? Unsure how to contour without looking streaky? YouTube beauty vloggers offer application tips and advice on which products work best, so it’s like getting professional help in the comfort of your own home. As a bonus, you’ll usually find promo codes for the products shown by clicking on the video descriptions. Beauty bloggers and makeup fanatics also sell their gently used or unused items on sites like Makeup Addict Blog Sale at deeply discounted prices.
Numerous makeup devotees are committed to finding beauty “dupes” that mimic higher priced bestsellers. If you’re lusting after a certain designer lipstick, blush or eye shadow, do a search to look for its lower-priced color substitute.
Subscription services like Ipsy and Birchbox are perfect for women who love trying the latest and greatest products on the market. These companies send their subscribers a monthly package of deluxe samples. Services like this can save you money by satisfying your desire to try multiple new products on a regular basis. Some sites, like Amazon, also have their subscribe & save deals on beauty products where they give you a discount if you become a subscriber. Take advantage of the promotion and then cancel your subscription if that's not your thing.
Price Comparison Tools
Have your heart set on Lime Crime’s Cashmere Velvetine but not finding the deal you want? Set a Deal Alert to receive a notification when a discount arises. Also, check out our Price Tracker tool to see a product's current price, along with all-time highs and lows. You can even set a notification that will alert you when the price meets your specific criteria, making it easy to score a deal on any item you love.
What stores do you look to for the best beauty deals? Let us know your savvy shopping tips and favorite products in the comments section below!
Images courtesy of ©iStock.com/sturti, Ulta, La Mer, Target, Sephora, Wen, Dupethat and Birchbox.
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