The following is a guest post written by Andrea Woroch, a nationally-recognized consumer and money-saving expert who helps consumers live on less without radically changing their lifestyles.
With 2011 beauty sales surpassing $38 billion in the U.S. alone, it’s no wonder beauty and personal care products command such a high percentage of our monthly expenses. You don’t have to break the bank in your pursuit of healthy skin and regular highlights, however. Read on for 10 beauty budget hacks that will leave you looking fabulous for less.
1. Try Before You Buy
In addition to requesting samples, you can subscribe to BirchBox.com to find out which new beauty products work best for you. You can customize monthly shipments based on your skin type and other preferences like natural ingredients or anti-aging products. At just $10 per month, this service is a frugal way to find out which products work best for you.
2. Ditch Name-Brand
As much as we’d all love our beauty boudoirs to be overflowing with Dior and Bobbi Brown, spending a month’s worth of lattes on a two-pack of eye shadow is just silly. Since there’s not much chemical difference between designer and drugstore products, opting for the latter will save your pocketbook without sacrificing your look.
3. Get Free Samples
It’s hard to find products that work without testing them, so ask for a trial size before you commit to a full-size version. Department stores and beauty retailers like Sephora will give you samples for free. Also, check freebie sites like MrFreeStuff.com to find complimentary health and beauty samples including shampoo, conditioner, body lotion and more.
4. Try Store Brands
When it comes to sunscreen, generic is the way to go for better protection at a better price. Consumer Reports found that some name brands failed the test when it came to UVA and UVB protection despite costing 30-percent more. When shopping for other products like body lotion, compare ingredient lists between name-brand and store-brand. In some cases, ingredient lists are identical and the only difference between the products is price.
5. Get Rewarded
Reward programs are key to saving money on beauty products at drug stores and specialty shops. When you become a Sephora Beauty Insider, for example, every dollar spent earns you one reward point, plus you get a complimentary gift on your birthday and free samples with every order. The ExtraCare Beauty Club offered by CVS gives you 10-percent off your first beauty purchase after enrollment, plus $5 ExtraBucks rewards for every $50 spent and extra points on your birthday.
6. Buy the Mini Size
Though you may think “more is more” when it comes to beauty packaging, sometimes the travel size is a better value. For instance, mascara can dry up quickly and you may not use all the product you paid for. Buy the smaller tube for up to 50-percent less and simply replace it with another travel-size product when it runs out.
7. Use Coupons
You don’t have to subscribe to your city’s newspaper for access to the beauty coupons. In fact, some of the best offers are found in women’s magazines or online, where sites like Coupon Sherpa aggregate online coupons for beauty and other categories. You can also download their app for in-store savings to Ulta, Macy’s, Sephora, Lord & Taylor and more.
8. Be Adventurous
Haircuts and color treatments can cost hundreds of dollars per appointment, making them one of the costliest beauty procedures. If you’re style borders on adventurous, consider getting your hair cut by budding hairdressers for free. Students and trainees need volunteers to help perfect their craft and are often supervised by professionals to ensure you leave with a style you like. You can also check with your local salon about model application opportunities, since they also seek people willing to sport trendy looks in exchange for free services.
9. Get Creative
Some beauty products can do double duty during your routine, saving you money on redundant items. For example, the right cream blush doubles as a great lipstick, while baby powder can be substituted for dry shampoo. Even sunscreen can be swapped for lower-cost body lotion containing SPF15. Evaluate your routine and determine where you can stretch your products for savings.
10. Buy in Bulk
While we might not consider deodorant and toothpaste to be beauty essentials, we can all agree that it’s tough to feel pretty without them. These pricey toiletries can be purchased for less in bulk, so scour the aisles of Costco and Sam’s Club for multi-packs of morning routine essentials. You can even find popular brands of body lotion and hair products for up to 30-percent less at warehouse stores.
Andrea Woroch is a nationally-recognized consumer and money-saving expert who helps consumers live on less without radically changing their lifestyles. From smart spending tips to personal finance advice, Andrea transforms everyday consumers into savvy shoppers. She has been featured among top news outlets such as Good Morning America, NBC’s Today, MSNBC, New York Times, Kiplinger Personal Finance, CNNMoney and many more. You can follow her on Twitter for daily savings advice and tips.