Makeup Makeup Products Tips & Tricks

Save your dolla bills.

I’m a firm believer that one should never pay for something they can get for free.
In fact I get so proud of my “deals” that I get a case of Price Blurts.
Any passing compliment can trigger me.
“I love your skirt!”
When a simple thanks would do instead I shout out:
“Thank you! I got it at Target for only 10 bucks! It wasn’t that long ago, I bet they still have them!”

When it come to beauty products you gotta have a few tricks up your sleeve, when just a teensy bag of goodies can cost $100 without a sweat. Here are some of mine.

A makeup artist spills her money saving secrets

Check out stores like Nordstrom Rack & TJ Maxx
A lot of people don’t really mosey over to the beauty department in stores like this but it can be TOTALLY worth your time. Often they have the same hair & makeup products you already love for half the price. It’s a fabulous place for tools especially like curling irons, blow dryers and tweezers. My last blow dryer I got there was normally like $200 ucks but I got it for $60.

Coupons and Retailmenot
I’m not one to stress too much about scavenging coupons constantly, because that can be pretty time consuming when you’re not a pro but I do check the paper or sign up for monthly’s from places like Ulta or Walgreens because 9 times out of ten they’ll have something I need in there for buy one get one free or at least 5 bucks off. Another thing I do is stop at retainmenot real quick before making a purchase online. If nothing else they’ll usually hook you up with free shipping!

Sample first
I have a pretty rigorous sampling procedure before I buy anything. I ask for sample of EVERYTHING when I go to Sephora, and listen, if you’re nervous about asking DON’T BE. I’ve been to probably 50 Sephora’s all over the country and I haven’t once been looked at funny for doing it. They seem genuinely happy to package one up for you. If you take home a sample and still love it enough to go back in and buy it, it’s probably not going to be a wasted purchase.

If you don’t use it, Take it back!
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve snuck a peak into a makeup collection that had bundles of unused products. I get it. You try it on in the store and with their fancy lit mirrors it looks stunning, then you get it home and can never quite recreate it the same way…so you throw it aside. Most people don’t realize that most makeup stores have pretty reasonable return policies! Even if you just want to exchange it for another color.

Use your hookup.
I might have stylists everywhere cursing me for this one but if you have a sister-cousin-bff with a beauty license, make her some cookies and ask her to pick you up your favorite (but oh so pricey) hair product next time she goes to the hairstylist only store. They get smokin’ deals there. Luckily I have 1 sister and two sister in-laws that went to hair school, so I can spread the favors around a bit:)

Buy in Bulk
This doesn’t apply to everything (mostly because of expiration dates) but if you have something that you always re-buy, you can usually get a much better deal if you buy it in bulk. I do this with lashes, since I’m a sucker for the wispies I’ll get 15 at a time on amazon.

I hope you all have a lovely weekend


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  • Reply
    May 30, 2014 at 4:46 am

    Great post Cara! Agrre with all of it!

    Another good way is to exchange stuff with friends! If someone gets something you can see how it is and then take the plunge yourself.. besides if they are not using something you can exchange it with some of your stuff which they might like! A lot of bloggers do that I think!

    Most of the companies have F&F sales all year more or less around the same time period.. I wait for those! 🙂 There is no point paying full price for something if you can get it for much less in about a month or two!


  • Reply
    Liz Tea Bee (@LizzTeaBee)
    May 30, 2014 at 4:54 am

    Yes, Sephora’s return policy is extremely generous. I suspect that’s why they are so good about samples. If you sample a product first you’re much less likely to make a return.

    Thing I have to be careful about is not buying things just because they’re on sale. If I go into CVS and Revlon lip products are buy one get one 50% off I always end up buying a second item I didn’t plan on. I don’t think that’s actually saving me money. Also, I’m out of room in the draw where I keep my lip products.

    • Reply
      May 30, 2014 at 10:25 am

      I love that you mentioned this! I almost talked about it but I didn’t want to go on a tangent! I try really hard to make sure I ACTUALLY love something before buying it. Even if it’s %75 off it’s still too much if you’re not gonna use it!

  • Reply
    May 30, 2014 at 6:26 am

    Love this post! I am always looking for deals as well because I hate the idea of paying full price for anything!

    Some other suggestions to add to your awesome list would be to check out Hautelook daily or weekly to see what deals they have going on there! I have purchased many beauty items from this site that are typically around 40-50% off! Also, is a free site to use to get cash back on online purchases you make. I like to wait until I see a 15% cash back deal to make big purchases online, but I am getting in the habit now of always going through ebates before I make any online purchase!

    • Reply
      May 30, 2014 at 10:26 am

      Oh I totally forgot about Hautelook! I love that place! Thanks for reminding me!

  • Reply
    May 30, 2014 at 6:31 am

    RetailMeNot also a mobile app that recognizes where your near participating stores and notifies you.

    • Reply
      May 30, 2014 at 10:27 am

      Need that app asap! THanks for the tip!

  • Reply
    May 30, 2014 at 6:35 am

    Love this post!! I pinch my pennies til they squeal! It’s the only what I have what I do!

    Could you share the link to where you buy the wispies in bulk on Amazon? Thanks love!!

  • Reply
    Emerald Earrings
    May 30, 2014 at 6:36 am

    *the only way. It’s still early here. haha

    • Reply
      May 30, 2014 at 10:29 am

      Hey, I’m the queen of typos! It makes me feel more at home when someone else does em!

  • Reply
    Heidi Hendricksen
    May 30, 2014 at 6:40 am

    Great tips! I also always ask myself if I really need it or if I can get the same thing for a lower price at the drugstore. For example, I don’t buy high-end glosses because there are so many affordable drugstore options that are as good or better.

    • Reply
      May 30, 2014 at 10:30 am

      TOTALLY true! I think I need to post a whole post about what makeup can be bought for cheap and what to splurge on!

      • Reply
        Ashley H
        May 30, 2014 at 11:02 am

        Yes!! You totally should. I’m anxiously awaiting it 😉

      • Reply
        Tina Marie
        May 31, 2014 at 4:54 am

        I’d love to read a post like that!

      • Reply
        May 31, 2014 at 8:22 am


      • Reply
        Sara P
        June 2, 2014 at 11:22 am

        Yes Yes Yes. That would be super helpful!

  • Reply
    May 30, 2014 at 7:04 am

    As a stylist, I love helping people get products at a discounted rate. I also love taking people into the hairstylist only store with me! This is an awesome post, I will say that everyone should be a little leary of buying ‘salon brand’ shampoos and hair care products at places like TJ maxx and Ross and especially Wal-Mart. Those hair care products are actually expired. Best case scenario it has been sitting in a warehouse for 3 years and salons can no longer sell it because its expired so they put it on racks for discounted mounts at ross, Costco, and TJ Maxx. The products are normally discolored, and do not work as well.

    • Reply
      May 30, 2014 at 10:30 am

      That’s a good point! Maybe that’s why I’ve also spent most of my time looking at the tools! Cause they don’t expire…I don’t think so at least!?

  • Reply
    May 30, 2014 at 7:42 am

    This is a great post! I sample from Sephora all the time…it’s the best. It’s a win-win because I’m only buying products that I know I’ll love, and they don’t have to deal with returns/exchanges because people didn’t get to try the products first 🙂
    I never would have thought of Nordstrom Rack… I’ll have to check it out because my hair dryer is dying 😮

  • Reply
    May 30, 2014 at 8:22 am

    Hey Cara, a friendly FYI that it’s Tourettes not turrets. Its a touch insensitive to use a pyschologically and physically painful disorder as a joke on your blog. I’m a fan of yours, dont get me wrong but one would surely never say something as hurtful as ‘I have a case of down syndrome’ to get their point across.

    • Reply
      May 30, 2014 at 10:32 am

      Oh man, I feel so bad for being so insensitive:( I fixed it as soon as I read your comment so thanks so much for bringing that up! Thank you.

      • Reply
        May 30, 2014 at 11:49 am

        I know it wasn’t intentional. Thanks Cara! You’re truly beautiful inside and out!

  • Reply
    May 30, 2014 at 8:46 am

    Great Post! I would love a tutorial on how to apply false lashes…I’m so bad at it & I can’t figure it out! Or maybe you’ve already done one – I’ll search your posts. Help! 🙂 xo

  • Reply
    Rachel @ Blonde with a Chanse
    May 30, 2014 at 8:55 am

    I love these! Im totally checking for coupons from now on! Oh and I tried your hair mask the other day and posted on my blog about it! I really liked it except for the smell haha. What did you think about the smell? You should check out my blog post if you have time 🙂

  • Reply
    May 30, 2014 at 10:44 am

    A case of the price blurts! I just died laughing. I can totally relate! And as someone who just recently got into wearing full makeup (using your tutorials and suggestions, of course), I understand how one “small” purchase can add up to $100+ quickly. Can’t wait to try out these tips!

  • Reply
    May 30, 2014 at 10:51 am

    Love your blog!! When will Medium be back in stock, I am slowly running out…..

  • Reply
    May 30, 2014 at 11:41 am

    Oh I love samples. Such a great way to test out products before you splurge on them.

    Thanks for the tips!

  • Reply
    The Indomitable Amy
    May 30, 2014 at 11:50 am

    I’ve worked at Sephora and samples are part of the company culture. They want you to love what you buy so taking it out for a spin is a must. You can sample not only cosmetics but fragrance as well. You’re allowed up to three samples per visit. Sephora will also color match you for foundation so you know the best color to buy.

  • Reply
    May 30, 2014 at 12:19 pm

    “Price Blurts!” Ha ha! Guilty of that too!!

  • Reply
    Jenna Doeleman
    May 30, 2014 at 12:40 pm

    I’m the same way with coupons, I just don’t really have time to go all out but i ALWAYS tell people to sign up for online newsletters: such a great way to get easy discounts!

  • Reply
    May 30, 2014 at 1:49 pm

    I, too, am a walking, talking product placement, eager to share the sale and/or the store! Trying to learn just to take a compliment, but it’s the habit of a lifetime, and hard to break. And thank you for the great advice–we all have purchased something, sometime that just didn’t work!

  • Reply
    Jenny Owens
    May 30, 2014 at 2:28 pm

    Another way to save money, use cold-pressed grapeseed oil as a cleanser & moisturizer. It sounds crazy, but it is seriously the best thing I have ever used on my face! It does not leave your face oily at all, and it completely removes makeup. I have combination skin (oily t-zone) and was a long time 3 step process girl (cleanser, astringent & moisturizer). Grapeseed oil makes my face look amazing and even makes my HAC go on better. 🙂

    • Reply
      May 31, 2014 at 8:50 pm

      I JUST started doing this. I have weird combo skin, with a DRY t-zone, very odd… The rest of my face is soft and smooth but my forehead, eyebrows and nose were always flaky… so I started massaging grapeseed oil into that area and I’m loving it so far! I do notice I’m not oily afterward, unlike the few times I’ve tried coconut oil – which is a nice makeup remover but much greasier than grapeseed

    • Reply
      Vicki T
      October 31, 2014 at 12:01 pm

      Thank you Jenny!

  • Reply
    May 30, 2014 at 4:04 pm

    Love all these!! Such great ideas, and I laughed at the price thing cause I always do that too, and wonder why I did. I think It makes me feel better to know Im offering up things people can actually afford. haha.
    xo Jenn

  • Reply
    May 30, 2014 at 6:26 pm

    I am totally guilty of the price blurt too….ahhhh, why do I do that?!? I can so relate!! Haha

  • Reply
    carmen ☮ (@CarmenVarner)
    May 30, 2014 at 11:31 pm

    Excellent tips. I need to read this often. I love Retailmenot & I will ask for samples in Sephora without feeling annoying. :] // ☼

  • Reply
    Michelle Kimble
    May 31, 2014 at 1:39 am

    Hi Cara, my Name is also Kara & I’m a make up artist (michelle is my 2nd name) I love love sephora & I totally agree, where you can buy in bulk. I do however use at least 10 different brands with skin products depending on what I have found successful.. goodluck with your website!

  • Reply
    May 31, 2014 at 1:27 pm

    I have a question, when I wear my eyeshadow, eyeliner, or even mascara, it runs and gets under my eyes, and it looks like I’m a zombie… (Which unfortunately I don’t pull off very well.)) any tips on keeping my eye makeup in place?

  • Reply
    Beth and Beauty
    May 31, 2014 at 8:17 pm

    I too do the same thing when someone compliments something I am wearing, I always seem to have to tell them where I got it and sometimes I will even blurt out what I paid for it….LOL! Thanks for all the saving tips! I have my May Empties Blog post up for anyone who would like to view and read it!

  • Reply
    May 31, 2014 at 8:55 pm

    another great tip for drugstore makeup lovers: Bed Bath and Beyonds with Harmon/Face Values makeup sections always seem to have the BEST makeup prices. I’ve been wanting the L’Oreal Color Riche Collection Privée nude lippies… which are about 10 bucks at CVS and Walgreens. I went to BBB and they were only $5.99! Which is even better than getting a bogo 50% off deal at the other stores. Remember, bogo 50% off actually means the product is 25% off, and you have to get 2.

  • Reply
    Michelina Briggs
    June 1, 2014 at 5:46 am

    Hey Cara! I love your blog! And speaking of savings I found this hidden gem…Go to SHOPLUXY.COM and use coupon code H3B to save 30% off your total purchase to celebrate their 3rd year anniversary! Enjoy!

  • Reply
    Megan Hughes
    June 1, 2014 at 10:11 am

    Great post! I always get nervous about asking for samples, I don’t know why. Can they give you samples of anything your interested like in like bronzer

  • Reply
    June 1, 2014 at 7:29 pm

    I have the worst case ever of price blurts and I REALLY need to get better about returning things!

    xx Kelly
    Sparkles and Shoes

  • Reply
    June 2, 2014 at 4:21 am

    “PRICE BLURT” – Love this!!!

  • Reply
    Beth Genereux
    June 2, 2014 at 6:19 pm

    I totally price blurt. ALL THE TIME!

  • Reply
    Ann C.
    June 4, 2014 at 7:12 pm

    Hi Cara and all,

    I just wanted to pass on a little tip from inside the industry… you definitely don’t need to spend a lot on brow, lip and eye products. Most of the high end brands sell the exact same formulas for much more than the mid to low end brands do. This is because most companies don’t produce these items themselves due to the specialized production equipment that is required. So instead they use contract manufacturers who sell to many brands at the same time.

    So I am constantly amazed when I see Clinique or Lancome sell the exact same products for four times as much as Jordana or Palladio does. Not just the same base formulas, but often the same shades when they pick from ‘stock’ to speed up the launch process or purposely copy another best selling brand (such as Urban Decay or Stila).

    So if you think the products are the same, you’re probably right!

  • Reply
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  • Reply
    December 17, 2014 at 9:09 am

    These are some great tips! I feel like I dork. I never thought to ask for a sample. LOL

  • Reply
    February 7, 2015 at 9:36 pm

    I’ve never tried to ask for samples at sephora before. I always thought we could only try the products out through the samples left out on display- which I’m not always a fan of since they are open and so many people touch and use it. Do they give samples for all types of beauty products? Lipsticks, face makeup, eye makeup?

  • Reply
    June 24, 2015 at 12:25 am

    Don’t forget Ulta’s biannual 21 days of beauty! Twice a year (March and September I think?) Ulta holds this super special sale where for 21 days they showcase a different popular item for super cheap. Last time I got Too Face’s “Sweethearts Flush Blush” for $15! Normally its like $30. I’ve also seen Urban Decay’s primer potion go on sale for half off.

    TJ Maxx and Burlington Coat Factory are totally amazing for finding high end make up! I got Butter London nail polish, normally retailed at $18, for $5!! I also got a Makeup Forever palette for $16 (normally 30). I was so excited. 🙂 Ross is a lot harder to find stuff like that but once I did find a Tweezerman tweezers priced at $5 (normally $19).

  • Reply
    July 20, 2015 at 2:58 pm

    I had no idea sephora gave away samples! I am way late in the game! Feel like I just hit to goldmine with this trick. Thanks for sharing!

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