Between a moisturizer for day and another for night, an anti-aging serum (it’s never too early or too late in my book), toner, and facial cleanser, a trip to the cosmetics counter can easily set me back hundreds of dollars and that’s not including makeup.
OK, I admit it: I’m a sucker for the cosmetics counter. It’s bad. I like everything from the mini-makeovers to the tissue-stuffed bags the products come in. What can you do to save when you’ve got a high-end habit like mine—besides rack up rewards points at Sephora? I asked Rachelle Weisberger, author of “Biblical Beauty” (Anbern Press, 2011) for three of her top money-saving beauty tips.
Look for products that multitask. Downsize your beauty routine by choosing a few multifunctional skin care products suited to your skin type. “Use a moisturizer formulated with anti-aging ingredients, such as antioxidants, peptides, alpha hydroxyl acids, such as glycolic acid, lactic acid and malic acid, beta hydroxyl acids, or retinol,” Weisberger says. Your day and night moisturizer should contain as many of these ingredients as possible, she says.
Buy starter sets. Starter sets contain smaller sizes of skincare products formulated to work together. You’ll get a complete set or near complete set of skincare for day and night at a fraction of the price of what it would cost for full-sizes the products—and some order to your routine. “Starter sets a good way to try out a line to see if it’s right for you,” Weisberger says. You can also ask for trial sizes or bring your own small jar and ask for a sample to take home. Try-before-you-buy-works for everything from skincare to foundation, Weisberger says.
Buy products online. Once you have your fave products in mind, shop around for the best deal. “Cosmetics and skincare is often cheaper online than it is in stores,” Weisberger says.
In fact, we asked our secret shoppers to price 38 top-selling products online and in stores across the country, and then we crunched the numbers to total up how many products were cheapest and how man were most expensive at each retailer. The winner? Our research shows that HarmonDiscounts.com had the highest number of lowest priced items on our shopping list. Next best for low prices were Walmart and Target stores. The store that had the highest number of highest prices? CVS.
Wait for coupons, too. Every quarter or so, Lord & Taylor issues a coupon for 25 percent off most everything, including cosmetics. They also send out a $15 or $20 bonus card that’s good on anything. You can bet I’m at the cosmetics counter when these coupons roll around.
How about you: What’s your favorite way to save on make-up and skincare?