How to buy cheap cosmetics, (or not!)

I realised by checking my referal stats that an awful lot of people seem to land here by searching for “how to buy cheap cosmetics’ “how to buy cheap mac cosmetics” “how to buy cheap revlon cosmetics” (and so on and so forth). No doubt it’s similar for many beauty bloggers. Here is my advice on buying ‘cheap’ cosmetics;

Step 1 – is to work out your budget, and whether this is a once off or recurring budget item. You can get good makeup in any price point but there will often be a step up in quality with different price points.

Step 2 – is to work which look you are going as that (with the price point) will drive the brands you buy. If you are going for a subtle, neutral based look you might look at Benefit or Bobbi Brown, a colourful, latest trend based look might come from MAC or Illamasqua, and a classic look might come from Elizabeth Arden or Chanel.

Step 3 – Do a search and review all your current makeup. (Try putting it in an app like My Makeup Collection even!). Figure out which items you need to complete the look you want (eyeliners, lipsticks, etc) and what colours you might be look for and this should hopefully narrow down your selection

Step 4 – OK, hit the internet. Try the makeupalley reviews and try some google searches for blog reviews. See what other users like and which products do not work.

Step 5 – Tired yet? TIME TO SHOP. It looks like you know what you want and how much you have to spend. Try online retailers but be wary as there are fake cosmetics by the tonne out there (be very wary of OPI nail polish and MAC cosmetics on ebay, these are notorious for high levels of fake products). Try the very highest rated ebay sellers but also try the (home) websites of the brands – urban decay, benefit and stila for example all do great run out on their sites. Also worth trying the retailers like,, and Compare prices regularly as sales come and go and it’s worth stocking up on the flash sales.

Step 6 – Sob a little. You want makeup you can’t afford! You don’t want fake products! Try the makeup sales on blogs and forums like and People with huge collections will often be selling barely used products and you can pick up some bargains if you search around enough. Also try the tester bar at your drugstore. People are often amazed by how much Essence makeup I have, but it’s great quality for the (very low) price point and a great way to try trends I’m not 100% sold on yet.

Anyway, what are your tips on saving money on cosmetics?


3 thoughts on “How to buy cheap cosmetics, (or not!)

  1. Forgot to add my tips! I “like” the brand I want on Facebook and follow on Twitter, I always check before a purchase in case they have released a discount code etc – this worked for me when Illamasqua did the 50% off for Twitter followers ^_^
    I also price check on a few different websites (Amazon, Feel Unique etc) and then I check for discount codes for each site. It’s time consuming but it does pay off when you’re on a budget ^_^

  2. This is great advice!! I would also recommend following people on facebook and signing up for newsletters (as Hankie suggested) plus just ask other people/bloggers about discount codes, the internet knows things. For the UK and are so good places for bargains (including OPI). TK MAXX occasionally has higher end products but it is definitely more of a lucky dip as to whether you track down the specific item you want. Researching ‘dupes’ is a great way to get nail polish that looks the same as high end but for a cheaper price – the highstreet is forever mimicking the luxury brands (and sometimes they do it better). Whilst I agree that there is a step up in quality most of the time with beauty products somethings work better on some people than others so I think it’s important to remind everyone that it’s about what works for you and that the amount of money you put into a product will not ALWAYS reflect what you get out of it. So basically to reflect your blog post: research, research, research!

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