Overspending on beauty purchases is something that many of us are not-so-secretly guilty of, and while we all wish we could have the unlimited spending power to buy all the luxury lipsticks and eyeshadow palettes out there, most of the time we end up with a lot of products that we never touch again, and a wallet that’s empty before our next paycheck comes in.
But fret not – being a beauty junkie doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to save on meals and take on side hustles just to buy that cushion foundation you’ve been lusting after!
There are many, many tips and hacks that fellow makeup and skincare addicts have tried and tested in order to save tons of bucks without having to say goodbye to their favourite products, so we gathered the best ones in a list to share them with you here!
1. Keep a record of your lipstick shades for easy checking
We know you love that flattering red bean paste lipstick shade, but we also know that you don’t need 99 lipsticks in the same shade.
DIY lipstick swatch books are a great way for you to keep track of all the shades in your lipstick inventory, and it’s not as difficult to create as you imagine.
You can either do it digitally by creating a photo album with images of all the lipsticks and shades that you own, or by creating a physical scrapbook where you apply the lip products directly to the paper or use a cotton swab to do so.
The latter will certainly be more time-consuming, as you have to take your time to ensure that you don’t smear any swatches and give each page of swatches time to dry before moving on. However, it also leaves you with an easy way to see all the lipstick swatches at a glance so that you don’t (unintentionally) buy the same shade of red over and over again.
2. Buy travel-size before committing to a new product
Travel sizes aren’t just good for travelling with – they are a perfect way to try out a new product before you commit to buying the full-sized version!
Makeup products can be swatched in stores, which takes the guesswork out of it most of the time. However, it often takes about one to two weeks before you can tell for sure whether they work for you, and testing them in stores is only helpful if you need to test for possible skin irritations.
That being said, we also highly recommend buying travel sizes if you are buying online if you are buying a certain makeup or skincare product for the first time since you can’t do swatches or patch tests before making the purchases.
You can check out our list of best travel-sized beauty products to see if a product that you’re interested to try out comes in a smaller version!
3. Buy travel-sized mascaras if you can never finish it within 3 months
This may come as a surprise to you, but yes, you are recommended to toss out your mascara after three to six months!
Wet environments harbour bacteria, which is why mascara has such a short expiration period. Bacteria also naturally exist on our eyelashes and these germs are transferred from our eyes to our wands and into the mascara tube. In fact, research from two Brazilian university studies found that 79% of mascara samples owned by women are contaminated with staph bacteria – urgh!
Instead of buying a full tube that will probably expire before you get around to finishing it, you’re much better off buying a travel-sized mascara that will last you for just the right duration.
4. Buy your favourites and holy grails in bulk sizes
On the other hand, there are some holy grail skincare and makeup products that you use everyday without fail, and it only makes sense to buy them in bulk or in larger volumes because the cost per unit works out to be much lower, e.g. toner, cleanser, moisturiser.
But don’t just take our word for it! This may not necessarily apply to all brands or products, so it’s up to you to do the math and make sure that you are actually paying less for more.
5. Collect samples
You may feel like a cheapskate for collecting all these samples from brands, but trust us, you may actually find your new holy grail among those samples that you’ve collected!
Many brands, particularly skincare, are big on giving samples to consumers – think of them as travel-sized products that allow you to try out the product before you commit to a full-sized one. Although the size is a little too small for full effects to take place, they are great for doing patch tests if you have sensitive and/or acne-prone skin or at least to test and see if you like the texture and scent.
6. Buy multi-tasking products
Have you ever wondered what makes a cream blush different from a cream lipstick?
The truth is, you don’t really need a different product to apply on different parts of your face, which is why more brands such as Nudestix have released products that are meant to be used on your eyes, lips, AND cheeks!
In the same vein, brands have also started streamlining skincare products so that you don’t have to religiously do a 10-step skincare routine everyday. Forget essences, serums, ampoules, lotions, and emulsifiers – sometimes all you need is just one good moisturiser to give you that glowing skin you’ve been dreaming of.
7. Invest in quality makeup brushes
Before you berate us for making you spend more money, hear us out.
There is not much point in buying an expensive eyeshadow or foundation if you don’t have the proper tools to apply the products properly, and sometimes even drugstore makeup can look great if you use high-quality brushes to apply them expertly.
Our advice is to invest in a good set of brushes (like Wayne Goss brushes) so that you’re set to go for a long, long time.
8. If you buy a lipstick but don’t like the colour, layer it with another lippie
We’ve all been there before: we fall in love with a certain lipstick shade at some point of time in our lives, only to grow out of it after a while. Either that or we buy a lipstick online, only to find that it is nowhere near the shade stated in the pictures.
If you love the lipstick formula but just don’t like the colour, don’t throw it out just yet! There are many ways you can save all those lipsticks by layering different colours. It takes a bit of trial and error, but you’ll eventually be able to find a colour combination that you love.
You can also add a lip liner underneath or a lip gloss on top to darken or lighten your lipstick shade – it certainly saves more money than tossing out lipsticks that no longer flatter you!
9. Get the last of any liquid makeup out of a tube using hot water and a small container
Make-up in tubes and jars (especially glass jars) often end up having a lot of excess product up the sides that we find difficult to pump out, but here’s a secret: you can actually get those out of the tube!
All you have to do is place the container in a cup of boiling water, and the heat will make the product slide down to the bottom. You can then scoop it out with a spoon or a knife so your bottle of foundation lasts you for another one or two weeks.
10. Make your perfume last longer with unscented lotion
If you are down to the last few drops of your perfume, here’s a nifty trick so you don’t have to rush out to buy a new bottle: simply pour the last of used perfume into an unscented lotion, and you now have a whole bottle of lotion that smells exactly like your favourite fragrance!
11. Don’t apply your liquid foundation with a sponge
Beauty sponges are makeup gurus’ favourites for applying liquid foundation seamlessly on skin, but here’s the bad news for your wallets: they also absorb foundation, which is why you may find that you are depleting your foundation bottles a lot quicker than you expect.
The alternative is to apply with a brush or simply your fingers. You’ll be surprised at how well your fingers can actually blend your foundation on the skin – just make sure you wash your hands thoroughly before doing so, or you risk getting germs and bacteria on your face!
12. Fix broken eyeshadows and pressed powders with a little rubbing alcohol
This is a life-changing hack that has saved lots of pressed powders and eyeshadows, and it takes just five minutes to get your expensive babies looking as good as new.
All you have to do is crush everything up (yes, including the parts that are still intact), add a few drops of rubbing alcohol, and let it soak in. To flatten and smoothen out the product, you can simply use your finger or the back of a spoon. Give it one night for the rubbing alcohol to totally dry up, and there you have it – you never would have guessed that it used to be a crumbled mess the day before!
13. Turn eyeshadow into a custom nail colour by mixing the pigment with clear polish
What do you do when you don’t want to splurge on new nail polishes or want to make the best out of your expired eyeshadows? You make your own nail polish with your eyeshadows!
It takes just 10 minutes to mix the colours to achieve the exact polish shade you want, and you can even mix different shades together to create complex and intricate designs that no one else will have.
The best part? You don’t even have to spend a single cent!
Get the directions here.
14. Cut your makeup sponges in half to get more uses out of them
This is pure math – all you have to do is cut your sponges into half, and you get twice the number of sponges that you can work with.
You can also do the same with your Beautyblender, though it may take a little more conviction and courage to snip your SGD32 sponge into two.
15. Fix broken lipstick by heating it quickly with a match or hairdryer
Accidents like these happen even to the best of us, and there’s no need to beat yourself up over it because it can be easily fixed – with some heat!
These are what you need to do to get your favourite lipstick back into 1 piece:
- Heat the lipstick stub with a match or blow dryer to melt the product until it’s soft and creamy.
- Begin to extract the broken piece of lipstick from the tube and roll up the remaining stub as much as possible.
- Use the blow dryer or a lit matchstick to slightly melt the broken pieces.
- Stick the top part of the lipstick back onto the base and place it into a fridge until cool completely.
- Remove the lipstick and smooth out the lumps, if there is any with your fingers or a toothpick.
16. Store your makeup in the fridge to make it last longer
Although your beauty products state that the expiration dates are usually two to three years after the manufacturing date, chances are that they will expire much earlier if you have already opened them up to use. This is especially so for products that have oil, like lipsticks and liners and foundation, which are at risk of turning rancid if not stored properly.
Hence, you are recommended to keep your beauty products fresh for as long as possible by storing them in a cool, dry place like the fridge. Beauty fridges are an option if you want to separate your usual groceries from your moisturisers, but if you really want to save those bucks, your normal refrigerator will do just the trick.
17. Get drugstore dupes of your luxury holy grails
Many holy grail products can cost a bomb, and most of us really do not have the spending power to splurge on them frequently, yet we can’t bear to part with the fantastic results that we have seen after using these products.
Here’s the good news: many of our favourite makeup and skincare products do have cheaper alternatives that work just as well, if not better.
Don’t believe us? Check out our article on the best holy grail dupes that you have to know about – you’ll be surprised by how many drugstore products are favoured over their more expensive counterparts the cost difference!
18. Use what you already have…
This is much easier said than done – if it were that simple, we wouldn’t be struggling to remember when we bought those items tucked away in a corner of our vanity table.
Here’s one reason that will convince you to stick to those skincare products you’ve just bought: in general, it is usually not a great idea to switch things around before they’ve had an honest chance to work. According to dermatologists, it is difficult to see a lot of results from any product before eight weeks, and by the time you’ve seen enough results, you would most likely have finished that bottle already!
You are also recommended to give each product at least two weeks before you introduce another one as a general rule of thumb, so there’s not much point in buying, say, fifty new skincare products at the same time, because chances are that most of them will expire before you even realise it.
19. …but if you can’t, keep your eyes peeled for sales and deals!
Being beauty junkies ourselves, we understand that there’s no stopping you from splurging during the festive season or treating yourself after a long and tiring work month.
There’s nothing wrong with treating yourself once in a month, but if you really want to cut down on your purchases, the trick is to be strategic – there are usually many different sales and deals happening all year round, you just have to pick the right one that gives you the biggest discounts, or constantly track your favourite product online to see if they may be going at a huge clearance discount!
We know that you’re a prudent shopper. These articles have tips and recommendations you’re going to find very useful:
- 20 Sephora shopping tips, according to a Gold member
- 7 pro tips for shopping for foundations online
- 7 must-know tips to making the best out of your next overseas beauty shopping spree
- 20 best drugstore concealers under SGD15
- 31 products from Japanese drugstores that you must get