Cheap Makeup Hacks

As a college student in the US I am broke. In light of this I have discovered many ways to wring every bit of value out of anything I can. This includes makeup. Here are a few tips I’ve discovered:



Ask for Free samples of makeup (foundation, skincare) 


I spend the most money on foundation. High end foundation has a larger range of shades which is important for my Casper’s cousin’s complexion. You can also get samples to try out the foundation before you buy, which can last between 4-5 days. I go to multiple department stores and get samples of the same foundation. I end up with around a quarter ounce for free! A little bit goes a long way. It’s perfect for getting a high-end foundation on a budget!



You can take any drugstore makeup back after you try it. 


There are plenty of drugstore makeups that are just as good or better than high-end alternatives; and they don’t hurt your wallet quite as much. When purchasing something from a grocery or drug store; however, it is often implied that once you open the package you cannot bring the product back. This is not the case. Stores want their consumers to be happy so if you don’t like a product, as long as it hasn’t been used all the way, most stores will take it back.


Wait till there’s a sale (free gift!!)


Brands like Estee Lauder and Lancȏme often work with department stores to offer free gifts with purchase or purchase with purchase. I like the free gift with purchase simply because it is free. (#brokecollegestudentmotto) These usually include travel size makeup and skincare products. This way you get your expensive makeup and get to try out other products from the company!


Online clearance (Ulta and Sephora) 


Online clearance from makeup stores such as Ulta and Sephora and even department stores such as Macy’s can offer large discounts on products that are out of season or packages that they just have a few left of. This can be a good place to find a gift for your makeup obsessed friend!

Online brands can sometimes be cheaper and offer a wider range of options. A couple of my favorites are BH cosmetics and Everyday Minerals. BH cosmetics is now offered in some stores, but they started out solely online.




Hautelook is a discount site that allows brands to put sales on their website. They have brands not only in makeup, but in clothing, home and kids as well. Its a great place to buy expensive makeup for less. Sometimes though the makeup is last seasons makeup that has been discontinued on the regular site. Another downside is that they only ship to the US, Canada, and Australia. Overall though, Hautelook is an amazing site if you wish to save!


I hope these helped and if you have any other tips leave them in the comments!!!



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  1. You can find GREAT deals at Nordstrom Rack, Lauren. It’s hit or miss, but Mary’s eyes popped out of her head when she saw a favorite product that was normally $28 on clearance there for $6.

  2. Yes! I’ve found some great stuff there too. I also love their jewelry section.

  3. I love stocking up on free samples from Sephora. That’s where I get all my mascara from!

  4. OH I love free samples and the gift with purchase! I need to do more of it though!

  5. I had no idea you could return drugstore makeup!!


  6. I love asking for samples of foundation. Mostly, because I hate spending tons of money on a foundation that I am going to either love or hate.

  7. Great tips! I am no longer in college but now paying student loans and I LOVE make up! Thanks for sharing!

  8. Thanks for the tip! Make up can be so expensive.

  9. Love this post! These are all fab ways to save! I love to buy clearance items online too! It’s always fun to save a dollar!

  10. I never thought to look for out-of-season makeup online for the department stores – great idea! I’m also big on asking for samples. It’s great for travel, too!

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