Saturday, March 1, 2014

Tips For Scoring High End Cosmetics for Bargain Prices

Makeup is expensive. Whether you purchase drugstore or high end makeup, getting enough items for a full face still adds up fast! So, I thought I would share my money saving tips for getting the most bang for your buck on those high end and luxury beauty items which cause sticker shock for so many of us.

Sephora and Ulta 20% off coupons: If you are a beauty insider at Sephora, or part of Ulta’s rewards program which are absolutely free to join, you’ll be sent some sweet 20% off your entire purchase coupons. Sephora usually has theirs sent out mid-holiday season which is a great way to save on presents and Ulta has one that’s at the end of January which is the perfect time to get holiday products on discounts and some of the new spring collection items.

Ebates: If you purchase online, you should consider creating an Ebates account. They regularly give you anywhere between 4-10% of your total purchase back as a check once every 3 months. All you do is sign into Ebates and then navigate to your retail website and it will automatically track the amount you spent and calculate the percentage to send back to you.

Flash Sale Websites: Hautelook and Gilt frequently feature Prestige makeup on their sites and are absolutely free to join. This can be a great way to snag a deal without using a coupon or discount code.

Makeup Brand Websites: Go ahead and check the actual makeup brand websites. A lot of these will have sale pages and I’ve found Lorac, Urban Decay and Stila have great deals for items they are discontinuing or were limited edition. You can also sign up for emails and get discount codes sent to you periodically. Some brands also offer rewards programs, such as Bare Minerals, and you can get a free birthday gift along with other random coupons or free gifts throughout the year.

Sephora Weekly Deals: This is yet another excellent way to get sample-sized products. You can usually tack on a code if you spend $25 online and there are some really great things you can get to try because deluxe sample sizes can certainly last quite a long time.

Cosmetic Company Outlet: These you can find in certain shopping outlet centers. CCO’s carry overstock or limited edition products from brands owned by Estee Lauder (MAC, Bobbi Brown, Flirt, etc) and can be a great place to find discounted products as well as any holy grail items that have been discontinued.

Lancome – Designer Fragrances and Cosmetics Company: Also found in some outlets, these are really great! The reason I particularly like this store is because they not only carry Lancome, but also YSL. It is VERY difficult to come by discounted YSL products and there’s quite a bit available here. In addition, I recommend going towards the end of summer since they tend to have an additional 40-50% off. I myself have scored a YSL cream blush and Volupte lipstick for drugstore prices J These aren’t quite as common as CCO’s (#5) so I’ve included a link with locations:

Gift with Purchase: Oh department stores! The counters at department stores frequently have pretty amazing gift with purchases. Lancome and Estee Lauder are particularly good about this, advertising and offering gifts worth over $100 when you make a purchase around $35. It’s a great way to get full size and sample size products to try from the brand that you may have been curious about.

Build a relationship with department store makeup artists: Believe it or not, you can score some really generous “gifts”, aka free full sized products, through a good relationship with the artists who work at the counter. I’ve found that Dior and Giorgio Armani are particularly good about this and will often provide you with skincare and makeup products or makeup bags that are not advertised to the general public like the traditional “gift with purchase”. You don’t even need to make a giant purchase; a couple of products bought over time with the same artist can lead to some of these surprise gifts.

Don’t be shy about asking for samples: If you purchase a product, you are definitely entitled to getting a sample of something you might be interested in. Sometimes you’ll get offered one at Sephora or a counter, but if not, always make sure to ask about something you have your eye on, or even just ask for a recommendation for a product and see if you can get a sample. This can be a great way to decide whether that expensive product is really going to be worth it for you.

If you don’t love it, return it: I personally try to avoid returning things by sampling them ahead of time, as I think that’s the right thing to do; and I absolutely recommend using this method. But, in some cases you can’t come by a sample, so you just have to buy the product itself. If you aren’t 100% happy with it, you should definitely return it and get your money back.

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