Has the economic slide sent you into a frenzy, or even worse a beauty rut? I've tried my hardest not to let it bother me--in fact I'm a little tired of hearing about it (come on CNN, can we talk about something else for once--you know, like the fact that the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show will be airing tomorrow night at 10pmPST...oh Adriana, one day we will be friends. I promise.) But since I'm responsible and all, I've been brainstorming the creative methods I've used to satisfy my love of all things beauty-enhancing that don't force me to completely break the bank. Here are some of my tops, in no particular order:
1. Shop the CCO
Okay, I've lied already. This is my number one cash saver. That is, unless I go crazy over the "sales", and let the bill amount to something that is beyond what I would normally buy in a full line store. Unfamiliar? CCO is best known as The Cosmetics Company Outlet. Have you ever dreamed of a place where you could buy MAC, Bobbi Brown, Prescriptives, Clinique, Estee Lauder, and a whole slew of other products for a deep discount? Well you probably weren't dreaming--maybe you were watching all of the crazy YouTube videos about the girls who go wild at their outlet malls. These stores work hand in hand with Estee Lauder (and her many sub-brands), to sell overstock, limited edition lines, and anything else that will no longer fit in a mainline store. Nothing's expired, and if you'd like proof you can ask a sales associate to show you how to read the expiry codes on each product. Money Saver? Yes. Tempting? Even more so. Remember that Fafi Lipglass that you wanted, and you were told they were sold out? Well, it's waiting for you at the CCO.
2. Discount Codes
Right now, nearly every last company you can think of is offering some sort of friends and family discount (usually synonymous with the holidays), of which you can cash in over the internet or in-store. This is great (who doesn't want 20-40% off?), but what's better is if you can find these codes all in one place. This helps with holiday shopping, and it's so much more satisfying if you have to do just a little less work to acquire the info (also read: not having to sign up for every last newsletter in order to get a code you'll use once). Enter Retail Me Not, an online port for all sorts of discounts. Just type in the name of the company or website, and stand amazed at what you will find. RMN is not the only site of its kind, so if you're still on the hunt for another code, just do a little more search engine digging.
3. Deal Sites
This is in line with the last two suggestions--there are whole sites that are devoted to giving you what you're searching for, but at huge markdowns. Beautycrunch has a handful of popular lines, as does Strawberrynet and Cherryculture. Other sites like e.l.f. have just plain 'ol affordable cosmetics, but make sure to read reviews on the products your interested in before purchasing. Who cares if it was $1 if you're never going to use it, right? As a general rule, be sure to do your research so that you will ensure you are buying legitimate products. Don't forget, these sites often have additional discount codes, so don't overlook obtaining one so you can get a super duper low price!
If you're working on growing your collection of shadows (every girl needs to), so that you can really work all of the looks you've been dying to try, using a palette is your best bet. For instance, with MAC palettes, you're looking at spending anywhere from a few bucks or so for a 4-pan, that you can fill with shadows of your choice. When you purchase shadows without the outer packaging (in other words, to pot in a palette), they are cheaper than purchasing them with the normal packaging. So automatically, you are saving money.
4. Drugstore Brands
Never underestimate the power of a great drugstore find! There are so many high-end lines (from skin care to makeup) that are being replicated at a much lower price on the aisles of your local chemist. For example, I love the shadow pigmentation that Milani offers (even though I despise the packaging), and on that same note, I can definitely point out key players for many of the drugstore brands that rival the department store stuff. It rarely occurs that I will buy a drugstore cosmetic item at full price. There are always buy 1 get 1 promos and such going on, so watch out for those. More on that later. In fact, these "copycats" shall be posted at a later date.
5. Stylists in Training
I can count on one hand, the number of times that I have dramatically strayed from my standby haircut. Gone are the days of intense and serious highlighting. This all means one critical thing. I can stand to have my hair trimmed and all-over colored by a hair stylist in training, if need be. Find your nearest reputable beauty school, and schedule an appointment! Don't let a budget crunch mean that you're going to let your image suffer. Our hair is our livelihood! Sure, it may mean that you'll be sitting in the chair for a lot longer than you would at a full-service salon, but this also means that you'll only be leaving about $20 or so poorer. Same goes for massage and skincare schools.
Of course these are just a few ideas that are a little off the beaten path. There are so many more--and if you're looking for a specific way to save, I'm willing to share what tips I have. Sharing is caring--it helps us all save! Just not makeup or hair products. That's gross.