The Secret To Saving Money At Sephora (Without Samples, Coupons, Or Cash Back)

By Nicole Andre
·  6 min read
The Best Secrets To Saving Money At Sephora (Without Samples, Coupons, Or Cash Back)

Who knew shopping at a luxury makeup store like Sephora could save you money? Here’s how.

Have you ever stopped to think about how much money you’re spending on makeup? On a daily basis, the average woman has $8 worth of makeup products on her face. Women on the East Coast spend even more on cosmetics at an average of $11. 

A survey by SkinStore showed that the average American woman will spend $300,000 on their face alone over the course of their lifetime. Now I don’t know what your budget looks like, but $300,000 is a lot of money in my book. And that doesn’t even begin to address hair products, not to mention beauty treatments. 

skinstore 16 products women use every day

Don’t worry, I’m not here to tell you to give up beauty products. I think cosmetics are great! They help us to look our best and are pretty much essential for the modern woman. But, I think that we could be much more intentional about the way we spend money on these products. 

Sephora Can Actually Be Cheaper Than the Drugstore

What? Spending less money at Sephora than at the drugstore? There’s no way. And normally, I would agree with you. But here’s the thing. How many products have you tried from the drugstore only to not like them and throw them out before going back and buying another item, which also ended up in the trash?

This is where a little-known policy of Sephora’s will come in handy. Sephora actually accepts “gently used” products you buy in-store for returns within 60 days of purchase. So when you try something out, if you don’t love it, you can take it back within that 60-day timeframe, and they’ll accept it. I know, amazing!

Sephora accepts “gently used” products bought in-store for returns within 60 days of purchase. 

So instead of spending lots of money on all the products you tried before you found the one you love, you could only pay for what you end up loving and keeping. Sounds like a good deal to me. 

Shop High and Low

Now, as cool as that return policy is (trust me, it was my new favorite thing when I found out about it), products at Sephora are still considered luxury and are going to be more expensive. So it’s worth asking yourself whether or not you really need a luxury mascara. I find that the drugstore mascaras perform great!

It’s all about when it would be worth it to use a luxury product and when you could save money by doing your research and picking up a good drugstore alternative

Use a combination of drugstore and luxury makeup products.

In my opinion, foundation is one item you should consider shopping luxury for since it’s sitting on the skin all day long. After that, it all depends on what you use and feel is most important. If you don’t wear a lot of eyeliner, don’t get one from Sephora. But if you always wear a nude lip, then a more expensive nude lipstick might be worth it. Eyeliner, mascara, lip balm, and lip gloss are all items I personally get from the drugstore because there isn’t a material difference in anything but the packaging to justify the cost. 

Be Selective

The next way to save money at Sephora is to decide what you actually need. Do you really need highlighter? How about bronzer? Contour powder? Not every item of makeup that you see influencers using is an essential. You get to pick and choose what you like and what works best with your features. By skipping over some products that are nice to have, but not necessary, you can save yourself a lot of money. After all, the best way to save money is by not spending it!

Don’t Fix What’s Not Broken

This next tip might be hard for the makeup and cosmetics obsessed, but do not keep trying out new products! One of the biggest ways to save money is to stop trying out new products when you already have something that works. When you’ve found a nude lipstick that works for you, you don’t need to keep buying others. Have a blush you like? Then there’s really no need to try a different shade. The differences at the end of the day are so subtle that for most things you really don’t need more than one. After all, we aren’t all beauty influencers doing really dramatic makeup looks so we don’t need to have every shade under the sun. 

Stop trying out new products when you already have something that works.

If you absolutely must try out new products, try to restrain yourself at least until you’ve finished up what you already have. Never have more than one of the same type of product (foundation, blush, mascara, eyeliner, etc.) at the same time. Not only are you spending more money when you can only wear one of each at a time, but makeup expires, so it’s silly to buy more makeup than you can actually use up before it goes bad. A good blush has an expiration date of two years. Two whole years! I wear powder blush every day and it will last me that long. Don’t buy another product again sooner than you need to, as fun as testing out new products can be. 

Consider Sizing

Believe it or not, you don’t need a full size of everything! I get it, the mini sizes are usually more expensive per unit, so a lot of time the full size absolutely makes sense. But if it’s a bit of a novelty product, something you just really aren’t going to use that much (hello, blue eyeliner or very dramatic highlighter or glitter), or there’s no possible way you could get through the larger size before the product expires, then it can actually be more cost-effective to go small.

If it’s a novelty product, then it can actually be more cost-effective to go small.

That said, sometimes you may want to get even more than the regular size. With shampoo, you can usually save money per unit by getting a jumbo size. It’s all about thoughtfully considering what you actually need, will use up before it goes bad, and will be the most cost-effective for your circumstances.

Closing Thoughts

While I love makeup as much as the next girl, I follow some simple rules that keep my spending in check. Because at the end of the day, when something works there’s no need to fix it, especially when “fixing it” puts a big dent in your wallet.

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