Thursday, March 7, 2013

Life as a Product Junkie: How to Save Money on Hair and Beauty Products

Life as a curly girl who loves her beauty products can get expensive.  About a year and a half ago, I signed up with because Mint allows you to see exactly what your money is going to every month.

Well, that was an eye opener! The first month, I would say about a third of my money was spent on random hair and makeup purchases.  So I determined to cut back.  I discovered that there are so many different ways to reduce your spending on cosmetics and hair products without having to quit cold turkey.

Shopping Smarter
I used to wander into a Walgreens or Target, pick something up, and buy it.  Those little here and there purchases seem innocent enough, but they add up so quickly!

The first thing I did was start to check prices for things I know I love online.  For instance, I've used Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Body Wash for years.  According to, the going price for a bottle is $4.97.  Well that's not that expensive, right?  But if I buy it on Amazon, I can get a two pack for $7.83, and I get free shipping if my order is over $25.  So that means I buy 4 two-packs at a time.  That comes out to $31.32 for 8 bottles.  At Walmart, to buy 8 bottles would cost me $39.76.  Plus I would have to actually go to Walmart and buy it, costing me gas money and time.  Eight bottles easily lasts me a year.  So I'm set on body wash and don't have to worry about it until next year.

The lesson here? Comparison shop online and buy in bulk when you can with items that you know you love.

If you haven't tried an item yet, don't buy a full size! Sample a product at places like Sephora and Ulta before committing.  Read reviews, but don't read them blindly.  It's important to find someone who has a similar hair type for hair products, or a similar skin type/tone for makeup products.  If I tell you a product is great for my dry skin, but you have really oily skin, don't just rely on my review! Find another reviewer with oily skin on a place like before you buy!

Get Paid to Shop Online

One word: Ebates! is a site that gives you a refund on your online purchases.  The refund percentage usually ranges from 3-6%, but they have double refund days and promotions like that frequently.

All you have to do to start saving online is sign up (it's free), and when you are ready to shop online, head to Ebates and see if the site you're using is listed.  They have all the reputable online stores that could ask for.  It's really rare that a site I want to buy from isn't on Ebates. Then just click on the Ebates link to go to the store.  Make your purchase, then Ebates will email you a few days after your items have shipped letting you know that they've verified that you made a purchase.  Ebates will send you a check for your refund amount each pay period (pay periods are a couple months in length).

I know it seems to good to be true, but it isn't! I have received refund checks and deposited them without issue. The hardest part about Ebates is remembering to go to the site before you purchase.  So I put a link in my browser memory bar so that hopefully I see it.  There's literally no reason not to use Ebates when you shop online.

Click here to sign up for Ebates

Take Advantage of Discount Stores
I am a proud TJMaxx and Marshall's and Ross addict.  Each of these stores has a hair and beauty section, and you are missing out if you aren't taking advantage.

For example, I love Joico hair products. They cost around $16-20 a bottle from places like Ulta.  Yikes!    But I can usually find a larger size at one of these stores for half the price.  My stores usually also carry brands like Giovanni (a curly girl friendly line), Tigi, and Alba.  In the makeup and beauty department, my TJMaxx almost always has some Essie nailpolishes (retail $8) for $3.99.  And I often see eyeshadow kits and makeup gift sets on sale too.  I make it a point to check these areas every time I go.

Never Pay Full Price
There are too many ways to avoid paying full price for hair and beauty items to ever allow yourself to pay.

1) If buying online, check for coupon codes. is my personal favorite
2) Check manufacturer Facebook pages and Twitters.  They often run giveaways and give out coupons to followers.  For instance, this week L'oreal's facebook page is giving away 10,000 boxes of hair color a day.  Your odds of winning are pretty darn good!  Also this
3) Contact the manufacturers! I can't tell you how many times I've gotten a free sample or a coupon for a free product by asking for one.  Companies want you to become loyal buyers.  If you contact their customer service about trying a product, they are usually more than happy to help you out.
4) Use online coupon sites.  Sites like and offer printable coupons for your drugstore trips.
5) Sign up for manufacturer emails. This one is self explanatory, but perhaps a little annoying. But if you use Gmail, you can set up a mail filter to have all your "junk mail" get marked as read and moved out of your inbox. That way you can easily go find a coupon when you need one, and it's super easy to delete the junk mail all at once since it's in its own folder.

For True Online Power Shoppers
If you aren't a member of Amazon Prime, I've got only one question: Why not?!?!

For $79 per year (or only $39/year if you have a .edu address), you get free two day shipping and $3.99 one day shipping on any order.  I love Amazon because they are reliable, they have the best darn customer service out there, and they are usually cheaper than any other online place.  Prime also gives you access to streaming movies and TV shows, which is awesome.  Also, one secret that they aren't so open about is that you can share your membership with up to 4 people in the same household, or up to 4 coworkers.  I cannot recommend getting Prime enough if you are an avid online shopper.

What are your favorite ways to save money on hair and beauty products?  Leave a comment below!

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