Save or Splurge? How to get the most bang for your buck on makeup

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The average woman spends about $15,000 on makeup over her lifetime. I’m 26, and I’m quite sure I’m more than halfway to that $15,000 mark. I’m a Sephora VIB Rouge, which means I’ve spent $1,000 over the past year, and that’s not even including my orders from my other beauty favorites such as Colourpop, Morphe and House of Lashes. Eek!

Lately, I’ve been trying to reverse my beauty hoarding ways and spend my coins in a way where I’ll get the most bang for my buck. Here’s what I’ve learned:


Any makeup artist will tell you that good skin is the best way to make sure your makeup will slay all day. You’ll use less primer, foundation and concealer, which means you’ll be able to cut down on the number of purchases for those items each year. Go to a dermatologist to have your skin examined, and hit up a licensed esthetician to have your skin properly cleaned and get product suggestions for your skin type.

Also, most skincare products can last anywhere from 6–12 months. So, go ahead and buy that $30 cleanser and use it for 6 months. That’s only $5 per month!


This can go either way, especially since many drugstore brands have expanded their shade range and started using more high quality ingredients. But, luxury foundations and concealers are known to have more ingredients, such as sunscreen, vitamin E and hyaluronic acid that improve your skin and there’s more shade options. Lastly, foundation and concealer lasts for up to 12 months, so feel free to splurge on a more expensive find that you can use all year.


I love a good MAC eyeshadow as much as anyone, but the reality is there’s no need to spend $15 for one shadow — especially since there are brands such as Colourpop, Makeup Geek and Morphe that offer high quality colors for much less. Use a good primer (I’ve NYX’s waterproof primer) to make sure colors pop and stay in place all day.


I am lash obsessed, and I have a drawer full of Lancome, Estee Lauder and YSL mascaras. But, mascaras have the shortest shelf life — most makeup artists suggest throwing out a tube after 3 months due to bacteria build up. Boo.

Begin reaching for drugstore mascaras, so instead of spending $120 per year ($30 every 4 months) you’ll only spend $28 per year ($7 every 4 months) for mascara. Now, if you can’t depart with your favorite luxury mascara, just pick up a travel-size tube which last right at three months.


Just like mascara, lip products tend to pick up a lot of bacteria. Lipsticks are easier to sanitize, but glosses can easily build up bacteria, especially if you share with friends (side-eye). Most lippies last around 12 months, but the time can be shorter or longer depending on how clean you keep the applicator.

So, save a little change and pick up lippies from brands such as Milani, Colourpop and Lena Lashes that have high quality products for as little as $5!

Lastly, make sure you take advantage of coupons and sales from your favorite stores and brands. Sign up for rewards programs and use discount codes from YouTubers and other beauty influencers.

What are your favorite budget-friendly brands? Let me know in the comments below!

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