High End Beauty Products on the Cheap
Sometimes a swipe of lipstick is all it takes to turn a woman's day around. A little fresh paint never hurts, right? Occasionally, though, it's more exciting to splurge on something lavish than settle for the same ol', same ol' drugstore find. But when splurging savages your bank account, you realize it's probably not in your best interest to drop all that cash at once. Here's how to score some upscale beauty loot – minus the cringe-worthy prices.
The Internet Is Your Friend
In this tech-savvy day and age, you have almost no excuse to purchase expensive anything anywhere but the Internet. From free shipping offers to coupon codes, the deals are exponentially more reasonable than they would be in a brick-and-mortar store. Be aware of the many beauty websites that specialize in high-end products.
Where to Shop
Sephora.com: Essentially the holy grail of extravagant beauty products, Sephora carries everything from cosmetics and skin care to hair care and makeup brushes. While it may not be the first place one would typically shop for discounted items, Sephora carries a surprisingly decent selection of sale priced items. Visit the sale section at any time to find hundreds of items that have been marked down, often quite impressively, like this Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Cosmetic Color Pencil Essentials x 6 Set ($22).
Beautyhabit.com: Beautyhabit is an online apothecary that caters to those with a taste for the finest in absolutely everything, from toothpaste to deodorant. While items like luxury fragrances rarely go on sale, you will find a plethora of wonderful finds in the outlet at dramatically reduced prices. The outlet is a great place to score brands and products that are typically hard to find at lower rates, like Jurlique Enriching Body Cream ($6.40).
StrawberryNET.com: Possibly one of the best sources for low cost luxury beauty products on the Internet, StrawberryNET caters to the discerning shopper. Brands include Lancome, Laura Mercier, Bobbi Brown, Dr. Jart+, Cle De Peau and many more. There are even products no longer available in the United States, like Bourjois Suivez Mon Regard Intense Shimmers Eye Shadow ($6.50). Take a peek through the revolving selection and score a discount with any purchase thanks to the Loyalty Programme.
Overstock: The online equivalent of an outlet mall, Overstock carries an eclectic selection of products. The site's beauty department carries a range of high-end labels, including Christian Dior, La Prairie, Yves Saint Laurent and more. The selection changes quickly, but it's worth a glance to see what might be priced to sell. You never know when you might score a gem, like the Dior Addict 852 Fatale Vibrant Color Spectacular Shine Lipstick ($27.99).
Tips of the Trade
It pays to know where to shop – but it is also a good idea to know when to shop. These tips may help you score that next tube of extravagant lip gloss on the cheap.
Shop the Sephora Friends & Family sale. For beauty junkies, this is essentially Christmas two months in advance. Once upon a time, the Friends & Family sale was a free-for-all event that anyone – even non-friends and non-family members – could partake in without trouble. The rules have since changed, though, and shoppers must be somehow acquainted with a Sephora employee in order to receive the 20% discount. It's usually held in October, so there's plenty of time to befriend a Sephora employee!
Become a Sephora Beauty Insider (BI). The more you shop, the greater your chances of being promoted to a Very Important Beauty Insider (VIB). Eventually, you'll make it to VIB Rouge status. There are bonuses involved at every level, including 15% and 20% discounts throughout the year (typically April and November). You may also receive a surprise “gift card” via email during the holiday season, potentially good for $15 or $20 off your purchase.
Get to know Back to MAC. If you're a regular MAC Cosmetics user and have a few empty containers lying around, don't toss them just yet. Collect six “empties” and take them to MAC. The company will recycle the containers and you'll get a free lipstick of your choice in return. It's a great way to score a free product and do something environmentally friendly at the same time.
Shop the Ulta Friends & Family Sale. With their seemingly endless array of drugstore and high-end products, Ulta is paradise for beauty lovers. Though the “prestige” brands don't go on sale, most items are fair game for 20% off during the store's Friends & Family event.
Steer clear of auction sites. Though the eBays of the world are fantastic for some items, you never know if you'll end up with a spoiled or even counterfeit high-end beauty product. Unless the seller is reputable (and recognized amongst beauty junkies as a reliable source for, say, Chanel cosmetics), it's not worth the potential trouble.