5 Tips for Buying High-End Beauty on a Budget

Whether your new to makeup products or are a seasoned pro, you’re probably hyper aware of the different price tags for high-end products vs drugstore steals. Myself, I like to mostly buy drugstore and then make a few select high-end purchases when my budget has a bit more leeway.

With that in mind, I’d like to share my five tips for shopping high-end beauty on a budget. I can’t claim I’m reinventing the wheel here, but it’s easy to forget that these methods exist when you’ve got your eye on the pricey item that you just want NOW. Patience, grasshopper.

Next time you’re looking for a high-end steal, why don’t you try…

1. Shopping eBay or discount stores like T.J. Maxx (T.K. Maxx in the UK).

Recently, I was at a Ulta and picked up a Juicy Couture rollerball on a whim, just to see what it smelled like. I fell in love with the scent but wasn’t in the mood to pay $22 when I don’t wear perfume all that often. But I couldn’t stop thinking about that scent once I left the store. So I poked around on eBay and found a seller of the same scent, brand new, for $14, which included the price of shipping. Not a huge discount, but it helped me feel better about my purchase.


Another example, was a semi-recent purchase of a Bath and Body Works kit at T.J. Maxx. I got full sizes of their Vitamin E day cream, night cream, toner, and cleanser in a kit for $19.00 when it was regularly priced at $30. Again, not dirt cheap but I’m set on skin care for a while. With these kinds of retailers, you have to be up for browsing often in order to find what you want but the deals will make your wallet a bit happier.

2. Wait to purchase that special item until the season’s change.

Seasonal shifts often mean special sales at retailers like Sephora. These sales can be hit or miss because there is no guarantee that the product you’ve been longing for will be in the sale, but it’s worthwhile to skim the clearance section specifically during season transitions. Right now is the perfect time to purchase that summer item you were going back and forth about. Yes, we’re ready to transition to fall, but good products will readily carry you through the seasons.

3. Go in on a high-end product with a friend. 

My best example of this is with Bare Mineral’s mineral eye shadows. My Mom and I went in to their store and naturally fell in love with some of their shades. We both agreed on a handful of shades and decided to split them. Places like The Container Store sell travel size organizers that are similar to the shape and size of a Bare Mineral’s containers for around $1.99. We then put little labels around the container so we’d know the shade name as a reference. For me, even splitting a mineral eye shadow,  it will take me a good long while to finish those shades off. It was a bit of a messy process to split the eye shadows but we both saved some money and got the shade we wanted.

Clear 7-Section Stacking Pill Organizer

Image respectfully borrowed from The Container Store.

Sometimes brands will sell two packs of their products too, so if you and a friend wanted to split the cost of a two pack you’d save each other a bit of money. Make beauty products a bonding experience and share the love!

4.  Hold out for coupons or sales.

This is absolutely a no brainer but bears repeating. Shore up your inner strength and hold out for those coupons at Ulta, Sephora, wherever you most often like to feed your makeup urges. Often their coupons do not apply to prestige products, but every once in a while you hit a coupon that will give you a boost and it is absolutely satisfying.

Also, if you subscribe to services like ipsy or Birchbox, these subscription box companies regularly give monthly discount codes for featured products or have ways for you to spend points on high-end products. Hoard those points like a pro and bask in the save later.

5. Utilize services like Hautelook or Groupon Goods.

I got onto Hautelook specifically for the beauty deals. They’re not always dirt cheap but I just got a Lorac lip gloss for $4.00. I can live with that price tag even if the gloss is last season or two seasons ago. The daily flash sales on Hautelook are not always recognizable brands but they regularly work in brands like Stila, Tarte, and Lorac. If you’d like to sign up for Hautelook here is my invite link (costs nothing to join).

Probably my favorite palette of all time. No joke.

Probably my favorite palette of all time. No joke.

Groupon goods is a tad more random and often you’re buying in bulk. But it’s a site worth skimming from time to time.

I’ve utilized these tips within the last six months or so to get some great high-end beauty deals, so I hope they work for you. What are some of your favorite tricks for saving money on your favorite beauty products?

e.l.f. Haul and Review

As you might have noticed I’ve been slowly exploring the realm of beauty blogging. Part of that is trying to bring you more reviews when I come across products I love (or hate). Recently, e.l.f. had a deal where if you spent over $25 they would include a spring showers gift. If you love makeup but don’t like stretching your wallet too far, e.l.f allows you to play around with color and finishes without feeling guilty. Their products retail for anywhere from$1 to around $30, but the higher price items are usually package deals and sets. So for a total of $34 I got all the goodies you see below, which includes the spring showers gift set.

My e.l.f. haul. All this for $34.

My e.l.f. haul. All this for $34.

These beauties all arrived Thursday, and I spent this morning playing around with most of this bounteous haul. Some of the products I have immediate pro or con reactions to and others might need a longer look-see before I can make final judgement, but here are my initial thoughts for you.

Eyeliner and Shadow Stick in Green/Moss. I am madly in love with this product after one use. This green shadow is amazing. It’s more of an olive-y green but it’s also super blendable. The formula is creamy and highly pigmented too, plus it lasted through an afternoon in the California heat. The liner is alright–you’ll have to keep layering it on for definition. Both have a hint of shimmer but it’s not overwhelming, so if glitter isn’t your thing don’t panic! The best part? The stick is $3. For my look below I used the shadow as a base, covering my whole lid, and then lined my eyes with the moss shade.

Little Black Beauty Book Warm Edition. I used three colors from this palette and since there are no labels, I’m just going to describe them. On the inner third of my eyes I used an olive toned gold (looks a bit like fool’s gold on the lid), which added some shimmer. I also bought two brushes from e.l.f. not pictured above. Using one of these blending brushes, I took a matte brown and placed it on the exterior corner of my eye is a v-shape. Then for highlights I used a bone shade along my brow. The colors in the palette are a lot of fun and I’ll definitely play with them more–some of them seem to fade faster than others. The beauty book was part of the spring showers free gift but the palette with 48 shades retails for $6.

Waterproof Lengthening &Volumizing Mascara. At first I was a tad hesitant about the mascara because I’m a loyalist to my Neutrogena Healthy Volume. But this stuff might just win me over (not enough to change over completely but enough to add the e.l.f. to my rotation). The brush is more narrow than the average volumizing mascara. The formula itself doesn’t feel heavy and it didn’t flake off or smudge. I’m pleasantly surprised since I didn’t actually purchase this mascara; it was in the gift set. Normally it retails for $3, so give it a shot.

The full look.

The full look. Check out ‘dem freckles!

Makeup Remover Pen: LOOOOVE. Have you ever gone a bit overboard with your eye shadow or lost control of your liner? It’s tricky to fix your mistakes once you’ve applied foundation, concealer, shadow, etc. This thing completely obliterates errors. I was able to sculpt the exterior shape of my eye shadow for a more pro look. I would highly recommend this pen! And it retails for $3! Get on it, ladies!

Poreless Face Primer. I’m becoming a primer convert. I can be kind of lazy with foundations and such, so the added step of primer always seemed painful. I dig this Poreless Primer though. It takes care of pores and fine lines, giving you a natural, flawless finish. When I first put it on it felt a tad waxy but the feeling disappears once the primer sets up, leaving skin quite silky. I used my Aveeno Clear Complexion BB Cream for a foundation, and frankly it’s never looked better. I credit the primer for the extra oomph. Retail: $6.

Baked Blush in Peachy Cheek. Jury’s still out on this one. Pigmentation is medium strength and the peach color is nice, but I’m not yet ready to commit or quit. This was also part of the gift set so maybe my ambivalence stems from not having chosen it myself. I’ll keep you posted. If you’d like to check it out for yourself, it’s only $3.

Baked Highlighter in Pink Diamonds. Another gift set surprise. It arrived broken but that sort of thing has never stopped me. It gives a subtle shimmer so I brushed it along my cheekbones. Ultimately, I didn’t love or hate this product. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it, but it will get used nonetheless. Retail: $3.

An everyday look for spring.

An everyday look for spring.

Mineral Lip Liner in Peachy. I’ve never been a big lip liner person, but I decided to give it a shot. I wear a lot of nude shades, so the peach seemed like a natural fit. Not sure how I feel about this one. I mean…it works. Will it make it into a daily rotation, probably not. And the running e.l.f. theme, $3.

Matte Lip Color in Coral and Rich Red. Matte is such a beauty trend right now! So that’s what got me to purchase the Rich Red color. The coral, luckily enough, came in the spring showers set. I am such a gloss girl, even my lipsticks are on the buttery side, so it felt a bit weird to have “dry” lip. I used the coral shade in today’s look and I’m not mad at it. Good color. Didn’t dry my lips out. But it also didn’t last more than an hour, hour and a half tops. So you’d have to reapply. I haven’t tried the rich red shade yet but I’ll let you know if there are any differences from color to color. Guess what? These are also $3 a pop.

Jumbo Lip Gloss Stick in Movie Star. How sweet is that color name? Even though I’ve been on a nude kick for my lips, I adore a good red shade. Especially if it’s more of a blue-red. I think the product title is a bit of a misnomer, because it feels more like a balm. I wore this color yesterday and it lasts fairly well, but it has more of a sheer coverage. The formula left my lips feeling straight up juicy. You might want to reapply every few hours though. If you’re interested in this Gloss Stick it costs $2 individually or you can get it online in a three-pack for $6.

Lip Exfoliater. Well I’m definitely a fan of the concept. All year long I struggle with chapped lips. I moisturize them. I drink enough water. And still my lips flake up. I put this on before bed last night and then again this morning: you apply using a circular motion and then dab off any grit left behind. It’s not an immediate transformation but I can tell it’s gradually working. Lips are not chapped today! So far soooooo good. I’m going to keep up the routine and see what happens long-term. Grab yours for $3.

Daily Brush Cleaner. Not a happy camper with this one. Where it was most obviously not working was with the highlighter. The brush I used is still tinged pink and I need to wash it properly. This cleaner is supposed to help you go between brush washes, which I would love to be able to do. It’s also scented, and I’m not sure if I like that. I’ll give this another shot, but I think it’s a bust. Luckily, this was only $3 so I can’t be too upset. But I am disappointed.

Some stuff I didn’t really mention: The brushes (blender and smudge) seem nice. They’re not the highest quality and are a little scratchy, but they do the trick for $3. I also received a Hypershine Gloss in Flirt as part of the spring showers promotion. I haven’t tried the gloss yet but I don’t have high hopes for it. I’ve had e.l.f glosses in the past and haven’t been too impressed with their longevity or color. But, hey, it was free.

Holy Moly that was a long post! And a lot of makeup! Overall, I’m quite pleased with my e.l.f. haul and so is my wallet. Everything I purchased came from their online store, so prices might vary if you buy elsewhere. Hope you enjoyed my rambling reviews. More beauty posts to come, but likely not so lengthy.