My Wife's Top Frugal Beauty Tips


Bronze Wordsmith
May 17, 2018
(As a disclaimer: my beauty-expert wife helpd me write this post!)

Being frugal entails sacrifice. You can’t save money if you’re out spending as if you had an endless supply of it. If you do, congrats! But if you’re like the rest of us, you’ll have to scrimp and spend wisely in order to save money. But being frugal doesn’t mean you need to neglect to care for yourself. In fact, I think self- and beauty-care are extremely important. They make you feel good about yourself, increase your sense of confidence – and those things are definitely important.

Luckily, my wife found various ways to afford beauty products without breaking the bank. I’m writing this article to teach you how to get beauty on a budget. These frugal beauty tips were written mostly with college students in mind, but they’ll apply to anyone looking for affordable but effective beauty products. Let’s get this show on the road!

Don’t ignore “drugstore brands”

When it comes to beauty products, most of us want the famous brands. And I get why: famous brands are backed by multimillion-dollar ad and marketing campaigns designed to make them more appealing to shoppers. But smaller brands – usually sold at drugstores, hence the term – are also pretty legit. Generic brands, like generic medicines, are pretty safe and effective (provided you don’t buy from shady shops, of course). And a friend of mine who works in merchandising for a big department store even told me that a lot of brands – both big and small – procure their merchandise from the same labs. If you’re a frugal college student, you can save lots of money by buying lesser-known brands instead of bigger (read: expensive) brands.

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Stick to What Works

Experimenting on various brands is necessary to find what works for you, but it can also be costly. Once you’ve found the right combination of brands and products, stop experimenting and stick to what you already know works. You’ll save money this way since you won’t have to spend money trying to find that perfect item – because you already found it!

I also think we tend to experiment too much because, well, it’s an excuse to keep buying new stuff. But once we found the products that work, we need to reign in our shopaholic tendencies.

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Use Up Everything

It might be a bit difficult getting the last bit of product out from the tube or tub. Even if that’s the case, resist the temptation to throw the package away before using up everything. When you throw the product away, you’re basically throwing money away.

It’s tough to squeeze out that last drop of moisturizer without it squirting across the sink. So what my wife does is get a bunch of resealable containers that way, she can empty the product into it, and can easily get the last drop without much hassle.

And a related tip: invest in lots of resealable containers! That way you can transfer products into easier to access containers.

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Don’t Overbuy Beauty Products

I’m an advocate for buying in bulk. But that mentality only applies to things like non-perishable food and household products. But when it comes to beauty products, I would not recommend buying in bulk (save for non-perishable items like cotton balls). Most beauty products go bad after a few years. So if you don’t go through single tubes or containers of a particular product really fast, it might not be a good idea to buy that product in bulk. You might think you’re saving money by buying in bulk, but when your remaining stash goes bad, that’s wasted money. For my wife, that product is eye cream. She uses eye cream sparingly, so it wouldn’t make sense for me to buy multiple tubes of eye cream in one go.

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Know How to Store Your Products Properly

I once kept a tub of moisturizer on the windowsill of my bathroom, which was hit by direct sunlight. Big mistake. The heat from the sunlight zapped the moisturizer, and within a week or so, the cream turned into this yellow, sludgy mess. It wasn’t an expensive brand, but it was a bit hard to find, and I had to start hunting for a replacement. To prevent this from happening to your beauty products, store them properly. It isn’t exactly rocket science: store them in a cool, dark place, and you’re good to go. But take note that some products like nail polish are best kept in the fridge (unless you live in a super-cold climate); just make sure you put it in a sealed container so it doesn’t contaminate your food.

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Don’t Use More than Needed

When it comes to the number of beauty products you use, more doesn’t necessarily mean better. Putting a huge dollop of moisturizer on your face won’t make you more hydrated than if you had put a reasonable amount. Rubbing tons of toner on your face won’t make you more attractive than you already are. The most common “serving size” I keep hearing is pea-sized. I usually stick to that when applying moisturizer, but it also applies to things like toothpaste. Just because the package recommends you add a liberal amount, you don’t have to go overboard with it.

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Know When to Splurge

I know the point of this post is to teach you how to be frugal. And in a way, this tip is still keeping with that original statement. Sometimes, there are no other, cheaper options. And when that’s the case, you’re better off not compromising on quality. If you decide to compromise and go for a shady/sub-par brand, chances are you’ll have a less-than-ideal experience… and you’ll end up going for the expensive product anyways. So you might as well save that money and go straight to the top-shelf product.

For my wife, that product is eye cream. She buys a semi-pricey brand because it absolutely works for her, unlike the other brands she's tried. And she can also justify this since she doesn’t use that much eye cream anyway. In effect, getting the pricer brand actually saves her money!

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