I have one main guideline for my beauty products: I don’t want to spend more than $20.00 on any one item.
Disclaimer: Yes, there are links to products in this post. No, I will not get a commission if you click the link. I know I have an affiliate link disclaimer in my sidebar. My blog is way too new for me to be apart of any affiliate programs yet, but I have it there to cover my butt in the future. You know, just in case. The links in this post are so you can click over to the product and buy it if you want to. (See? I’m helping!) Also, this post is not sponsored.
It’s not that I don’t like high-end beauty stuff. I do!
I go into Sephora and put my fingers in all the high-end beauty stuff on the regular. I love it! What I don’t like is spending a bunch of money on a tiny amount of something that may or may not work. Just because something costs a lot doesn’t mean that it’s always better. That’s part of why I try to find things that work well for less.
We didn’t have a lot of money growing up.
That would be another part of it. Sure, I got an allowance, but it wasn’t much. If I wanted something that wasn’t necessary for school (or life in general), I had to save up for it. When I did finally have enough money for the item I was saving for, I really appreciated it when I got it.
I’ve always had to watch my budget.
I’d like to say that I was flush with money in my 20’s and 30’s, but that was NOT the case. Most of my life I’ve mostly just gotten by. I have never been rich by any means, so I had to learn how to stretch my budget. Second-hand clothing? Great! Clearance items? You betcha! Super-cheap store brand mac & cheese? My fave!
Now I’m a gainfully employed adult, so I can buy nicer things.
At this point in my life I have a little more money than I used to. I can afford to buy high-end beauty stuff from time to time. However, if I can find something at the drugstore or online that works just as good as, or better than, the high-end stuff, I’d rather buy that. Why? Because with the income I have at this time, $20.00 or less seems like a fairly reasonable price for most beauty products. If I impulsively pick up a $10.00 foundation, that’s not going to be the difference between being able to put gas in my car and not before the next payday. Also because makeup and skincare should not be THAT expensive!
Think about it: most beauty products come in containers that hold 1 ounce or less.
Most foundations: 1 ounce. Most serums: 1 ounce. Most eye creams: end0.5 ounce. Most lipsticks: 0.11-0.13 ounce. Most powder blushes: 0.15-0.25 ounce. Most loose setting powders: 0.23-0.36 ounce. For what some companies are charging, you’d think the stuff was made of pure gold! The box it comes in touts everything the company promises the product will do. More often than not, you end up with your money gone, the product gone, and you still have the issue you bought the product for.
That’s a big part of why I try to find drugstore or K-beauty versions of the high-end products everyone raves about. Most high-end beauty products are so expensive! $85.00 for a fancy moisturizer?!? At least if the drugstore or K-beauty product doesn’t work for me, I’m not out a bunch of money.
Good product information is everywhere!
Plus, these days it’s so easy to find reviews and dupe comparisons of most products on the internet. See what the YouTubers and beauty bloggers you trust say about the product you’re interested in, and you can make a fairly informed decision before you even grab your keys to go buy it.
And now for the caveats!
That’s not saying that I won’t buy high-end beauty products. If something I’m interested in is on a good sale, I might get it. (See my Ulta 21 Days of Beauty post.) Most of the time if I buy a high-end beauty product, it’s because I have tried most of the cheaper versions and had no good results. Even then, I will do my research to make absolutely sure the item is really worth it to me.
Another reason I might buy a high-end item is because it’s something I really, really want and there are no drugstore versions of it. (Urban Decay Vice or Alice In Wonderland palettes, anyone?) I also might splurge on a high-end item if I have birthday or Christmas gift cards to spend. Unless I absolutely need to use gift cards on practical stuff, I try and use them for things I might not normally spend my money on. (They’re gift cards. They’re supposed to be spent on something frivolous.)
Samples are a wonderful thing…
If I have decided that I really want to buy a high-end beauty item, but I’m still skittish about spending the money for it, I will get samples so I can try it before I buy it. For me, this is the only area where Sephora beats Ulta.
For example, I’m very interested in buying the Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Foundation and possibly the Pro Filt’r Instant Retouch Primer that goes with it. $66.00 is a lot to shell out for a foundation and primer, especially if I’m not sure which shade I need, or if the products will play nice with my aging combo normal/oily skin. If I decide to also get the Fenty foundation brush, which is supposedly the best tool to use to apply the Fenty foundation, you may as well call it a cool $100 for all three items.
Okay, I admit it. I’m cheap.
I don’t want to pay that kind of money unless I’m sure the products work for me, so I went to Sephora and got samples of the foundation and primer. I have three shade samples of the foundation to try along with a sample of the primer. (You are allowed to get 3 samples per day, so it took two different trips.) I’m still running my tests, but at least I’m not out any money. If I find one of the foundation shades and/or the primer really work for me, then I will happily buy them. Until then, I will keep most of my beauty purchases to $20.00 per item or less.