How to Stretch your Cosmetic Wallet

Times are tough, and my skin isn’t getting any younger! With a bit of adjustment, you can save a ton of money on skincare without throwing your skin under the bus. Cosmetics is a place where there’s often a lot of fat to be skinned, and you often won’t sacrifice very much if at all in the quality department.

Step 1: Start fresh. Clean out your cosmetic counter--I know, it sounds like the opposite of saving money but hear me out. You’re not losing money, you’re simply throwing out unsafe products. Check the expiry date on the products and throw out the products that have gone bad. It’s never a good feeling to throw out products that you paid good money for, but it needs to be done. Old products are not only ineffective, but can actually cause irritation or worse when applied to the skin--definitely not worth it.

Step 2: Store products properly and minimize waste. Money saved can be wasted just as easily if the product spoils, and if it’s stored poorly this can happen very quickly.

  • Store products away from direct sunlight as this spoils many products
  • Store away from excessive humidity--the bathroom isn’t always the best place
  • Avoid jar packaging when possible. This isn’t absolute, but opening the jar and exposing it to air can degrade many cosmetic formulations much quicker than sealed containers and sprays that contain the product better. Also, using your fingers can contaminate the product over time, by leaving germs in the product
  • Don’t buy more product than you need. Yes, there are many 2 for 1 sales and various lines offer discounts in sets, but it’s all for naught when you end up using only a portion of the products before it expires

Step 3: Wait for discounts and promos. Cosmetic and skin care products often go on sale at predictable times, like the holidays or promo events. Similar to shopping for groceries, a bit of planning will save you buckets because there are always sales.

  • 2 for 1 deals
  • Pre-package sets from a single brand or line can give you an opportunity to try a wide range of products for a good deal
  • Online free samples
  • At the same time, don’t buy more than you can use

Step 4: Think about Value. This applies with shopping for any type of product, but it’s especially important with cosmetics. Why? With higher end products, you may be paying more for the advertising and marketing costs than the actual product.

  • Don’t skimp on the basics. Budgeting is not the same as neglecting skincare. You want a quality cleanser, moisturizer, and a sunscreen. If you have a condition like eczema or acne, you want a product that manages the condition well.
  • Higher prices doesn’t necessarily mean better quality. Look for evidence-based claims rather than esoteric or untested ingredients. As a rule, don’t buy products that don’t list their ingredients--why would you trust a company that isn’t willing to have their ingredients scrutinized?
  • Don’t be bamboozled by branding and “super secret formulations.” Like most mass industry today, a few companies own the vast majority of brands, and it’s not uncommon for an inexpensive mass brand and a luxury brand to be owned by the same parent company, using very similar formulations, but branded differently.

Step 5: Lifestyle matters as much as the products you use. Skincare isn’t just about what you put on your skin. Cosmetic products used properly can do wonders for the skin, but it’s important not to neglect other lifestyle factors. A good diet and exercise regimen can truly change the skin’s complexion on top of the other health benefits it offers.

  • A small amount of effort in cleaning up your diet and exercise habits goes a long way. Cosmetic products and healthy living complement each other.
  • Be sun aware. One of the most salient changes in skin quality is caused by sun damage, not to mention increased risk of skin cancer. Lifestyle factors like sun avoidance, wearing sun protective clothing and staying in the shade help as well as applying sunscreen.
  • Protect your skin from dryness. Moisture levels in the skin are affected by many environmental factors like humidity, temperature, wind exposure, water consumption, and bathing habits.