Six ways to be a smarter beauty spender

by Arian Yupangco, contributor

Whether you’re on a student allowance, bringing home a hefty paycheck, or just have a tiny bit leftover after paying the bills, you gotta be a smart spender when treating yourself to a beauty fix. Even if you have enough of a budget to buy anything you set your heart on, you still want to get the best products that your money can buy. What a waste it would be spend your hard-earned pesos on products that you already have dupes for, fail to impress you, or let you down entirely by causing damage to your skin.

Buying smart doesn’t mean limiting yourself to drugstore products though. You can indulge even on the most expensive skincare and makeup AND still get a good deal for as long as you make sure to follow these tips!

Look it up

With the availability of internet pretty much everywhere we go, you can easily do a quick Google search about the product you’re interested in buying. You wouldn’t buy a new car without finding out more about it, right? Even though they don’t (usually) cost as much as a car, the same care and consideration should be applied to shopping for makeup and skin care since these are products that you put on your body.

Find out how much it costs (especially important if you want to avoid buying fakes), where to purchase, and, most importantly, if it’ll seem like a good fit for you. Read up on what people are saying about it and how it worked (or didn’t work) for them. Websites like Temptalia and Makeup Alley have an extensive directory of comprehensive product reviews as well as real user experiences. If you need feedback on local products or want to know how international hits fare on Pinay skin, then hit up some PH-based websites - we have a vibrant local community here! A little bit of reading can go a long way in saving you from purchases that cause regret.

Don’t be shy, try

I know that asking a crabby-looking sales assistant is a little intimidating sometimes but as a (smart) shopper, don’t let that stop you. It’s your right to be able to swatch or try on the product first before deciding to buy or “bye” it. Ask for testers and follow our tips for a germ-free swatch fest. It’s not a crime, so take your time!

If you’ve struck gold and a brand rep is willing to part with some samples, make sure to put some tact in place and stick to two to three samples at most. You don’t want to be seen as a shameless hoarder and be given the stink eye. Oh, and if you’ve got the time, many brands offer free makeovers. My suggestion? Go for it! It’ll be the ultimate way to test out how they fare on you first before adding them to your beauty bounty.

Expand your horizons

Whether you’re a long-time user of high-end beauty products or have firmly stuck to more affordable, department store options, it’s important to test both waters when looking for a worthwhile. A P200 mascara may be able to perform just as great as that P1,000 one you’ve been eyeing for the last few weeks. On the flip side, a pricey blush you splurged on can give you better value because it lasts all day compared to the ultra cheap one that you have to retouch every few hours.

Some of you may think that high-end makeup and skincare ain’t worth the cash especially if many cheaper options claim to be dupes, but there’s often a good reason why they’re expensive. Luxury items don’t just come in pretty packaging; they tend to perform better and use prime ingredients that are less likely to trigger skin irritations. Not to say that most cheap cosmetics are harmful! I’ve personally tried a whole slew of budget beauty brands and found genuine favorites among them. The key is being willing to find what really works for you regardless of brand biases. Remember: the price tag isn’t always an indicator of performance. Just look at all the cheap but HG-level picks we’ve found so far!

Give a little TLC

Okay, so you have a sizable collection of beauty babies you’re proud of. That’s all well and good but if they’re not getting the care they deserve, you might just end up shelling more money than you’re willing to part with. Got your stash prettily displayed and bathed in sunlight? The heat might melt cream formulas or make photo-sensitive skin care ineffective. Is your vanity overcrowded with too many products? A little bump can send them toppling and crashing onto the floor!

Trust me, even the littlest of precautions can make a big difference. Invest in pieces that allow you to safely (and neatly) store your stash. All this love and care includes throwing away makeup that’s so old you don’t even remember you had it, by the way! If you truly love something, you have to learn to let it go [insert dramatic music here]. You won’t only avoid ruining your skin, but it instantly grants you more space for newer products. Finally, think twice and thrice and four more times before hoarding! Having more products than you can use before they expire is simply money down the drain.

Twin spotting

I don’t know about you but I have, on more than one occasion, excitedly brought home a new blush or lip gloss only to find out I already have one that’s so similar they could practically be twins. There goes my moolah! This is why it’s important to know your beauty collection like the back of your hand. Okay, not really, but being aware of what you have versus what you don’t is more necessary than you think. Invest in acrylic organizers and portable multi-layered drawers. Not only is keeping your products organized a good way to de-clutter and keep your personal space tidy, but it’ll help you clearly see and remember what you already own.

If you find it a tad bit difficult to keep track of all your stuff, well there’s an app for that. In fact, there’s a whole bunch! Apps like My Beauty Cache (iOS), My Makeup Collection (iOS/Android), and Snupps (iOS/Android) help you keep an up-to-date, visual inventory of all your beauty goods. All you have to do is snap a pic, label, and save away so that the next time you plan to haul, just open the app and see what you’ve either already got or have to have. Other nifty apps like Think Dirty (iOS/Android) not only help you sift through products by scanning their barcode, they can also tell you which products have potentially harmful ingredients and help you to make safe product purchases. If you’re more of an “old fashioned gal” and don’t want to rely on an app, there’s always good ol’ spreadsheets where you customize how you organize your collection exactly the way you want it.

No takes on fakes

Buying fake or “replica” makeup should never cross your mind, not even once! Buying that “Singapore authentic” primer you saw on Instagram can be oh-so-tempting because it makes you think it’s going to save you a few bucks. But you know what’s not going to save you money? A trip to the doctor and a week’s worth of pricey antibiotics because of the mysterious ingredients and production methods used by sketchy manufacturers to make that so-called beauty bargain.

Fake makeup is cheap for a reason. No quality testing goes into them and they use inferior, potentially dangerous ingredients. If you want to wise up to the woes of purchasing phonies, just stick to buying from authorized brand distributors and trusted sellers.

How about that? It’s not too complicated to become a smart(-er) spender, right? Whether beauty is your passion, a casual hobby, or a simple necessity, keep these tips in mind the next time you decide to do some beauty shopping. I hope they help you avoid making any regret purchases and get you the best products for your budget. Happy saving (and shopping), ladies!

Arian Yupangco is a beauty blogger at Ari's Wonderland and a Philippine Star columnist.