Buying good quality makeup can get expensive quick. Finding affordable or free makeup can be an enjoyable hunt. I remember seeing a mascara that was $60 once, yikes! The truth is that you don’t need to be spending hundreds of dollars on makeup to have quality products that will last you.

Remember that makeup, just like any other cosmetic product, does have a shelf life and it’s not very long. Most makeup products in your arsenal will need to be replaced in just a few months or years, so spending hundreds of dollars on something you only use once in a while might not be worth it.

There are a ton of ways to get those beauty products you know and love at a fraction of the price! Here is how to get affordable or free makeup.

Product Testing

If you enjoy testing new lipsticks and eyeshadows, then this is a great way to get free products for the low price of your time! There are a ton of companies that will give you free products in exchange for your opinion or a review of the product. What you get will range from each company, and you can end up with a tiny sample or a full-size product.

Here are some of my favorites:

Sign Up For Rewards At Your Favorite Beauty Stores

Victoria’s Secret, Sephora, Ulta, and Bare Minerals all offer exclusive offers to their reward members. You can score great freebies on your birthday, as well as exclusive reward member-only offers throughout the year. You can get makeup brushes and perfume from mail coupons at Victoria’s Secret, special offers and sales at Sephora, and even free samples at Ulta.

CVS has great deals on cosmetics and skin care every week! Enroll in the Beauty Club to earn $3 Extra Care Bucks back when you buy $30 of Beauty Products. Plus earn $3 Extra Care Bucks rewards on your birthday!

Walgreens just started their very own beauty rewards system called Beauty Enthusiast! Earn 5000 Balance Rewards for every $50 spent on beauty products.

Sign Up To Receive Coupons

When you sign up for your favorite makeup company’s email newsletter, they will send you promotions to get you to make a purchase!

If you’re a smartie (which I know you are), you’ll start to notice that there is a rhythm to their marketing efforts.

Every other month they might send out a 20% Off your entire purchase, or BOGO sale on your favorite brand concealer.

I love to use Pur products, but I don’t want to pay full price. I watch for that special email with 20% Off (or more) and that’s when I buy.

The first time you notice this sales cycle, you’ll want to buy a couple in order to stock up so you have enough until it goes on sale again!

At Christmas, there was a free bonus freebie on a pore minimizer I use every day, so I thought about how long it takes me to use up one tube, in order to determine how many I’d need to buy to have enough until the bonus came around again.

Use Coupons

Coupons are by far my favorite way to score quality makeup at a great price!

You can find great sales at drugstores, Publix, Walmart and Target making the makeup FREE or dirt cheap.

These are not for no-name brands you’ve never heard of either. There are hundreds of coupons for Neutrogena, Maybelline, Revlon, and so many others!

Free Gifts With Purchase

Ulta’s website has tons of free samples you can get when you purchase their products online. If you are visiting a makeup counter, you may even be able to score travel size products!

While shopping for mascara at Urban Decay, I was able to score a free eye primer at no additional cost! If you already have one of the samples they’re planning on giving, ask if there’s something else they have in place. You’d be shocked how many “gifts” are sitting there to be offered with purchase.

Try A Subscription Box

There are a ton of beauty subscription boxes to choose from, and if you buy a lot of makeup, you can score some significant savings! Target has monthly beauty boxes full of name brands to try, and most of these boxes are less than the store prices!

Do your research first before you sign up to make sure you will indeed be able to use all of the products given before they expire.

Amazon has some great free beauty boxes for their Prime Members. You pay one price and they give you that same amount back in a credit to use later. (They are hoping you will buy a full-size product you try from inside the box.)

Target also has a crazy good beauty box deal they offer for only $7, shipped for free. Each month they offer a new themed box with at least 7 beauty essentials inside!

Walmart even has a quarterly beauty box that only costs $5 for shipping! The image above is what came in my winter box!

Swap With A Friend

How many times have you dug into your makeup bin just to find a bunch of unopened makeup products you’ll never use? Instead of throwing them out, see if one of your friends has makeup they aren’t using and swap!

This can be a great way to get some fresh new affordable or free makeup without having to spend any money!

My 18 yo daughter Annabelle’s friend, Felecia, received an expensive palette of specialty eyeshadows for Christmas (they even smelled like chocolate) and unfortunately, she didn’t really like the colors on her skin, so she asked Annabelle to trade them with her! Annabelle was super excited and loves the eyeshadow palette that would’ve otherwise been wasted!

Obviously, you might want to make sure that the makeup has never been used (or wipe it with alcohol), and if you are getting brushes from a friend, make sure to clean them thoroughly.

Shop Clearance

The best place to find makeup is the clearance section. Places like Target and Walmart often have end caps full of products that are in mint condition for a fraction of the cost! You can even stack coupons with these items to make your beauty buys cost almost nothing! Make sure to check expiration dates and packaging before you check out to make sure you aren’t buying something that’s gone bad.

As you can see, you don’t need to rob a gold mine to afford high-quality makeup! In fact, many of these tips and tricks are things I use for my makeup collection. Start small and remember that makeup isn’t a necessity for daily life, so if you are struggling with the cost, you may need to go without.

YOUR TURN: What tricks do you have for getting affordable or free makeup? Do you subscribe to a beauty box? Let me know in the comments below!

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