Beauty is ever-changing but if there’s one constant it’s that we want our routines to be as straightforward and time-saving as possible. There’s no room for fuss or faff. We’ve got 10 tips and tricks to help you save money and stretch your products in some areas. A DIY face mask recipe? Hacks on using your bronzer on the lids? And the secret to making your foundation last longer? Check, check, and check.
There are so many products available that people love and rave about. However, not every product works for your skin type.
Do yourself (and your wallet) a favour by trying out samples first before purchasing a full-sized product. Most stores give out samples if you ask, and brands like Kiehl’s are forward with sharing samples so that you get to try out if a product suits your skin before you make your purchase.
No samples? Opt for a travel-sized version. Usually, there’ll be sufficient to last for a week so it will allow you to test out the product for a few days. And if you love trying out different new products frequently, this is a good way to prevent product wastage — and money.
K-beauty has created multi-stepped beauty rituals which many of us don’t have the time, or need, for. Sure, when you have a peaceful weekend, sans kids, you may want to indulge. But for busy weekdays, an 11-step beauty regime is an unrealistic target for most.
What’s important is to understand your skin and its needs, and to make sure you have the necessary bases covered. Ideally, you should be cleansing, toning, and moisturising on a daily basis. If you have needs like spot targeting or hydrating, then add on serums or overnight masks to boost your skincare routine.
So, instead of gunning for the more-is-best approach, spend more time discovering your needs and concerns, and target these with specific skincare, instead of aimless layering.
Save the more expensive face masks for when you need that boost of radiance or moisture for a special event or occasion.
In the meantime, you could find affordable alternatives from your grocery store. In fact, by using ingredients such as bananas, egg whites, oatmeal or milk, you can easily whip up your own moisturising and exfoliating face mask.
An easy one to make to help refresh skin is to combine 1/2 cup hot water with 1/3 cup oatmeal. Oatmeal is known to have skin-calming and soothing properties, so it’s great if your face is feeling sensitive. Add the water (not boiling) to the oatmeal and leave for about three minutes. Add in a couple of tablespoons of plain natural yoghurt, 2 tbsps of honey for its anti-bacterial benefits, and skin-tightening egg white from one egg. Mix well and place the paste on face for 10 to 15 mins, before rinsing off with warm water.
Another way to make good use of your hydrating toner, like Hado Labo Hydrating Lotion or Orbis U Lotion, is to use it with an expanding sheet mask pellet (available at Daiso). When you need extra hydration, soak a pellet with your toner or lotion and place the sheet on your face. You’ll love the effect!
As more beauty companies are starting to emphasise the importance of reducing the number of preservatives and chemicals in skincare, products will also have a shorter shelf life.
A simple trick to help maintain product freshness is to store it in the fridge. This is especially useful for face masks and water-based products. By doing this, you reduce the exposure to humidity and heat, which tend to encourage bacterial growth in products with less or no preservatives.
Cotton pads cost money – and they are also non-environmentally friendly. These single-use products pile up in our landfills and take years to disintegrate.
To save money and the environment, consider switching to reusable pads such as bamboo rounds or reusable makeup removers such as the Face Halo or Makeup Eraser. These reusable pads can be used and reused. You just need to throw them in the wash when you are done.
You may think that multi-use products are specifically reserved for men who can’t be bothered to get a different soap for their face, body, and hair. However, there are some pretty interesting multi-use products for women, too.
For example, you can use jojoba oil, argan oil, or Vaseline for your nails, as a moisturiser, or even a lip balm. You can even use Vaseline to tame frizzy hair, keep unruly eyebrows in place, or as a makeshift highlighter. A little goes a long way and if using on hair, keep to ends only.
The same goes for your other makeup essentials. Try swapping your regular black or brown eyeliner for lip liners pencils! They’re soft, creamy and they look pretty too. Your cheek tint can double up as lipstick or natural eyeshadow, and your favourite bronzer works just as well on the lids.
Finding a product that’s multi-functional is a great cost-saving trick as it reduces the need to purchase a product for every part of your face and body.
Many makeup and skincare brands and stores regularly hold seasonal sales to get rid of older stock or to promote new items. Take advantage of these for-friends-and-family sales and use them to stock up on beauty essentials which might otherwise cost considerably more.
However, do look at use-by dates when committing to the purchase or you could end up with products you won’t be able to use up by their expiry dates (nullifying any savings you were hoping to make!).
Some skincare products you just won’t stinge on. However, there are some others where you may consider looking for a reputable drugstore “dupe”.
This works more for makeup items like eye shadows and blushes. But it’s recommended you look up reviews online to find out which of these products are reliable and can be trusted. The pigments may not be as intense or long-lasting, but with the cheaper price, the pay-off may be worth it.
When you find a foundation that suits your skin type and skin tone, it’s totally worth buying. However, on days when you don’t need as much coverage, use less by mixing your foundation with a drop of moisturiser.
In effect, you have a tinted moisturiser that gives you hydrating benefits as well as light coverage–and your bottle of foundation will last longer too.
Another interesting way to save money on beauty products is to recycle. Do your research and find out which beauty stores have recycling programmes in place that you can make use of.
For example, in Lush, when you return five empty black pots, the store will give you a free fresh face mask for your trouble! This is worth about $30!
Kiehl’s also has a great recycle and be rewarded programme – where each returned full-sized bottle will get you stars. Your fourth and seventh returns will get you travel-sized products and your 10th stamp will get you a handy tote bag.
This post was first published on July 25, 2019 and updated on June 5, 2020.