How to Budget for High End Beauty Products

5 mins read
How To Budget For High End Beauty Products

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You may have noticed I like the odd high end beauty product around here! I’ve not always been a luxury brand fiend. In my teens you’d find me rummaging through the beauty stands at Boots trying to find a Natural Collection concealer in my shade. I spent more time in high street beauty stores than I care to admit, emerging with Maybelline lipstick swatches stretching up and down my forearms like little ladders. I still like some high street beauty products. Revlon ColorStay foundation has great staying power and cater to fair skin tones well and Revlon’s lipsticks are great too (I still regularly reach for Revlon’s Bare Affair lipstick). I also really like Soap & Glory’s Archery Brow Tint and Pencil.

I turned to high end when I first started wearing foundation and found that apart from Revlon ColorStay, barely any of the drug store offerings catered to my skin tone. I spent so much money on foundations that would oxidise. High end foundations seemed to have a much better colour range. So I was colour matched and have worn the same foundation ever since.

I work full time and my job is pretty good, but I still have to budget for beauty purchases as I have to pay for rent / travel / food and put some money into savings. I don’t have the kind of disposable income where I can drop £100 on a moisturiser without thinking about it. I generally only buy products I’ve wanted for a long time. So here are my tips on how to budget and make savings if you’re thinking of buying some high end beauty products.

How to Budget to Afford High End Beauty Products

Cover your living costs first

I’d never suggest that a Dior lipstick is worth paying for over rent. Make sure once you are paid you’ve set aside enough money to cover rent / mortgage, food, travel / phone bills etc. Paying for these things is much more important than picking up a latest beauty release.

Make a list

At the end of the month before I get paid, I make a list of the products I want to buy and stick to it. There are a few things I have wanted to try out for a little while now (hello, Glossier Cloud Paint in Dusk), but my budget has not stretched that far to buy them yet and there were other beauty products I prioritised.

Do your research

If you’ve made a list of products you want to buy, make sure you do some research. Read some reviews and look at some swatches. Some of the lipstick colours swatched on a brand’s website look nothing like real life. It’s always good to read real people’s opinions on products and see them swatched in real life, rather than judging from a computer generated graphic. I tend to just search on Google but there are also review sections on sites such as Feelunique, and MakeupAlley has reviews of basically every product ever. If possible, go to a counter in person first and get a sample, or ask to try it in store (if it’s like MAC and they sterilise the products).

Don’t purchase similar products

I try not to buy products when I already own something similar. No one really needs four rosy pink powder blushers. I try only to buy something similar when I have hit pan or there is a sale on and I want to stock up on something I love.

Consider the season

As a rule of thumb, I tend to have a one-in, one-out policy and I tend to buy products for the season. For example, I love MAC’s Rebel lipstick, but it’s a deep plum and as we’re going into warmer months I won’t wear it as much. Instead I’m looking to buy things I’ll make use of now, such as sheerer, brighter lipsticks.

Make a purchase once a month (or less)

I usually set a budget and purchase a few things off my list in one order once a month or less. I find it much easier to stay on top of my finances when I know exactly what is going out of my account and when. Making multiple purchases a month makes it so much harder to keep track and means I run the risk of overspending. Also if I limit the number of purchases I make throughout the month, it gives me time to think about the products on my list. Am I really going to use that lip liner?

Consider which products to splash out on, and when to buy budget

There are some products I absolutely love, use every day, and know I will absolutely purchase again. For me that’s foundation and lipstick. I’ve finally found a foundation that works for me, and nude lipsticks that work for fair skin. I use these products every day and so to me it’s worth the little extra cash. Conversely, I budget on eyebrow products and body lotions. I have my trusty high street versions that suit me just fine and haven’t been tempted by high end.

how to budget for and save on high end beauty products

How to save on high end beauty products

Shop during the sales and use discount codes

I tend to use sites such as Lookfantastic, Feelunique or Cult Beauty. There always seems to be a sale on where you can save 15% or so on beauty products. They also run introductory offers if you sign up to their newsletters (and you get to receive unique discount codes). If you’ve made a list of the products you want, researched them and have nothing similar in your stash already, it could be worth considering those sites.

You can use my referral code for Lookfantastic to receive £5 off your first order if you spend £25 or more (in the interest of transparency, I also get £5 credit). Cult Beauty has a similar referral scheme (£10 off a £50 order) and Feelunique have a referral code to get 15% off your first order. (I get £10 off an order and 15% off an order when you use these codes).

Send your referral code to family and friends

Just like I did above, share your referral codes to friends and family so you can utilise the discount code again. It’s a good way to save if there is no site-wide sale.

Use cashback sites and tool bars

I usually combine shopping with a discount code or during the sales, with a cashback site. Cashback tools actually work with a wide range of sites not just ones that are beauty related. I tend to find larger online stores offer the best returns. ASOS offer up to 13% cashback and Waterstones offer up to 6.6%. It all adds up.

I use TopCashback and between the beauty sites I mentioned, you can receive cashback of up to between 11% and 13%. Combined with a discount code or sale, you could save a good chunk of money. If you want to join TopCashback and earn a £5 bonus, you can use my referral code (I earn £20, but once you have an account you can refer friends and family etc with your own code). Otherwise you can search TopCashback on Google. I really do recommend it for making savings on online purchases. You basically make an account and then install a toolbar which gives you a notification every time you are on a site you can get cashback from.

Do you ever buy high end beauty products? How do you budget for big purchases?


Sarah. Almost 30. Craft beer drinker. South London resider. I like photography, boxing and visiting all of London's markets.

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