You can find thousands of free makeup and beauty tutorials on YouTube, but the problem is that most of these beauty professionals use a myriad of pricey beauty products.
Yes, you want to look your best, but you also don't want to spend a large portion of your budget on vanity. Here are six ways to get beauty samples and products for free or super cheap.
Ask for Them In-Store
Many stores that have rows of beauty counters, such as Macy's and Dillards, have many beauty samples for interested shoppers. Other stores like Ulta, MAC, Sephora, and Bare Minerals might also have free samples when a new product launches.
Tell an employee that you are interested in trying a product but wanted to test out a sample first. They might be able to set you up with a small trial item.
Follow Beauty Company Websites and Social Media Pages
Free beauty samples are not always available, but check your favorite brands' websites and social media pages every so often for offers. You are more likely to score a free sample when a company launches a new product.
Here are a few places to keep bookmarked:
Contact Makeup Companies
Send a nice email or letter to a company praising their products, and you might receive coupons or samples. Be sure to let them know that you would love to try out more of their products. Many companies also have phone numbers that might be worth contacting. Here's how Jim used the Flattery Project to score a few free samples.
Get Free Samples with a Purchase
Many times your makeup and beauty orders will trigger free samples. Sephora, Ulta, and Macy's all give out two to four free samples with each beauty purchase.
Look for specialized offers that give out deluxe samples with a certain purchase. For example, this $37.50 Elizabeth Arden purchase at Macy's triggers this free sample bag.
Become a Sephora Beauty Insider
Sephora Beauty Insiders receive free samples periodically, especially on their birthday month.
Sign Up for Affordable Beauty Boxes
You can try your first BirchBox for $1 with coupon code DOLLARBOX.
You can choose your trial kit from Dollar Shave Club for $5.
Your first Macy's subscription beauty box comes with a $10 off coupon, making the $15 cost worth it.
Walmart offers a Beauty Box for a $5 flat fee.
Target also has a Beauty Box for $7.
Other Ways to Save on Makeup and Beauty
Know the Return Policy
Stores like Clinique and Sephora have a generous return policy on products, even after they have been used. It is a good idea to know what you can and cannot return before purchasing a new product, because sometimes a certain item can clash with your skin. If you can return a used beauty product if the color is wrong or if you have a reaction, you will save money in the long run.
Save with Beauty Boxes
If you aren't a brand loyalist, you can save through beauty subscription boxes like Ipsy and Boxycharm. Ipsy offers three monthly subscriptions. For $10 a month, you will receive $50 worth of products. For $25 a month for the Glam Plus subscription, you will receive $120 worth of products. Finally, you can receive both of the above choices for $35 a month, and receive products and deluxe samples worth $170.
Similarly, Boxycharm costs $21 a month for 5-6 full-size beauty products worth over $100. Allure's Beauty Box is $10 for $82 worth of full-sized products, and you know exactly what you get before you buy.
Between these two subscription boxes, you are bound to get products you won't use, but also ones that you love. Get a $40-50 product you love each month, and you will save $15-29 on your beauty expenses each month.
If your friends also receive monthly subscriptions, you can trade products to make your budget go even further. You can also swap your items with people online through this subscription box swap site.
Stores like Ulta, Target, and Walmart frequently have deals on popular makeup brands that can be stacked with coupon savings. You will save the most money by stacking a manufacturer coupon with a store coupon. Sometimes you can also stack these coupons on top of a gift card deal, like buy 2 Suave products, receive a $5 Target gift card, or submit your receipt to ibotta for cashback.