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Cosmetics Coupons & Shopper's Guide

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Interesting Facts on Cosmetics

women putting on mascara

“The most beautiful makeup of a woman is passion. But cosmetics are easier to buy.”
― Yves Saint-Laurent

Cosmetics can accentuate your natural beauty by highlighting your best features; they can help conceal your trouble spots, be an outlet for self-expression, or complement a particular outfit or personal style.

Applied correctly, cosmetics should make it look like you’re not wearing any makeup—you’re you, just better.  If your goal is more dramatic, cosmetics can also transform your whole look, or play to current trends.

Regardless of the look you’re going for, cosmetics should make you feel more attractive and confident.  When you feel confident, you’re always at your most beautiful.

Cosmetics Shopping Advice

Before you set out on your cosmetic shopping adventure, it’s important to think about a few factors such as how much you want to spend and what goal you’re trying to achieve. 

When shopping for cosmetics, keep the following factors in mind:

Use and Function:

  • What occasion am I purchasing this for?
  • Will I wear this more than once?
  • Can I wear this for work and for social activities?
  • Can I wear this when I work out?
  • Do I already have colors or formula like this at home?

Skin tone and type:

  • What type of skin do I have?
  • Is it oily, dry, combination, or sensitive?
  • Am I allergic to any ingredients?

Color:

  • Which colors look best with your skintone?
  • Which colors bring out your eyes?
  • Which colors do you feel comfortable wearing?
  • Which colors are popular this season?

What am I trying to achieve?

  • Everyday, natural look?
  • Night time, or special occasion look?
  • To conceal a specific area?
  • To highlight a specific feature?
  • Am I comfortable wearing it?
  • Does it make me feel good?

Cost:

  • Is it within my budget?
  • How often will I use it?
  • Is it made from quality ingredients?

Types of Cosmetics

nail polish and mascara display

There are many types of cosmetics: for everyday wear to the office or running errands, for special occasions, to correct specific issues such as undereye circles or acne scars, to highlight specific features of your face, or just to feel more pretty.

Discount Cosmetics

You can find a large spectrum of cosmetics just at your local drugstore or beauty supply store. You may be surprised to know that only seven global companies own nearly all the beauty products on the market. These companies produce luxury and drugstore brands alike in the same factories and often times the formulas are very similar, if not exactly the same. You can easily find products in drugstores, beauty supply stores, and discount department stores that are every bit as good as fancy department stores.

Beauty Supply Stores

makeup and cosmetics in a small shopping cart

Beauty supply stores such as Sally Beauty Supply are a great place to stock up on hair products, nail products, and tools of the trade such as brushes and waxing kits. Beauty supply stores usually offer discounts for professionals who work in the beauty industry, but are also open to regular shoppers--most of the time. Check with an associate before you start filling your basket.

Makeup

The terms makeup, cosmetics, and beauty products are usually all used interchangeably.  “Cosmetics” can refer to makeup as well as skincare products. “Beauty” can mean all of these including body products and tools. For all intents and purposes, “makeup” usually refers to items you put on your face to achieve an immediate visual effect. Ergo, we’re talking all of the following...

Foundation

Eyeliner

Perfume

Concealer

Eyeshadow

Lipstick

Blush

Mascara

Lipgloss

Powder

Eyebrow pencil

Brushes

For these items, it’s important to do your homework, read reviews, and sample colors and formulas in stores to see what works best on you.  No one wants a drawer full of beauty products that didn’t work out. So, before you buy, ask your local retailer about their return policy on makeup and always try to test it out before you buy.

Foundation

Foundation comes in many shades, formulas, and levels of coverage. You can opt for a heavy foundation to cover deep skin flaws, or sheer foundation, tinted moisturizer, or BB cream if you have very minor imperfections to conceal, or just want to even out your tone. If you’re unsure about your skin tone or type, visit it a cosmetics counter in a department store and ask for some help. Purchasing foundation can be a big decision, and it’s perfectly acceptable to ask for two or three samples so that you can judge them in daylight, see how your skin reacts to them, and what it’s like to apply on your own.  You can also use the information and color samples you’ve gathered at the cosmetic counter to shop on your own at the drugstore or discount department store such as Walgreens, CVS, Target, and Walmart. These stores all offer a great selection of cosmetics.

Lipstick

Lipstick is a big category in the world of cosmetics. If a woman has no time for anything else, she’ll often at least put on some lipstick before heading out the door. It’s the one cosmetic that can immediately bring out your eyes, brighten your complexion, and make you look a little more polished.  Lipstick comes in a variety of formulas--from longwearing to moisturizing, matte or satiny to shiny and sparkly. Picking out a lipstick is fun...spend some time getting to know what shades work for you.

Choose the best lipstick shade for your skin tone

Fair

orange-based shades and fruity colors

Beige

crisp, clean undertones

Golden

rich colors with warm undertones

Olive

blue undertones

Bronze

nude or bold colors

Deep

clear reds, purples, pinks, berries

The price spectrum of lipstick is vast--you can find some amazing $3 shades in your drugstore, or you can splurge on a $50 formula as a high-end department store.  Is there much difference in the formulas--yes, and no. It takes a lot of testing to find the perfection combination of texture and shade that work for you--but this is also part of the fun!

Mascara

After lipstick, mascara is the second most important cosmetic for most gals. It’s a fast and easy way to look more awake because it instantly “opens” up your eyes and gives them more definition. You can find a great mascara at the drugstore for around $7, or you can spend $42 at a department store. Before you set out, think about what you want to achieve. Are your lashes naturally short, but thick? Try a lengthening mascara.  Maybe your lashes are long, but a little skimpy. Opt for a thickening formula!

Mascara Brands You Can’t Go Wrong With

  • Maybelline
  • Diorshow
  • Covergirl
  • Lancôme
  • L’Oreal
  • Chanel

Perfume

Perfume makes a great gift--for someone you know well. Before setting out to buy perfume, make sure you know the taste of your giftee very well. Consider other fragrances she or he currently likes or wears. Everyone has different body chemistry, as such, scents smell differently on different people--and definitely on a paper sample.  When buying perfume for yourself, always ask for a small sample so you can “test drive” the scent on yourself for a full day or several days before you decide to buy it. You may find that it doesn’t actually smell the same on you as it does in the bottle. Perfume can be something of an investment. Think of it as a personalized accessory that you wear every day.  It makes sense to spend some time choosing just the right one. Most perfumes fall into one of four fragrance families.  Test drive enough perfumes and you may find that your particular chemistry works best with fragrances that fall into one particular family.

Four Common Fragrance Families

Floral

Oriental

Woody

Fresh

Floral

Soft Oriental

Wood

Citrus

Soft Floral

Oriental

Mossy Woods

Green

Floral Oriental

Woody Oriental

Dry Woods

Water

Where To Buy Cheap Perfume

Drugstores and discount retailers can be a great place to find affordable perfume.  January and March are good times to find deals--just after Christmas and Valentine’s Day. Black Friday is also a good time to find deals on perfumes. Around Christmas, you’ll also find a lot of fragrance gift packages that include matching body lotion or body washes.

Cruelty-free Cosmetics

Sadly, many cosmetic companies still test their products on animals. A growing number is choosing not to, however. If this concerns you, check out PETA’s complete list of companies that don’t test on animals.

Get Shopping!

When you’re ready to hit the stores for some serious cosmetic shopping, whether for yourself, or a gift, be sure to download the free Out of Milk app to help you find the best deals and savings on cosmetics at local drugstores, department stores and retailers.