Spending

4 mistakes to avoid when buying new makeup

"If you have previously opened it" pre-pandemic, "it's time to throw it out."

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If you haven't touched your makeup since before the pandemic, you might need to replace a good amount of it. Much of the makeup you opened before the pandemic is likely no longer safe to use and should be thrown out, says Jenna Rosenstein, beauty director at Bazaar.com.

"If you have previously opened it, it's time to throw it out," Rosenstein says. "Any time you are exposing oxygen to a dark tube," it shortens the shelf life of that product.

This applies less to face powders and eye shadow palettes than it does to products like mascara and lipstick. "I'm typically more cautious with anything that's liquid versus anything that is powdery or pencil," Rosenstein says. "If you have a liquid eyeliner that you opened — even just once — from before the pandemic, you should toss it out."

Replacing all your makeup can be expensive, so it's smart to save money where you can. Here are four mistakes not to make when stocking up on cosmetics.

Don't waste money on cheap items

You won't have to replace makeup brushes and sponges as often if you buy quality versions instead of the cheapest available, says Rosenstein. When it comes to brushes, specifically, natural ones will last a bit longer than synthetic ones. "Natural brushes could last several years," she says. "Synthetic ones could last you about one year."

Rosenstein's favorite brand is Artis brushes. A five-brush set will run you $185 at Nordstrom. "Investing in a set of high quality brushes will last a little bit longer than an inexpensive set," she says.

Don't forget to join loyalty programs

Loyalty programs are usually free to sign up for and offer tons of deals, says consumer savings expert Andrea Woroch.

"Through Sephora's program, you will get deluxe free samples, which can really come in handy for traveling or may be enough product to get you through a few weeks," she says. "At drugstores like CVS, you can earn free ExtraCare Bucks, which is like free money, sometimes specifically for the beauty department."

If you sign up for a loyalty program and want to replace most of your pre-pandemic makeup stash in one shopping trip, do so as soon as possible, says Julie Ramhold, consumer analyst with DealNews.com. "If you're planning to stock up, consider doing so early in the year as you'll hit the threshold and earn the upper loyalty tiers for a longer period of time."

Investing in a set of high quality brushes will last a little bit longer than an inexpensive set.
Jenna Rosenstein
beauty director at Bazaar.com

Don't only shop at makeup stores

While Ulta and Sephora are great options, you could find deals by looking outside makeup chains. Costco, for example, has good deals on cosmetics, Ramhold says.

"You might not think of the warehouse store as a good place to shop for beauty products, but you can find surprisingly great deals on well-known brands by shopping online," she says. "For instance, I've seen Giorgio Armani foundation, Guerlain powders, Givenchy concealers, and Urban Decay items all on sale at Costco."

You can also find good skin-care products at Costco, says Woroch. "Recently, I scored a package of Olay Regenerist Serum that contained two regular size bottles and a travel size for the same price of just one regular size bottle at big box stores," she says.

Don't shop without looking for coupons

Beauty stores like Sephora and Ulta regularly hold sales around Easter and Mother's Day.

You can get even more out of these sales if you want to stack coupons, Woroch says: "Coupons usually come with at least a few exceptions, but as long as you read the fine print for both the sale and the coupon, you should be well-prepared to shop and save even more on applicable items."

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