How to save money on hair and beauty products

Hair and beauty product addicts rejoice! Here are my top 5 tips to save money on hair and beauty products.

Makeup, skincare, body lotions, shampoo, conditioner, hand creams you name it, I used to buy it. A recent survey suggests that over 70% of British women over the age of 30 spend more than £50 per year on cosmetics. In that survey an alarming number just didn’t know how much they spend :-).

I’d love to know the statistics about which of those products they actually use. The purple makeup box in my house is the most coveted item by my four year old daughters. They love to look at the makeup which has gone in there to have a rest. Given the volume of stuff in there, you would think I was some sort of makeup applying professional but no I’m just an ordinary Mum with a beauty shopping habit.

The purple box recently had a clear out to see what was hiding at the bottom. I’m ashamed to say that a significant amount of my high-end eye shadow collection was carved up for colouring our slime concoctions and the empty pans were used to make some toy makeup for the girls.

1. Kicking the premium beauty habit

I had managed to kick my premium beauty habit a few years ago but I seemed to have replaced it with high volume cheaper items instead.

Through my 20’s I suffered from horrific acne so I was always a sucker for the latest and greatest invention from the premium counter to sort my skin out.  I wouldn’t have dreamt of trying anything from the supermarket or pharmacy.  I didn’t want to risk it getting worse.  Not once did I try a cheap option in that decade.  And to be honest it took me until my mid 30’s to figure things out!

One day I’d had enough. I had baulked at the idea of another £40 on shampoo and conditioner from the hairdresser – promising this and promising that.  The reality was for a busy Mum with a new baby – who had the time to do any of what was needed to make your hair textbook?

So I set about to find a cheaper alternative.  I said to myself “what do I have to lose?” – if this cheaper shampoo is no good I’ve lost £6 on the shampoo and conditioner.  My hair couldn’t have been in a worse state at this point.  I read through all of the reviews on Boots for ‘sulphate free shampoo’ to see what was available.  I gave the best rated and reviewed shampoo a go. There was no salon advice, no shiny packaging, it had an AWFUL name and it cost £6 for both.  After a few days, my hair was changed, it was the best it had been for years. 

This is how I really started to save money

Gradually, using this method I started to swap out my premium beauty products for supermarket/drug store alternatives.  I went from a £30 foundation to a £6 one, a £20 hand cream to a £3 one.  Each time my expensive item ran out I made myself trial a cheaper option.

If you are not sure where to start there are loads of groups on Facebook like Mrs Gloss & The Goss – next time you are looking to replace a hair or beauty item and you want to save money, this is the place to ask.

Occasionally I would treat myself on something expensive but it became the exception rather than the rule.  My favourite drug store brand is most definitely Revolution.  It has been a game-changer for my beauty budget.

How to save money on hair and beauty products

2. Ditch the lunch time impulse buys

Mindless shopping on beauty products is another shopping habit that I managed to break in 2020.  Often I would find myself wandering around Boots or SuperDrug in my lunch break and buying bits and pieces.  Trouble is this was a weekly habit.  Last time I checked I was averaging £50 a month in these 2 shops alone!

Part of my desire to do this was boredom at lunchtime as I forced myself out of the office to get some fresh air.  I tried not taking my purse with me but it just lead me to go back another day to buy the new lipstick colour I had seen.  3 for 2 offers were always on.

In December 2019 I treated myself to a GlossyBox subscription.  I thought this will kick it – if I have this I won’t be impulse buying anymore.

I have to say it has worked – so while I spend £120ish across the whole year on my GlossyBox subscription it is far less than the £50 a month of impulse buys I was getting in my lunch break.

Obviously, working from home has helped significantly because I haven’t been in the office but even before then I had stopped completely because my ‘new’ items were arriving in the post each month for £11!

I still need to buy basics like foundation and powder because these aren’t included but I haven’t spent any money this year on any other makeup.

3. Have a no makeup/beauty/toiletries spending embargo

Challenge yourself not to buy anything for 30 days, 60 days, 90 days.  I did this a few years ago and I go to about Easter until I cracked and bought something.

It’s time to use up all of those Christmas hair and beauty products, makeup you have stashed away and those unused makeup sets. Obviously, check if the items are safe to use before you do.

4. Have a spare

If you use a lot of an expensive item, have a cheaper spare you can go to when the expensive one has run out. This could help you make do for a couple of months until you could find a place in your budget to replace the expensive item. Who knows you may ever favour the cheaper product!

5. Use hair and beauty trainees

If you have a nearby hair or beauty college you can often get treatments which are significantly reduced compare to a regular salon.  Things maybe varied with covid but when this is an option, definitely worth looking at to save you some cash on beauty treatments.

Alternatively, you could look for salons which have apprentices.  These normally have heavily discounted offers for sessions with trainees while they build their portfolios up.

I hope you have saved some money by following my 5 ways to save money on hair and beauty products post. You can read my 5 ways to save money on clothes post here.