Wednesday, June 17, 2015

5 Online Shopping Hacks All Beauty Junkies Need to Know

Source: Sephora
Over the years, I have amassed quite the beauty product collection. When friends see my vanity, they often ask me how I'm able to afford so many products. The simple answer is: I almost never pay full price.

Thanks to all of the online shopping hacks I have picked up over time, I always find a sneaky way to get a great deal on my beauty products. And now, I'd like to pass along some of my best-kept secrets to all of you. Get ready beauty junkies, online shopping is about to get a whole lot easier on your wallet!

1. Take Coupon Codes to the Next Level

I used to spend hours scouring every coupon code site imaginable to find the best deal to put in at checkout. Then a few months ago, I discovered a Google Chrome extension called Honey. Once you've added the extension to your browser, Honey will automatically detect when you're online shopping. You'll see the Honey icon turn orange, and a little number will pop up indicating how many coupon codes for that website are currently available.

All you need to do is click on that icon, and Honey will list every single coupon code just like that. And if that wasn't impressive enough, a box will pop up at checkout telling you exactly how many codes are compatible with your purchase. Honey will then input them for you. Now all Honey needs to add is a button to buy the products for me. Get to work on that, please.

2. Try Before You Buy

If you regularly suffer from serious post-purchase regret like I do, this tip is for you. Beauty subscription services have become all the rage these past couple of years, and lately they've been getting better and better. I subscribe to Birchbox and Ipsy, both of which include full-size products rather than just samples (like some other beauty boxes that will remain nameless).

Both Birchbox and Ipsy are a mix of samples and full-size for $10 a month. Last month, three of my five products were full-size from high-end brands. The retail value from those three products alone was over $60. For a $10 subscription. Craziness.

I just can't get behind any beauty subscription box that gives all samples, as I know that more than likely they received every single one of those samples free for promotion. These subscriptions are a fantastic bargain if you know the right ones to sign up for. Birchbox and Ipsy are definitely two of the best options.

3. Go Straight to the Source

I often find that if I go right to the brand website rather than going through Ulta or Sephora, I score much better deals. For instance, right now Smashbox is offering 25% off and free shipping sitewide. These exclusive discounts occur fairly often on beauty brand websites, and they are certainly worth looking into before settling for that free sample coupon code at Sephora.

4. Getting Private

While a lot of people have the misconception that private sale sites only offer deals on expensive designer fashion, that is completely untrue. Most of these sale sites also frequently offer sale events for well-known beauty brands. My personal favorite is Hautelook, and for good reason. In the past few months, I have ordered products at about 25-75% off from brands like Urban Decay, Stila, Tarte, Illamasqua, theBalm, Macadamia, Morphe, BECCA, and LORAC. 

Source: Phyrra

Private sale sites typically cycle in and out new "event sales" every day, so it pays to check back regularly to see what's new. You do need to sign up to access the sales, but the sign-up process is super easy and free. Rue La La is another great private sale website if you're looking for high-end products. They frequently offer crazy deals on brands like NARS and Estée Lauder.

5. Do Your Homework

You've likely comparison shopped for big purchases like a car, but doing a little homework is just as valuable when it comes to beauty products. I never make a beauty purchase without checking ShopStyle. It's essentially the Google of online shopping. You just type in the name of the product you want to buy, and ShopStyle will fill you in on all the retailers that carry it. And more importantly, which retailers are offering the best deal.

Now that I've shared some of my best online shopping tips and tricks, I'd love to hear yours in the comments below!

Oh, and be sure to like The Beauty Bar on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram for more beauty tips and tricks!

Sarah Breden | Editor In Chief

Sarah is a full-time college student and aspiring digital strategist with a passion for the beauty industry. When she's not hard at work in the office or the classroom, Sarah enjoys home decorating, vintage shopping, and spending time with family. She couldn't live without laughter, online shopping, mac & cheese, and mascara.

Twitter: @SarahBreden | Instagram: @SarahBreden 


  1. Grrrr, I can't stand beauty boxes that do samples. Unless it's on top of the normal full sizes, like ipsy does occasionally. I love ipsy! :D Ehmegherd what?! I have to go try this 'honey' extension! Thanks!
    I have not tried hautelook, and I plan to! I keep seeing such great deals!
    I also recommend email lists! I subscribe to my fave brands, and that's a great way to get deals, because they email out their sales and coupons and such! It's how I save a lot of money ... or spend more .... :s haha oh bother.
    And I also like! Before I buy anything, I look up the reviews there! I love it! Or of course the reviews on Sephora are great too. I saved myself a few purchases by looking up reviews and realizing the product just isn't what I want! :D

    1. Email lists are definitely another great way to find deals online! Thanks for sharing, Miki!

  2. I haven't heard of Honey, but it sounds genius – just installed it now. Thanks, Sarah!

    1. Hope you find some good coupon codes, Ida!

  3. I just added Honey. Thanks for the tip!

    1. I'd love to hear how it works out for you, Katrina!

  4. Honey is definitely a must! Can't wait to see how much I save with it now. These other tips are great too!

    Running Alyssa

    1. So glad you found the tips helpful, Alyssa! Have fun shopping!

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