How to save money on beauty Looking good is expensive. Ease the burden on your wallet without compromising your appearance by being smart about your beauty buys. Saving money on cosmetics and beauty treatments is simple if you know where to look. This article details five ways to soften the blow on your hip pocket.
Be a beauty school guinea pig Volunteer for a free or discounted treatment at the hands of beauty school students.
Some institutions advertise their cheap rates for hair styling and other beauty services. These are the savvy ones that have realised they can make money off their students. You can sometimes get these treatments for free, or for the cost of materials. Make friends with a beauty therapy student, and they will be begging you to be their guinea pig on practical training and exam days. Some students post ads on websites like Gumtree calling out for volunteers.
Of course, do not expect a top quality service from a student. Students are supervised and often have some experience under their belts, but they are still learning. They will be slower than a professional, and they can make mistakes. Perhaps it is not a good idea to get your foils touched up if you are precious with your hair, but what could go wrong with a leg wax?
Getting your hair done is cheaper if you let a student do it. Image: Dean Wissing via Wikimedia Commons.
Loyalty cards Many waxing and tanning salons offer you benefits for being a loyal customer. It is often just like a coffee shop system where they punch your card for the first four coffees and your fifth is on the house, only with Brazilian waxing substituted for coffee.
There are also loyalty schemes in which you accrue points from every dollar spent to receive a voucher. Essential Beauty, specialising in waxing, tanning and piercing, has a points scheme where for every $500 spent, you receive a $20 voucher. Brazilian Beauty, which does waxing and skin treatments, has a similar VIP club card where you get $5 for every $100 spent.
It is not just franchises that offer loyalty cards, but you often have to ask. If you're a student, also ask about student discounts. Many salons have little-known discount schemes in place, and others will invent a way to make it cheaper just because you asked.
Group buying deals Save money on beauty treatments by pre-purchasing through a group buying website. For the uninitiated, group buying websites such as Groupon work by securing discounted deals from a company, with the deal normally taking effect once a minimum number of people buy.
There is an abundance of hairdressing, eyelash extension, spray tanning and nail salon deals available year-round, with typical discounts between 50% and 80% off. Check out the beauty or wellness sections of group buying websites to secure discount deals in your area. Skip checking each group buying site individually by searching aggregator All the Deals, under the 'Hair and Beauty' category.
Remember to carefully read the terms of the deal. As the intention of offering a group buying deal is to drum up business, many places only allow you to use the deal if you are a first-time customer. You can usually only book within set dates, and there can be block-out periods such as the weekend.
Secure a hefty discount on spa treatments with a group buying deal. Image: Zen Spa via Flickr.
Go $2 shopping
There are some products where quality is king, and others where it makes barely a shred of difference. You would not catch me dead using $1.99 conditioner, but cheap shampoo is no big deal. For some basic beauty supplies, there is no distinction between the branded and unbranded versions. Supplies that you would use for make-up and nail polish removal (such as cotton balls and cotton buds) and hair accessories (bobby pins, hair ties and clips) can be bought cheaply at two dollar shops and chain pharmacies. These products are indistinguishable from tiny, overpriced versions from well-known beauty brands.
Beauty basics do not need to be from a name brand.
Cheap cosmetics online
Cosmetics in Australian stores tend to be expensive compared to overseas pricing. There are some reputable online retailers that sell discounted products. Fountain Cosmetics, Strawberry Net and Cosmetics Now all sell big name make-up and skincare brands cheaply.
With online retailers, you do have to be extra careful to ensure you are buying genuine products. Fabulously cheap make-up on eBay is likely to be fake. Certain popular brands, such as MAC, are invariably counterfeit or expired product when acquired from a discount retailer. For sites like Strawberry Net, it is not difficult to find stories of customers believing they have received counterfeit products. Keep in mind that bricks-and-mortar stores can have issues with authenticity too- in 2012, Target was scandalously found to be selling counterfeit MAC make-up. The only way to ensure your make-up is genuine is to purchase it directly from an authorised distributor, however, you will not get any discounts if you are unwilling to take the risk.
Online retailers often have discount deals on make-up.