19 Beauty Steals College Girls Can't Afford To Sleep On
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Student Life

19 Beauty Steals College Girls Can't Afford To Sleep On

I'll say it again for the girls in the back. FREE MAKEUP!

19 Beauty Steals College Girls Can't Afford To Sleep On

Just like those annoying Tide commercials, the terms "college student" and "high-end makeup" just don't mix. The prospect of spending over $20 on a piece of makeup leaves us with a guilty conscience as images of actual necessities clutter our minds. $20, that could buy me a month worth of printing at the library, a Friday night out on the town, or 20 meals off the dollar menu (excluding tax of course). Instead of buying that name-brand eyeshadow palette, we settle for the drugstore "dupe" that's half the price and half the guilt.

But, what if I told you you could purchase that eyeshadow palette for less than the drugstore price? You might even be able to snag it for free. Yes, you heard that right. I'll say it again for the girls in the back. FREE. So here it goes. 19 tricks every beauty lover should be aware of to score that name-brand palette (or highlighter, or mascara, or...you get the point).

1.Sign up for Ulta's rewards program to start racking up points.

Natalie Purdy

Whatever you do, sign up for the Ulta rewards program. No, it's not a credit card and yes, it's completely free. For each dollar you spend you earn points that will quickly add up to money off of any purchase, even prestige items. Make sure to keep track of your points on the Ulta app and shop when there are 2x, 3x, and 4x the points on any purchase. I kid you not, the points add up to actual money off (just this year I earned $200 of in-store credit). Not only do you get rewarded for shopping but it's also the fun of playing the game and getting the best bang for your buck.

2.Shop online.

Natalie Purdy

If you walk into a cosmetic store and instantly fall in love with that out-of-this-world highlight or that black-as-night eyeliner but don't fall in love with the price, shop directly from the brand's website. There are constantly additional savings online and you're sure to find exactly what you're looking for at a cheaper price.

3.Pick up products from Sephora's Weekly WOW promotions.

Natalie Purdy

Sephora. It's the IKEA for beauty lovers. The only problem is sometimes the price tags can be intimidating, especially for college students on a budget. If you love to shop Sephora as much as I do, make sure to check out their Weekly WOW sales (the items on sale change each Thursday) to find items for up to 50% off. That way you can have your cake and eat it too.

4.Shop on Wednesdays.

Natalie Purdy

On Wednesday's, we shop Ulta. If you already have a list of beauty items on your purchase list, wait until Wednesday and purchase it online. Most weeks, Ulta offers a Beauty Break full of free products with a minimum purchase (typically this offer only lasts for four hours so act fast). It's a great way to try out new makeup without breaking the bank!

5.Choose products that have gifts with purchases.

Natalie Purdy

When you're shopping online make sure to take advantage of gifts with purchase and try out some new trial size products!

6.Utilize Ulta's $3.50 off coupon.

Natalie Purdy

Each week Ulta offers a $3.50 off of any $15.00 purchase. This coupon excludes prestige items but includes all drugstore products, some skincare, and even some hair products. Fortunately for us, Ulta considers Morphe to be a drugstore brand, meaning that we can use the $3.50 coupon to buy that new Jaclyn Hill Palette we all want.

7.Take advantage of National Lipstick Day.

Mac's 2018 National Lipstick Day shades: Aloof, Tanarama, Delish, Chintz, and Epic

Anna Do

Free Lipstick without a catch. Seriously. Every year on July 29th, Mac Cosmetics gives away certain colors of lipstick to customers completely free as a part of their National Lipstick Day promotion. If you dare to face the line, this is a great promotion for those of us always looking for a new lipstick to add to our collection. It doesn't get any cheaper than free!

8.Shop Ulta's 25 Days of Beauty sale.

Twice a year Ulta stores around the U.S. host the famous 21 Days of Beauty sale; each day of the sale there are different name-brand items on sale for up to half off. Previous years have included brands such as Benefit, Anastasia Beverly Hills, Mac, Too Faced, and many more. These sales typically occur in late March and September so be on the lookout for these promotions. Many times you can snag items for cheaper than drugstore prices!

9.Snatch some items from Sephora's VIB Rouge sale.


One simple way to ease the financial pain of shopping at Sephora is waiting for the VIB Rouge sale. If you're signed up for emails you will be emailed a coupon for 10-15% off your entire purchase depending on your member status. Fill your shopping cart throughout the year and pull the trigger once your coupon arrives!

10.Enter your email adress for your favorite cosmetic websites.

Natalie Purdy

The easiest way to save money on cosmetic purchases is always to sign up for emails from individual companies. Most cosmetic websites, if not all, offer a coupon code for your first purchase after signing up for emails. Always remember to take advantage of this deal while online shopping.

11.Enter your birthday for freebies.

Natalie Purdy

While your signing up for emails, don't forget to enter your birthday as well. Many businesses will send out birthday freebies like coupons or even times free makeup!

12.Take advantage of 20% off prestige brands.

Natalie Purdy

If you're a member of the Ulta Reward's program (we've already talked about this, SIGN UP FOR IT), Ulta will send you a coupon for 20% off of your entire purchase a couple times throughout the year. These coupons are typically sent out in the summer and around Christmas and can be applied to any product, including prestige items. This coupon is the only time to get discounts off of prestige brands other than using points so make sure to stock up!

13.Check back for Hot Buys at Ulta.

Natalie Purdy

Check Ulta's website frequently and be on the lookout for Hot Buys. At random times throughout the month items will go on sale as Hot Buys for up to 50% off. These are great times to pick up those items you've been wanting to try out.

14.Shop the end of season clearance sales.

Natalie Purdy

Clearance. Every college student's favorite word. Ulta's clearance section is always a great place to shop for those discounted items, but the deals get really good when Ulta has their end of season clearance. During these events, all clearance items are an additional 50% off of the red-ticketed price. That's right, the palette pictured above would come to roughly $3.50 after the additional discount! This is the best time to find cheap makeup as well as the thrill of the hunt because each location has different items!

15.Be on the lookout for pop up sales.

Natalie Purdy

Keep your eyes open for Sephora pop-up sales. Just last month Sephora had a promotion for free face masks, no purchase necessary. A great bargain for any college student on a tight budget.

16.Shop discount stores like Marshall's and T.J. Maxx.

Natalie Purdy

Marshall's and T.J. Maxx remain us college students' best friend. I have found countless name-brand products at discount stores like these throughout the years including brands like Anastasia Beverly Hills, Becca, Kevyn Aucoin, and even Marc Jacobs. Be sure to search your neighborhood Marshall's or T.J. Maxx to find some hidden gems for much less than retail price.

17.Sign up for store credit cards.

Natalie Purdy

If you're looking to open a new credit card, open one through Ulta. Typically when you open a credit card, there is a free full size gift as well as 20% off your entire first purchase with the card. This 20% off can be applied to anything, making the savings huge! You will also begin earning double the points for every dollar you spend at Ulta, making it easier and quicker to gain money off of your next purchase.

18.Attend Sephora brand events.

Natalie Purdy

Occasionally Sephora will host brand events open to the public. It is free to attend but you must sign up in advance at a Sephora near you. Not only will you gain free knowledge of products and how to apply them, but typically there will be a free gift for attending.

19.Work at a cosmetics store!

Natalie Purdy

If you're really looking to save money, apply to work at a cosmetics store. As a former Ulta employee, I can attest that the employee discounts are worth it if you're a makeup addict like I am!

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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