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Budget Beauty: 9 Easy Ways to Build Your Beauty Bag on The Cheap

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Picture it, innanets, 2019: You’re scrolling Pinterest, clicking through Insta stories or watching your faves on YouTube and they’re all talking about the latest and greatest in beauty and skincare. You want so badly to try the new hotness but you also don’t wanna break the bank. I don’t know about you, but when there’s a new beauty product I wanna try, I don’t always want to commit to the full size (read: full price) product. Lucky for me (and you!), there are a bunch of ways to get beauty products for free or on the cheap. I mean, who doesn’t love free beauty samples? This week, I joined my friends on Good Morning Washington to talk about how to add products to your beauty arsenal without spending all your coin.

Try it out with travel size

Travel size isn’t just for travel! Trial or travel sized beauty products are an inexpensive way to introduce new products into your arsenal. Retailers like Sephora, Ulta, and even Target have an impressive collection of pint-sized beauty products to choose from.

9 Easy Ways to Build Your Beauty Bag on The Cheap | The Style Medic Top DC Blogger

Just the tip of the trial sized iceberg.

Speaking of Sephora

From skincare and fragrances to foundation and primers, you can get a FREE sample of pretty much any product sold at Sephora. No purchase necessary, all you have to do is ask (limit 3 samples per visit). This has definitely saved me the trouble of buying a full bottle of foundation that’s the wrong shade or a formula that doesn’t work well with my skin type.

Don’t forget Ulta

Ulta has a BOMB selection of mini-sized beauty products. You can also get free gifts with some purchases.

Ulta offers mini makeovers in store

Mini Makeovers

Beauty centric retailers like Ulta and Sephora often offer mini makeovers where a professional will show you how to use the products of your choice. This is a perfect opportunity to try before you buy.

Department store beauty counters

It’s may seem like an old school concept but it still works. Head to the beauty counter at your fave department store to get free samples or to try the latest and greatest without the commitment.

9 Easy Ways to Build Your Beauty Bag on The Cheap | The Style Medic Top DC Blogger

Free Gifts with purchase

Don’t sleep on those free samples with purchase! I’ve discovered some dope fragrances and beauty products this way.

Beauty Events

Everybody knows that beauty events have the best swag. A simple google or insta search will help you find beauty events in your area.

9 Easy Ways to Build Your Beauty Bag on The Cheap | The Style Medic Top DC Blogger

Spinning to win and taking home full sized products at the Ubiquitous Women’s Expo in DC

Beauty Boxes:

Beauty boxes are an inexpensive way to try the latest and greatest in beauty and skincare without breaking the bank. You can sign up for monthly subscription boxes from companies like Sephora, or Cocotique or you can purchase a monthly beauty box from Target. Some boxes even feature full-size product!

Follow your faves on social media and be the first to find out about free samples

Brand loyalty pays off. Lots of brands use social media to promote new products and giveaways. Follow your faves and be the first to know about new releases, giveaways, and free samples.

What say you? Do you have any tips for getting beauty products on the cheap? 

 Let’s chat in the comments or on social! Insta | FB | Twitter


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T. Espinoza is CEO at The Style Medic. She's the Diva next door, the girlfriend who always looks Fab but doesn’t spend a bundle. She works with the active, focused Diva who wants to look fly, save time and most of all, save money. T. can help you streamline your wardrobe, maximize your budget and take your style from flat-lined to FABULOUS!


  1. What I heard you say is I need to visit beauty stores. I hardly ever go, but clearly, I am missing out. I especially need them to show me how to use them.

  2. Kendro


    Girl I LOVE these tips! I definitely agree with the point about Ulta, that’s my favorite beauty store!

    • Ha! Every time I walk into Ulta I consider getting a part time job there to support my makeup habit LOL

  3. Leslie H


    Free samples are EVERYTHING. Sephora and Ulta are my usual go to spots. You can also get some free full size products if you join Ulta beauty club program on your birthday ! My motto is always ” try b4 you buy” !

    • Oh I’m in ALL the bday clubs LOL I get all my free goodies in July ?

  4. These are great tips and I do love trying all the new products when I see them, but sample size first.

    • Travel sizes are my fave. They are super practical especially if you don’t wear makeup much and don’t need a full sized product.

  5. Holly


    I stay at Target I must have missed that sign lol. I have def been taking advantages of the free samples at Sephora. I am not trying to spend money on something I end up not liking or doesn’t work if I can help it. Another way to get beauty on the cheap…go to TJ MAXX, Marshalls, and other stores similar. Tons of big name brands for lower prices. Also check out the clearance section at Target.

    • Yes!! I always forget about TJ Maxx and Marshall’s! Targets clearance section is my best friend ?

  6. Kasi


    These are some really great tips! I definitely utilize Sephora samples, especially when I buy something online. I also get a lot of products sent to me as a blogger, oh and I’m apart of Influenster, so that’s how I save money on the nice beauty products!

  7. Jaye


    Really great tips, especially the sampling. I love getting beauty boxes and have found some awesome brands that way

  8. Really great tips for building your beauty bag on a budget. I love sample sales and warehouse events. They have a MAC sale up the road from where I live every year.

  9. I love these tips! I’m definitely going to give some a try. I definitely am trying to up my beauty game this 2019.

  10. Pingback: Build Your Beauty Bag: Makeup and Beauty Subscription Boxes | The Style Medic

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