Beauty Guru: How I Get the Most for My Money when Buying Beauty Essentials

How I get the most for my money when it comes to beauty essentials is a question I get a lot from my followers. When I open my kit, they always want to know if I really purchased all of those products, or do I just get them for free. The best answer is nope! The majority of my products have to be purchased, but with my budget savviness, I try to obtain them the cheapest way possible. Below, are my dollar stretching tips.

Multitasking Makeup - Multi-tasking is one way I get more bang for my hard-earned buck. For instance, I'll use my lipstick palettes as blushes and cover-up as neutralizers, shadow primers, and highlighters. Lip balm removes eye makeup quickly, and the tiniest bit on my brows keeps them in place for hours. Moisturizers are instant makeup removers as well. If the brand offers a recycling program, I exchange the empties for freebies. If not, I sterilize some of the empty containers and use them for client samples or makeup holders when traveling.

Research brands - The second way I frugal the heck out of my beauty essentials is purely through research. A few years ago I discovered that most, if not all, of the cosmetic brands from big name department store and drugstores actually owned one another. That was the best day of my life. For example, amongst a plethora of others, L'Oreal owns Lancôme, Maybelline, Urban Decay and Armani, while Estee Lauder calls the shots at MAC, Le Mer and Clinique. I'll test a product like Lancôme's Juicy Tubes in the department store, then purchase their understudy L'Oreal Colour Juice Sheer Lip Gloss in a similar color for a fraction of the price at Walgreens or CVS. Many times these products have the same look and feel. Why? Because their made by the same people.

The Come UP - A bargain, or a found item that is of value to the finder.

When creating your weekend to do list for this place the first five things on it are probably household items like toilet paper, soaps and detergents but, if you head all the way to the back or all the way to the front, next to the cashier, a paradise of ultra affordable lip glosses, mascaras, eyeliners, lash curlers, face towelettes and oatmeal scrubs awaits you. Don't allow the "dollar" store stereotype to fool you. Most carry name brand items such as Revlon, Maybelline, Max Factor, Sally Hansen, and NYX to name a few at bargain rates, sometimes beating out Wal-Mart. Exploring your neighborhood Dollar Store/Dollar General/Family Dollar/Dollar Junction can prove to be extremely fruitful and as an ode to the urban dictionary a true "come up".

5 Star Major Bonuses - Neighborhood beauty supply stores carry the best lip glosses, trendy color lipsticks and nail polishes, often ranging from only $.99-1.49. It's not called a sale anymore when faux eyelashes are always priced two for $5 and boat loads of cash are saved when I purchase hair weave in either half or fourth of a bundle. Buying a piece of the bundle at $10 is way better than purchasing a full bundle of platinum blonde, purple, greens and pinks when I don't need that much.

ACES Up My Sleeve - Makeup artist discounts at 30-40 percent off from MAC, Smashbox, Kiehl's, It Cosmetics and about 10 others are aces up my sleeve. Also memberships to stores I frequent like Sally's Beauty, Walgreens, CVS, etc., are beneficial.

Membership at My Lucky Rewards rewards me a certain percentage of my total purchased anytime I shop through their website, which connects to thousands of retailers. A reward check is sent to me a couple of times per year which gets "reinvested" into the cosmetic community, of course!

Kit Frenzy: Watch for the Sunday sales paper when great finds like $7 and $8 mascaras are buy one, get one free or buy one, get one half-off.

Anytime I shop online for a specific product, I begin with a general internet coupon search and free shipping codes.

What's the best "come up" you've gotten at a dollar store beauty or otherwise?