The first time I reached VIB Rouge status at Sephora was in 2014. I didn’t do it alone.
In fact, tis feat was achieved largely due to a shopping trip with a friend who purchased a significant amount of high-end makeup for her upcoming wedding. More skilled than I, she did her own makeup (along with mine) on her special day and used the trip to Sephora to buy what she wanted to use.
I can’t remember the exact total, but I know it was somewhere north of $300 (and let’s face it, by Sephora standards? That’s not terribly expensive). The combination of what we bought that day, plus my previous purchased pushed me over that $1,000.00/year threshold.
The cashier exchanged my silver VIB card for one in ruby red to show my change in status.
The next year, I was back down to VIB and I have yet to reach Rouge again since.
Before this year.
Yup. For the second time in my life, I reached the highest status available at Sephora. And this time, it was all my own doing.
I’m not sure if I am proud of this or embarrassed.
How did this happen? Hair products, mostly. I use DevaCurl almost exclusively and I buy it at Sephora. It’s pricey, but it’s worth it for me. Investing in the right products for my hair has dramatically reduced bad hair days – and taught me how to love my natural hair.
Considering VIB Rouge means I have spent more than $1,000.00 at Sephora this year, it may seem strange to write a post about how I save money on makeup.
But here’s the thing: $1,000.00 is a lot of money…but it could have been much worse.
Makeup and me: a short history
I didn’t really get into makeup until I was in university.
In high school, my look of choice mostly involved (poorly applied) black liquid eyeliner with maybe a bit of shadow and, if I was feeling particularly ambitious, mascara. This was my makeup “routine” for years.
By the time I made it to university, I had toned down the intensity of the eyeliner (and learned to apply it a bit better) but my routine was still fairly basic.
I’m not sure when I went from just doing eye makeup to applying a full face of makeup, but today my routine is much more involved.
Most days, it takes somewhere in the arena of 30 minutes to do my makeup, depending on the look I’m going for. That said, there are many days where I don’t wear makeup at all – and I’m not just talking about weekends. On more than one occasion, including most of the last month, I have gone to work makeup free.
See, I don’t wear makeup because I think I need to. Sure, I like the way my face looks done up, but I also like it without it.
I wear makeup because I enjoy it.
I love the process of coming up with an idea for my look and applying product. It’s relaxing to me and I think it’s fun to experiment with different products and techniques.
There was a time where this was problematic, where I was accumulating product left, right and centre. Thankfully, over the years, I have become much smarter about how I fill my makeup bag.
Why I’m willing to spend on some items
There are three reasons I am willing to spend big money on a product.
I spend a silly amount of money on my DevaCurl products – and the main reason is that they are effective. I am willing to spend money on products that work well.
An example of this is my Urban Decay eye primer. After having success with a drug store brand face primer, I decided to try out an eye primer from the same brand.
Did that ever backfire.
I’m not sure why, but my eyes really did not like the formula. I’ve tried a few others – including some other Sephora brands – and had similar reactions. The only one that seems to not cause my eyes to freak out is the Urban Decay one.
I am particularly careful about products that go near my eyes so I will pay for products that don’t cause irritation.
In particular, for items I use regularly. One of my favourite things I purchased recently was the All Nighter finishing powder. I had been using a cheaper option before but found it didn’t do much to keep my makeup in place – but this stuff. Man. It works so well. I am often willing to spring on a product if it will enhance the use of my other products.
How I save money on makeup
Those are the three areas where I justify spending – so how do I save money? Using these five tips.
- I use Ebates
I wrote a whole post on how awesome Ebates is (check it out here) but I always, always make sure I activate the cashback button when I shop online. It takes two seconds and considering I am always spending between $60-$160, the cashback reward is worth the (very minimal) effort!
Into online shopping? If you are, you really should be using Ebates.
This is my referral link. Please note, if you sign up with it, I will earn a small bonus. This is money that will be going toward costs associated with keeping this site up and running. Thanks for your support!
- I know what I am willing to spend on
And perhaps more significantly, what things I can buy cheap. Some examples include:
Toner – I use witch hazel.
Cleansers and moisturizers – At this point, I’m not brand loyal. This could change one day.
Lipsticks – Drug store brands offer a great opportunity to try colours you might not go for otherwise (and if you apply a good base with a liner, you can often get a lot of wear out of them!)
Nail polish – I have brands I like, but I also bought a $0.74 one not too long ago. In my personal experience, the more important thing is the base and top coat!
Choosing affordable options in some categories makes it easier to budget for the more pricey items.
- I don’t buy into trends anymore
The last palette I bought was the Naked Ultimate Basics palette and I bought it because it was just that: basic. I used to be awful for buying bright palettes and then never using them. Reality is most days, I prefer natural looking makeup.
When I want to try something a little trendier, I look for a cheaper option. This lets me spend my money on items I know I will use all the time instead.
- I stock up on samples!
Instead of just stashing them away in a bag somewhere, I actually use my samples. Online, I try to pick samples I know I will use; I also use my points to scoop up little offers here and there for products I might want to try.
One area where I have been relying heavily on samples lately is mascara. I am currently using a sample size of a KUSH mascara; when it’s done, I have a couple others to try out, too. It’s likely I won’t buy a full-size one until 2019 at this rate. Added bonus: using samples is a great way to try out new products!
- I only buy what I need
In other words, I don’t keep a stockpile. Instead, I purchase items as I need them.
This is easier to do now that we have a local Sephora. Before, when I had to order online or wait until we visited another city, it was a bit more challenging to time it right. But generally speaking, I hold off as long as I can when it comes to replacing product.
There is an exception to this: I will occasionally stock up on DevaCurl when Ebates has a double points. I used the same combination of products daily so it’s worth it to me. I’ll also splurge sometimes when I have a giftcard, although in recent history, I’ve moved more toward saving them.
Not only does this save money, but it also reduces clutter and challenges me to actually use the items I have!
Makeup can be a fun way to express your personality. While it is possible to spend a lot of money on your makeup stash, it’s not necessary. At the end of the day, it comes down to personal preference. For me, I’m looking forward to enjoying a year as a VIB Rouge customer – although I sure do hope the title won’t stick!
Makeup lovers: what’s your favourite money saving tip?