You go in looking for an eyeliner... you walk out with two, plus a new foundation, and a nude lipstick that's somehow different from the other six you have rolling around in your purse. We get how easy it is to spend a small fortune even when you "just browse" at Sephora, which is why we rounded up a few tricks to help you save. 

By Jenny Jin
January 25, 2016
Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.
Kenji Aoki
Kenji Aoki

Stay On the Outside.

Much like when you go grocery shopping, start along the outer perimeters of the store. This is where the lower priced and sale items typically are (yes, there are sales—they just aren’t usually advertised.)

Move Bottom to Top. 

While we’re on the topic of placement, when you're browsing a shelf, start at the bottom and work your way up. Higher priced products are often placed at eye level.

Avoid Travel Products. 

Skip the bins of tiny items by the checkout aisle. Yes, they can be adorable, but when you break it down by how much product you're actually getting for the price, you're usually better off getting a full size. If you need something that's TSA-friendly, just ask for samples. Bonus: Samples come in secure little jars that are also sealed in plastic bags so you don't have to worry about spills.

If You Want to Try, Ask!

While we’re on the topic of samples, don’t be shy about asking for them—especially for something as finicky as foundation or a new shampoo. How are you supposed to know what's right for you without trying it first?

Get a Free Makeover. 

In addition to samples, you could also ask for a 15-minute mini-makeover at no cost. These focus on one feature of the face—say a perfectly sculpted brow or a bold lip color that complements your skin tone—to see how the product looks and feels before buying it.

Or a Free How-To. 

Want a deeper dive? Sign up for a free beauty class at your closest store. Topics range from how to highlight and contour to how to apply false lashes.

Score a Belated Discount. 

Found a better deal after paying full-price for an item? They offer price adjustments within two weeks of original purchase.

Shop the Site. 

If you prefer to shop online, make sure to check the Beauty Deals page for promo codes and freebies galore.

Buy in Sets.

You get so much more bang for your buck when you buy a gift set—especially during the holidays. Nab the cleanser you've been wanting to restock and give the accompanying lotion as a stocking stuffer (or surprise your mom who is always complaining about her dry skin).

Join the Club. 

Sign up for a Beauty Insider account to start racking up points (one point per dollar spent), which can lead to zero-dollar gifts. They also hook you up with a bonus gift on your birthday. If you spend $350 annually (easier to do than you think) you get bumped to VIB (Very Important Beauty Insider) status, which gets you all sorts of additional perks, like free shipping and early access to new launches.​

Follow them on Twitter and Instagram. They post one-day only promo codes from time to time and do massive giveaways.

Get Your Money Back. 

And finally, if you have buyer’s remorse: Get a full refund—even on used products—within 60 days of purchase. Don't abuse this though. If you do it too often, they can place a ban on future returns.