13 Tips on How to Be A Smarter Beauty Shopper

How to Be a Smarter Beauty Shopper

An average sunscreen costs $35. And an average anti-aging serum costs $65. Yet, you’re more likely to spend $100 on an anti-aging serum than to spend $35 on sunscreen. Why so when you know, for a fact, that the best anti-aging product on the entire planet is sunscreen? If this made you a little uncomfortable, you might want to stick around for our tips on how to become a smarter beauty shopper.

The answer to the serum-SPF dilemma is simple; it’s perception. The way you perceive sunscreen is completely different than the way you perceive an anti-aging serum.

Efficiency-wise, sunscreen is the best. But sunscreen is boring. We associate it with a heavy, smothering feel, and a white cast on the skin. A serum, on the other hand, is luxurious. It’s filled with good-for-skin stuff and makes us feel pampered.

When beauty shopping is concerned, your rationality is out of the equation. And retailers are way ahead of you. They’ll be marketing rationally, but they expect you to behave emotionally.

Before we dig in, let’s just get one thing out of the way. This isn’t about minimalism or anti-capitalism. We all love indulging in mindless shopping every now and then. There’s no point in denying the uplifting effects of retail therapy.

This is all about preventing that feeling of frustration. You know, when the product arrives at the door and you feel like a complete idiot because you fell for the marketing again… Or that feeling of disappointment when the product turned out to be a complete failure.

How To Be a Smarter Beauty Shopper

As a consumer, you are vulnerable to whatever opportunistic marketing tricks retailers come up with. There’s no schooling on how to shop better and smarter. So, it’s all up to you to find out if what you’re buying is, in fact, what you want to buy.

Ahead, find the best tips on how to be a smarter beauty shopper in-store and online.

1. Time is more valuable than money.

On the opposite of the people who love mindless shopping are the people who think too much. Yes, it’s a thing. You know what you want to buy but you keep checking store after store for the sake of saving a few bucks.

Your time is more valuable than your money. You’re buying mascara, not a mattress. A little self-analysis will tell you that saving 3 bucks is not worth spending 5 hours in the mall or in front of the screen!

2. Test out your foundation the right way.

How to be a smarter beauty shopper

Buying a foundation is a struggle at the store, let alone online. It’s one of those things that’s almost impossible to get right the first time, even the second or the third time. And the refund policy can be a little tricky.

Here’s what you do. Test out the foundation in the store. Buy the shade that you think fits you the best. Ask for a sample of the same shade. Use the sample the next day and see if it suits your skin tone.

If it doesn’t, you can return the foundation without a problem because you didn’t open the box. And exchange that with the alternative shade. This way, you don’t look like a freeloader and the salesperson is more likely to give you the samples you want.

3. Develop a healthy attitude towards high-end products.

It’s not smart to think that high-end products are the best because they’re expensive. Similarly, it’s not smart to completely ignore them because they’re expensive. Some of the best anti-aging products come with a hefty price tag.

Because exotic anti-aging ingredients are expensive to harvest, test, and formulate. Drugstores are different because there are no rare commodities in drugstore products.

This usually justifies the price of high-end products. But there’s really no point in spending a lot of money on a very basic product that’s filled with easily extracted ingredients.

4. Learn which labels to ignore.

Don’t be fooled by labels like “dermatologist tested” or “based on clinical data”. Those things don’t mean anything. You can pay a dermatologist to test anything! Testing doesn’t mean anything!

Similarly, I can create a form where people can rate my product either with 4 stars or 5 stars. So, go ahead and completely ignore the “clinical study” and the “based on 854 reviews”.

5. Don’t be forgiving with lousy delivery.

When shopping online, it is unacceptable to have your products delivered in lousy packaging. If you’re a new customer, this is their first interaction with you. And they should respect you enough to care for your first impression of them.

If they don’t care the first time, they won’t care the second time. So, don’t be forgiving towards this type of behavior and do not give it a second chance.

6. Don’t let the images blind you.

How to be a smarter beauty shopper - Don't Be Fooled By The Images

Deep down, we all know that images are tricky. The skin on those models is incredibly misleading. And most of the time, their skin has nothing to do with the products they’re promoting!

Saying this out loud will instantly change your perspective towards the product. So, try to separate your feeling about her skin from your thought about the efficacy of the product.

Repeat after me; “the foundation didn’t make her skin great, her skin is already great and that’s why they hired her”. One more time for the jury please; ” her acne didn’t disappear because of the serum, she didn’t have acne and that’s why her image is on the ad.”

7. Don’t use the basket at Sephora.

We lose ourselves in Sephora. And more often than not, we end up buying stuff we don’t need. We get confused by the cute packaging and the colorful stands. To make sure you’re buying what you want to, don’t use the basket to put your items in.

When you’re shopping, simply holding the products gives you a sense of satisfaction. You grab a few creams and you walk around. Holding onto those items even for 15 minutes gives you a feeling of gratification. It almost feels like you’ve already bought them.

And this gives you a chance to test out if you really want to buy them or if it’s an impulse buy. When the products are in the basket, you don’t get to test out how you feel about your purchases until after you pay for them.

8. Add to cart and wait.

Just like the basket at Sephora, you get a similar feeling when you add items to the cart online. When you feel like shopping but can’t afford to, simply add your favorite items to the cart and leave the site.

When you can afford to buy them, you can see for yourself if you still need those. Another advantage is that you remember what you need in the first place.

9. Practice your poker face.

This is something you need to learn ASAP to become a smarter beauty shopper. If you walk into a skincare or makeup store wandering, you’re a target. Your body language gives away your indecisive mind and you’re inclined to go for whatever they’re selling.

When someone approaches, try telling them you just want to look around. If you need guidance, ask deliberate questions and avoid vague stuff like “which is the best moisturizer?” For them, the best one is the most expensive one.

10. Don’t fall for the scarcity bias.

How to be a smarter beauty shopper - Be Aware of the Scarcity Bias

Retailers love to play into your scarcity bias with notifications like “selling fast” or “11 hours left”. Who cares? If it’s that good, they’re going to make more of it. If you don’t need the product, you don’t need to worry about it selling out! Don’t let them give you FOMO.

11. Don’t shop on an empty stomach.

This is not only true when you’re shopping for food, but also when you’re shopping for beauty. You tend to spend more on stuff when you’re hungry.

So, try to stay away from online stores before a lunch break. Or maybe skip the mall-walking when waiting for your friend on an empty stomach.

12. Be aware of the ingredients.

If you’re not shopping online and don’t read the reviews in advance, first of all, you’re missing out. Because that’s what we’re here for. But if you prefer to be hands-on and like to buy in-store, approach the product as if you’re trying to disprove everything it claims to do for the skin.

When you’re buying a product for a specific concern, it’s essential to know how the product claims to handle the issue. “Anti-wrinkle” isn’t going to cut it. Find the so-called anti-wrinkle ingredient and make sure it’s somewhere in the top 10 of the list.

13. Don’t obsess over sales.

Those big mid-season sales are great and all and it makes you feel like you’re saving a lot of money. Well, if you don’t need the product, you’re actually losing money.

If you need something, there’s no point in waiting 6 months for the summer sale to get it. Similarly, there’s no point in going crazy in those sale seasons if you don’t need anything.

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