7 women share their best beauty buys and saving tips

PHOTO: Melissa Tan, Angelia Seetoh, Shalini Dhillion

Everyone loves a bargain, and this applies to beauty products too. Who can resist a free sample, a buy-one-get-one promotion or even a bulk discount?

Whether you’re looking to save more or become a savvier shopper, there are many ways of doing this. These beauty enthusiasts share with Her World what they spend most on, how they score beauty bargains, and their best beauty buys to date.

Alicia Chong, 26, video producer

PHOTO: Alicia Chong

How much on average do you spend every month on beauty products and services?

I spend an average of $50 a month on beauty — services, mainly, like haircut, brow trimming, etc.

What do you splurge on?

I rarely splurge because my products last me a good while. Perhaps a good haircut by my friend, Christian Goh.

What do you save on?

I save on almost all skincare products ever since learning from TikTok that the quality of the product is never about the price tag, but the ingredients. Retinol is a notoriously finicky ingredient which is why most products that market it as the key ingredient are very expensive. However, the best retinol product that has worked for me costs under $15 from The Ordinary — it is the Retinol 0.5 per cent in Squalane!

What has been your best beauty purchase over the last six months?

Dr Jart’s Cicapair Gel Cream is the best gel moisturiser in the market.

What are your best saving tips when it comes to beauty?

There are so many drugstore products on sites like Shopee and Lazada, that often host promotions for stellar skincare brands like La Roche-Posay, Vichy and Neutrogena. The key is to read the reviews to check the authenticity of the product, and keep Google on hand to recognise the fakes.

Always remember that if brands like The Inkey List or The Ordinary can deliver the same potency as many on the market, do your wallet a favour and take the time to learn the functions of the common key ingredients marketed on the product. After all, knowledge is power!

Melina Chan, 43, head of marketing automation

PHOTO: Melina Chan

How much on average do you spend every month on beauty products and services?

I spend about $800 monthly on beauty products and services.

What do you splurge on?

I get a monthly facial and massage, which is most of my cost. It ranges from $400 to $500, depending on the treatment.

What do you save on?

I save on hair products. I buy off the shelves during flash deals or from surprise boxes.

What has been your best beauty purchase over the last six months?

The lowest cost was the Lazada Surprise box — two bottles of hair loss shampoo, hair loss conditioner and tonic each for under $23 (six bottles in all). The most effective product was Medicube Deep Vita C ampoule. My beautician noticed the difference to my skin — brighter, less spots, and I look less tired.

What are your best saving tips when it comes to beauty?

I used to buy and stock up when there are discounts of about 20 per cent. But now I stock up only when there is a very good flash buy or surprise box during 11.11! You can also now get beauty products with six months before their expiry date and use them. Some are even cheaper than half price, perhaps 75 per cent to 80 per cent off. You just need to buy enough for your use.

Rebecca Morais, 27, PR account executive and contributing writer for a wellness platform

PHOTO: Rebecca Morais

How much on average do you spend every month on beauty products and services?

About $100 a month, usually to replenish makeup, do my nails and my hair.

What do you splurge on?

My biggest splurges are on hair treatments because my hair is super frizzy otherwise.

READ ALSO: 9 biggest hair colour trends of 2022, according to top hairstylists

What do you save on?

Being in the beauty industry (or adjacent to it), I receive a lot of products so I don’t really have to spend on them. Generally speaking, when it comes to purchasing beauty items, I value quality over brand names. So, as long as the product is good for my skin or hair, I don’t mind forking out more money for it, as opposed to one that’s simply from a high-end brand.

What has been your best beauty purchase over the last six months?

Hair dying and treatment. I paid about $400.

What are your best saving tips when it comes to beauty?

Buy what you need, not what you want. I know it’s super hard! But I use all my products till they’re empty and try not to buy too many products of the same type.

Melissa Tan, 36, ballet teacher

PHOTO: Melissa Tan

How much on average do you spend every month on beauty products and services?

Easily $200 to $300 but it really depends on the month. It tends to be a higher figure prior to festive periods when limited-edition items are released — I am a sucker for beautiful packaging!

What do you splurge on?

I go for facials or spa massages on special occasions like my birthday or during the year-end long break. Since I don’t indulge often, I am willing to fork out about $300 to $450 for each session.

What do you save on?

I think I save on trips to the salon. I do not have frequent haircuts and I usually do not take up the treatments recommended by the salon. I am currently trying to grow my hair out to a longer length so I hardly visit my hairdresser — twice a year at most. I also do my own hair treatments at home with leave-in hair creams/masks that cost $35 to $50 per tub or tube.

I save on facial wash too, since it is unlike facial creams that are left on the face for a longer duration. A decent facial wash from a reputable brand will do, such as the La Roche-Posay Toleriane Softening Foaming Gel which costs about $34 a tube.

What has been your best beauty purchase over the last six months?

This is tricky since I buy makeup and skincare products quite often! Here’s my list:

Lisa Eldridge Foundation — It really is a dream for my skin, plus it’s long-lasting, has a velvety finish, and of course pretty packaging! Great for Singapore weather.

Colourpop Super Shock Shadow — Love the glittery pay-off! For the price, it’s not too bad: Long-lasting with not much fall-out too.

Rare Beauty Soft Pinch Liquid Blush — Fast and easy to blend, and what’s not to love about the packaging?!

Lancome Advanced Genifique Serum — Lightweight and easily absorbed into the skin. There aren’t too many wrinkles on my face so far, so I guess it works!

Crystal Tomato Beyond Sun Protection Sunscreen — So far, so good. It really works to protect my face.

What are your best saving tips when it comes to beauty?

I look out for deals from local retailers like Sephora (their 20 per cent sale periods), Tangs (12 per cent rebate periods) etc. They happen quite frequently throughout the year. I will go a little crazier during my birthday month and stock up on everything on my ‘want’ list with backups if offers are good.

Black Friday or Singles Day sales are also something I am on the mailing list for. I’ll ‘instigate’ my friends to add to the order so that we can get more savings on shipping.

Otherwise, I’ll simply purchase items from overseas. Selfridges (UK) is a good online store to get high-end products as their prices are at least 10 per cent to 30 per cent lower than local boutiques. For example, a Dior 5 eyeshadow palette goes for $102 in retail stores here but on Selfridges, it goes for $80 which gives me about 25 per cent savings. Woo-hoo!

Hidayah Idris, 35, digital marketer

PHOTO: Hidayah Idris

How much on average do you spend every month on beauty products and services?

I gotta be honest, I still have a stash of beauty products (by stash, I mean about five containers full) from my days of working for a magazine, so I hardly spend on beauty products.

That said, I do have a range of staples that I top up regularly, such as cleanser, toner, serum and pimple patches. And of course, I do drop money on the occasional makeup product because who can resist sales items and who cares even if I have a similar palette?

That’s a long explanation to saying I spend an average of $200 a month on random beauty purchases.

What do you splurge on?

My facial costs under $150, which is not super expensive but that’s probably the most expensive thing I spend on now. But I must admit that I don’t go regularly now because of the pandemic. Of course, as my arsenal depletes, I probably have to shell out my own money for the Dior serum that I love. The Capture Totale Cell Energy Super Potent Serum is so good, please try it.

What do you save on?

I wouldn’t say I’m saving on it, but the cheapest thing in my beauty routine are cotton pads. I use Guardian cotton pads which go for $2 a pack. It’s one of the few brands that work for my skin — a few others made me break out or are not thick enough.

What has been your best beauty purchase over the last six months?

It’s a tie between Re:erth Blemish Control and Bybi Bakuchiol Booster. I buy these every time I run out and believe me when I say they’re lifesavers, especially in this mask-wearing period. They eliminate pimples faster than you can say "obliterate", and prevent future breakouts, especially along the jawline.

What are your best saving tips when it comes to beauty?

Anyone who knows me can attest I’m a sucker for sales and discounts so I would say look out for deals.

There’s a bit of homework involved but hey, you get to save money or earn miles. For staple products, I don’t mind purchasing more if I get discounts for buying in bulk. But I only do this for skincare products because I use makeup products on rotation instead of sticking to one brand/product.

Another thing I’ve learnt over the years as someone with sensitive skin is, understand your skin. There are certain ingredients that my skin doesn’t love so before buying any product, even those on sale, I would check the ingredient list to make sure I really can use it. In that way, you save money and your skin.

Angelia Seetoh, 43, marcomms director

PHOTO: Angelia Seetoh

How much on average do you spend every month on beauty products and services?

I currently spend about 10 per cent of my salary on beauty per month.

What do you splurge on?

I splurge on hair products and massages mostly. It used to be facials and makeup but since the pandemic began, I haven’t had any facials at all. I would say I spend $450 to $600 on hair and makeup products. I enjoy buying makeup, especially lipsticks and eyeshadows.

What do you save on?

I don’t follow a daily skincare routine so I save on buying such products.

What has been your best beauty purchase over the last six months?

I recently discovered this drugstore brand Kate which is carried in Watsons, and their powder foundation is tops. I think it gives Mac Studio Fix (my regular powder foundation) a run for its money — it’s very light, offers great coverage, not cakey, and easy on the wallet.

What are your best saving tips when it comes to beauty?

While I don’t personally keep track of online sales, my friends sometimes tell me about flash sales or surprise boxes and I’ll make some purchases then. I recently managed to score a Plantur hair care surprise box with six bottles of products for an extremely good price.

Another tip is to work out which are the essential products you need and buy those only. Don’t splurge on products you know you won’t use often or at all. Also, for maintenance, consider using products from dermatologists rather than beauty brands as the former may be more effective and cost-saving in the long run.

Shalini Dhillion, in her 30s, office/HR manager

PHOTO: Shalini Dhillion

How much on average do you spend every month on beauty products and services?

$300 to $600 a month.

What do you splurge on?

Hair treatments in the salon. Approximately $300 for colour-touch up, scalp and hair treatment.

What do you save on?

I save on facials as I do not go monthly (I used to!). I now go once or twice a year. This saves me $150 to $200 a month.

What has been your best beauty purchase over the last six months?

Huda Beauty’s Wishful Yo Glow Enzyme Scrub. It’s a gentle exfoliant that has a unique consistency that works so well that any serums or products you use afterwards work even better. This product is the main reason that I do not go for monthly facials anymore.

What are your best saving tips when it comes to beauty?

I also have a Standard Chartered credit card for cashbacks and a Sephora membership.

Lastly, when I used to travel more often, I would buy certain products overseas as they were cheaper than in Singapore.

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This article was first published in Her World Online.