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5 Drugstore Shopping Hacks That’ll Save You $$$ On Your Beauty Routine

·3 min read

There's nothing better than wandering down a well-stocked drugstore beauty aisle. But navigating all those good hair, makeup, and skin-care options can be tricky: What if you accidentally pick the wrong concealer shade, or grab a formula that will irritate your skin? What if you want to test out a lipstick shade, but can't see through the cap?

Well, the first rule of beauty shopping is to not get overwhelmed. So to help keep things simple, streamlined, and color-matched, we rounded up five tips straight from a beauty editor — including how to get $10 cashback to spend on makeup when you pay with your PayPal or Venmo app. Keep these in mind on your next trip down the CVS aisles so you can make the most of your shopping spree.

<h2>Come prepared with research</h2><br>Beauty bloggers do drugstore hauls all the time, putting in the time and energy to swatch and test products so you can get an idea of how a product acts IRL. (They’re basically the equivalent of Yelp for the beauty aisle.) Find a blogger whose skin tone or general style matches yours best (I’m a big fan of <a href="https://www.instagram.com/cocoaswatches/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:@cocoaswatches" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">@cocoaswatches</a>, who always delivers on <a href="https://www.instagram.com/p/CSfjpKvpAzo/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:drugstore recs" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">drugstore recs</a>) and save their reviews to keep as a reference while you’re shopping in case you need a tiebreaker between two contour sticks.

Come prepared with research


Beauty bloggers do drugstore hauls all the time, putting in the time and energy to swatch and test products so you can get an idea of how a product acts IRL. (They’re basically the equivalent of Yelp for the beauty aisle.) Find a blogger whose skin tone or general style matches yours best (I’m a big fan of @cocoaswatches, who always delivers on drugstore recs) and save their reviews to keep as a reference while you’re shopping in case you need a tiebreaker between two contour sticks.
<h2>Set a budget and stick to it</h2><br>This one can be tricky, but here’s a pro tip: Use your <a href="https://www.paypal.com/us/webapps/mpp/cvs-qr-code?utm_source=refinery29&utm_medium=refinery29&utm_campaign=cvsgenz" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Venmo or PayPal app" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Venmo or PayPal app</a> instead of cash or cards — the touch-free payment experience is a quick and easy way to check out and can help you digitally keep track of how much you're spending. Plus, your first in-store purchase of $20 or more gets you $10 cash back, which means you can go ahead and grab that extra lipstick, after all.

Set a budget and stick to it


This one can be tricky, but here’s a pro tip: Use your Venmo or PayPal app instead of cash or cards — the touch-free payment experience is a quick and easy way to check out and can help you digitally keep track of how much you're spending. Plus, your first in-store purchase of $20 or more gets you $10 cash back, which means you can go ahead and grab that extra lipstick, after all.
<strong><h2>Take some notes</h2></strong><br>If you have sensitive skin or you’re trying to avoid certain ingredients, write them all down beforehand (I stay away from dimethicone in hair-care products because I want water-soluble shine, for example). That’s why I keep a running list of ingredients that are major no’s for me on my phone. Do the same, and you won’t have to frantically Google what the official science name for talc is when you’re in a hurry to grab an eyeshadow (it's magnesium silicate, by the way).

Take some notes


If you have sensitive skin or you’re trying to avoid certain ingredients, write them all down beforehand (I stay away from dimethicone in hair-care products because I want water-soluble shine, for example). That’s why I keep a running list of ingredients that are major no’s for me on my phone. Do the same, and you won’t have to frantically Google what the official science name for talc is when you’re in a hurry to grab an eyeshadow (it's magnesium silicate, by the way).
<h2>Shop with your favorite products</h2><br>Since testing makeup in-store is a thing of the past, bring your go-to foundation or concealer along on your shopping trip. Comparing products in their tubes and bottles isn’t a foolproof system — the dry-down color change is real — but you can also check ingredients lists, undertones, and other details listed on packaging to be sure you're not too far off base (no pun intended).

Shop with your favorite products


Since testing makeup in-store is a thing of the past, bring your go-to foundation or concealer along on your shopping trip. Comparing products in their tubes and bottles isn’t a foolproof system — the dry-down color change is real — but you can also check ingredients lists, undertones, and other details listed on packaging to be sure you're not too far off base (no pun intended).
<strong><h2>Always, always keep your receipt</h2></strong><br>Right after you pay, put your receipt into your wallet or a pocket that won’t get washed, because CVS has an impressive beauty product return policy: If you hold onto your receipt, your local CVS will let you return makeup (even opened and used makeup) within 60 days.

Always, always keep your receipt


Right after you pay, put your receipt into your wallet or a pocket that won’t get washed, because CVS has an impressive beauty product return policy: If you hold onto your receipt, your local CVS will let you return makeup (even opened and used makeup) within 60 days.

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