The biggest problem when buying cheap makeup online is deciding whether you really want to buy "cheap" and fill up your makeup bag or you want the quality stuff just at a more reasonable price. I know which I'd go for.

In the long run, you are definitely better off opting for quality makeup that you can buy for less, in much the same way as a more expensive but higher quality garment will actually give you more wearing time to the dollar. Plus, the finish and application you get with quality makeup products means you are going to look that much more gorgeous. So where to look?

Buy At Trade Prices

This method of getting makeup in a more inexpensive way is a bit sneaky, but one I have successfully used in the past for both makeup and hair care products.Makeup Artist at WorkCredit:

Many outlets will sell to trade only; so only if you own your own store or beauty salon. With the growing number of mobile beauticians though this is hard to police - especially online. There is often a get around if you purchase a certain number of products though, or just tick a virtual box to say that you are a beauty student. Very rarely are these checked - as long as you are buying and paying for your products without problems the trade outlet is unlikely to care.

The only drawback is that the amount you sometimes need to purchase makes it unrealistic for an individual and certainly then doesn't turn out to be a cheap buying exercise. Consider taking makeup orders from friends, or if you are certain the items are popular then go ahead and buy them anyway, selling the surplus on eBay - money making exercise too!

eBay of Course!

eBay is an obvious one, but one that is definitely worth checking out. There are a number of pitfalls to avoid when purchasing makeup online from eBay sellers though that are worth bearing in mind.

  • Make sure these products are unused. Even if a kohl pencil has only been used once and the seller didn't like the color you could still end up catching conjunctivitis or other nasty germs and the risk for some cheap makeup just isn't worth it.
    Lipstick collection by MACCredit:
  • Make sure the products are genuine. You should get a good idea from the pictures and the previous feedback but some items listed as MAC, for example, most definitely aren't. A close look at the picture is usually enough to tell.

    Read the description carefully. Some can be misleading in showing a photo of the full sized product when you are only getting a sample or trial sized product. A great saving, but only a tiny amount of the product!

Ding Dong Avon Calling!

Avon Invisible Coverage Inexpensive MakeupCredit: has really moved with the times, so don't think of their makeup as something your mom would wear. Their costs are kept low of course because of the way that their products are sold, either through a local representative that comes to your door, or by selling online; so it doesn't mean that the products are inferior.

Some of their more recent lines are really worth checking out, if you can check your designer attitude at the door - I confess I needed some convincing too at first (once a MAC girl...), but at those prices you have little to lose!

You could of course choose to become an Avon representative yourself; getting discounted makeup as well as making commissions on the products you sell.

Sign Up For Cosmetic Trials

Now when I say cosmetic trials I don't mean anything nasty like trying out untested creams on your skin, but online survey companies are always looking for people to answer questions on their experiences with certain products.

If a new product is released and you have indicated in your settings that you are interested in makeup and cosmetics, if you fit the profile you can get sent free makeup to try and then answer questions on things like: what you think of the packaging, how easy it was to apply, how long the results lasted etc. These surveys can be done in 10-20 minutes and you will get paid for the survey as well as getting free makeup.

Bag Those Extras

Clarins Free Gift Promotion - MakeupCredit: may not be an immediately cheap way to get your hands on brand makeup, but large stores often have online promotions where you can save on shipping, or get a free item or makeup set if you spend a certain amount. Although you may not be saving on this occasion, if you are getting a bag full of freebies it does mean that your stash lasts longer and you get to try some products for free.

Or you could just go straight to the manufacturer and see what offers they have going - their websites have great information on makeup trends too. You might even be able to sign up to one of their online membership schemes and benefit from some free makeup samples.

Take a Look at Amazon

Amazon has expanded its repertoire beyond all recognition, but you may not have realized that they sell some great branded makeup products with a smaller price tag than you'd find in stores.

You can bag top brands like MAC and L'Oreal, as well as specialist brands like Ecco Bella that produce natural gluten free makeup. In fact I believe that Amazon is probably the cheapest place to buy MAC products - most are around half the store price.

And of course you get a huge selection to look through meaning that you get a better choice than at a physical store as well as getting your makeup at a discounted price.

Feel Unique

Benefit They're Real Beyond Mascara Free ShippingCredit: is an international company that ship anywhere in the world for free (in itself pretty unique) and stock loads of big makeup brands. You don't get a huge saving, but they often have competitions or offers that make it a worthwhile stop. At the time of writing for example, you can join as a L'Oreal Insider (more perks - hooray!) and then qualify for 30% off L'Oreal makeup products if you buy more than 3 items.

Other brands you can expect to see featured are Benefit, YSL, bareMinerals (one of our featured gluten free makeup brands), Clarins, Elizabeth Arden and a few others too.

They also have beauty tips and a beauty expert section on the website, so it's worth stopping by for some tips to keep up on trends even if you don't buy anything every time.

This completes our list of places to buy cheap makeup online, but if you have any personal favorites then please drop us a comment below to let us know - I'd love to hear from you!