Collecting nail polish can be an expensive hobby! Spending $8 or more per bottle of nail polish adds up quickly when you’re a nail polish lover like me. But that doesn't mean you have to give up the habit. There are tons of ways that you can save on high-quality nail polish without breaking the bank.
1. Sign up for a store discount card or club
If you usually shop for nail polish at a few specific stores, it can save you a lot of money to sign up for store loyalty or rewards clubs. Although some stores charge membership fees, they usually pay for themselves in just one or two visits. For example, Sally Beauty Club (sign up here or at your local store) charges a $5 enrollment fee for a year's membership, but you get a $5 reward (good on any non-sale item in the store) just for signing up! If you spend $25 each month, you'll score a 15 percent off reward good on any purchase the following month. You also get special offers and store discounts like 80 cents off of each China Glaze nail polish.
With Ulta's rewards program, you earn one point for every $1 you spend. Once you reach 100 points, you get $3.00 off anything in the store, which can be used on their wide assortment of nail polish! The more you spend, the more money back you earn—up to $125 per year!
2. Don't be a brand snob
Just because you love Deborah Lippmann's nail polishes doesn't mean you have to limit yourself to just that brand. There are tons of nail polishes that are similar (or sometimes identical) in color and quality. Why spend $20 on a bottle of polish when you can spend $4 on one that’s almost identical? Check out this article for inexpensive dupes of some popular high-end nail polish brands.
3. Use acrylic paint for nail art
If you are like me, you love painting designs on your nails (even if you’re terrible at it). Unfortunately, nail art polishes can cost up to $3 per color—and that's just for 0.25 ounces of polish! Rather than fork over that much money, consider buying acrylic paints. Acrylic paints come in an assortment of colors and cost just $1 (or less) for 2 ounces of paint. Not only is it cheaper, it is very pigmented, dries quickly and is non-toxic. Be warned—it will stain your nails, so be sure to use a base coat before you apply it. It also dries matte, so you have to follow up with a topcoat to make your polish extra shiny.
4. Order from discount nail polish websites
Check out discount nail polish websites like Head2ToeBeauty, Trans Design, or 8ty8Beauty. Sites like these sell brand new name-brand nail polish at a discounted rate. For example, I bought a bunch of brand new Essie polishes for $5 at Trans Design—they are normally $8 or more! The shipping and handling was pretty reasonable—about $7 for eight bottles of polish—and totally worth it considering the discount I got.
5. DIY nail art brushes
Rather than spend $12 or more for just one nail art brush, consider a cheaper alternative! Clean and use an old eyeliner brush or thin paint brush to paint designs on your nails. Or make your own nail polish striper brush by trimming down an old nail polish brush with sharp scissors until the bristles are as thin as possible. Whichever method you choose, it's cheaper than buying half a dozen brand new brushes to get the exact same results.
6. Store your polish properly
Extend the life of your favorite nail polish by storing it properly. Always store polish upright with the lid closed tightly. Don't throw away nail polish that has turned thick or gloopey! Instead, buy nail polish thinner for under $2 at a beauty supply store (or regular store like Walmart!) Add a little bit of nail polish thinner to your polish to restore it to its regular consistency. That sure beats spending $8 or more to replace the bottle!
7. Match coupons with store promotions
You can combine coupons with store sales on nail polish—just like you already do with groceries! For example, there is a coupon in the 5/12/13 Red Plumb insert for $1 off any one Maybelline New York Color Show Nail Lacquer. Check to see if Maybelline's New York Color Show polish is on clearance at your local CVS store (it's been reported as low as $1.99). If you were able to score the “$2 off one” Maybelline polish coupon from the CVS coupon machine, you can get a polish for as low as free! Be sure to check coupon sites like Coupons.com and Redplum regularly for nail polish coupons. They often offer Sally Hansen, Maybelline and Nicole by OPI coupons.
8. Think twice about fads
Although nail polish fads like fuzzy nail or magnetic nail lacquer are hip, they tend to come and go quickly. Even if you think the current fad is amazing, resist buying every single color it comes in. Instead, try out just one color to make sure that you really like the polish. Or better yet, wait until the high-end fad trickles down to the drugstore brand nail polishes. For example, you can buy a bottle of OPI Shatter for $8, but China Glaze's Crackle (their version of Shatter) only costs $3!