1. Get a tester IRL
    Sephora is lavishly generous with samples so you can try something at home before you buy
  2. Remember to factor in total costs
    Sometimes the list price isn't the real price - look at shipping costs, if they charge tax, tariffs and also factor in any discount codes. don't forget to shop sites like Ipsy/birchbox/dermstore/drugstore.com/Nordstrom/saks which often carry a range of mid-premium brands and frequently have 10-20% off programs
  3. Loyalty gets rewarded
    If you find a product you love sign up for the stores loyalty program - I get exclusive discounts from sephora plus all those great "points" deluxe samples, beauty boxes (birchbox, Ipsy etc) and Nordstrom also have points
  4. If you find a great deal stock up
    Cosmetics and beauty products don't spoil until they're exposed to air, they should keep at peak efficacy for at least a year
  5. Beware forgeries especially on Amazon
    If a price seems to good to be true, it probably is. read the reviews - people always post if they got a product with a weird label or something off. If there are bad reviews, or no reviews, pass and look for a reputable stockist!