How I saved 60% on a year’s worth of make-up by hunting down the best Black Friday deal

Black Friday isn’t just about discounted gadgets – it can be useful for stocking up on everyday items you know you’d buy anyway at the absolute cheapest price. So come shopping with me, and I’ll show you how a Deals Hunter shops when it’s Black Friday…

I’m not normally a sucker for brands, but when it comes to make-up I have to confess I do pay extra for a specific brand that suits my skin and my lifestyle. In my case it’s Smashbox – you might have your own favourite – as its oil-free primer doesn’t make my face break out, and its foundation is actually available in my skin colour, which is helpful!

I don’t wear a lot of make-up, and I don’t wear it all the time, but I know which products I like – so I try to stock up on those when they’re cheapest. Having decided Black Friday, or at least the week leading up to it, was probably going to be a good time to pounce, I set myself the challenge of saving as much money as I could on a beauty haul that’ll hopefully last me a full year.

See our Black Friday 2021 guide for more deals and analysis on make-up, perfume, gadgets and more.

How much is it normally?

At the very least, I knew I would need to buy foundation and a primer. My Smashbox foundation retails for £29.50, and the primer is usually £28 – a grand total of £57.50. Ouch! Having checked various retailers’ Black Friday week offers I’d seen discounts of 15% and 20%, plus some offers of ‘free’ samples when you spend a certain amount. So I set about comparing the deals to work out what would be best…

Boots – 15% off plus free primer

The first time I bought Smashbox I’d headed to a big Boots store to get a proper match for my skin, so this was the first place I thought to check online. The offer at Boots* was 15% off beauty, plus a free £15 travel-sized primer – making my basket total £48.87 for £72.50 of product (combining the normal full price of my make-up with the value of the free gift). Not bad, but as always I wanted to check elsewhere before buying.

Lookfantastic – 22% off plus free primer

I looked at other online retailers to be sure I would be getting the best discount, and I found there was a code for 22% off at Lookfantastic* (BLACKOUT, valid until 23.59 Fri 29 Nov, but there could be a better code on Black Friday itself) plus the same free £15 primer as at Boots – making my basket £44.85 for £72.50 of product. Getting better, but I still wasn’t done.

Smashbox – 20% off plus free primer, lipstick & highlighter palette

Of course, it would be silly not to check the brand’s own website, right? I found Smashbox had 20% off for Black Friday as well as the same free travel-size primer. That’s not all though, I would also receive a free 1.5ml sample of primer (worth £1.40), a free mini liquid lipstick (norm £4) AND a free full-size highlighting palette (norm £26), as well as free delivery. I’d found a clear winner.

This made my basket £46 for a whopping £103.90 of products. I ordered this via Topcashback* so should also get £4.78 cashback, making my eventual total £41.22 – a 60% saving overall, and not only did I end up with everything I needed but also a couple of new products for no extra cost. Happy Deals Hunter! 

Last year, the lipstick freebie wasn’t vegan (I am), so I sold it with some free samples of primer and a Smashbox bag I got free with another order for £10.50 on eBay - which is a good way to make back some money if the freebies aren’t something you'll use.

What’s top of your list for Black Friday? How do you do your research before buying? Let me know in the comments below, or on Twitter.