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Here’s how to shop the Nordstrom Anniversary sale like a beauty editor


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Photo: Getty Images/ Vincent Sandoval

When I first moved to New York City from Texas, I experienced a number of culture shocks: Big-box grocery stores were replaced with bodegas, my zippy 4Runner was swapped with a long walk to the subway station at Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn, and….Nordstrom—where the heck was Nordstrom? What had become my department store of choice in Austin was nowhere in sight in the Big Apple (happily that has since changed, but alas only with a men’s store so far).

Absence has definitely made the heart grow fonder, and I’ve come to appreciate the store for oh-so many reasons—one of which is its Anniversary Sale each summer. Currently only open to Nordstrom cardholders for early access, the sale goes public July 20 and runs through August 5. The event is kind of a big deal because it’s not just dingy old summer stock no one wanted that gets marked down. No, in this case, tickets are dropped on new fall merch, too. And in the case of beauty products, there’s a lot to be had, including exclusives, never-ending packs of your faves, and discounted sets that you can buy now and hold onto for gift-giving events all year long.

As with any sale, there are plenty of places where you can save big if you know the right ways to shop. So, I’ve scoured the price lists, tested the formulas, and am here to tell you about the best-of-the-best deals and steals that you can currently find in the sale. From tools and fragrances to makeup and skin care galore, this is what you should stock up on now for 365 days of easy-does-it beauty.

Keep scrolling for the intel about where to spend and what to skip at the Nordstrom Anniversary sale.

Tools

You know the saying: You’ve got to spend money to save money. And when it comes to buying beauty products at the Nordstrom Anniversary sale, you’ll find that to ring true. There are big markdowns on tools, which tend to come with a heftier price tag than other beauty supplies. Think: the just-launched T3 dryer (which magically turns off when you lay it down and turns back on when you pick it up), the NuFace (which chisels cheekbones and erases forehead lines), and a set of makeup brushes so perfect, they’ll completely un-complicate the cat-eye.

Skin care

When you’re shopping the Anniversary sale, my best strategy suggestion is to go to the poles: Either buy discounted small testers of cult-faves you’ve always wanted to try, like La Mer products and Herbivore minis (great for travel, BTW), or stock up on bulk packs of perennial faves, like the Dr. Gross peel pads (which, TBH, I use a couple of times a week) and masks for every self-care Sunday.

Fragrance

For your bod and your home, fragrance can run on the higher-end of the price line, so keeping an eye out for deals year-round can prove handy when you need to gift something or make your home smell like fancy French garden. I like to buy candle packs and spread the love as tiny thank yous to friends and family, but you can achieve a similar effect with essential oils for diffuser lovers and gift sets for fragrance fanatics.

Makeup

Palettes abound at this sale, but I learned long ago that, even when presented with 26 shades, I’ll choose one and use it to the last fleck. If you’re like me, I suggest sticking to pairs that work for two points on the face, familiar faves like the RMS Illuminators, and the goods you know you’ll always need (which for me is RevitaBrow, so that someday my #browgoals will come true).

If you were wondering how to shop your haul on a budget, we’ve got intel on that too: Here’s how a top dermatologist does it, and this is what a top facialist would spend on.

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