Having a curated list of girls night in ideas will save you a FORTUNE over your lifetime. More importantly though, you’ll replace rather dull drinks, movies, and dinners with epic besties nights that you’ll laugh and talk about for years.
I’m all about saving money, but I’m not really a sacrifice girl. (After all, you only live once right?).
Lucky for me (and you!), in this case, cheaper options give you a MUCH better time.
Girls Night In Ideas…
$0 Makeover Party
One of the best girls night in ideas I’ve ever had was a makeover party. I invited 7 friends over to recreate the best parts of an 8th-grade sleepover. We did beauty treatments, hair and makeup, and then took photos of each other (complete with outfit changes).
Everyone brings all of their beauty stuff… face masks, hair tools, makeup, mirrors, and a box of all of those “beauty cast off’s” that never got used.
Make it BYOB (BYOW for the aged grape enthusiasts?) and hold it at 7:30 pm (after they have dinner with their families). If you have the time or the inclination, you can make brownies or cookies, but this is less about food and more about fun.
Face Masks: Start with a clean slate. Use up all of the random face masks, eye masks, lip masks, hand scrubs, pore strips, etc. to get a glowing face.
Make-Up: You can do your own make-up, or have a friend whose makeup you LOVE help you. My favorite part of this is having friends over who don’t wear makeup or even know where to begin. It’s so fun to see someone in a way you never have before.
Hair: You can do your own hair or have the best hairstylist in the group help everyone. This is a great time to try out fancy hair tools that a friend may have (like a TYME iron for beach waves, or a Dyson blow dryer for fast blowouts). And you can mix and match hair products with friends.
Photos: Once you’re all made up and fabulous, start taking photos. You can do shots together, separate or even selfies.
The goal is to end up with 10 photos of yourself that you love.
Thinking ahead about a great background for your photos helps. Play around with overhead lighting too. Some easy iPhone photo tips go a long way here to make your photos picture-perfect.
Best Buys: At one point during the night, have everyone introduce you to one or two of their favorite best buys. Things that were AMAZING for how much they spent on it. Hint: My two are Maybeline Dream Satin Liquid Foundation ($7.99) and Balmjour Creamy Lip Stain (sold at some Walgreens for $14, but you can buy on Amazon with free returns for $12.99). I get so many new favorites from this!
Make-Up Exchange: Leave your unused and unwanted items on a separate table and people can go in and exchange their items for someone else's. You can also use this as an easy way to declutter and donate the items no one wanted to one of these charities that accept (even opened!) unused makeup.
Things you may want to have on hand:
You can get a run down on ways to share makeup safely here: but for simplicity, lip gloss and mascara are a hard no, most other things, you can find a way to try. We just made do with what we had, but you may want to have these things on hand.
- Cotton swabs.
- Paper towels.
- Make up testers: You can buy a HUGE set of make up testers (with all sorts of brushes) for about $11 on Amazon, but you can also go the free route and just leave some cotton swabs out. You’ll want to have something out though so you can try a variety of lipstick.
- Hint: An easy germ free way to share lipstick is to use a cotton swab or a makeup applicator on the bottom side of the lipstick (where no one’s ever touched). Then apply to your lips, discard the cotton swab once it’s touched your lips and get a new one if you need more.
- Post It Notes and pens to write down the names of things people want to get. In theory, you could also just snap a photo with your phone, but you’ll find your phone often being used during this party for photos (even by someone else). Since this isn’t an MLM party (like Mary Kay), if you fall in love with something, you’re going to have to hunt it down in the real world to buy it.
- YouTube videos: You can learn almost ANYTHING on YouTube. If there’s something that everyone wants to learn, like how to braid, perfect cat eyeliner, elegant updos, apply fake lashes (hint: I use this method and it was SO EASY!), etc. Try to learn something new as a group.
Girls Night In Benefits
I have SO MUCH FUN at these parties. They’re my absolute favorite thing to do with friends.
You’ll walk away with…
- Headshots or social media photos that you love.
- New product ideas (that are CHEAP!).
- New skills, like learning how to use the TYME iron or strip eyelashes.
- Decluttering unused beauty products.
- Getting new beloved beauty products (free!) that your friends didn’t want.
- Makeup tips. Example: always buy makeup at a place that has free returns for used makeup within a window of time (like CVS and Ulta within 60 days).
Should We Include Kids?
I always include them because it can be really hard for moms to find free child care (and not everyone has a husband with a schedule that can watch the kids at night, making it isolating for them).
But I tend to have a personality that embraces the chaos of kids.
If you have the space (and attending kids are old enough) try to set up an area away from the moms so that the kids can watch movies, or play outside for a while.
Bonus: If you have little girls, this is kind of a fun one to have them around for. My 5-year-old did her own make-up and took her own selfies “just like us”.
Social Anxiety? Nervous about people not coming?
Reach out to a bestie and get one definite yes and then invite people to join you two. Even if only one girl comes, you’ll have a blast and it gives you a safety net when you reach out to others.
Hint: People generally like these parties, Mary Kay has built an empire on the idea that women love these parties but this is even better because no one has to spend anything.
Suggested Text Invites
If you're not sure how to invite people, here is an example of the text messages I send out for this kind of event.
“Hey! I'm throwing together a last-minute get together at my house this Saturday at 7:30 pm if you’re free. We're doing a makeover night.
Face masks, fake lashes, makeup, hair wands, and then using the halo light for headshots and selfies afterward. I've got (name of friend) coming already and you'd be PERFECT for this!
Kids are welcome. We'll have Xbox and movies upstairs for them. BYOB (BYOW?) It’s not an MLM party (like Mary Kay) or anything, I’m just feeling the need to have a girls night in and get girlie.”
Morning of party text
“Make-over night is here! 7:30 pm tonight at my house. Wear whatever you love from PJ’s to ball gowns. BYOB (BYOW?)
Bring as much of your makeup stash as you can carry (you should also bring makeup or spa products that you never use or that aren’t right for you, so you can trade with someone else for things that will work for you.), and any hair tools, etc. If you have a handheld mirror or portable mirror, bring that too.
We’re going to play with hair and makeup (we have tester applicators that you can use germ-free. #germaphobe), have a swap for unwanted products, and then take some headshots. I’ll have chocolate chip cookies here, but mostly this is a thrown together thing and less of a formal party. (I’m barely even cleaning. 😂). 🙌
It’s like the best parts of an 8th-grade sleepover except now we know what we’re doing.”
If you ask me, the makeover party is the best girls night in idea ever HANDS DOWN.
Want to Upgrade Your Make-Over Parties to Pro Level?
You need three things.
I wouldn't start with this, but If you end up throwing these frequently… think about upping your selfie game with…
- A mini halo light (which plugs in like a lamp and makes your skin look flawless)- it has a holder for your phone in the middle of the lamp for perfect images).
- A remote shutter button for your phone (they're bluetooth and usually attach to your key chain so you can take selfies without your arm being in the shot)
- Light room presets (light room is a free app, you can buy “light and airy” presets that make your images look “instaworthy” without photoshop skills.
But you can use the same format to get some other pretty amazing girls night in ideas. Here’s a few more of my favorites (all super cheap or completely free).
Additional Girls Night In Ideas
Freezer Meal Swap
Everyone makes three of their favorite freezer meals at home. Keep one and bring the other two to the party (already frozen!) to swap out. Everyone leaves with three freezer meals (but you only had to spend a few extra minutes making 3 pans of one recipe, which is cheaper and easier than making three by yourself.)
Note: The host for this party will need extra freezer space (likely a deep freezer) to hold all of the freezer meals while you party and your party capacity will be limited by how many casseroles the host's freezer can hold, 4 people is a safe bet for this party).
“Dump Meal” Party
You can plan a “dump meal party” where everyone comes and creates 10 meals in an hour to freeze. Specifically, you want freezer to slow cooker meals so that all you have to do to make them is to thaw them and dump them in the crock pot.
This is by far the easiest frozen meal to make and is often a staple in our house. (We use Freezasy for this because you can choose your own meals in a drag and drop platform and they make your shopping list for you, but you can also buy a currated meal plan like this if everyone agrees on the meals.
Hint: To make this easier, have all of the ingredients for everyones meals delivered to the host house and split the cost.
Meal Prep Party
You can do the same thing with super easy healthy microwavable lunches or individual meals based on these 74 freezer meals in 4 hours. (Just divide the meals up between you). Each meal is basically steak, chicken, or ground beef with rice or sweet potatoes, and green beans or broccoli.
The meals are simple to make in bulk, cost-effective and SUPER healthy. They give you easy meals to take for lunch at work or have an easy dinner for a night off from cooking.
Hint: To make this easier, have all of the ingredients for every one delivered to the house and split the cost.
Get together at give yourself at home manicures and pedicures. Have everyone bring their nail stuff and go to town. P.S. Go ALL OUT with these crazy foot peels where all of the dead skin on your feet flake off over two weeks. Gross, but then… ooh! Baby feet!
Bunco or Game Nights
You can bring an appetizer to share and just play games.
Hint: Not sure you're into this, but I’m obsessed with the new strategy games like Ticket to Ride.
Closet Clean Out Exchange
This one is easy, but you have to only invite people that are the same size as you (which can be tricky since that’s not exactly well-known information). But this party can save you a ton of cash and is super fun.
I suggest sending this text to people you think maybe close to your size:
“Hey guys! I’m having a closet cleanout party next Saturday. I’m looking for women that wear a 14 in pants and an XL in shirts. If that's you and you want in, let me know, then clean out your closet this week and bag up anything you don’t love and want to exchange.
During the party, you’ll get a ticket with the number of items you brought and you can “shop” everyone else's unwanted stuff to bring them home. Whatevers left at the end of the night, we’ll donate to the women's shelter in town.” If you have friends and family that you think maybe this size, feel free to share the invite and bring them.”
Just like the closet cleanout exchange, only it’s just for jewelry so anyone can participate. You can also have jewelry cleaners available to shine your favorite pieces up and you can make DIY jewelry hangers. You can also create these cheap and easy DIY organizers (get the tutorial here).
DIY Project Night
Choose any project from Pinterest and then attempt to make it together. This is easily customizable and if it ends up a Pinterest fail at least you’ll laugh trying. (Hint: T-shirt bags are ridiculously easy and I love having them around!)
Line Dancing Night
You’ll have to cap this based on the space in your living room, but get everyone together and learn a choreographed dance (you can find the most popular ones here). So basically, at any wedding for forever, you’ll always know whatever choreographed dance comes up…
- Hoe down
- Throw down
- Electric slide
Whether the bride is 20 or 60… you’ve got this on lockdown.
Similar to the jewlery exchange, just ask guests to bring purses or wallets that they no longer love. You can clean them up together and exchange them. Donate the purses or bags that don’t get chosen.
I hope this list of girls night in ideas helps you create epic besties nights with your friends… Feel free to leave your favorite girls night in ideas below and I’ll make sure to update this list with your ideas as well!
What’s your favorite girls night in idea?