A Guide to the Best Beauty Bargains

Sick of spending money on makeup? Learn where to find the best beauty bargains with this strategic guide.

Beauty Bargains

Buying beauty products can be a pricey game of trial and error (those $8 lipstick mistakes add up fast!). Get more for your money—and a few freebies—with this strategic guide to shopping for beauty bargains ad drug stores, online and department stores.


Shop drugstores for low-cost beauty products, deep discounts and no-hassle returns.

Cash in Your Coupons
Drugstores have the best deals, hands down, especially when you stack manufacturer's and store coupons. Use coupons when there's a sale and you can save 67 percent on average. Find coupons in stores' circulars, on their websites and in e-mail newsletters. Many retailers accept printed online coupons, so check coupons.com, redplum.com and smartsource.com. And pay attention to the newspaper: 85 percent of beauty-product coupons are in Sunday inserts.

Return with Ease
At CVS and Rite Aid you can return any product—even if you've used it—for a full refund within 60 days of purchase. Keep the receipt (without it you'll get store credit). Hang on to the packaging; at other drugstores, returns are up to the manager, and the packaging can help your case.

Get High-Quality Goods For Less
Drugstore products are usually cheaper than department store offerings—but they're not necessarily inferior. Many beauty brands are owned by the same parent companies; they share research and development teams and might carry the same active ingredients (see next page).

Look for Deals on Items Wtih a Short Shelf Life
Mascara and liquid eyeliners last three to six months before bacteria builds up. Acne products and antiaging creams stop working in less than a year. Therefore, it's wise to choose effective, affordable versions.