Tracking down Discontinued Cosmetics

March 17, 2009 6:24:41 PM PDT
Every year, countless beauty products are discontinued. Whatever the reason - women can be desperate to find their favorite. Lipstick ... eye shadow ... blush and foundation - you go to the store and suddenly you can't find your favorite one. Makeup Artist Jenny Alves understands the frustration. "Women, they love makeup and when they find something that works for them they just want to stay with it, they want to work with it," said Alves.

Cosmetics are discontinued any number of reasons - declining sales, ingredients used to make the product are no longer available, or the company simply wants to make room for a "newer, better" product.

Consumer Reports Lisa Lee Freeman said just because a product is off store shelves doesn't mean you're out of luck. "Many companies offer their discontinued beauty products to consumers. What you need to do is call the customer-service department or visit the company's Web site," said Freeman.

For instance, Estée Lauder sells discontinued products for many companies, including Clinique, M.A.C., and Origins. Looking for an Almay, Revlon, or Ultima II product? Consumer Reports said try www.cosmeticsandmore.com. Then there's www.beautyencounter.com, which proclaims you can "call off the search party" if you're looking for hard-to-find products, including ones from Max Factor and Neutrogena.

If all else fails, try www.threecustom.com. The site has 9-thousand different makeup shades, some dating back to the 1930s.

"You can also use the site's custom blending service. Simply send in your old discontinued makeup and they'll reproduce it for you," said Freeman.

Another option, find a makeup artist like Jenny to help. "There's always something comparable that will make you feel good," said Alves.

You'll also see loads of discontinued cosmetics on eBay, Amazon, and overstock.com. But Consumer Reports said because these usually come from a third party, there's no way to know if the product has been stored properly. And opened products can go bad.

For more tips and tricks on tracking down hard-to-find beauty products.

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