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How Do I Choose the Best Clearance Cosmetics?

Lainie Petersen
Lainie Petersen

When choosing clearance cosmetics, examine each cosmetic item carefully to determine whether the item is still in usable condition. You will want to check to see if the product has an expiration date printed on its package and should take care to never purchase old cosmetics that should no longer be sold or used. You should also check to make sure that the item or its packaging is not damaged in any way and be particularly careful about purchasing eye cosmetics that are sold at clearance prices. Old or spoiled cosmetics for the eyes can result in serious eye infections. On the positive side, you should hunt clearance bins carefully if you want to stock up on a favorite shade, particularly if you know that it is being retired by its manufacturer. If you have coupons for discounted cosmetics, you can often experience huge savings and may even be able to purchase clearance cosmetics for free.

There are several reasons why a retailer might be selling cosmetics on clearance. The first is that the cosmetics simply are not selling, and the store wants to remove them from its stock. In some cases, a cosmetic may not sell because it is of bad quality, so you should take this into consideration when buying clearance cosmetics. On the other hand, if you have tried a particular cosmetic that is currently being sold at clearance prices, you should take advantage of this opportunity to stock up. Another reason why a cosmetic is being sold at clearance is because it is old or damaged. Purchasing a contaminated cosmetic or one that can't be used because of age or damage isn't a good deal and may prove to be dangerous to your skin and eyes. Finally, you may be able to find clearance cosmetics at stores, spas, or salons that are going out of business or discontinuing retail sales of cosmetics.

Some cosmetics are sold at clearance prices because the packaging is damaged.
Some cosmetics are sold at clearance prices because the packaging is damaged.

If you become aware that some of your favorite brands will be featured in a clearance sale, you may wish to look online or through newspaper circulars for coupons that you can use to get an additional discount on clearance cosmetics. While some manufacturers and stores will not honor coupons when purchasing clearance cosmetics, others will allow you to use coupons during the sale. By combining a coupon with clearance prices, you can enjoy significant savings on the products that you most enjoy using.

Discussion Comments


I like to stock up on clearance cosmetics if they are good brands. Many times they are just not carrying a certain color any more and making room for new colors they are adding to the line.

I have found some of the best deals this way. Most cosmetics will last a long time if they are kept out of the heat and sun.

I bought some brand name eye makeup and blush compacts that I have had for quite awhile. Every time I finish off one and open a new one, I don't see any difference in the quality.

It is hard for me to pass up a good cosmetics clearance sale. Even if I don't end up buying anything, I love to look through the merchandise to see what they have.


I have found myself rummaging through carts of cosmetics that are on clearance, but seldom end up buying any of them.

I have found from experience that if it isn't a brand that I have used before or have never heard of before I will probably be wasting my money.

The last thing I need is more cosmetics that I won't use cluttering up my bathroom. I have been disappointed in cheap brands I have bought on clearance before, so stick with what I know and like.

I figure if it is something I don't end up using, I am only spending money and not saving anything - even if it is on sale.


If you are buying cosmetics at a big discount, it won’t matter as much if you find that they are not of the best quality. If an item appears to be in good shape, it’s often worth the risk to buy it and try it. You will not have lost more than a few bucks if it turns out to be a dud.

I bought a tube of lipstick, a bottle of nail polish, and a case of eyeshadow for $1 each once. The polish and eyeshadow were great, but the lipstick tasted so bad that I couldn’t stand to wear it. I was only out $1, so I wasn’t upset about it.


My advice to anyone out there thinking they should stock up on their favorite makeup that is being discontinued is, “Don’t do it!” You will simply be prolonging the inevitable. You will eventually have to find a new brand that satisfies you, so it’s best to go ahead and start the search.

If you buy a lot of discontinued makeup, it could go bad before you are able to use it all. Foundation is the worst about spoiling. It separates in the bottle, and when you open it, it just smells bad. Lipstick can start to taste bitter after awhile, and it can also harden to the point that it is difficult to apply.

You can still find discounts on your new choice of makeup. Check the coupon inserts that come with the newspaper, or look online for coupons. It’s better to find a moderate discount on a brand that is still in existence than a deep discount on last chance makeup.


I buy most of my makeup through my friend, who is a cosmetics representative. She has a website, and she sends out emails to her best customers whenever the company has big sales.

I always wait until I get an email about a discount before I buy anything. I save anywhere from 15 to 75 percent off of makeup by doing this, and I get quality stuff.

Often, they have big sales at the end of each season to make room for their new makeup lines. I take advantage of these discounts instead of buying the new products at full price.


If you have a popular big box store in your hometown, make sure you keep an eye on their weekly promotional flyers. Sometimes you can get amazing deals so you don't even have to wait for your favorite cosmetics to go on clearance.

Last year I managed to pick up a massive supply of eye liner and lip liner for pennies on the dollar. It was my favorite brand, and I guess the colors on sale weren't that popular. Though I am not sure how brown and plum ever goes out of style.

When you are stocking up on clearance cosmetics, make sure you get things that don't expire quickly.


One of my favorite cosmetic companies went out of business two years ago. I had been using both their foundation and their lipstick, so I knew I needed to stock up on these products. I couldn’t use them forever, but I could use them for a few more years before having to shop around for a new favorite brand.

I waited until the day after the company officially closed to go shopping for makeup. I went to a drugstore, and sure enough, they had an entire bin full of this brand of makeup marked way down. I pulled several bottles of foundation and tubes of lipstick out, and I’m still using them today.


A great place to buy the best clearance cosmetics is actually in online auctions. I have found that you can get great deals on things like Mary Kay because a salesperson has decided to quit their selling and needs to sell off stock.

With something like Mary Kay the salespeople have to pay for all of the cosmetics in advance and it can cost thousands of dollars. There is on average a 50% markup from what they pay for the cosmetics to when they sell it to you normally.

When you buy online from a seller who is quitting the game, you save that 50% and sometimes even more if they are desperate to unload their stock.


Drugstores usually have regular clearances, not because the products are old or expired but because they want to have newly released products on the shelves. I buy a lot of great makeup from these sales.

There is also a cosmetics outlet where I live, much like the clothing outlets. They have a lot of clearances there for brand new products.

Plus, for many cosmetics, the expiration period starts when the makeup is actually opened. If you look under the product, there is an opened can sign with a number inside. This is the number of months that the product will need to be used after opening. This is more important for me than the production date of the product.


@SZapper -I know what you mean. I used to work for a cosmetic company that was sold exclusively in department stores. Although this was a premium cosmetic brand, which was sold in exclusive department stores, I would see outlet malls trying to sell these cosmetics in their stores at a discount even though we clearly did not have a distributor relationship with them.

Some of these stores that are unauthorized to sell these cosmetics often buy the cosmetics from a third party that are diverting this merchandise. A lot of this merchandise is not the best quality. It is older and sometimes even expired merchandise.

This is why premium cosmetics products should be bought in department stores because you know you are getting excellent quality. If you buy these high end cosmetics at a no name discount store you are really getting what you pay for.

The cosmetics business is all about image, and a high end line would never sell inferior products for a discount. So the old cliché is true, if it is too good to be true, it probably is.


@strawCake - That is sad. I don't know what I would do if my favorite shade of lipstick was discontinued. That is seriously a tragedy only a woman can understand!

I had a less pleasant experience buying discounted cosmetics a few years ago. I purchased a bunch of eye shadow at a deep discount, and when I got it home and tried to use it, it was simply horrible. I didn't get an infection or anything like that, it just wasn't of good quality. And of course, I couldn't return it because it was on clearance!


A few years ago my favorite shade of lipstick was discontinued. I guess it wasn't selling too well, because the store put that shade and a few others on clearance. It was lucky for me though, because I was able to stock up on my favorite shade for really cheap.

However, I don't know what I'm going to do when I used up my last tube!

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    • Some cosmetics are sold at clearance prices because the packaging is damaged.
      By: armina
      Some cosmetics are sold at clearance prices because the packaging is damaged.
    • Department stores may offer some clearance cosmetics as well as sale clothing at the end of each season.
      By: Kenishirotie
      Department stores may offer some clearance cosmetics as well as sale clothing at the end of each season.
    • Cheaper eyeshadow brushes may need to be replaced more often than more expensive brushes.
      By: Minerva Studio
      Cheaper eyeshadow brushes may need to be replaced more often than more expensive brushes.
    • Old cosmetics may cause eye infections.
      By: schankz
      Old cosmetics may cause eye infections.