When is a deal no longer a deal?

I’ll admit it–I’ve spent my fair share on both high-end and low-end beauty products.  Usually, I’ve found that low-end products work nearly as well as their higher-end counterparts (and especially well given the massive difference in price).  When my face was erupting in cystic acne, I spent quite the pretty penny trying to find some solution for my skin woes.  Here’s a few things that I learned about beauty “deals”:

  1. Cheap does not necessarily mean ineffective.  The $20 concealer from Sephora that I used to hide blemishes wasn’t any better than the $3 concealer I bought a Target.
  2. It takes money to figure out where to save money.  This is unfortunately true.  You have to be willing to spend some money on lower-end products to figure out what works for you.  If you buy at a retailer that has a generous return policy, you may be able to reduce your total out-of-pocket expense.  User reviews are a Godsend in many cases for helping you figure out what may work as a substitute for a higher-end product.
  3. Some high-end products are worth it.  For instance, I use Urban Decay eyeshadow only.  Why?  For one, it works the best our of any eyeshadow I ever tried.  It also lasts FOREVER (still using my palette from more than 5 years ago).  And, I have every color I could ever want so trying a new look is easy and doesn’t require any new purchases. Some application tools are also worth forking out a bit more cash since they will likely perform better and last longer than cheapies.
  4. Used products are never worth it.  Believe me–people use leftover cosmetics and beauty products from complete strangers.  Just browse eBay postings to get an idea of what I mean.  Sick…disgusting…dangerous!  You have no idea what weird eye infection or cold sore outbreak or rosacea issue somebody is dealing with.  Don’t ever buy used products…please!
  5. A good price is not necessarily a good buy.  Similar to #4, if you see a great price, consider the source.  A Chinese knock-off brand or estate sell or even eBay with rare exception usually are not worth the potential health hazard of getting a good “deal.”  Walmart/Target, dollar stores, and clearance aisles should also be approached with caution because of crappy people sampling the goods without purchasing.

What about you?  Ever find a deal that really wasn’t a deal in the long run?

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