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Beauty products for less

June 15, 2011 8:21:56 PM PDT
Most of us, at some point, have paid a lot for a fancy beauty product. But when you shop at a drugstore, you probably figure you're getting a decent price. Consumer Reports ShopSmart says that might not be the case.

A team of secret shoppers searched for the best prices on 38 products, including lipstick, gloss, foundation, and mascara. They checked Target, Walmart, CVS, Walgreens, and websites such as Drugstore.com and Ulta. It turns out there are pretty big price differences on beauty products, depending on where you shop.

Take mascara, Covergirl's Lash Blast Volume will cost you $8.99 at Ulta, but at Walmart it's only $6.73. That's more than a $2 difference. And L'Oréal mascara is $8.62 at CVS but only $5.03 at Target; that's about $3.50 less.

When it comes to foundation, L'Oréal True Match Super Blendable Makeup was $12.10 at CVS. At Walmart you'll pay just $7. That's a $5 savings!

ShopSmart found savings on lip gloss, too. Maybelline Color Sensational will cost you $7.80 at CVS but only $4.89 at Harmondiscount.com, an almost $3 difference.

Believe it or not, if you want the best prices on drugstore beauty products, skip the drugstores. CVS and Walgreens had the highest prices most of the time.

It turns out the biggest difference in price was for L'Oréal's Colour Riche Lipcolour. Again, CVS had the worst deal. It cost more than $10 there. But at Target you'll pay $5.17, half the price!

In the end, Harmondiscount.com had the best prices on most products, followed by Walmart and Target. All three will let you look your best for less.

Scoring a great deal on a beauty product is only part of the equation. The product has to look good on you, and sometimes it just doesn't! ShopSmart says many retailers, including Target, Walmart, and Harmondiscount.com, will let you return opened products. Be sure to check the return policy before you buy, and save your receipts.

Consumer Reports has no commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor appearing on this Web site.

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