Beauty & Fashion

Get Gorgeous for Less: The Best Beauty Buys at a Dollar Store

Aired September 8, 2016

Was your favorite shade of lipstick discontinued? You might just be able to find it at a dollar store! It’s a myth that dollar stores only carries no-name brands, says beauty expert Gretta Monahan, author of “Style and the Successful Girl.” “The same brands you know and love usually have excess inventory from the previous season. They look for a place to sell off that excess inventory, and that’s where dollar stores come in,” she explains. Make sure to check the expiration date (Yes, beauty products have them!), but ultimately, there is nothing wrong with these products, she adds.

Monahan accepted a challenge on our show to give a viewer, Grace -- a mom in her 40s -- a makeover using only buys from Jack’s World, a well-known dollar store in New York City and took us along for the ride. Here are her tips for saving big on primping musts.

Makeup Sponges: SKIP
Makeup sponges may seem like a steal, but they’re not so great for applying makeup: “They actually absorb a lot of your makeup, so you’re actually wasting product when you use them,” says Monahan. Instead, she suggests you go with an extra-large bag of cotton pads or balls.

Face Powder Touch-Up Puffs: SAVE!
Monahan says these are great because they’re professional quality and you can wash them to keep them clean and disinfected. Win-win!

Hair Color: SAVE!
Go for it, Monahan just has one rule-of-thumb: when going darker or lighter, don’t ever go beyond two levels from your natural hair color.

Liquid Foundation: SKIP
Stick with solid and powder foundations over liquids when shopping at a dollar store because solids are more shelf-stable: “They don’t change color or oxidize as quickly as liquids do,” she says. “Plus they’re much easier to color-match because they’re more forgiving.”

Lip Color: SAVE!
When choosing a lip color, Monahan says you may want to steer your cart toward lip glosses instead of lipsticks: “They go dry less quickly, they stay moist the entire time, and I like that they’re typically completely encapsulated.” When it comes to lip products sold at dollar stores, if the seal is broken at all, put it back, she says. “It’s not worth the risk of buying open products!”

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