How to Buy Discontinued Cosmetics

Updated February 21, 2017

Just when you've finally found an eyeshadow or lipstick product that seems perfect for you -- in the ideal colour, texture or type -- it never fails that your cosmetic favourite is discontinued by the manufacturer. Fortunately, most of the time when this happens you can purchase the product online, in discount and second-hand shops and at garage sales, although you will have to be careful to buy sealed, unexpired products.

Check local stores for your discontinued cosmetic products first. They may be in the clearance or liquidation areas, but many times stores continue to sell a discontinued product until it's gone.

Check T.J. Maxx-style stores that carry discards, overstocks and out-of-season stock from large department stores. They may carry your discontinued cosmetics and even sell them at a discounted price.

Scope out second-hand and thrift stores such as Salvation Army and Goodwill. Sometimes this type of store receives unopened, brand-new products from department stores when reduced price merchandise doesn't sell.

Scan local newspapers for garage sales advertising make-up. You might luck out and find your discontinued cosmetics untouched in somebody's make-up stockpile for pennies on the dollar.

Go to the manufacturer's official website. Some retailers and manufacturers sell discontinued products directly to the consumer. If you can't find any information on the website, call the company's information number and inquire about where they recommend acquiring the discontinued product.

Search online retailers such as eBay, Amazon and Overstock, but make sure to purchase unopened and unexpired items.

Search websites such as Discount Makeup, BuyMeBeauty, Beauty Encounter, Vermont Country Store and Three Custom that specialise in finding and recreating discontinued cosmetics.


Don't wear make-up or cosmetics that have changed colour, texture or smell -- they may have bacteria present and could cause irritation or an allergic reaction. Don't use or purchase discontinued cosmetics that have been opened or tampered with in any way. Most make-up doesn't include an expiration date on the package but instead expires a certain amount of time after you open it. Use discontinued powders and shadows within two years; cream shadows, foundation and lip products within a year; and mascara and eyeliners within three months. Keep your discontinued cosmetics tightly closed and stored out of sunlight and away from heat to avoid destroying the preservatives.

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About the Author

Based in Barcelona, Spain, Chris Ciolli has been writing professionally since 2003. Ciolli's work has been featured in "The Tipton Times," "The Joplin Independent" and She received Bright Flight and Curator's scholarships in 2001 and was a Fulbright finalist in 2005. Ciolli holds a dual bachelor's degree in communications and Spanish with a minor in English from the University of Missouri-Columbia.