Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Cosmetics that won't break the bank? Here's where to buy

Forget the Dow Jones Industrial Average — as a gauge of the economy, try the "leading lipstick index.'' • It's a well-known fact that women buy more lipsticks and other cosmetics during times of recession. If you can't afford a hot new car, how about a hot new look? • But beware: Department store brands will set you back a pretty penny. Cosmetics manufacturers can afford to give away those "free," sample-laden totes because they're charging $30 for a simple tube of mascara. • You can save big, though, at many stores in the Tampa Bay area that offer brand-name cosmetics, perfumes and toiletries at bargain prices. The trick is to make frequent visits because the inventory changes often — an item that's here today might be gone tomorrow.

Where to look:

Close-out stores

These carry items from drugstores and other retailers that have gone out of business or have left the area. A few months ago, I discovered the Bargain Basement Outlet Store in St. Petersburg (there's also one in Pasco County) with an impressive array of lipsticks, nail polishes, eye shadows and other cosmetics that still carry their original Rite Aid stickers.

Here you'll find bins of Revlon, L'Oreal, Maybelline and Cover Girl products for just $1.50 compared to three or four times that elsewhere.

Bargain Basement also has a decent selection of brand-name hair color products, cold medicine, toothpaste and the like. On my last visit, I got a two-pack of Oral-B vibrating toothbrushes for $6 and a handful of lip balms for only 25 cents.

Stores are in the Big Lots shopping center at 34th Street and 30th Avenue N in St. Petersburg and at 14117 U.S. 19 in Hudson, next to RV World.

Bealls Outlet

Unlike the regular Bealls, the chain's discount stores carry some perfumes and cosmetics in addition to clothing. On a recent trip, I found Almay Eye Makeup Remover pads for $2.99, about 40 percent less than they cost in a drugstore, and a two-pack of Revlon nail polish for $2.99.

For even bigger savings, apply for a Beall's Outlet One Card. Customers 50 and older get 15 percent off their purchase on Mondays; for those 49 or younger, it's 15 percent off on Fridays. You also earn one point for every dollar spent, with 200 points netting a $5 reward coupon.

Dollar Tree

As even the well-heeled have discovered, you just can't beat Dollar Tree for gift bags, stationery, party supplies and dozens of other items. And if you're on a really tight budget, Dollar Tree offers a decent selection of lip, eye and nail products, too.

Although the stores occasionally carry discontinued Revlon or Maybelline cosmetics, the main brand here is L.A. Colors. It gets good online reviews, and the lipsticks I've tried have seemed comparable in quality to drugstore brands.

Dollar General, Family Dollar and Big Lots also have bargain cosmetics and toiletries, though the selections vary by store and time. At Big Lots, I recently found Revlon lipsticks for $2 each and a two-pack of Revlon nail polish for $2.

T.J.

Maxx

Whenever I'm in T.J. Maxx, a lovely scent leads me straight to the area with luxury toiletries and boxed perfume sets. Prices are generally higher than at other discount chains, but this is a great place to shop for gifts or just indulge yourself a bit.

My favorite splurges: Milled soaps from Italy and Portugal. At $5.99 for three, they smell wonderful, last far longer than ordinary soap and come in beautiful boxes.

Though T.J. doesn't carry lipstick or mascara, it has a wide, if ever-changing, variety of face and body creams by Elizabeth Arden, Shiseido, StriVectin and other top brands, all at considerable savings. On the realization that nothing is going to make me look 40 again, I deserted my regular drugstore brand to try a wonderfully silky French face cream I found at T.J. for half the price (just $5.99).

Aging does have one advantage: On Mondays, T.J. Maxx gives customers 55 and older a 10 percent discount.

Susan Taylor Martin can be contacted at susan@tampabay.com.

Cosmetics that won't break the bank? Here's where to buy 03/11/12 [Last modified: Sunday, March 11, 2012 4:28pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Heights Public Market to host two Tampa Bay food trucks

    Business

    TAMPA — The Heights Public Market announced the first two food trucks for its "rotating stall," which will feature new restaurants every four months. Surf and Turf and Empamamas will be rolled out first.

    Heights Public Market is opening this summer inside the Tampa Armature Works building.
[SKIP O'ROURKE   |   Times file photo]

  2. Mariners lose lefty Drew Smyly to Tommy John surgery

    Ml

    SEATTLE — Drew Smyly was the centerpiece to one of Seattle's many offseason moves by general manager Jerry Dipoto. He was a priority acquisition as a proven lefty for the rotation the Mariners believed would thrive pitching at Safeco Field.

    Drew Smyly will undergo Tommy John surgery after being diagnosed with a torn ulnar collateral ligament. Seattle announced the diagnosis on Wednesday, ending Smyly's hopes of returning during the 2017 season. [AP photo]
  3. Author Randy Wayne White could open St. Pete's biggest restaurant on the pier

    Food & Dining

    ST. PETERSBURG — The story begins with Yucatan shrimp.

    St. Petersburg Deputy Mayor Kanika Tomalin, pilot Mark Futch, Boca Grande, St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman, and author and businessman Randy Wayne White,  Sanibel, exit a Maule Super Rocket seaplane after taking a fight around Tampa Bay off the St. Petersburg waterfront, 6/28/17.  White and his business partners are in negotiations with the City of St. Petersburg to build a fourth Doc Ford's Rum Bar & Grille on the approach to the St. Petersburg Pier with a second event space on the pier according to White. The group met near Spa Beach after a ground breaking ceremony for the new pier. "We want to have our business open by the time the pier opens," said White. Other Dr. Ford restaurants are located on Sanibel, Captiva and Ft. Myers Beach. SCOTT KEELER   |   Times
  4. Busted: How a Times photographer captured Donald Trump's fake news

    Blogs

    Tampa Bay Times photojournalist Scott Keeler was on assignment last summer for a story about Donald Trump’s presence in Palm Beach, a tale of glamour and conflict. Along the way he inadvertently captured evidence of a …

    Near the main entrance at Mar-a-Lago, the fake Time magazine cover is on display in July 2016.
  5. Jones: Steve Yzerman's plan for getting the Lightning back into the playoffs

    Lightning Strikes

    BRANDON — Seems like forever since the Lightning played a hockey game.

    If the Lightning season started right now, would Steve Yzerman be happy with what he has? "We're still a couple of players short,'' Yzerman said.. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times]