Tuesday, June 5, 2012

CVS Beauty Clearance Sale: A Rant/Why I Love High End Make Up

This lengthy piece is a two-parter!
My Love for High End Make Up
I am, in general, not the biggest fan of drugstore cosmetics. There are exceptions to this rule, but overall I tend to get my wares from department stores or specialty stores like Sephora. For the purposes of this blog, I'd like to formally state that I am a bigger fan of high end cosmetics, and my tastes run on what is probably defined as the low to mid range of high end cosmetics. (Clinique, Laura Mercier, and Bobbi Brown being the big 3.)
Since I first started using make up in high school, my capsule collection has always centered around high end/department store make up. While I had some drugstore cheap thrills, as that was what I could afford to experiment with, my old faithfuls tended to come from high end brands. This was for many reasons:
1. I could try things before I bought them. Even though they came with a higher price tag, I knew what I was getting. This was especially important in terms of foundation.
2. Department stores tend to have better return policies. There are drugstores that let you try and return and I remember how revolutionary it was when Rite Aide first implemented this policy in the 90s. But that still puts the onus on me, the consumer, to do the shade-matching.
3. I know that higher price tags do not always guarantee quality, nor does it guarantee it will work with your own chemistry, but for certain items like foundation I have found that you get what you pay for. At least, this has been my experience. (Hair care is another story for another day...my hair is a cheap, slutty date.)
I began reading beauty blogs about 4 years ago and now reading blogs and watching YouTube for beauty advice is as habitual for me as picking up an Allure magazine. It's wonderful to see the reviews of real consumers and airbrush-free swatches in normal lighting conditions. Since turning to the internet for beauty tips I have taken the advice of some of my favorite gurus on some great drugstore products and had great outcomes. I tend to buy colors for eyes and lips en masse, as opposed to bases and powders which I have one or two favorites that I stick to, but my online gurus have turned me on to products like Revlon lip butters. And now, since I have my own "real job" and make my own monies, I feel a little less guilty if I buy a product that isn't returnable and that didn't work out. (99 cent Wet and Wild lip pencil, I rue the day. I'm sorry, friend that recommended it to me, but I look like Kim Mathers wearing that pencil no matter what I do!)

And now, The Rant.
When I splurge on these cheap thrills, I tend to get them online at Soap.com or Ulta. I am big into online shopping because everything I want is at my fingertips. I usually don't have to worry that someone opened the package and stuck their dirty little fingers on it to test it. Usually, what I want is in stock.
I recently began reading the blog Nouveau Cheap. It's a great resource for drugstore cosmetics. Recently on this blog, there has been buzz about the CVS Beauty Clearance Sale, so I thought I would meander over to my local CVS and get a couple of items on my list. My trip just served to reaffirm why I hate shopping in drugstores when I'm on a mission.
First of all, clearly this is no fault of the aforementioned blog which alerted me to the sale. She's a real person just putting the word out. I love her blog! My CVS just happened to make my blood boil.
First, I went to pick up a L'Oreal Le Gloss I'd been eyeing since I saw it on HRH Collection. I located the shade I wanted (Baby Blossom). When I picked it up, I noticed that it was a shade lighter than the one that was still on the shelf. I confirmed that I had the correct shade in my hand and went to compare it to the shade that was still on the shelf. It was also Baby Blossom. As I held them in my hands, I noticed that while they were intended to be the same shade, they were not. One had clearly turned bad. Then I noticed that all 3 tubes remaining were sticky on the bottom, indicating that they had been opened. I opened the package to confirm this and noticed that the product had separated.
Throwing these back on the shelf, I went to locate some Revlon lipsticks I had been eyeing up. They were completely out of stock of the shades I wanted (and have been for several months). This lack of stock went across several cosmetic brands for me. In addition, they were also out of stock of the particular variety of Venus razors I wanted. They had also run out of classic Noxema cold cream. I managed to snag the last Dove conditioner on the shelf and get the hell out of there. There is nothing more frustrating than apocalyptic shopping.
While I realize that I may have arrived late to the clearance party, I think the disgusting lip gloss was the topper to my evening. Could this have happened at Macy's? Certainly. But it hasn't yet. And consumers at these stores have testers to stick their dirty little mitts into, rather than the actual stock.
I understand that a clearance sale is done so that stock that needs to be moved will get sold. Judging by the amount of stock that was out, clearly it was a sale tactic that was working for them. But I think I found some items that should have gone out with the last clearance...or the trash.
Will I try again? Probably. I still want the items on my list, and I have some coupons burning a hole in my pocket. I understand that bad shopping experiences can happen anywhere. (Here's looking at the unhelpful MAC counter at my favorite Macy's!) In fact, earlier that day I had a streak of drugstore luck when I happened upon a Cover Girl blush I was looking for deeply discounted at Walgreen's. (Sigh. Yes, I was there for something else completely.) It was decently packaged and had not yet met its expiration date. CVS is also convenient to my house, for which I'm grateful. But, I'll be going with a harnessed qi and a reaffirmation that I'll be getting what I paid for.

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