Finding the lowest price on beauty products

June 20, 2011 2:17:53 PM PDT
The cost of even inexpensive beauty products can really add up. So where should you shop to get the lowest prices?

When you shop at a drugstore for cosmetics, you probably figure you're getting a decent price; maybe even the Lowest price! But Consumer Reports ShopSmart says - maybe not!

Consumer Reports set out to find where you can save big. A team of secret shoppers searched for the best prices on 38 products, including lipstick, gloss, foundation, and mascara.

"There are pretty big price differences on beauty products depending on where you shop," according to Lisa Freeman of ShopSmart.

Take mascara: Covergirl's Lash Blast Volume will cost you $8.99 at, but at Walmart, it's just $6.73.

L'Oreal mascara is $8.62 at CVS but only $5.03 at Target. L'Oreal Blendable Makeup was $12.10 at CVS. At Walmart you'll pay just $7.

Maybelline Color Sensational lipgloss will cost you $7.80 at CVS but only $4.89 at - a nearly $3 difference.

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

In the end, had the best prices on most products - followed by Walmart and Target. Here's a bonus: ShopSmart says Target, Walmart, and let you return opened products.

Meantime, Consumer Reports does say CVS's beauty reward club can be very rewarding. CVS sent us a statement about it saying it can add up to significant savings"

" CVS/pharmacy is committed to providing great overall value to customers through ExtraCare savings and offers, weekly sales, store brands and every day competitive prices. In some cases, our prices vary from location to location. Through the ExtraCare Rewards program, CVS/pharmacy offers a variety of ways for shoppers to save on beauty and cosmetic items. Through weekly circulars, customers have access to frequent sales and special promotions. ExtraCare cardholders also automatically receive cash back called "ExtraBucks" when they shop the beauty aisle, so they save even when buying something that isn't on sale. This year, CVS/pharmacy also launched an ExtraCare Beauty Club, the first beauty rewards program for the chain drug channel that offers members extra rewards on their beauty purchases that add up to significant savings. CVS Beauty Club members get $5 in ExtraBucks rewards with every $50 in qualifying beauty purchases, in addition to other special offers including email newsletters with exclusive coupons, tips and new product information. Finally, CVS/pharmacy customers can try any beauty item risk-free, since there is a 100% money-back Beauty Guarantee in place at all CVS/pharmacy stores nationwide.

CVS/pharmacy Beauty Club members are encouraged to find the CVS/pharmacy Beauty Club's dedicated Facebook page at and follow @cvsbeautyclub on Twitter for access to additional special offers and exclusive content all year long. To sign up for the CVS/pharmacy Beauty Club or to learn more, customers can visit their local CVS/pharmacy or go online to

Walgreens sent us this statement: " For decades we've offered our beauty shoppers great overall value. We have long been one of the nation's top retailers of beauty products due to our competitive pricing along with our convenience and product offering. "