Beware of French Discount Beauty Stores

I've been trying really hard to find affordable makeup options in France, and after three years am just starting to have some luck. Drugstore products only cost slightly less here than higher end products do in America and that really bugs me. Can some one please explain to me why Revlon lipsticks cost as much as MAC?!

One of the most convenient options is, of course, discount beauty stores. There are loads of them (ex: Saga). They sell the same products that you find in the drugstore, but at much lower prices. At first, I got so excited about this, until I realized how they're able to get those lower prices.

*Don't get me wrong. Some of their stuff is excellent. Just be really extra careful.

They claim that they get their stock from companies that have overproduced or are changing their labels. This may be partially true, but many of their products are actually just expired (i.e.  potentially dangerous and unsanitary).

That's why they're so cheap. Regular stores don't want to sell them any more.

These both look like nice normal lipsticks don't they?
(I tested them both out before taking this pic)

Look what happens when I roll up the coral color 
to see how much is in the tube

Ever wonder what lipstick mold looks like?

Very Yucky

Lipstick Fungus/Mold

So what's wrong with the pink one?
To be fair, there is no visible mold on the pink one, but it smells absolutely awful. I don't mean that in a "oh I don't like the perfume they added to this lipstick" way. I could live with that.

No no. It's clearly gone bad. The smell is strong, offensive, and rancid.
Such a shame because the color is SO pretty!

I really should have kept the receipts.

Note: I realize that the weird orangeish, light brown lipstick is not actually coral colored, but that's the name listed on the bottom of the tube - "Coral." I didn't get to see the color before purchasing because they had no testers. Mold aside, I kind of hate the color a bit.

Watch out for Testers

If the mascara/lipstick you're looking at is not properly packaged, it is a tester.

Oh no. I don't mean officially.

I mean those bargain stores are full of people who like to experiment with make up (myself included). Unfortunately, when things aren't well wrapped certain people like to experiment and dip their fingers in random products that are clearly not meant to be tested. It's really nasty.

Let's be clear - I fully expect testers in the store to be full of bacteria. But I expect the product I buy to be new and clean. So when I get home and see lip prints on my new lipstick, I am not a happy camper.

Just go people-watching in one of those stores on a busy day. You will never buy mascara from there again. Pink eye anyone?

They are getting better about this however. Some of these stores now wrap a layer of tape - that's right, just regular scotch tape - around the closure of the product. It's more sanitary, but still looks pretty sketchy. Unfortunately, the coral lipstick I bought was also tape sealed, but it came out moldy. Still gross.


If anyone knows how to get decent quality/fairly priced make up in France without breaking the bank, I'd love to know! I've got a small list of my favorite places, but I'd love to find more.


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