This past weekend, YumSugar and I went shopping at the Premium Outlets in Napa. After scoring a pair of J Brand jeans for $100 off (!) I got sucked into The Cosmetics Company Store. It's an outlet shop that features Estee Lauder-owned brands, and if you live near an outlet mall, there's probably a location near you. (Here's a full list).
To find out about our adventure, and to see whether we think it's worth seeking these outlets out,
These stores stock makeup, fragrance, and accessories from MAC, Estee Lauder, Origins Prescriptives, Bobbi Brown, and Clinique. The products include overstock, discontinued colors, and limited-edition products that have been taken off department-store shelves. It sounds great, but the Napa store was a letdown. We might have hit it on a bad day, but the cosmetic testers were filthy and the selection was spotty. (Yum wondered how old the cosmetics were. I saw a few items from MAC's holiday collection, so the products aren't ancient or anything.)
I was hoping for a treasure trove of deeply discounted beauty buys, but my alliterative aspirations were quickly quashed. The prices are generally 20–30% below retail, which is great if you're buying an expensive item, but not a wacky deal otherwise.
Yum and I agreed that it's worth popping into one of these shops if you're nearby. But if you have to travel to get there, you might be better off saving the gas money to buy the items at full price — because at least then you'll have a full range of products and some expert help. I know some of y'all have been to these stores, so I'm eager to see what you have to say about them.