Beauty Blunders: The cost of cheap makeup

Special Reports

To save or splurge on beauty products? Not all cheaper dupes are created equal.

These days, every corner of the $62 billion beauty industry is looking for you to treat yourself.

“I used a bunch of different products,” Destinee Brand said. “I mean, we all do. We go to the store, and say I’ll use this, I’ll use this.”

It’s through that trial and error that Brand learned the hard way.

“I remember my whole face itched,” she said.

Her brush with beauty ended in a nightmarish beauty blunder.

“When I woke up in the morning, my whole face was swollen,” she said. “My eyes were swollen shut.”

Brand ended up in the emergency room for an allergic reaction to face cleanser.

“I had used some sort of wipes,” she said of a more recent incident. “I don’t know what the ingredient was, but I know it had fragrance, and I had hives all over my face. It was like a mask right where I put the wipes.”

Even makeup can be troublesome.

“As far as makeup products, they are more a hive reaction – a breakout type of thing,” Brand said.

Denise DuBois is the owner and founder of Complexions Spa in Albany and Saratoga Springs.

“A lot of manufacturers use what they call filler ingredients that are not necessarily good for you,” she said.

DuBois has made it her business to make people look beautiful. NEWS10 ABC brought some makeup items to her spa to test out.

“You definitely do not want to shop by price,” she said.

Her makeup artist, Natalie Dekermendjian, compared the high end palettes with the ones NEWS10 bought at a discount store. Some came cheaper than what you’d find at your local drug store.

“Ellen Tracey Rose Gold, another palette that’s a knock off of something I have at home,” she said. “Looks like Urban Decay Naked Palette.”

Which costs $54. The discount makeup cost $5.99.

The eyeshadow quad Dekermendjian uses at work runs near $60.

“You might come across some finds at TJ Maxx or Marshalls where they might be higher end brands, but these products were discontinued for a reason,” Dekermendjian said.

DuBois said even though the ingredients on the back may be the same, they’re formulated differently.

“They water down the ingredients,” she said.

“A lot of times, the products have been sitting for months,” Dekermendjian said. “Sometimes even years.”

Even online sites like eBay have MAC foundations that usually run for $38 being sold for a fraction of the price.

“You really are compromising the quality,” DuBois said.

The FBI warns they may be counterfeits that have been shipped from other countries and are laced with harmful ingredients like arsenic, beryllium and high levels of aluminum.

“Some of these ingredients not only can be carcinogenic but they also are estrogen disruptors,” DuBois said.

And for someone with major skin sensitivities like Brand, you may pay more in the long run for the cheaper dupes.

“I find my eyes will get sensitive; eyelid will get red,” she said.

Brand recommends looking for shorter ingredients list and shop for items on sale from trusted retailers.

“Once you find products that are really good, it’s easy to maintain,” she said.

Local dermatologists also add if you have normal skin, most drugstore brands are fine to use. But if you are acne prone or have sensitive skin, some drug store products could clog your pores.

Budget friendly makeup ranging from $10 to $15:

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