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How To Find a Discontinued Beauty Product

Posted on Mar 19, 2009 at 7:01AM

You may be willing to shell out some cash for your favorite beauty product, but what if it gets discontinued?

Although beauty companies are notorious for killing products because of lagging sales or to make room for new trends and technology, you’re not totally out of luck. There’s a chance that your hard-to-find favorite is just a phone call or a click away.
ShopSmart, from the publisher of Consumer Reports, one of our favorite magazines, has the steps to follow next time your favorite beauty product is whisked off the market.
The first place to go to track down a much-missed favorite is the manufacturer:

Call the makeup brand’s customer-service department to ask about leftover inventory, upgraded formulas/names or comparable substitutes.

Estée Lauder brands: You can find products discontinued in the last 24 months through the company’s Gone but Not Forgotten program; you can buy up to six pieces, depending on availability. Call 800-216-7173 to start your search.
Almay, Revlon & Ultima II: You can find discontinued products at and their affiliated retail outlets (in Arizona, New York, New Jersey, and North Carolina), or call 888-882-5629 to place an order.

Lancôme, Molton Brown and Nars: These companies sell discontinued items on their sites—,, and—until inventory runs dry. Some brand sites, including,,, and—feature online alerts, so customers have fair warning when discontinued goods are disappearing.
If the manufacturer is unable to track down an old fave, here are some other sites worth checking out: This subsidiary of sells discontinued beauty products from many brands, including Shiseido and Bare Escentuals. This site sells hard-to-find products from Max Factor, Neutrogena, Goldwell, Sebastian, KMS, and more. Its niche is hard-to-find items, and customer service will track down products for which they get a lot of requests, even if the site doesn’t carry them. When an item is no longer manufactured and demand is sufficient, the site buys an original formula and reproduces. The go-to place for celebrity makeup artists, Three Custom Color specialists can replicate the exact shade and texture of just about any color cosmetic product, including blush, eyeshadow, lipstick, concealer, and foundation. The company has an archive of 9,000 makeup shades dating back to the 1930s, and it will duplicate a hue if you send a dime-size sample.
Still no luck? Here are other places to do makeup research:, and These sites can list discontinued products. Since the goods offered can come from third parties, there’s the risk that a product is old or wasn’t stored or shipped properly, so read the fine print carefully regarding any return policy before ordering. You can find in-depth information on tons of products, including discontinued ones, at this social community of beauty-product consumers. You can post a product request on the Swap Board; if another member owns the item, you can negotiate a trade.

The Fragrance Foundation: For detailed information on just about any fragrance that’s ever existed, go to and click on Fragrance Directory.

Totally out of luck?  Never!

and we will talk to some of the PR people and see if they can find it for you.

Source:  May 2009 ShopSmart


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