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We’re all looking to save money wherever we can, and one of the biggest expenses that most of us can’t live without — no matter how broke we are — is makeup. But, as with tattoos, cheap makeup isn’t good and good makeup isn’t cheap. Still, it’s hard to resist when the price tags on our favorite products remain tantalizingly out of reach and payday always seems as though it’s never going to come. In a pinch, bargain basement stuff simply has to suffice.

Still, there’s a reason Dollar General makeup products are priced so low and, in the long run, you might end up paying more to fix the mess you’ve made of your face after utilizing cheap stuff on it. The allure of low-priced beauty products might be too much to resist sometimes and there will definitely be moments when there’s nothing else you can manage. But keep the following in mind before considering going down that path.

Dollar General makeup may be expired

As Cheat Sheet rather wisely espouses, there are many reasons why dollar-store cosmetics aren’t as up to scratch as their higher-end counterparts, chief among which is the fact they could very well be expired. The packaging might look brand spanking new, but the contents could’ve gone off a long time ago, so always check extensively before purchasing. Using expired makeup on your face is never a good idea, as it can cause inflammation, rashes, and plenty more nasty stuff besides.

Likewise, cheaper makeup can often contain harmful chemicals so ensure you check the ingredients beforehand, too, as otherwise you’re running the risk of developing an infection. If you have sensitive skin, steer well clear, as cheaper ingredients are pretty much guaranteed to irritate it. The products in question might even be counterfeits, if the store isn’t a certified retailer, so if something looks too good to be true, it probably is.

Cheaper makeup can harm your skin

Cheat Sheet also warns that those with oily skin are running the risk of breaking out thanks to the ingredients contained in dollar store cosmetics, so make sure to choose the “oil free” option if possible, or otherwise don’t risk it. On the other hand, these products may dry out your skin completely if they contain enough alcohol, fragrances, or preservatives, so be aware of that, too. 

What’s more, Dan Aires, director of dermatology at the University of Kansas Health System, advises shoppers to be wary of the brands found in dollar stores, because there isn’t the same accountability with no-name brands compared to the more established cosmetics companies (via Vice). Basically, he points out that with big-brand names: “You’re a lot less likely to have problems. They really want to protect their reputation.”

And, as much as they might seem like a great bargain at the time, it’s worth noting that many of the products sold at Dollar General, et al, are in smaller bottles than what you can typically find at your local drugstore. You might actually be better off buying bigger bottles for slightly more and saving money that way, rather than risking wrecking your skin for a product that’ll end up costing you more in the long run.

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