June 5, 2017

Why You Can’t Find New Drugstore Makeup at the Drugstore

I receive a small commission if you shop through my link.

The well has dried up in the drugstore makeup world. Several month ago I wrote a post about how Harmons never has the latest and greatest seasonal and limited edition drugstore makeup anymore. Harmons was literally the mecca for seasonal makeup releases and always had them at least 30 days before everyone else. Walmart was pretty on top of their game as well and had Covergirl Collections prior to anyone else not to mention Target was pretty good about getting the latest releases too.

But for about a year now finding new releases at Harmons or otherwise seems impossible.

What can’t you find the newest drugstore makeup at drugstores? Why are they arriving 30 or more days after you’ve heard about them dozens of times over on social media and even on the brand’s websites themselves?

Because a lot of brands are turning to online outlets to carry their latest releases. Yup, just like mid-range brands who cause a frenzy with their latest releases that are “limited edition” and available for “one day only” or at so and so store exclusively, drugstore makeup releases are also become highly exclusive as well.

Maybelline recently admitted on Instagram that their latest Summer 2017 releases hit amazon.com first! Over a month ago all the Summer releases started popping up at Amazon and the last few seasonal collections have also been available first at Amazon and 30 to 45 days later they started popping up at other drugstores.

I shop Amazon all the time! Can’t live without Prime and Prime Pantry! But I find it highly irritating that I have to wait for a month or more to find the latest drugstore makeup releases in stores. Why? Because Amazon ships horribly.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve never had problems with Prime or anything I’ve ordered from Amazon until recently. I started ordering a few makeup items from them like the new Maybelline The City Palette and it was a bad, bad idea. I ordered the palette 5 times. FIVE times! And all five times the palette arrived broke. The first time I ordered it, it was broke, and the next four times were replacements that were all broke. Why did they break? Because Amazon tosses them in a big box without any padding aside from some brown paper.

Earlier last week they even had a note on Maybelline Studio Master Chrome Metallic Highlighter that said there were “issues with the shipping of this item” and it would be back in stock soon. It’s available now but I assume the shipping issue was it likely broke every time it was sent out.


Anyway, I’m not entirely sure how I feel about Amazon being the first to get Maybelline’s latest releases but we live in a makeup world where every release is somehow created to be a highly illusive launch that you must buy now or lose out. Don’t forget this also prevents BOGO sales, using coupons, etc…Mind you Amazon does have clip-less coupons from time to time and their prices aren’t too bad but sometimes you can score a better deal at Harmons in my experience.

How do you feel about the lack newest releases at the drugstore? Don’t worry they are releasing still at stores but just a little slower than before!

Are you ok with them being available exclusively online before they launch in stores?

Do share!

I receive a small commission if you shop through my link.

About the Muse

Isabella MuseIsabella is just an average everyday geeky girl who doesn’t blend her eyeshadow correctly, wears too much blush, and hopes she never finds her holy grail products because she likes the thrill of the chase so much. Her mission is to bring you super honest reviews on makeup, skincare, fragrance and all things beauty. She’s in no way an expert on the topic and she sure as hell isn’t a super model. But she’s passionate about makeup and is seeking like-minded individuals that like pina coladas, getting caught in the rain, and ones that enjoy spending hundreds of dollars at Sephora without feeling buyer’s remorse. If you’re that person feel free to reach out and leave a comment or follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Bloglovin‘.

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  • AmberM

    My issue is that I’m not seeing swatches before (or even after!) some products are released. I’m currently waiting on buying L’oreal Metallic Infallible Lip Paints which are available on ulta.com. There is more than one shade I’m interested in however without a real swatch, I’m not going to buy.

    • Isabella Muse

      I’ve been trying to hunt them down as I don’t want to order from Ulta as shipping takes a hot minute not to mention they are kind of costly at Ulta. But no dice! Typically Bed, Bath, and Beyond would have had them ages ago but again, it’s all very exclusive now!

      • AmberM

        Yes, and I’m really happy about your posts about this situation given that when my Bed, Bath and Beyond expanded a few years ago, I was in drugstore makeup heaven. Then, probably the last 8-9 months when I’d stop in, there wouldn’t be anything “interesting” there. I’m just so happy it’s not my particular store or even my interpretation of it. Others are noticing too!

        • Isabella Muse

          it’s def not your store. Harmons, Christmas Tree Stores, and Bed, Bath, and Beyond get things really, really, really late lately. I used to love going to these stores but it can be like 6 months before I see anything new there where as before they had releases like every single season before anyone else! Such a shame!

    • Megan

      I totally agree with the lack-of-swatches issue. Colors online rarely appear as they do in person! It makes finding foundation shades from the drugstore even harder!

  • Phyrra

    I made a video bitching about this very issue last year! It’s one of the 6 reasons I hate drugstore makeup. I drove to 6 different walgreens trying to find a wet n’ wild release that I couldn’t find anywhere, yet people swore it was in stores! It was so frustrating. I’d rather spend my money with an indie brand or at Sephora because NO ONE has time to drive to 6 different walgreens hoping to find a drugstore release. It was ridiculous.

    I think this is a terrible direction for drugstores to head into.

    As far as Amazon goes, they need to fix how they’re shipping things. This is also why I rarely order from Hautelook because they don’t pack things well and they always arrive broken. A single air packet with no tissue paper means a delicate makeup palette will arrive broken! They need to use some common sense.

    • Isabella Muse

      Wet n Wild has been doing the release on their website like 40 days before it arrives in stores! I’ve done the same exact thing with their releases. A lot, A LOT of their stuff is very, very difficult to find. Their seasonal collections have become like a pot of gold. It’s impossible to find in brick and mortar locations. Most of it is on their site so anyone telling you it is in stores “now” is bsing πŸ˜€ Also, I noticed a lot of brands are stirring things up on social media about drugstore releases like 20 days before they launch them online so, they create this weird mad frenzy before they pop up at online retailers. I think it is too but as they say they are trying to come up with the Joneses! Hautelook I haven’t had a bad experience with you but Amazon, forget it. Makeup arrives with a little piece of brown paper in a medium size box. They should place it in an padded envelope, it has a better chance of surviving. I literally returned five City Palettes so far! FIVE!!!!!!!!!!

  • Paola

    I blame social media. When even drugstore make up is becoming exclusive and highly sought after? It’s ridiculous…they have these IG YouTube people being paid to get everyone all excited about drugstore releases…give me a break…I had to order my loreal lash paradise mascara online because I have yet to find it anywhere! Yet I see it all over social media.

      • Tippy6

        ……and this is what is referred to as “FAKE NEWS”! Yep, fake news has creeped into every facet of our lives and there are those out there who are laughing all the way to the bank because of it. Fake news doesn’t just apply to politics but every aspect of our lives. There is even a master of puppets in the cosmetics universe-LOL. Social media? More like ANTI-social, if you really stop and think about it.

    • Susan

      I swear the L’Oreal Lash Paradise Mascara is the Where’s Waldo of makeup releases. I finally found it at a Target store while I was on a trip. Was it with the other L’Oreal products? Of course not. It was on an end cap…. down in the Pharmacy section. 😐

      Worth every penny of its reasonable price, btw.

      • Jana

        Amen! I have been hunting for that mascara that’s “in stores now” all over town, and can’t find it to save my life! It’s even out of stock on Amazon. Grrrr!

        • Jennifer

          I got my Lash Paradise on an endcap at Target. I hadn’t even heard of it, but if there’s a new mascara, I’ve got to have it. It is pretty good.

          • Christina

            Yes, my Target had this on an end cap as well – with items from various other brands

  • Brittany

    I’m so happy you mentioned this! I find it so frustrating that I can’t go to the drugstore and find the new stuff right away when it comes out. Most of the time it is a month later. Some drugstores still have stuff like Wet n Wild’ s fall collection out from last year! I like shopping online but I like shopping in person too. I feel like that part of shopping is getting neglected. I still haven’t found Maybelline’s 2017 summer collection at any drugstore yet. Im a fan of seeing and holding a compact before I buy it lol.

    • Isabella Muse

      I don’t think you will sadly until the 20th or so! Maybelline has teased relentlessly about Summer 2017 but it was only to be had from amazon until recently πŸ™ I’m the same, sometimes I actually like to shop in stores!

  • Melissa

    Amazon does not know how to ship palettes .They always break. They are pretty good about sending a replacement but that breaks too as they don’t know how to pack it.Its an she old thing with Amazon, surprisingly they are not taking steps to remedy it ?

    • Isabella Muse

      I ordered it once and got four replacements because they all ended up broke lol!

  • kjh

    So, with this Amazon shipping debacle, are they the same with Asian/other skincare, or is that better packed? After all, some still use glass. And Some of the color products are quite nice. Been trying to avoid becoming an A-ho, but I primarily used Memebox (RIP.)

    • Isabella Muse

      typically those are sold from sellers and arrive better packed in my experience! It’s when they are coming directly from amazon ghtat I’ve had issues! Try AlphabeautyUK and F2Plus1 on ebay! Affordable and ships packages safely!

  • Susan

    So glad that you brought this issue up in your blog. I have been on a mission to find the new CG foundation, went everywhere in my area looking for it. It’s CG people, not some wildly exclusive brand that isn’t carried in just one particular retail store. I couldn’t even find it online. And the LE stuff that WnW releases are never found in my area ever! I am so frustrated with drugstores and places like Walmart and Target not getting newer items in that I’m almost at the point of a no buy on DS. Do companies not realize that they would sell more product if they would put their products out en masse and make it easier for consumers to buy!

    • Isabella Muse

      WnW is impossible to find lately, they launch most stuff on their website and it comes to stores much much later! I found the CG foundation relatively easily but the new melting pouts were incredibly hard to find πŸ™

    • Robin

      Same here with the CG foundation!!! I finally found my shade on Amazon…. skip time is 1 to 2 months!? Even in cvs, there’s only or two bottles and they shades are way too dark for me.

      • Lori

        I found that foundation relatively early on at Walgreens… I loved the scent and finish but the lightest one was WAAAYYYY too dark.

  • kimkats

    I’m not gonna shop amazon for drugstore makeup. In addition to the shipping problem (which amazon HAS to know about by now, and isn’t doing anything to fix) I just want to be able to try and return the item if I don’t like it…. Frankly, I don’t find that much about drugstore makeup that would excite me to the point where I can’t wait a couple weeks to find it – the new l’oreal mascara is case in point. πŸ™‚ (and I do like it a lot!)

    I think the various DS brand websites are light years behind their releases!! I’ll go to l’oreal or revlon’s sites to look for something and hells bells – I’ve found it in store before they ever have it on the website! so unless it’s something superfantasticdynamite, I’m just going to wait it out to see it in person. πŸ™‚

  • Chrissie

    Totally sympathise, with Milani (online only), Maybelline and L’Oreal we get a rather watered down selection here in the UK too. Online exclusive isn’t a good direction to be going in, here in the UK, in store there are usually tester products that you can swatch, however a lot of makeup is non returnable for hygiene reasons and I would be put off if they were online only, I’ve found photos to be very deceiving colourwise. I spend when I can swatch x

  • ElKay

    For me, drugstore makeup is just that, something that I stop in the drugstore to pick up. I don’t see myself ever shopping online for it.

    • Mo

      Completely agree! I’m sick of the hype and not going to order drugstore online.

  • Heidi

    I think this is one reason why I haven’t been buying quite as much makeup lately. I do see a few new things at drugstores, but not like how I used to. I used to love Harmon’s a lot more, but now I just go there to get some shampoos or sunblock with the coupons, but haven’t gotten any makeup there in ages. Though to be fair I did spot some new Revlon there last week, with the metallic liquid lipsticks and that global lipstick display with something like five new colors. I think Revlon is the only company I’ve really seen lately offering the newer rollouts (like I saw some of the new age-defy foundation and concealers at CVS and Walgreens, but passed because they were something like $17 for a tiny squeeze tube. For that price I may as well head to Sephora or Ulta and swatch in store at least.)

  • Diana

    Well, that’s interesting to know. I’m not much of a drugstore makeup shopper, but I do have fun browsing. It’s annoying when you hear about something new and can’t find it in store.

  • Elaine

    Thanks for your post. I totally agree and I’ve given up hunting for drugstore stuff. If they want to make it hard to find, they can keep it. They’ve sucked out the joy of it. Not to mention that the term limited edition is so overused and inaccurate in the makeup world as to be meaningless. I don’t believe any of them anymore.

    • Isabella Muse

      My pleasure! It’s a sad sad thing that limited-edition has become absolutely meaningless lately!

  • Anais Bon

    I’ve spent so much gas money just driving around trying to find these things only to realize that it’s been at my local WalMart for the past week or so. I’m lucky that my Amazon delivery system actually packages everything nicely and I’ve never had any issues. The thing that annoys me is that I have so many coupons, points and rewards saved up at Walgreens, CVS, and Ulta and I want to use them but can’t because none of this stuff is there yet!! Auughhh so frustrating πŸ™

    • Isabella Muse

      ha you’re right. I waste gas too drying to locate this stuff πŸ˜€

  • TropicalChrome

    I kind of feel sorry for the brick and mortar drugstores. When they received the releases in a timely fashion, I found myself shopping there more often, and more often than not, picking up a couple of other things that I needed so I didn’t have to make another trip to the grocery store. While reading your post, I started thinking about when the last time I actually shopped at a Walgreens or Rite Aid or Bed Bath and Beyond was, and honestly, I can’t remember.

    Like others, I want to see swatches before I buy. I want to be able to return items without yet another trip to the post office and waiting weeks for my credit.

    The upshot is that I’m buying a LOT fewer beauty products than I have in years. My wallet is happy about that :).

    • Isabella Muse

      likewise! I’d typically buy shampoo, deo, etc when doing my makeup shipping! Ha…! That’s always a good thing right?

  • Kimmwc03

    Glad you posted this! It’s so frustrating and it makes me want to break up with DS makeup all together. I prefer to see the products in person before buying.

    • Isabella Muse

      I do too! Drugstore in particular is a “see” item!

  • Adrienne

    I am so glad you posted this topic. I feel exactly the same way and I am often disappointed when I can’t find things. I don’t buy from Amazon because I don’t like the hassle of returning things and if I am in the store I can easily see color/pigment and say “um that’s not MY nude”. I have read a lot of people say they have received broken and cracked items from Amazon sometimes just thrown in a box. Makeup may be going to way of the clothing retailers I saw that 20% of retail stores/malls will be closing in the next 5 years because of online shopping. Some things like makeup and fragrance you JUST have to see and/or smell. How many times have we bought foundation only to realize that “tan” depends on what company made it? Sometimes my Walgreens skips collections and I never see them but Rite-Aid still has displays from fall 2016 and we are in spring/summer now. Its very frustrating but as makeup junkies what are we going to do πŸ™‚

  • Carolina

    This has happened to me numerous times. I’d see something–often on your blog–and head to Walgreens or Ulta to scope it out. I would never find it and usually lose interest and move on. However, while I don’t mind shopping for makeup on Amazon I’d sure like to see it in person first before I buy it, especially since it’s only drugstore makeup.

  • Jane

    Thank you for posting this; I thought it was just my naturally curmudgeonly nature becoming more so.

    This is such a short-sighted decision by the makeup people. I, too, have bought much less because it’s not around. Sorry, my preciouses, you are largely meant to be an exciting find, in store, not to be waited for in the mail. I’m not waiting for a Montgomery Ward rural post delivery out by my windmill. I’m at a store. I want to buy something.

    • Isabella Muse

      LOL Jane πŸ™‚ no it isn’t you! Most of us have been experiencing the same!

  • Kimberly Armstrong

    Drugstore makeup….all of it (Revlon, CG, Maybelline, L’Oreal etc) is overpriced, tested on animals and not worth the money. Sephora has Kat Von D Beauty and Urban Decay…..well made quality products which are cruelty-free. Wet n Wild is cruelty-free as well. You can sign up for their emails and purchase directly from these companies. Another excellent quality cosmetic line that is cruelty-free is Besame Beauty.

  • Lucia Vallejo

    All of you are so right in that new drugstore items are usually advertised in magazines, social media, etc about 30 days ahead of release date. Do you think that new drugstore collections are not displayed at Walgreens or CVS in time because the stores do not have enough employees to unpack all the boxes? FYI – I recently saw at a local CVS cosmetics department that lipstick testers are now available for Revlon Superlustrous lipsticks. That is a first for a drugstore and I think the testers were attached with a wire or something. I wonder how long CVS will display testers. I did order a couple of new L’Oreal Infallible Metallic Lip Paints and these lip paints are the most glamorous lip paints that L’Oreal has ever launched. You will not be disappointed. I ordered Moon Lust and Gallactic Foil and I am going to order Studded which is a metallic magenta. Stunning! Get them as soon as you see them in stores.

  • Kish

    Between this and the increasing prices of drugstore stuff, I don’t even look for anything anymore. It’s not worth it. I’ll just by my stuff from sephora. And Hard Candy at WalMart when i want a cheap fix. It’s reasonably priced and you can always find it in stores. I will not search all over for something that I’ll probably end up finding meh anyway.

  • Chris

    Reading the blog and the comments, I think letters to the various companies who do use Amazon as a retailer should be told what Amazon does to their products. If enough people inform these companies, it’s likely the companies will not contract with Amazon in the future to sell their products. It’s possible that these companies might not be aware of how Amazon ships their products.

  • Gabriella

    Try living in Australia. We get EVERYTHING a year later than you guys do, if not more so whether high-end or drugstore. So frustrating!!!!!

  • Isa

    Interesting read! Over here, we have come to expect that we almost never will get the seasonal or LE stuff in store. It’s always the same old permanent collection stuff on the shelves. I went nuts at Walgreens when I visited the US! Even for brands that are available here, there was so much more in the US stores. Literally, each brand had at least 5 times the shelf space. Even when I went to Canada a couple years ago, I got so much drugstore stuff at Shoppers Drug Mart.

    Sad to know that this is changing. Makeup is something I like to see and buy in store for the most part. Even with all the swatches and information available online, sometimes it takes me swatching in store for me to buy it. Photographs and videos still don’t capture all the nuances of a colour sometimes, especially for non-matte shades.

    It’s kind of ridiculous that drugstore makeup is going this route, IMO. To me drugstore is all about accessibility. Both in terms of price and availability. I mean, they are pretty much depending on moving substantial quantities of product to make their profits instead of a high margin on each item, although their prices are going up. But still, we all know that that stuff is mass produced in bulk. So to to try to manufacture and air of exclusivity to that stuff is both disingenous and goes against what drugstore makeup should be IMO.

  • kate

    you probably know from my past posts *or not :-)” that I am a big Harmon shopper too, but I have been slightly annoyed that my weekly stop in to see what’s new have yielded nothing. This clears it up.

    for some reason the Nanuet store has a better selection than the store closer to me in NJ

    • Isabella Muse

      There is never anything new at harmons anymore even skincare launches like from garnier are lacking πŸ™ so sad! I totally relate Kate!

  • Dee

    I have wondered why trips to Bed, Bath and Beyond turned up empty when I went to the Harmons side. I won’t order from Amazon as like others have posted, I want to see the product first and prefer what I order to come in one piece. Very disappointing.

  • Lorraine E.R

    My #1 reason for buying drugstore is accessibility. #2 is price. If it takes work to find the product then forget it, though. I stopped ordering online so if I’m not breaking my no online-order rule for brands like Juvias place, Jouer, Colourpop, Lunatick, etc. Then I’m DEF not gonna do it for Maybelline!
    The way new makeup displays get wiped out within days here, obviously there is no problem moving new releases. The whole thing seems kinda dumb and backwards to me, like I don’t understand how this is helping them with sales.

  • J

    I didn’t know drugstores were intentionally do this! I just thought maybe my local drugstores were crappy haha. I have been trying to get my hands on the new lash paradise mascara and like most people, have not been able to…Now I know why and it makes me mad!

  • Lori Lynn

    I agree! I have been waiting forever for the Milani Strobelight Instant Glow powder and their new Color Harmony blushes to hit CVS but still no appearance……….

    • Isabella Muse

      not here either, ordered them online (the blushes not the glow powder)!

  • Brandy

    I agree Muse. I hardly ever find any of the new Wet n Wild collections at my Rite Aid, and if by some miracle they do have it, it’s already picked over and just the ugly colors are left. I won’t order makeup online because I’m afraid of it coming damaged. Because of this, I haven’t bought much makeup lately except to replenish essential stuff. Im not going to drive around to 10 stores trying to hunt makeup down. If Ulta or Rite Aid doesn’t have something, I just don’t buy it. It’s sad that drugstore brands have resorted to just releasing online and at select stores.

    • Isabella Muse

      likewise! Wnw! is damn hard to find! and when I do find it, it’s generally picked up to the max! It’s damn difficult to find the latest in stores!

    • Silvia

      I have ordered from WetnWild three times by now and always receive their package intact. Have called also for advice and I can say I love their business never an issue or rudeness from their representative. I’m quite satisfied with WetnWild. Don’t be afraid to call them for guidance and order from them. With Colourpop is an entirely different matter.

  • Silvia

    I won’t order from Amazing for any drugstore or any makeup product I love to see it in my hand and pretty close if at a drugstore since you can’t watch most items, also nit worst the extra shipping. No way. I have also wondered even at Target why can’t they bring the entire line of a makeup not just a very few products. Elf is one offering plenty lately the old and the new but many others don’t I do find it frustrating. Ahhh!

  • Desiree

    I rather see the makeup item in person rather than ending up with the wrong shade in certain things It’s very frustrating that Amazon is getting things before drugstores Like I said I like to see it up close and be able to get it right then rather than having to wait & most likely something being wrong then having to go through the return hassle to then wait again for it to arrive & hope it’s not damaged I’m just the type who likes to go in the drugstore & look at the choices & get it right then I’m so glad you did this post & in your article on online limited edition to end up being on sale I agree with you 100%

    • Isabella Muse

      I couldn’t agree more. Promo images aren’t always accurate so I’d much rather head to a store to see it. Aw thanks I’m glad you agree and enjoyed the post!