Why shop at a CCO? Two major reasons - bargains (about 33% off on average) and LE finds like you wouldn't believe! The best case scenario is finding those Limited Editions that have long sold out elsewhere - for 33% off, of course! Just for example, on a recent trip, I picked up the Golden bronzer from the MAC Alluring Aquatics collection for around $20. It was originally $27.50. Yes, it's a permanent product, but that packaging! It's currently on EvilBay for anywhere from $45-$60. I also recently picked up a bunch of MAC lipsticks for $11.25 (they retail for $16). All of them were from past LE collections - one of them going back to a 2010 collection.
CCOs also stock merchandise that you can get at a regular cosmetics counter. In fact, I was just about out of my Estee Lauder Double Wear Foundation, but checked the CCO stock on a whim. You're just never sure what they'll have. Sure enough, they had my color (2C3 - Fresco)! So I got to pay $26 instead of $37. Color me happy!
One of the neat features about a CCO is that you can get past bonuses from department store promos. So, say that Clinique had a bonus that you really liked. It's possible that the CCO will have a bin of them for sale for, say, $16. You can get the cute makeup bag and the travel size products without the minimum Clinique purchase.
Now, not everything at the CCO is a great deal. At Lancome's CCO, the fragrances are about 25% off department store prices. Yes, that's a good deal, but I often feel that with various incentives (points at Sephora and Ulta, freebies at department stores, etc.), you're probably better off getting your fragrances elsewhere. Also, my CCO has a few YSL lipsticks, but they are still $30. Given that they retail for $36, that's just not enough of a discount to beat the incentives above. (Plus, if I'm going to pay that much for a lipstick, you'd better believe it's going to be a NARS Audacious lipstick!)
I'll close this post with one last awesome CCO find I had last week. I had previously purchased Urban Decay's Ocho Loco 2 set of their 24/7 Glide-On Eyeliners for $39 when it was on clearance at Macy's, but it has long been sold out everywhere. It's original offering price of $59 made it a steal.
Image Credit: Temptalia
Considering that Urban Decay's awesome eyeliners retail for $20 each, and that the equally awesome Grindhouse pencil sharpener retails for $10 (I know that sounds ridiculous, but if you have ever had a pencil sharpener eat your expensive eyeliner, you will sincerely appreciate this sharpener!), this set is a super good deal at just about any price. Well, last week I found it at the CCO for $50. Yes, it's more than I paid for it originally, but it's still a wonderful deal. I was so glad to find it again. I have been holding back on using some of these eyeliners because I didn't want to use them up -- and now I don't have to! (I also gave one to my sister, and I'm kind of glad to have it back!)
Of course, one of the best things about the CCO is that you never know what's going to be there! It's so fun to walk in the front door not knowing what you're going to find. For me, it's all about the MAC. If you ever go to the ones here in Houston, let me know what you get!