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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Ultimate Guide To Online Beauty Shopping



I’ve been doing quite a lot of online beauty shopping today, as I’m picking up products for a swap I’m about to do with the lovely Anna from ViviannaDoesMakeup, and thought that doing a post about online beauty shopping would be helpful.

First of all, why would you want to shop online for beauty products? Wouldn’t you want to go into the store and actually test the products? The answer to that is a bit complicated (at least for me!). For brand new collections, products I’ve never heard of or seen reviewed, or products that need to be color-matched (like foundation) in-store purchasing is best. You can actually see the product in person, play with the texture, and swatch the sample to make sure it’s something you want before buying… but for everything else? I find online purchasing to be much better, both in convenience and financially. Here’s why:
  • Blog Reviews: When you shop online you have the luxury of every beauty blog at your fingers! I love shopping online because I'll have the shopping page open on one browser and I'll research products from my favorite blogs on another. If there's a product I'm thinking about buying I can google it to see endless reviews, swatches, and all sorts of other information. I have a few beauty blogs that are my go-to for quick product look-ups and the majority of products I purchase are from a rave review from a blogger or vlogger I trust. I honestly think bloggers and vloggers have changed the way shopping is done online, and I for one love it, and take advantage of it every time I shop online. This is the number 1 advantage to shopping online, in my opinion.
  • Most sites (if not all) offer free shipping if you spend over a certain amount, so there’s no need to feel that you are “wasting” money on shipping. If anything you “waste” extra money on gas by going to stores out of the way to pick up products that you wouldn’t be going to anyway.
  • Samples! Yes, you can get samples if you go to a department store counter, but it’s not guaranteed, as many times they are out of stock. If you shop online you normally get to pick 3 samples out of a selection, and I find this is the best way to find new products that work for you.
  • Discounts: There are way more discounts online than in stores. You can shop around, or wait for certain online stores to have discount codes; 10-20% off coupons are standard and are sent out a few times a year (or more).
  • Ebates: I’m still new to Ebates, but from what I can tell you sign up and then get paid money back when you shop at certain sites. I was actually surprised to see so many sites on there, like beauty.com, Sephora, Nordstrom, Macys, Target, and so many more. You can sign up through my link if you would like: link! 
  • Gifts with Purchase: Lots of sites, like Sephora and Beauty.com, offer gifts with purchase or deluxe samples on top of the freebie samples included. Sephora has a page you can check weekly for special offers – link – where you can select one additional free deluxe sample in addition to your 3 free ones. There's no reason to ever purchase from Sephora and not receive a ton of freebies! 
  • Automatic cash back: In addition to Ebates, Beauty.com and Drugstore.com offer 5% automatic cash back in the form of “Drugstore Dollars”, which you can then use towards future purchases. I purchased from Beauty.com a few days ago and was pleasantly surprised to get the Drugstore Dollars back – I wasn’t expecting it! 
I've been asked where I find products that are more hard to get ahold of, and the answer is Feel Unique, Cult Beauty, and Amazon. All 3 of these sites enable US buyers to get ahold of products that the lovely UK bloggers rave about (and all other countries, but it seems I follow mostly UK girls). 

One thing I do, especially when purchasing something from a high-end department store, is take a look at all of them to see which "special offers" or "gifts with purchase" they have going on. All the sites have a little section that is dedicated to showing off the various specials they have going on. I find that there is always at least one store having a good special at any given time; various sample bags, deluxe samples, etc. I like to see who is having the best one and order through them. Each of these sections can be found under the websites beauty section. 

Another tip: Go around and sign up for emails for all the big department stores (Saks, Bloomingdales, Macys, Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, etc) and the big beauty sites (Sephora, Beauty.com, Blush.com, Dermstore.com, Ulta.com, etc) and they will email you when they have special promotions going on. If you have any brands that you regularly order from it would be worth it to sign up for their emails too! I'm signed up for Kate Somerville, Origins, and Kiehls emails currently. Lots of them offer you immediate discount codes or promos through email for your first purchase. For instance, Origins sent me a promo code for a free 3-week supply of a best selling moisturizer. Perks coming out of my ears, I tell you!

And make sure you're signed up for all the reward programs! Ulta and Sephora have reward cards where you earn points that really do add up to great rewards. It's free to sign up and they have so many perks. The Blush.com trio (Blush, Dermstore, and Hairenvy) offer all sorts of rewards and discounts if you sign up on their site. Plus, if you have a particular brand that you shop from regularly, it's worth it to sign up for their individual programs, if they have it. Many offer a point-based reward system or discounts through being a member (and it's free!), so if you shop at certain brands a lot it pays to be loyal to the brand site. Kate Somerville offers you points by writing reviews and purchasing products, which you can then redeem for gift cards or free products. 

I'm not a big coupon-er in real life, but I've figured out the various ways to get discounts and freebies in the online beauty world and I enjoy spending the extra time it takes to "shop around" before I select a place to place my order. It's become more of "where I'm going to order" than "what I'm going to order"!

Wanna know another trick? If you have the time, spend a bit longer splitting up your order. For instance, say you have 6 products on your "to-buy" list, but 2 different sites are having good deals - split the order! That way you benefit from both deals, and get double the samples. Just make sure that you are still hitting the limit for free shipping on both sites so you don't get stuck paying for shipping. 

When in doubt? Sephora or Beauty.com for high end products, and Ulta.com or Drugstore.com for drugstore deals. They have the best deals regularly, I have found. 

If you guys would like I could put together a permanent "page" on this blog listing all the brands and their current deals and "welcome offers", and update it every week or so. Until then, bookmark this page! And let me know in a comment if you would like to see that or would actually use it, haha :)

Do you have any other ways of scoring deals in the online beauty world that I haven't mentioned here? Let me know in a comment and I'll update this post!

100 comments:

  1. I would love to see a page on here where you list the offers of stores! It would be a fabulous reference! Awesome tips <3 <3

    Frances
    hellofrances.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Fenzi Fashion.com provide Online shopping for Watch Lovers. Fenzi Fashion is an Online Shopping Portal selling Digital, Analog & Sports Watches for Men, women & Kids at Best Prices with Free Shipping.

      Delete
  2. Replies
    1. I agree! It seems like the perfect shop for a beauty-addict! Sometimes, Boots just doesn't cut it! haha!

      xoxo

      http://www.berrybloomxo.blogspot.co.uk

      Delete
    2. Sephora in Europe is completely different and does not have the brands American gurus show in the videos, so...

      Delete
  3. Elle, why haven't you been posting on YouTube? I miss you :( I'd love some fitness/health/home decor/fashion/haul type videos! haha, or anything really! Love you :) hope to see a new video soon

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm on vacation with my family at the beach! As soon as I'm back I'll be filming again - I'm starting to miss it!

      Delete
    2. Oh man, I hope you have a wonderful vacation! Sounds great. Soak up some exotic sun rays and rejuvenate yourself. I've been watching your vlogs (and Blair's vlogs) to lull me to sleep. There's something incredibly calming about experiencing another's life through smidgets of video montage and photographs. I absolutely love your aura. I hope you never loose it. You are beautiful Elle, you are beautiful and I hope you harness that.

      (Sorry there was a typo in the last post and that kind of thing irks me, so I had to delete it and re-edit it here).

      Delete
  4. Thank you this really helped! :) <3
    http://dreamingchicandclassy.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  5. thanks this is a really useful post!
    http://emandthem@blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  6. dude, if you want UK products, just tell me aha! i'd send you them!
    wish US brands sold hre in the UK :(

    http://rosielouiselove.blogspot.co.uk

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hi Elle!

    I have been following your videos for like ever haha! And I LOVE reading your blog posts :) I found this post to be particularly useful and would totally love it if you created a permanent page dedicated to deals and offers. You're the best! Are you doing a "back-to-school" series this year? Those are my favorite even though I'm moving into my senior year of college lol! Have a lovely day, your post totally just made mine :)
    Olivia

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  8. I love online shopping! Of course, a lot of this could stem from the fact that I get a little nervous in crowds...I do like to play around with new products in the physical store, but then I'll go home and order from my computer!

    www.meganandpearls.com

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  9. Thank you for sharing all this information with us!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Lovely post Elle, thanks! I love that some of the websites mentioned also ship to my country, Brazil!!
    I love you and hope to see your pretty face (and Pinecone's) on videos soon!!

    ReplyDelete
  11. You've inspired me to start a quarterly beauty roundup on my fashion blog. I love watching/reading about all the products you love so I wanted to share mine as well. Check it out if you'd like: http://www.missleaanne.com/2013/07/summer-beauty-favorites_11.html

    ReplyDelete
  12. As a Guam resident, I've kept a list of online beauty sites that allow shipping to US Territories. A lot of the products that beauty gurus on YouTube mention are usually hard to find on Guam so that's why I turn to online shopping. I made a blog post of my own regarding this topic and I am glad to be learning some new information I can apply to my online shopping routine. Thanks Elle!

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  13. Can't wait to see the swap! Absolutely love watching and reading viviannadoesmakeup! xo

    Your Daily Break

    ReplyDelete
  14. I'm so excited you're doing a swap with Anna - as I adore her! Her blog is ridiculously amazing and her YouTube is also fab. I can't wait! I loved this post too. I do agree, online shopping is the way to go.
    xo Lillian parisiantobe.com

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  15. Retailmenot! Coupon code mega hub.

    ReplyDelete
  16. A few other tips: Sign up for the department stores outlets too, like Off 5th and Last Call by NM. Sites like Century 21 (not the real estate one :P) are great too!

    Check out LivingSocial, which gives personalized deals based on where you're from and what you like. They currently have a Michael Todd True Organics deal on their famous anti-aging cream! I'll have a post up about it here shortly! :) http://dreamliveandrepeat.blogspot.com/

    PS. Elle, that is a WONDERFUL idea!!

    ReplyDelete
  17. I recently discovered drugstore.com and have had great experiences purchasing from them! Great tips!

    beautyandthereads.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  18. A page with the latest deals would be great! And we can also put other deals in the comments for other websites :) i love our little dreaming in blush community! Hope you're having a great time at the beach!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. aww!! I love that you already feel that there is a community! I can't wait to build it up :D

      Delete
  19. I don't live in the US so use many of these sites, but great tips anyway Elle :)

    A beauty, food and life blog by Izzi

    ReplyDelete
  20. Be the best at everything!
    embracethebest.blogspot.com
    Fashion, lifestyle, and more!

    ReplyDelete
  21. Yes! I think you should totally do the 'current coupons/deals' page Elle! That would be great! And also I think you should do an amazon store like you have for books with your favorite beauty products (i.e. Bioderma)...

    ~ Mia

    www.sprinkleofsequins.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  22. Great post Elle! I would love to see a page with deals. Reminds me of Nouvocheap's website :) Also I would love to know what your go to bloggers are that you go to while shopping. I just do a google search for the product but would love to know if there are particular bloggers who are great for certain products :)

    Rachel @painfreekitchen

    ReplyDelete
  23. I wish we had so many beauty places to shop online in Denmark! Great tips if you have the chance! :)

    http://tanjamortensen.com/

    ReplyDelete
  24. A permenant page would be SO useful I'd bookmark it for sure!!! :)

    ReplyDelete
  25. I think you wil adore ebates. It is a very legit site and I have been using it for years and years now. All the tips you have shared in this post are very helpful and sites I use frequently. I want to advise if people are looking for a coupon code or free shipping code online that they turn to www.retailmenot.com which has codes for many of the sites you mentioned as well as others. I also take full advantage of leaving items I want on the various sites "wish lists" until I have enough to earn the free shipping. Ebates is great too since each day they have a featured stores section that changes and a double cash back deal as well. I usually hold off my orders until the store I want is on double cash back then you earn even more money back from ebates and you can use all the codes and such as well. You offer great tips and I am loving your blog so far.

    ReplyDelete
  26. First of all I love the collage you made, it looks so cute! And the post is lovely, as always! Your writing always sucks me in and keeps me reading till the very end!
    Love you,

    http://milkshakebreak.blogspot.pt/

    ReplyDelete
  27. Great post Elle, very informatative! Online shopping in Canada is still not the best, shipping prices are a bit ridiculous. So, I normally end up making it out to a store!

    AddictedtoOPI

    ReplyDelete
  28. Hi Elle! I totally make a game out of seeing how much money I can get back or how much free stuff I can get with each purchase. I don't have a lot of free time to get to stores when they are open, so online is like my salvation. I use Lucky Magazine's rewards program, which kind of works like ebates, and I usually get back a nice little chunk of change. Lucky also has tons of free giveaways every month AND daily coupon codes for various items in their newsletter, AND special monthly coupon codes for discounts at different retail sites in their magazine. I've been subscribing for several years, andvLucky saves me more money and gets me more perks than any other source!

    ReplyDelete
  29. Hi Elle! I totally make a game out of seeing how much money I can get back or how much free stuff I can get with each purchase. I don't have a lot of free time to get to stores when they are open, so online is like my salvation. I use Lucky Magazine's rewards program, which kind of works like ebates, and I usually get back a nice little chunk of change. Lucky also has tons of free giveaways every month AND daily coupon codes for various items in their newsletter, AND special monthly coupon codes for discounts at different retail sites in their magazine. I've been subscribing for several years, andvLucky saves me more money and gets me more perks than any other source!

    ReplyDelete
  30. ebates is the best! they not only give you a list of current coupon codes but the money back is legit (to you skeptics!) it's actual money back in your pocket. i've gotten over $500 back in the past few years!

    ReplyDelete
  31. Who are your favorite bloggers/vloggers to look to for recommendations and reviews? Love the new blog!

    ReplyDelete
  32. Great post elle

    www.glittergossip.com

    ReplyDelete
  33. A page would be genius. One I like to shop at that lets you get hard to find UK products is the BeautyBay.com they have free shipping all the time, which I adore.

    I also end up following a lot of UK girls and if I'm looking at a UK product most of the time I'll go to either AModelRecommends or FleurDeForce

    Mana
    Fashion and Happy Things

    ReplyDelete
  34. What a great post- although the last thing that I need is encouragement to shop. :) I've been using ebates since 2006 and have gotten over $500 cash back since then. Unfortunately, I sometimes forget to use it and always kick myself for it!
    The Grass Skirt

    ReplyDelete
  35. Retailmenot.com is great for looking up additional coupon codes for stores. I use it every time I shop online and usually find something on there that I can use towards my order.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Ebates sounds amazing - how have I never heard of it?! Thank you for sharing, Elle! :)

    -Lindsey | Zip & Zeal

    ReplyDelete
  37. I love shopping on sephora through Ebates because I get the money back and the free gifts!
    www.modernbeautygirl.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  38. I love reading this blog everyday. Keep it up!

    ReplyDelete
  39. Hi Elle! I love reading your blog and watching your videos. And, a while ago you posted one about your experience on accutane. I'm starting on it very soon and I'm wondering what products you used while you were on it to combat dryness and flakiness?

    ReplyDelete
  40. Canvyou please make a blog post or a video talking about and sharing your favorite beauty and fashion (if you have them) blogs please??? Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  41. I love going to temptalia.com for reviews before I make a decision to purchase a beauty product :)

    xx
    http://fromfilmwithlove.blogspot.ca/

    ReplyDelete
  42. I love how link-y your blog is. I have a beauty blog also and after seeing all your links I'm updating some of my posts with links too!

    ReplyDelete
  43. This is great. Seriously. I love it when blogs are interesting and informative. Great job!

    ReplyDelete
  44. Does anyone know any websites which sell US products but ship internationally. I haven't found any :(

    ReplyDelete
  45. no doubt we would all appreciate that!

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  46. First of all thanks for sharing the post this will definitely help all the buyers who purchase beauty and cosmetic product online.

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  47. Online shopping is a great way to purchase something. I always prefer to shop online.

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  48. Girls and boys both are now crazy for looks and they are shelling huge sums to look good.This has given huge opportunity to the companies to sell their beauty products at higher prices.People can purchase easily products of skincare for men.

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  49. Can you talk about some beauty and fashion blog that you trust
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  56. I would love to buy American drugstore products. But the online stores only ship to the US, and Amazon is a bit too pricey for my liking. Do you have any other solutions?

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