Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

Temptalia Asks You


Do you buy products at non-traditional retailers/stores like eBay? Or do you only trust major retailers and department stores? Or do you look for whoever has the best price?

Temptalia's AnswerI’ve only purchased makeup from sites like eBay or StrawberryNet a few times in the past, but generally, I prefer to buy makeup from retailers that I know are authorized to sell the makeup, which means big retailers like Nordstrom, Sephora, etc. Whenever possible, I buy from Nordstrom for makeup, because I prefer their customer service and policies.

Thanks to Kafka for today’s question! Do you have a question idea? Submit yours here.

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77 thoughts on “Do you buy products at non-traditional retailers/stores like eBay?

  1. Avatar of Esther Esther

    I’ve bought a few OPIs from truster sellers on ebay, but other than that, I buy from major retailers as often as possible because I’m afraid of fakes.

  2. Miss J

    I prefer to buy in person at legit retailers. I’m ok with online shopping if it’s the web site of a major retailer I could shop at in person, as well. I’m very untrusting. LOL. Furthermore, I won’t order from sites that lack a significant amount of information. For instance, I wanted to order theBalm’s nude palette, but the fact that they have no privacy policy, no security info, no shipping info, no payment info, etc on their site is so incredibly stupid. I mean, they can tell you all their employees, but not the most basic info that most people want to know when shopping online? REALLY? I know they are a smaller company, but damn, fix that shit.

    • Kelly B

      Hi Miss J.! Totally agree that The Balm’s website is jacked up. However, I own every powder blush they make, every eyeshadow pallet including the Muppet one (the randomly assigned number was my birthday…and I bought it early as my B-Day present…I love my number even though our favorite guru got #1 somehow…you respected reviewer Christine) their illuminating powder, bronzer and some SPF lip glosses. They have outstanding products (easily equivalent to my Urban Decay products and better than Stilla and Smashbox I have owned to name a few). For the price they charge, the amount of charities they contribute to and the contests (I don’t participate)…my personal opinion is they provide a very high quality and consistent product line with large quantities of each product and pretty low prices. Their staff is VERY kind and helpful on the phone. But they have a TERRIBLE website that they really should put some time and money into bringing current as you have mentioned. I must say, if they are going to put their money into excellent products for low cost and give you a ton of each product…I prefer that to pretty pictures and $24 for a cream shadow you can barely see in it’s beautiful glass container (hi there Bobbie Brown). The Balm seems to listen to customer issues so maybe a call or email from enough people will bring their website up to standard. Just providing a LOT of personal experience with this company while 100% agreeing with your comment.

      • Miss J

        Thanks for your input, Kelly! Their products are great! It made me so sad when Sephora started phasing out the brand because that was where I used to purchase their products. I do indeed plan on shooting them an email with those suggestions since I think a lot of people would appreciate having that info readily available when purchasing on their site. Thanks again, Kelly! :)

  3. Nope. I refuse to. I only buy from certified retailers because I don’t want to waste my money on fake products (which can cause health problems) or pre-used items.

  4. Fiona

    Yes. I dont like buying beauty products on ebay. You can never be sure about authenticity and you’re going to pay through the teeth to get the latest “sold-out-everywhere” item. But sometimes, its the only way to get that highly sought item.

  5. Catherine

    I try to avoid sites like ebay as much as possible because most likely those sites have fake products.

  6. Avatar of Mairyn Mairyn

    I often use eBay for cosmetics and nail polish. To avoid getting stuck with a fake item I only ever buy from sellers with higher than 99.8% positive feedback.
    I also use strawberry net – I’m quite a fan :) it’s good as long as you know the item you are buying, because their product descriptions are hopeless :P
    Every few months or so when I plan to buy quite a few items in one hit, I’ll use a parcel forwarding service to buy from Sephora or Nordstrom. That way I know I am getting authentic items, plus it is more convenient to be able to buy it all from the one store, instead of a dozen different ebayers.
    I only sporadically buy cosmetics/nail polish from department stores here in Australia, because there is such an insane price mark up compared to the US. Honestly, from reading temptalia, karlasugar, etc, and knowing the American and Canadian RRPs, I’m always mortified whenever I buy cosmetics in store at Myer or David Jones.

    • Kj

      Exactly my problem! And Myer and David Jones don’t have the return policy of places like Sephora, so if you have a problem with a cosmetic, too bad. Which makes paying the mark up not worth it at all. When travelling in the US I purchased some items at Sephora, found after a couple of weeks of using the skincare that it wasn’t working for me, and was able to return it for a refund. WITHOUT a receipt. AMAZING.

      So it’s ebay, strawberrynet and parcel forwarding service for me too here in Aus!

    • I hear you! I was really shocked the first time I moved to Australia. Cosmetics prices are insane. :/

    • Em

      You are aware that Australian’s have higher minimum wages than here in the US, so your products are going to be more expensive? But it works out to be the same price.

      • That’s true, but most of these cosmetics are imported, and part of the reason why they’re so expensive is Australian luxury tax, which I believe is around 30% for cosmetics.

        Not everyone gets paid minimum wage, either; so AU$62 for a NARS blush that you can get for US$26 (with the currencies on parity), does not “work out to be the same price”.

        For the record, in Indonesia where getting paid “pretty well” is around $500 per month, cosmetics are still more expensive (around 50%-100%) than the American RRP due to shipping, import duties, etc.

    • High feedback scores on ebay don’t necessarily mean you are safe from fakes; I have been burned by high feedback sellers before. Sometimes sellers will have a very lenient return policy or will be very accommodating to buyers when they realize they have purchased a fake, so people feel they should leave positive feedback. Other times, people don’t realize they have been sold a fake. Have learned my lesson and now I only buy from trusted retailers that I know are authorized to sell the products I want.

      • Vanilla

        This is very true. I once bought a box of limited edition My Beauty Diary face mask that wasn’t sold here in Canada from a seller with 99.8% positive feedback. When I got the product, I realized they were fake and promptly emailed the seller with my complaint. They returned my email and refunded my money on paypal right away, apologizing and asking for me to give them a positive rating. I ended up giving them a good rating for customer service and other catagories, but a neutral rating for product accuracy. It didn’t feel right giving them a negative review when they returned my money so quickly (including shipping charges), even though I am sure they were purposely selling fakes.

  7. Avatar of Quinctia Quinctia

    I took a risk on BB cream and found a good seller from Korea for that. I’ve also bought a couple Urban Decay things, and some drugstore makeup that either wasn’t available to me or was very recently discontinued. (Like, for instance, every place I knew that was supposedly stocking matte topcoat never had any, so I went to ebay for Essie Matte About You.)

    Some brands seem to be faked more than others, and I try to buy a product from a seller in its nation of origin. Always look at feedback first, and I don’t recommend buying from a seller that only uses stock pics and hasn’t taken any of their own.

  8. kokiche

    for the last 6 months i purchase mainly from ebay-a place with a nice things to buy for a lower price:-) you can choose nwt ot wot…great and happy to visit it every day…

  9. Sarah

    Never purchased cosmetics from eBay – only purchase cosmetics from reputable stores, etc.

  10. Tigress

    I will buy makeup off eBay occasionally. I make sure they are reputable sellers and I only buy of the have 100% positive feedback, or extremely close. Then I read why they have a negative or a neutral, and it’s usually for a dumb reason that someone felt the need to whine about. I haven’t had any problems since I’m careful.

  11. I do all the time, especially since I love indie cosmetics. I always make sure to check reviews and feedback, though!

  12. I live in Switzerland, where there aren’t so much brands available. Normally I buy on ebay brands like Stila and Sleek. I also buy nail polishes from Nfu-Oh, China Glaze and Nubar.

  13. Laura G.

    I often buy MAC limited-edition items from Amazon and Ebay. The important thing is to ONLY buy items that have a return policy. I also have a trusted seller, that way I know I am getting authentic makeup.

  14. I purchase from Ebay, Etsy, Storeenvy, and a ton of indie stores online.

  15. Avatar of Mariella Mariella

    I’ve never ordered from eBay, partly because of concerns about fakes but also because it would sort of be like opening a flood gate to all these LE and discontinued items that I sort of want but have put out of my mind…I know I’d be cruising eBay and agonizing over buying stuff and, to be honest, I just don’t want to go there….it’s not like I don’t already have too much makeup!

  16. Brittany

    I’m actually a HUGE online shopper. Complete ebay and amazon addict but i will check the stores to see if they have it first, if not then here i come ebay/amazon! The most i buy online on ebay or amazon is discontinued or very rare nail polishes like the China glaze omg collection and few others. The down side is that it will cost you an arm and a leg! Luckly i got them for a cheaper price. Also i plan to get few things from forever 21 and wet seal cause lets face it- forever 21 is the biggest unorganized mess of a store i ever walked in. Cant even stay in their for 5 mins without walking out and the problem is they do have cute clothes but you’ll NEVER find it their store!

  17. Being a Norwegian beauty addict I occasionally have no other (reasonable) choices than shopping on Ebay. I mean, there are a few parcel services that allows me to shop from online stores like Nordstrom and Sephora, but the prices are quite steep, and I can’t imagine I would be able to buy only what I planned if given the opportunity to go wild…. They are dangerous, these wonderful stores of yours!

    (Oh, and if it weren’t clear; Norway is terrible at offering good and varied makeup – and we get the new products ages after you Americans. The most common brands in our “beauty departments” are Maybelline, L’Oreal and Max Factor (which is basically CoverGirl) – and now and then some Rimmel, Revlon and a few European brands. We’ve also got a few MAC stores, and lots of stores with high-end brands like Dior, Chanel etc., but no Urban Decay, Too Faced, Inglot and all of those “fun” brands… When I’ll finally get to USA there will be shopping!)

    • Avatar of Amy amy

      Max Factor is far superior to Cover Girl. I was extremely disappointed when it was DCd in the US. I was never a fan of CG, but MF was my go-to brand for many products.

      L’Oreal is basically Lancome, though, and much less expensive. Alot of the foundations are pretty much identical.

    • Kj

      That’s exactly the same here in Aus – I would rather buy instore, but can’t get the brands I want! And parcel forwarding services are sooooo expensive, and generally take a month to arrive.

  18. Never. When I was in my teens and twenties, there were no such thing as the internet. So I am attuned to buying things in stores. Rarely, do I even buy even from department stores via the internet. I am very particular to what I buy…so I need to see the product before I pay for it. Second, I dont trust the vendors on eBay…If they dont sell the item in the United States store, then I wont buy it. The only place I trust is Sugar Pill Cosmetics and Fyrinnae which I have bought from. I hear from reader what good experiences they both are so I took the plunge to get the products. I do buy non-makeup stuff from Amazon if Amazon ships it, because I trust Amazon and have been happy with them. SO if I need to buy makeup from Amazon in the future, I would do it.

  19. I prefer Amazon instead of Ebay if I have to buy makeup online

  20. Avatar of Nicole Nicole

    I only buy makeup and skincare online from major retailers/department stores (I love Nordstrom for their customer service, great experiences with live chat, and their return policy), but I would rather purchase in a physical store, rather than online, like Nordstrom when possible. For non-beauty items that I may not be able to find in a physical store, I have purchased on Amazon, as I trust their screening process for their sellers.

  21. Jennifer

    Always! Because I live in Australia, and the price of make up here is crazy expensive so I buy almost exclusively online. I’m usually very picky when it comes to sites like eBay though. I think even if the prices here were better I’d still buy online, because the service here is horrible, particularly for higher brands.

  22. Avatar of Sarah Sarah

    I’ve never bought anything off eBay but I have used discount sites. Never had fakes, although once I did get a product that had obviously been used but they did replace it no questions asked and had it the next day :)

  23. Avatar of virginie virginie

    Does Nordstrom has the same “forever” return policy than Sephora?? Because I love Sephora to buy make up, you can return whatever whenever, plus, you accumulate points and gifts!!!

    • I don’t know for sure, since I don’t make a lot of returns – I know I haven’t had any return rejected, and I’ve certainly heard stories of customers returning 2 year old worn shoes. I rarely use Sephora points (I think I used them for the first time on bareMineral’s SPF samples, and I was disappointed by the size for 100 points), so for me, it’s not a big draw at all :) I’d rather get $20 back from using my Nordstrom card.

    • Laura G.

      Unfortunately Sephora has changed its return policy! I tried to return some items and turned out to be of poor quality and since I didn’t have my receipt the manager told me that I could not make my return. This is really weird because the store policy says that if you do not have your receipt, you just need to present your ID, which I had. The manager simply told me that they have the right to refuse any returns and for NO REASON, she did not accept my returns. I will NEVER buy anything from Sephora again. Btw, this is the first return that I attempted to make there! What an awful experience!

  24. Avatar of Malia Malia

    I only bought nail polish I couldnt find anywhere else, and NYX brand from ebay to try a couple things because I didnt have anywhere else to get it. but for major brands I go to the store. I agree with Nordstroms the one that I use to use was so friendly and helpful. I love Sephora for points and great return policy.

  25. Avatar of Rosemary Rose

    God! Be really careful about what you buy from ebay, etc. I tried to save some money when purchasing MD Forte III Cleanser (which I have used continuously for 25 years so far). I got a bottle of something like Cetaphyl, and the bottle also had no lot number.
    When called out on the fake product, the ebay seller proceeded to call me crazy and gave me bad feedback.
    I now only buy from stores like drugstore.com, as I know that they stand behind what they sell, and even if I have to pay a little more, I know that I am getting the real thing.

  26. I’ll buy NYX on Ebay because there are tons of legit resellers, but not high end brands!

  27. Avatar of Amy amy

    I’ve used ebay & Amazon a few times, but I don’t care for online shopping. I much prefer to have the item in my hands as soon as I turn over my money. I will buy online, though, only if I really want the item and can’t get it any other way.

  28. Noelle

    I have purchased items from Ebay. Like others I check feedback,and everything has been fine so far (knock on wood) =o)

    What gets me is there are sellers that have an items to sale prior to it even being released. I don’t buy from sellers like these.

  29. Erika

    I adore ebay, i buy a lot of makeup on there, never been burned. Actually, i sve $10-$20 on average on ebay for the same thing sephora sells. I buy from trusted sellers with good feedback and i am assures that if something goes wrong, paypal has my back. I’ve never bought from Strawberrynet, but i do like hautelook and all cosmeticswholesale

  30. Avatar of Laurence Laurence

    I purchase all my makeup online because I don’t have any Mac/Sephora near me. I love Ebay because you can get great prices but you gotta double check the sellers ! Since I’ve been doing this for quite a long time I have my list a trusted sellers. I received fake items a couple times but it’s pretty easy to tell and most of the time the seller refund you right away so it’s no big deal !

  31. I love shopping online! I use eBay sometimes, but if you’re worried about fakes, Amazon is a better bet. I also love discount sites like All Cosmetocs Wholesale, I’ve gotten legit Bobbi Brown foundation there for about 40% off, it’s amazing. For me, the downside of online shopping is the wait for shipping time, though, so if I really want something, if it’s available near me I’ll go to the store.

  32. YES! Because it’s hard to find venders in Canada for a lot of brands so i bought a lot of my Theatrical makeup and nail polish from ebay sellers.

    • Anther store I buy from is NonPareil Boutique.com for a lot of drug store brands that are hard to get. NYX, some Wet n’ Wild, and Milani.

  33. lilly

    I think Sephora customer service and return policy is pretty great. But you prefer Nordstrom, can you tell me why? I don’t want to be missing out on anything great!

    • I haven’t had excellent experiences with Sephora – just okay. Nordstrom is usually excellent :) Based on my location, Sephora is also really, really painstakingly slow to arrive, and Nordstrom orders always come faster. I also prefer Nordstrom notes ($20 gift certificates to Nordstrom) over Sephora points, but I almost never use Sephora points.

  34. Avatar of Laurel Laurel

    The only thing I don’t buy from specialty or department stores is nail polish. I’ll usually find a color I like at my nail salon only to find it was from a collection three years ago, so amazon has become my trusted friend.

  35. Jennifer

    No, because I want to make sure I’m getting the real deal and not a fake. I don’t want fatal or traumatizing health issues due to vanity.

  36. Stephanie t-p

    I had to buy my guerlain meteorites cruel gardenia off kijiji! She gave me Everything with it, like the box, receipt etc, and it was in perfect condition :)

  37. Avatar of Kafka Kafka

    As the person who asked the question, I’m glad to see I’m not alone, even if it *is* the minority. I was feeling a bit like a freak there last night. LOL. ;) I love a bargain more than anything else, so I definitely shop at eBay. I go to trusted vendors with great reviews (many of whom seems to specialise in a certain line) and I can save up to 50% on Sephora or Neiman/Nordstrom prices. Never had any problems with fakes. Some sellers will even show a photograph of their receipt.

    eBay lets me buy discontinued or LE items but the savings also mean I can indulge more in my beauty habit without feeling quite so guilty. I have a ridiculous number of NARS nail varnishes but at $9.99 (often with free shipping), instead of $20 (with tax), I can’t resist. I get fantastic prices on my Ole Henriksen serums or other skin care products (a Dr. Brandt cream for $70 instead of $150!), I’ve bought NARS blushes or special LE sets in their boxes for an absolute steal (an Angelika/Laguna & gloss set for $30 when it retails for $79), and NARS duo eyeshadows for as little as $15. Saving so much money not only thrills my black little bargain shopper heart but it lets me buy more expensive brands like Chanel or YSL in the stores without wracking up ridiculous debt.

    Plus, I’ve found the sample set of skincare products (like packets of some new Ole Henriksen product) to be a great way to try new items and see how it works on your skin for the necessary 2 week period. It’s hard to do that with one tiny little sample pot from Sephora.

  38. Avatar of nancy nancy y.

    i always buy my bare essentials foundation on ebay because i can get it for at least $5 bucks cheaper than retail price.

  39. Avatar of Nina Nina

    I buy makeup from eBay, especially MAC, from a couple of sellers that I trust.

    The prices are the same as the retail price here (even with the freight cost) and I can get the items that I want.

  40. Avatar of Lauren Lauren

    I buy online, but mainly retailer websites (e.g. sephora.com, urbandecay.com, smashbox.com etc.) I have bought on Amazon a few times, but I got some fake OPI once, so I stopped doing that. I’m afraid to buy from eBay or Amazon Marketplace for many items due to the risk of a counterfeit. If I DO buy on Amazon, I look closely at the seller ratings and prior feedback before buying unless it’s directly from Amazon. Also, for some makeup items, I often prefer to see and feel it in person first. So, if I buy from Amazon/eBay, it’ll likely be mascaras, eyeshadows, things like that.

  41. Sanda

    i BUY MOST OF MY PRODUCTS FROM eBAY. The prices are so much better and I only have been stung once. Product was very old. If you get to know your sellers, then you know you are getting the real thing. I check out prices everywhere else and then go to ebay. That way I can afford what I want.

  42. A.

    I don’t trust ebay at all and never buy anything there (makeup or not). I’ve purchased skincare products from StrawberryNet a few times, but only the ones that I purchased before at stores, so that I would know if StrawberryNet sold me authentic stuff. I’ve also purchased from beauty.com a few times because they offered discounts but their selection is pretty limited. But normally, when I shop online, I buy from Sephora and other major retailers as well as from the official websites of the brands that I’m interested in.

  43. Courtney

    I’ve bought products privately from people on Forums and Livejournal, but I always try to check and see what their selling reputation is like first.

  44. Brittany

    I’ve bought from places like drugstore.com or even strawberry. If anything, I will check it out in the store first, then search for it online cheaper

  45. I buy nail polish from trusted ebay sellers all the time. Mostly it’s either because the brand is not available in Germany (Zoya and China Glaze mostly) or where I hate to pay the higher German price (OPI and Essie). I only buy from sellers with more that 99.7% positive feedback and that have reasonable prices. So far I never had any problems and very few delays in custom.

  46. Melissa

    Usually, I get my products at stores in town. I’m not opposed to using ebay since I have in the past. A lot of people seem to be afraid of fakes. Just BE SMART about which buyers you use! Check their reputation, ratings, etc.

  47. CeeBee

    I buy off Strawberrynet ALL THE TIME. I love it, it’s much cheaper than paying retail NZ prices, high end brands are more accessible (there are only 2 Chanel counters in my city, no MAC, no Guerlain, etc, I have to travel to Auckland to even LOOK at the testers which is why I love Temptalia swatches so much! And I owe my ever growing collection of Rouge G and Automatiques to you, Christine ;-)), it’s quick, reliable and their customer service is really good. I’ve had only 1 breakage (on a Becca pressed shimmer powder) and once I sent them photos of the damage, they refunded my money right away.

    I usually only order skincare I’ve used before but I have got pretty good at picking out things from brands that are unavailable here (eg, I got theBalm Shady Lady vol. 2 before I even saw any reviews and it’s amazing) from their (admittedly) sometimes dodgy descriptions and colour swatches.

    Their specials are great too, picked up some Prada bath salts for less than $20NZD, which is fabulous considering the nearest Prada store to me is a 4 hour flight to Sydney, Australia away!

    A NARS blush is $64NZD and only available in one store in Auckland and I can get it for less than $40NZD on-line, delivered right to my door with free shipping.

    LOVE IT.

  48. Safyre

    I have bought Stila and Smashbox items on Ebay with absolutely no problems with legitimacy (I also make sure to check out the seller’s revies), but for a brand that I know has many knockoffs (i.e. MAC) I’d rather wait for something to get repromoted than end up with a fake that didn’t go through safety testing. In general though, I prefer either to purchase directly from the brand or a legitimate retailer like Sephora or Macy’s.

  49. Nancy

    If it was a LE item and is extremely hyped and if the seller is reputable then yes..
    But I’ve had fake MAC products sold to me by sellers who used false pictures claiming it’s real.. thank god for paypal dispute.

  50. Avatar of Dominique Dominique

    No, I never buy beauty products or make-up on Ebay. I always go to a parfumerie.

  51. Avatar of LU LU

    I only buy from trusted retailers. I don’t want to risk buying a fake. If I miss out on a limited edition product because of it, so be it. Lol.

  52. Donna

    Yup, I do. I haven’t been burned yet. *knock wood* Just be smart, use trusted sellers, ask for more pictures, and walk if your intuition says something isn’t right. I would never buy MAC on ebay, only because it’s so often counterfeit. The same goes for anything that everyone is going nuts for, that is just asking to be counterfeited. (UD Naked and Naked2) There are lots of ways to protect yourself, but you have to be willing to do the work, and not be naive, or greedy. Whenever I get that, “OMG! I can get XYZ for 75% off!” greedy feeling, I take care. I reread the whole listing, check the pictures carefully, check the seller and especially any negs or neutrals, etc. That’s just common sense though, and the saying, if it’s sounds too good to be true… ya know?

  53. Magdalena Eikner

    All the time, since there are so many brands that are unobtainable in Sweden, and the cosmetics prices are so high.

  54. Linda Hostetler Harmon

    ALL THE TIME – I save alot of money buying from ebay!

  55. Kellie Cameron

    all the time for discons. its the only way to get them!!!

  56. Monica Craighead

    Yes especially if there limited edition…have never had a problem.

  57. Dominique Dinh

    Sometimes when I want discontinued or Asian makeup! You definitely do have to find a reputable seller though, since there are some sketchy things!

  58. RunwayLook Isnow VelvetandSteel

    Sometimes you cant assure the authenticity of products from ebay or alibaba.com. As a professional stylist, i stick to my trusted distributor and “professional only” stores.

  59. Lisa Helling

    I have. Some real some fake product but at such a discount the risk is worth it especially if it’s something I really want

  60. Emily Porter

    Nope, working in cosmetics myself I know the importance if buying from a retailer- it keeps people in jobs and there’s no risk of fakes.

  61. Kari Shaw Mahaney

    Did just once. Product smell was “off” and that’s a big no-no!

  62. Viviane Nascimento

    Nope , never…

  63. Verladesh Gilles

    Only from the Cosmetics Company store.