Friday, January 28th, 2011

Temptalia Asks You


How important is a beauty brand/store’s return policy to you? Do you shop more if it’s more generous?  Avoid if they don’t have one at all?

Temptalia's AnswerI prefer to shop at stores or retailers with good return policies when it comes to makeup.  I think the cost of makeup relative to the actual retail price should be sufficient to allow a certain percentage of returns.

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72 thoughts on “How important is a beauty brand/store’s return policy to you?

  1. it’s very important! there’s only so much testing you can do on a product in store and i don’t feel samples are enough to try over a period of time. so i feel more comfortable purchasing from stores with good return polices, ESPECIALLY when purchasing skincare products (my skin’s quite finicky).

  2. jenni

    ive never returned a make up item, i guess i blame myself for bad purchases!

  3. MochaKnitster

    It’s extremely important. For instance, I ordered some stuff from Ulta online and needed to return an item. I was ticked to find out that they only allow you to exchange or get a store credit for items ordered from their website. I’ll never order from Ulta again.

  4. Rosanna

    I love return policies which is why I don’t hesitate to try products at MAC or Sephora. If brands overlap and I’m hesitant about the quality of the product, I’ll go to Sephora rather than the department store.

    I’ll only buy at drugstores, The Bay or Holt Renfrew (Canadian Dept. Stores) if I know I’ll love the item and done a lot of research.

    • Heather

      You can return ANYTHING at the Bay! Trust me I work at a Bay MAC location and we take almost any return, no questions asked. If you have a recipt you can get your money back, if you dont, exchange or credit note!

      • Rosanna

        I know the MAC at the Bay will refund/exchange but I don’t know about the other counters. They never tell you if you can return anything it’s not even mentioned on the receipts!

      • Alisha

        Hi!I brought a conceler from Mac but it didn’t work for me!
        Can i return it without receipt ..and without the original packaging?(at the bay Mac.)
        Thanks for ur help:)

    • I’ve done returns for cosmetics at both The Bay and Holts and they are just as good as any Sephora, if not better. I actually prefer to buy my stuff at the Bay because their reward system is A MILLION TIMES better than the crappy beauty insider from Sephora…

  5. I’ve never exchanged or returned an item I didn’t like. If I don’t like something I buy, I always chalk it up to bad research on my part–I always do a considerable amount of research before I buy a big ticket item. Returning something I’ve already used and disliked would feel kind of like cheating, so I always try to pass on products that don’t work for me.

  6. Important, just incase i DO have to return it

  7. Alejandra

    It’s quite important to me.I usually don’t like trying stuff at the counters or in store.I like taking comfort in knowing that if I don’t like a product I can exchange/return it.However I don’t abuse the return policy, and have only gotten a refund about 2 times.I also don’t return/exchange broken items.

  8. Very important! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve swatched something multiple times in a store, and even tried it on and thought I loved it, only to find that it doesn’t work in day-to-day life… I feel like I pay more for this kind of “insurance” when I buy things at Sephora or Nordstrom, for instance, as opposed to Target.

    • Haha, I re-read this… I don’t want to give the impression that I return things a lot- if I buy a color I decide I don’t like, I’ll blame myself and keep it. But sometimes a foundation just won’t work with my dry skin, and I’ve had concealers that tested very nicely but looked terrible by the end of the day, mascaras that flake… Only situations where the product itself just isn’t working, not merely a taste-preference gone awry!

  9. Lena

    This is why I only get makeup from MAC, Sephora, and CVS. I have never had a problem returning anything with them!

  10. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Tasha Tasha

    They should, definitely!! coming from a country that have no return policy EVER, made me appreciate things here. I’m happy to be able to return makeup that doesn’t work. And thanks to “make-up bloggers” who review products, probably help customer with their purchase. Rather than they have to try it out and end up returning!

  11. Hend

    Its not so important, because in UAE we have very bad return polices ,
    so im kinda used to just blame my self for the bad purchases lol

  12. this is HUGE for me. I buy a lot of beauty products (i don’t know why, since i don’t even wear makeup on a daily basis!) but I’m often impulsive. Sometimes I get home and realize I really didn’t need another magenta-ish nail polish or whatever it might. Other times i research a product and decide i need the newest and greatest thing, when in actuality i really don’t, and then i end up returning something because it makes more sense budget -wise. Or sometimes I just think i’ll like something (foundation or skincare especially) and after a few uses, it isn’t quite what i’m looking for.

    I pretty much only buy products at Sephora or Nordstrom, unless its something they don’t carry (boo!) or if I’m positive I’ll keep it!

  13. sasha

    extremely important. you never know if you’ll like something unless you try it. also, once i bought a christian dior foundation and the pump stopped working half way through. brought it back to a counter and they replaced it with a new one. i thought that was awesome.

  14. Heli

    I’m so jealous you guys have the possibility to return used makeup products. I’ve only managed to return a foundation once because the MA had suggested a wrong shade for me and even then it took a little persuading. We can’t even return items to MAC.

  15. christine

    it is very important! considering makeup is not cheap, when i buy something i want to know that it works out for me overtime since makeup works differently for everyone. if it didn’t work out, i want to know that i can still return it and get my money back to try on something else. sephora, ulta stores and mac counters have great return policies and i am forever greatful!

  16. Brydie

    Not very important, given the more expensive brands in my area are housed within department stores (and as such tend to use their policies for returns). However, my MAC counter was very good when I exchanged a powder for another type- didn’t ask questions about if I used it and just checked that I had actually put the product in the box! (but my local MAC counter is awesome anyway, so I expected that :D)

  17. Honestly, I don’t think any of the beauty stores over here offer any sort of return policy (I’m in Dubai) so the idea of being able to return makeup you don’t like is a wonderful but foreign idea to me!

  18. Ann

    Very important because I want to return it if I am not satisfied. There is no use in it just taking up space.

  19. Hannah

    Where I live you can only return makeup purchases if the item is in the original packaging and completely untouched, or if faulty. It really shocks me that some places allow you to touch and use makeup and then return it. I would like that freedom because then you can try whatever you like, however it’s still seems weird to me. Must be a different law or something.

  20. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Dawn Dawn

    Here, we can’t return makeup products unless they are faulty. I believe Boots will let you return their own brand makeup if you turn out to be allergic to it, and they use the info to help them adjust the formula. With other brands, most times they won’t even let you return them if they are still sealed. If they have been opened, no chance.

    There’s no returning makeup just because you changed your mind or have decided it doesn’t suit you or you don’t like it after all.

  21. Heather

    VERY important. I have sensitive skin and eyes that react to almost everything. I don’t want to be pouring money away on a graveyard full of products i can’t use because my skin didnt like them and I can’t return them. I LOVE Sephora for their awesome free returns and that is why I feel confident buying from them.

  22. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Naemi Meerschweinchen

    Lucky you over there in the States. There is no really existant return policy here in Germany.

  23. Svetlana

    In Denmark we can’t return makeup we have opened/used at home. Not even MAC. I’m honestly surprised you can do that in the US.

    • Eeva

      Hahah, same here. In Finland you can never return a beauty product just because you haven’t liked it. Of course, if you lie that you’ve had an allergic reaction because of it, then you’ll probably get your money back, but people don’t tend to do that. So, I heart every place where I can find reviews of the products I’m considering to purchase.
      We don’t have Sephoras here, and I’m not sure what the policy with our only MAC stand in the whole country.

  24. to me it doesn’t matter since… here in Italy there isn’t a return policy, so we carefully buy our make up because if we fail, we have no chances to have our money back.

  25. Vivian

    I don’t understand. In the US you can return even a lipstick you tried on a couple of times? What do they do with it? I’m using a lipstick as an example because it’s an item they can easily check (without having to ask and trust if you’re being honest like a mascara, for instance) if it’s being used.

    Here in Brazil you can return a makeup item easily, as long as it hasn’t been used/is in perfect condition. You usually have to exchange it for something else in the store, as far as I know, but that’s the same with anything you buy (like clothes, etc) unless the store has a different policy.

  26. Not very important to me. I don’t think I could ever return a makeup product. It just feels wasteful to me. If I return a shirt, they will re-sell it. If I return makeup, they will throw it out. Not that I think they should re-sell it, but it just seems like such a waste.

  27. Amanda Blyskal

    i completely agree with you Christina

  28. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Dini Dini

    The return policy is so very important to me. I love to shop at places like MAC and Sephora where you can return items with no hassle. Whether I’ve bought an expensive limited edition palette (so limited that a store doesn’t have enough stock to put out a palette for swatching) or a value priced item at the drug store that is a guess on a color match, it is money wasted if I don’t love it or it doesn’t suit me. I buy as much as I can at stores with excellent return policies, and buy the rest elsewhere with caution and only after lots of research and makeup blog consultation!

  29. JoElla

    I only have one real counter here (Dillard’s) where I live, so a great return policy is very important for me. I am a very hard color match for foundation, so I usually buy one from a drug store, and usually I am between a few shades. So being able to take them home and try them is a must. Due to the lack of choices, I usually buy kits from QVC. If I don’t like it, I ship it right back, with very little problems.

    And if I want to hit the big counters, it involves travel and seeing family. That is a win/win for me, because I can see family, play at the big girl stores and touch and play with things.

  30. EXTREMELY IMPORTANT!!! This doesn’t only apply to beauty either. If you’ve ever been to Forever 21 you know that their return policy is horrid. just recently the cashier made an error and overcharged me by $15 and refused to give me my money, insisting on giving me store credit. I really love that Sephora lets me freely exchange items without penalty. It makes picking out a foundation a lot less iffy.

  31. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Roberta Roberta

    Its really important, I’ve heard people complain about the return policy at Saks and I will not buy from them. I’d much rather give my money to Nordstrom because their return policy is pretty damn amazing. Sephora and MAC also have really good policys so they get a large chunk of my business as well.

  32. Gisele

    Return policy is very important. I would not purchase any item (makeup, clothes, etc.) at a store with a lousy return policy. That said, I do not make frequent returns, but it is a part of shopping nowadays to have that option.

  33. Tiffany

    Quite important but I’d much prefer being given samples so that I don’t have to return. Then everybody wins!

  34. fatima

    I am one to go out shopping for make up I get a bunch of stuff try it out and return most I like to be able to do this without getting questioned also if I’m paying good money I want to feel like my money was well spend and if it wasn’t then I need it back :)

  35. In England where i live you cannot return any make up item for hygiene reasons as they say they cannot re-sell the product, even if you have an allergic reaction to a make up item they just give you an address to send it back to the manufacturer, which i have done before now. The women that work at the counters here that ive come across are awful to you when your buying something let alone returning something so i wouldnt even try. The companies that have always been great when i have wrote a letter are Mac, Estee Lauder, Clinique and Benefit.

    • Viv in the UK

      Oh how I agree with this – the lady at the Clinique counter in our House of Fraser was really snooty with me when I bought some makeup on Friday – I’d dashed out of the house taking the children to school, and had minimal makeup on – tinted moisturiser and lipgloss – and she looked at me as if I’d crawled from under a stone, lol!

  36. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Karen kp

    I think is is important…as long as it’s not abused. I live in the Baltimore/DC area and people (try) to abuse the heck out of the return policies (use 75% of the product and claim it didn’t work, leave lipsticks in their hot cars in the summer and try to return it etc…they usually want a new shade that comes out in exchange).SMH.

  37. it’s super important. At my local walgreens they don’t accept returns on opened makeup. thus the reason I don’t have any drugstore make up. I want the option of returning if it doesn’t suit me/match me or if I don’t like it.

  38. Francesca

    Here in Italy we can’t return beauty product.
    =(

  39. Kat

    If it’s a drugstore where I can’t try out the product, it’s really important that they have a good return policy. For MAC and Sephora it’s a little less important, since I can try before I buy. I actually have no clue what Sephora’s and MAC’s return policy’s are, haha.

  40. Saga

    Well, I live in northern europe so I can’t return anything that has been opened. I recently bought Estee LAuder DW foundation, I paid 40euros and it’s the wrong shade. Sucks :( You guys are so lucku in the US because you can return but on the other hand I don’t understand how the stores can afford to do that..weird.

  41. vivian

    oh my goodness, i cannot emphasize how IMPORTANT it is to me. i have sensitive skin, so if anything irritates it, i love having the option to return it and get my money back, as well as having the knowledge to not try that item again. i have returned countless foundations due to my sensitive skin and had i not had the very flexible return policies from Sephora or Nordstrom, i would probably be out lots of money and currently own foundations/skin care/lipsticks that would be useless to me. i love flexible return policies!!

  42. Jazz

    I will return something in a minute , I am not ashamed. 8 dollar OPI nail polish thats streaky after 3 coats – return. Mac Lipglass that burned my lips-return. Facial mask that broke me out – return. This is why I like walmart , Ulta , Sephora and Macys for makeup / facial care. I love Target , but I hate their return policy

  43. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Jill AnGeLwInGz

    I’ve never come across difficulties with returns on cosmetics (I don’t do it that often). Sephora has a great return policy. I once brought back a perfume without a receipt that was purchased months earlier.

  44. Whitney

    Sephora has every product out on display for a reason. So you can try it and test it there. I think its wrong when people buy makeup, test it out for a week or two, decide they don’t like it and return it. If I bought something in the wrong shade, then its my own fault. I’ve only returned products that were damaged (like cracked blush).

    • Regina

      I agree that is great that some stores have testers available but the problem I see is that there’s little control on how hygienically the products are tested. In my experience testers are usually dried out and plain disgusting. On top of that, some products that may cause breakouts wont do so immediately but after some days of use. So that’s why I tend to buy from places that have a good return policy, do my testing with a new unused product and return if it’s really not what I expected.

  45. heidi

    I neverreturn makeup even if I hate it. You never know when you might need that one product

  46. Becca

    I think it’s extremely important. Even when you test a product at the store, you can’t tell how long it will last etc. you have to bring it home for that. And it’s always good to have the option to bring it back if you don’t like it. Plus, it shows how much the company/store cares about their customers.  

  47. Regina

    In my case, I end up buying 90% of my make up at Sephora due to their return policy and points program

  48. Aliss

    I live in the UK and have never returned a product, I don’t know anyone who has!! I’ve always thought that make-up and beauty products were non returnable. Does anyone in the UK know of any shops which would accept returns?

  49. Marjolijn

    They’re always quite fussy about make up returns here in Holland. That’s why I’m so happy with Temptalia! MAC always launches their collections a bit later here so I can have a good look at the products here before I go into the store :)

  50. Amelia

    I returned the tinted moisturizer back to mac and the lady working there argued with me that it was my fault because of the product i use to wash my face..

  51. Mia

    Very important and I think any retailers that may see your blog should realize how important it is whether it’s here in America or anyone else on this planet. Everyone’s skin type is different, what may work for someone else, might not work for you or me (vice versa). Also, the testers in the stores are full of nasty germs that you would not want to try out on your face such as fecal bacteria (believe it or not, it’s there). Cosmetic companies are billion dollar corporations, if someone chooses to return something for whatever reason, it shouldn’t be an issue.

  52. anon

    depends. I definitely don’t want a hassle if the product is flawed. at the same time I know that unlimited is always going to result in inflated pricing. I tend to buy iffier items from those places but get favorites or known brands where they are cheaper because I’ll still pay less even if I get stuck with a few items that don’t work out. I’ve also noticed when I stick to a brand for more I spend less because I waste less on dupes.

  53. Mandy

    I only shop in stores which have a “no questions asked” return policy, and there are many stores in Southern California that do just that! My fav stores are Nordstrom, Sephora, Bloomingdale’s & Costco and they pretty much take back anything – clothes, shoes and make up, so my loyalties lie with them. They would never re- sell any of it and that’s just fine because there is a margin for returns on their pricing and these stores sell a lot of volume. It’s not that I like to return stuff, I just need to know that if I have to, I can and that’s wonderful. I notice that shops here always encourage us to buy more with their generous return policy and it seems that I often end up keeping more than I intended, so it works both ways! I have lived in Italy, France, England and India and I can truly say that shopping in the USA is absolutely the best! I have no doubt in my mind that if other countries followed more generous return policies they would sell a great deal more.

  54. lawli

    this sounds crazy to me :D i live in sweden, we can’t return any opened beauty products due to hygienic reasons.

    • Marianthi

      The same here! I live in Greece, and the lady at the Chanel counter looked at me like I was crazy when I asked what is their returned policy for opened foundations. I cannot believe that in other places you can do this!

  55. Viv in the UK

    No relevance here in the UK, where once something is purchased it can’t be returned anyway!

  56. Jennifer S.

    I do most of my shopping online due

  57. Jennifer S.

    I do most of my shopping online due to the small town we moved to a year ago. We have a Sephora here but they seem to always be out of stock and the MAC is not freestanding. I am a lipstick, balm, gloss junkie and end up having to exchange/return alot because the color swatches on Sephora online are not true to life when you get the package home!
    True, it does have a great return policy but I have gotten to know the MUAs at my store and I know it affects their store negatively when I return the product there. I can’t exchange it because they do not carry
    the exact product, brand (Rouge G, Shiseido, etc.) as online so I end up mailing everything back at an extra cost to me. Hassle.
    Companies should have free shipping for returns.

  58. Mandy

    US is the only country I know where you can return just about anything and I feel so lucky to live here! For those of you who mention that products cannot be returned for hygenic reasons, the products we return are thrown away and never re sold so there is no question of hygiene.

  59. Jessica FB

    It is very important to me. If I buy something (makeup or otherwise) and I don’t like it I won’t hesitate to return it.

  60. Definitely! I hate buying makeup from Shoppers Drug Mart because of this reason! Their policies differ from store to store, as well as sales associates. It’s so annoying and inconsistent. It bothers me a lot.

  61. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Natalie Natalie

    Return policies are very important to me. It was the deciding factor when I purchased my Temptu system at Sephora. I rarely ever return makeup – if I do it must be pretty horrendous – but just knowing it’s there is nice. One store by me has a horrible policy, so the absolutely only reason I ever go in is to pick up NARS’ Turkish Delight when other stores in my area, like Sephora, are wiped out. I always check out return policies at places I’m unfamiliar with, and confirm them again if it’s a huge purchase, like my Temptu system.

  62. Niki

    Kind of important, but since I buy almost 80-90% of my makeup online, I really don’t have the opportunity to use a return policy which is why I love Temptalia for it is one of 4 beauty sites (the other are: MkaeupAlley, YouTube and Karla Sugar) I always go to when I am bying products so I can be an informed consumer.

  63. Brenda

    It’s not important because I never return makeup. If the color doesn’t work on me then I just figure I lost out of the money. I don’t feel right returning used makeup at all, since they just throw it away anyway.