Are you more comfortable shopping for beauty online now?

I’ve been comfortable for awhile! Fortunately, a lot of retailers in the US have return policies, which makes online shopping more forgiving (though I rarely do returns myself, particularly with respect to makeup).

— Christine


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Francesca Avatar

I had to! Between a lockdown and an other it has been not so easy to go to physical shops, not to mention the fact that even after the periodical cycle of closure (aka when the numbers of infected is over a not so high threshold), the shops are usually half devoid of products, and when new stocks arrive, it’s again time of closing because an other wave of virus is arriving! Moreover, you can’t swatch with your hands the products anymore, and that was the main advantage of physical shopping over online ones. Finally, many US brands that I’m particularly interested into are sold only by international online retailers, not for sure by the small beauty shop of my district.

Ana Avatar

Absolutely, way before the pandemic. Sephora did it for me originally with their VIB/Rouge sale events. I recall when Juvia’s Place was first launched I didn’t want to buy it because it was only available through their site. I just thought the eye shadow would arrive broken. Then finally I went for it (before Juvia’s was sold in a store). I bought one. And yes, the palette I did arrive shattered. But they sent me out a new one properly wrapped.

Erica Avatar

I still find it incredibly overwhelming. I only go to a few retailers like Ulta and Sephora. Maybe MAC. But I have no interest to go to each and every brands website. I just get too much indecision and end up buying nothing if I have to sift through each and every brands site. No thanks

Mariella Avatar

Not really. Part of my shopping enjoyment (for makeup, skincare, fabric, clothing….anything, really) is seeing, feeling, checking for myself. I also like the “instant gratification” of having my treasured purchase – whatever it is – in my greedy little hands and taking it home with me and using it or just reveling in it (some fabric I bought a while ago and still haven’t sewn, for example) rather than having to wait. But with things as they are now, I have no choice. I am buying less and pretty much only buying things I know are a “sure thing” for me. It’s not nearly as much fun…

AJ Avatar

I’ve pretty much always been comfortable shopping for beauty online… except for complexion products! Those I like to be able to try in the store to find a good match.

That said, I don’t enjoy shopping online as much as I do in-person. It’s not as much fun to browse a website as it is to browse a store — especially if the website is poorly laid out, or doesn’t indicate that an item is sold out until you click on it. Most of my online purchases involve me wanting a specific item, finding that item easily, and then getting increasingly frustrated as I browse the site to see if I can find enough other interesting items to make shipping worthwhile.

Cassie Avatar

Definitely comfortable, but not any more comfortable because of the pandemic. I’ve been shopping online for years because there are a lot of brands not available where I live. For the most part I know what types of products/formulas/shades work for me, so being unsure of whether I’ll like something generally isn’t an issue. And luckily, the rare times when there’s an issue with an order (because things are bound to go wrong eventually when humans are involved!), the regular stores I order from are good about fixing the situation. There have been two online stores I can think of that had horrible customer service when there was a problem with an order, and I haven’t and won’t order from them again, but for me, shopping online is generally fine.

Ana Maria Avatar

Somewhat, yes, but not due to the pandemic. In the last 2-3 years I have slowly progressing towards mainly repurchasing old favorites, I have less interest in trying new things. So off course, it’s easier to purchase online when it’s the same thing again and again, no need to check shades.

Shopping online was always my go-to, I have social anxiety in stores. 😅 The only thing I went in stores for was to try out lipstick shades (which now is useless), swatch eyeshadow and blushes, and check fragrances (although I like smelling them, I’m not keen on actually using them).
Even so, I usually swatch in stores, but buy online. That way I can take advantage of deals and cash back.

Adrienne Avatar

I have been shopping for beauty primarily online for years, so that’s just continued! I noticed that sometimes an item I wanted would not be in stock at the store but would be online, and it was just a lot easier to get it online. Exception: I do buy foundation in person to get an accurate match. I do miss being able to go browse around Ulta or Sephora!.

Hollis Wagenstein Avatar

It’s a little more complicated than a simple yes or no. Even before the pandemic, I enjoyed the convenience of ordering online from Ulta, which has an exceptional loyalty rewards program. But I still was also able to spend some happy time roaming my local store and swatching to my heart’s content. Then the unthinkable happened — early in the pandemic, that location closed. The next nearest one was not easily accessible by public transit. Online color charts proved to be very unreliable. Ulta readily accepts returns, but in New York you have to wait on line to get into the post office (my husband does this several hours a day for his business. The lines are LONG.) Online ordering has been great for bulky commodity items like shampoo and bath gel, and for low-risk products like black mascara in a favorite brand you already know well. But for color cosmetics, it’s riskier.

Genevieve Avatar

I have generally shopped for eyeshadows online for quite awhile now – in fact, it was the only way I could get the good palettes, reviewed by you Christine, for myself.
Lipsticks as well, mainly from ColourPop too.
However for all other beauty items – blush, foundation, mascara, eye brow pencil – I do prefer to see and swatch for myself and can often find them at our local budget beauty stores – which I am happy to support.

Nguyen Avatar

If anything, I’ve come to hate online shopping. I’ve wasted too much money on products that arrive and just are no good, formula-wise and or color-wise. I don’t even care if there’s a sale now, I’d rather walk into a store and walk out with just one product I’ll love than order 6 products online on sale and realize they all are subpar.

Also, I’ve become really conscious about the environmental impact online shopping has. Granted, I’m aware that as a human, my life will have an ecological impact no matter what. But to me, it just doesn’t sit right to order a box that’s 10% makeup and 90% packaging, most of which will just end up in a landfill anyways.

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