Are you more comfortable shopping online for beauty after 2020?

The same as always for me — which is pretty comfortable, but I got used to not living near any retailers and buying everything online… to the point where I definitely prefer it.

— Christine


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Susan Avatar

Being able to test a shade and try it on was really one of the driving reasons I started buying department store cosmetics (ha, a million years ago now! 🙂 ) I am picky about colors, and although companies have gotten better about posting better/more accurate images and ones that show colors on different skin tones, I still prefer purchasing makeup in person, and I look forward to the day that can happen again!

Lesley Avatar

I remain very comfortable with buying skin care and hair care online. In the Before Times, I bought color cosmetics, including foundation and powder, online only after I had previously swatched them in store. The few times in 2020 that I tried to buy such products without in person swatches were not that successful so I would say that I remain uncomfortable about those products. I wish that more companies provided samples of things like foundation, which I would gladly pay for. I have bought samples from Koh Gen Do and Danessa Myricks and it made the purchase process so much more reassuring.

kjh Avatar

You’re so right. All cos should do this. It took me 2 years of research and write off, before I got the KGD samples and was able to get a foundation with agreeable ingredients and a color match. My approach was like yours, check it out before you order online. The online swatches are a photoshop joke, phoned in and useless. As much as customer reviewers complain, you’d think a ‘better way’ would be developed.

Lizzie - IsolatedColor Avatar

For the past four years, I’ve been living in the actual middle of nowhere, so I’ve gotten very used to buying almost all non-food items online. (The nearest Ulta, mall, Target, Costco, etc. are 90 miles away. Ugh.) There are a couple of places in town that sell makeup – Walmart, Rite Aid, Big Lots – but their inventory isn’t very impressive. I love to browse Ulta stores when I can, but I hardly ever got to do that, even before 2020.

Sarah Avatar

Oh yeah, and in fact if I could never walk into a store again I’d probably be fine with it. Even BC (before COVID), I never swatched anything in stores, and I would research my options to gauge my own color matches…I guess I was too germphobic to do in-store swatches. There’s no way that the tester products are sufficiently disinfected.

I’m an extremely shy, quiet sort so shopping online has always been my jam. I’d rather quietly order things online, than have a sales associate follow me around asking me if I’m still doing okay over there.

thirteenthirteen Avatar

Definitely not. I am terrible at figuring out whether or not a shade will be flattering on me, and buying online has often been pretty disastrous, ESPECIALLY with lipsticks. Without being able to swatch in person, I have completely stopped buying makeup.

However, I don’t really ENJOY going makeup shopping so if we’re talking replacements of things I already know work for me, I’d happily order online. I just can’t trust myself to choose a new lipstick without verifying in person that it won’t make me look ridiculous.

Ana Maria Avatar

I would say that I am slightly less comfortable.
Most of my purchases are mainly re-purchases, and I’ve previously made a lot of my shopping online. But 2020 really emphasized for me the importance of being able to go to stores, swatch formulas, try shades on my own face, try out fragrances, etc. After the whole pandemic is over, I’m most likely to try shopping in stores more, I never appreciated truly that experience.

Jen Avatar

Yes! I never realized how much I enjoyed window shopping until Covid. And not *just* enjoy it but it was a stress relief valve I didn’t realize I had. I never would have guessed that of all the changes the biggest thing I’d miss was wasting a couple of hours in a favorite store day dreaming about what I could do with what I saw.

Francesca Avatar

Yes I was. I use the past since this is not true anymore. Brexit has ruined the online shopping experience for many EU makeup buyer. Since many US based brand were available for un trough uk’s retailers. Now we have duties and custum fee also from UK. So, even if in 2020 I got more accustomed to online shopping, now the party is finished

Fidan Fassbender Avatar

Many UK-based online shops pre-pay the custom fees for EU customers or include them in the prices, for example Beauty Bay, Cult Beauty, Feelunique. Lookfantastic supposedly does this too, but I just ordered something from them and got an e-mail that they sent it without prepaying the duties, despite their website advertising otherwise (they promised to refund the additional charges though). I make sure to check shops’ FAQ sections regarding this before placing an order. Probably going to be more difficult with indie brands and smaller online-shops though.

Nancy T Avatar

About the same; I would really rather be able to SAFELY shop in person. There is just something to the whole experience of going in to a B&M store, perusing the various products physically, swatching them to see whether I love them just as much as I had expected to, and if I do buy something, getting to bring it home that very day.

Sheila Avatar

Exactly this Nancy! There is something soothing and yet exhilarating at the same time about being able to find something that just works perfectly and getting it home to play with immediately.

AJ Avatar

I’d say my comfort levels remain about the same — but there are some things I still wouldn’t want to buy online. I’ve never felt comfortable buying a foundation without being able to try it in the store, since those are so tricky to match based on an online image and shade description!

I also don’t think shopping online is as much FUN. When I shop in person I enjoy browsing and finding things I didn’t know I wanted. Shopping online, there have been many times where I’ve decided to not make an order because I only wanted/needed one specific item and didn’t feel like endlessly scrolling to find something else I wanted. So ultimately the current focus on online-only is really good for my budget, I think.

Frozendiva Avatar

Probably about the same.

It is a challenge to buy foundation and lipsticks online. Even a ‘match’ system can be wildly inaccurate. I read reviews here and look at swatches.

I don’t miss pushy sales associates looking for commission. I don’t like being expected to buy a certain $ of product because I walked by and stopped at the counter. Maybe I might buy a lipstick or something but I don’t need hundreds of dollars of products that day.

I also don’t miss pushy customers in some shops. Sephora can be a madhouse on weekends. I don’t like being jostled around. Keep your distance from others.

Genevieve Avatar

Living in Australia, when all the best eyeshadow palettes were produced overseas (and still are) made me rely so much on this blog to find the ones that would suit me most, so I had to order them online – no other way. Now I still continue to do this with eyeshadows and even lipsticks.
Foundations I buy here, now that I know which brand and shade number suits me best, as they are often on sale. Blushes I have bought in store as well.
Now that more online retailers are becoming more savvy with their online security, I do feel OK with it.

Shawne Avatar

I’m comfortable shopping for most beauty products online except for foundation and concealer — unless it’s from a retailer that I can return it to / exchange it at if it’s not a good shade match. I like the option of buy online pickup in store (bopis) when available so I don’t have to wait for shipping or worry about products breaking in transit. I’ve found that I’m way more anxious shopping in store now and it’s truly not the same as before since you can only look and not touch or swatch anything. Having the product in hand same day is nice, but I feel like (I don’t know why) less people have touched it if I order online and it comes from a distribution center.

Mary Avatar

I’ve always loved color and find I do miss the in person swatching and playing with unfamiliar products.
However I am adapting and really relying on Temptalia and other online reviews and different images of swatches on different skin tones and lighting .. .

Pearl Avatar

I’ve come to prefer shopping online over these past several years – I can do research on my own so I don’t have to bother a salesperson with questions and then feel guilty because I took up their time and didn’t buy anything.

If I ever were to shop in store it is probably because a product sold out online but was still available in-store and I had called ahead and requested they hold it for me. In that sense I don’t mind “shopping” or browsing because I know I’m at least buying something so if I did have questions about another product or take my time walking around the store, I don’t feel uncomfortable.

Kathy Avatar

I am OK with shopping online but I have had some problems buying foundations this year. In Canada we have a drug store that sells high-end products like Estee Lauder and I was able to order the futurist foundation and then exchange it for the right colour in store as they are still open During the stay at home order as they are essential. I have to say though I saved money because I used up most of my old foundations as I couldn’t seem to get the right colour match online

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