While walking into your favorite beauty store, swatching lipsticks, spritzing yourself with perfume, and meticulously scanning the rows of products is an inimitable joy, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by an endless supply of options to choose from. And don’t even get us started on the goodies in the checkout line (I mean, talk about irresistible). Shopping online, on the other hand, allows us to take our time, sort by category and price, and sift through product reviews from the comfort of our couch (bed, bath…you get the picture). Aside from the basic “sort by” function, beauty websites now have more than ever shade-matching tools, detailed product descriptions, and the option to easily return or refund, making online shopping more appealing than ever.
Read on the 5 best places to shop for beauty products online, from eco-friendly indie brands to those that have been around for decades.
We are remiss if we didn’t mention this beauty store staple, whose online store is just as impressive as its physical locations. Sephora is the place to go if you want a lot of options and high-quality products in makeup, skincare, haircare, fragrance, and tools. Browse their buying guides for advice, or sort through their hyper-specific categories (such as shopping by age) for a more focused search. Reasons to love Sephora include three free samples per order (we’ve discovered amazing new mascaras and primers this way); hair, nails, skin, makeup, and fragrance all in one place; and extensive user reviews that come in handy when deciding between two products or wondering if an item truly does what it promises. Furthermore, the Beauty Insider program allows you to accumulate points for additional freebies and special gifts.
Ulta’s selection of brands—and prices—is what makes their online store so appealing. Ulta’s high and low balance makes the site so appealing, from Dior perfume to Maybelline lipstick. Ulta is similar to Sephora in terms of selection and freebies, but it distinguishes itself through coupons, sales, and a wide range of drugstore products. At almost any given time, you can expect to receive a 20% off one item or a similar discount. We also like the shop’s eponymous line, which features reasonably priced makeup, body, and hair products.
iHerb is by far my favorite website for purchasing beauty products. I buy all of my makeup here and save a lot of money, not to mention my toothpaste, shampoo and conditioner, coconut oil, soap, and other household items. The company sells many organic and non-organic beauty products, as well as a large selection of popular brands found in stores at much lower prices. Even better, free shipping is available on orders over $40, and iHerb is the best company I’ve found for fast shipping to date. They may specialize in vitamins and supplements, but if you look around the site, you’ll find a great selection of beauty products, including Korean beauty finds. The best part? Most of the brands are reasonably priced, ranging from EOS lip balm (a favorite of many celebrities) to CeraVe. You can also browse the sections by ingredient, which is extremely useful if you already know what works for you. We love that there’s a section dedicated to beauty gift sets that are of great value.
Bluemercury is a treasure trove for luxury beauty enthusiasts, with tried-and-true beauty staples as well as emerging brands. The carefully curated range of products—by true beauty and skincare experts—ensures that you can feel confident in your purchase no matter what you buy. If you prefer vegan and cruelty-free skincare products, look through their “Conscious seal of approval products. Brands such as Kosas, Kjaer Weis, RMS Beauty, and Chantecaille, to name a few, offer the best in luxury beauty. The site promotes conscious beauty brands and offers The Founders Series, in which visitors can learn more about their favorite beauty brands through a Q&A with brand founders and advice that can help you decide on your next cosmetics purchase, which includes complimentary samples. Who doesn’t enjoy that?
Nordstrom’s extensive selection of luxury beauty products is carefully curated so that you will never feel overwhelmed, while also including a wide range of items from every product category. Nordstrom’s exclusive makeup and skincare sets are ideal for beauty lovers (or to treat yourself!). No minimum for free shipping? That is a rare luxury these days. It’s what makes Nordstrom a no-brainer for restocking MAC, Laura Mercier, Essie, Estée Lauder, Lancôme, Dior, and other favorites. Its free return policy also makes it simple to try new items without feeling guilty.