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The Top 11 Places to Buy Skincare and Makeup Online

The Top 11 Places to Buy Skincare and Makeup Online

Top Places to Buy Skincare and Makeup Online

The makeup and beauty industry is massive, with new products being launched every single month. The industry’s total global sales in 2020 was a whopping $483 billion dollars. With that much of an impact on people around the world, the pandemic really hurt the industry when customers weren’t able to shop in-store.

Shopping in retail stores has always been the preferred way of shopping for makeup, specifically, but also for skincare. Since every person’s skincare routine and beauty needs are different, most people opt to go in-store to be able to test or swatch products. This way, you’re able to find your perfect foundation match, a lipstick that will work for your complexion, or a skincare product that works for your skin type.

Since COVID shut down retail locations for extended periods of time, companies quickly adjusted. Makeup retailers introduced new methods of matching colours to your skin tone, effective return policies for any product that doesn’t work, and even AI technology to “try on” different products.

With this, online shopping for customers grew exponentially. People were able to successfully shop for new products online without ever having to step foot into the store. Now that retail locations have opened back up, some people still choose to shop online. Generally, there’s a larger selection of products, they can be notified when items come back in stock, and they are able to shop easily and conveniently from the comfort of their homes.

With this increase in online sales, many companies decided to go online-only or carry online-exclusive stock for online shoppers. This incentivised customers to shop online, and helped increase their makeup and skincare sales. Some stores that only sold a few makeup items are now known for their selection of beauty items, and are thriving online.

Whether you’re an expert or a beginner, here are a few online retailers to check out before making your next purchase:


  1. Sephora

Sephora is one of the most well-known makeup and skincare retailers in North America, and globally as well. They have a great selection of mid-level and high-end makeup products, an amazing return policy, and you even get free samples with each order!

Their products range from makeup, skincare, hair, nails, body, and fragrance. They conveniently organize their website in helpful categories; you can view items by brand, by product type, or even by concern. The website allows for user reviews, so you get an extensive view of what people are saying about any given product. Additionally, they have a Beauty Insider program, where you can collect points for free products, gain access to easy releases, and even receive a small gift during your birthday month.


  1. Ulta

Ulta is similar to Sephora, and is incredibly popular for people who are looking for variety at any price point. This store carries all popular beauty brands, including drugstore brands. Ulta offers free samples, and is constantly promoting their coupons and sales, making it a great option for anyone on a budget. At any given time, you can almost expect to receive at least a 20% discount off of one item, or some other similar discount. The Ultamate Rewards card allows you to collect point for discounts and other perks, as well.


  1. Target

While Target may feel like a home, grocery, and tech store, their generous selection of makeup and beauty products are something you don’t want to miss out on. Target has become one of the hottest places to shop for beauty. They carry almost all drugstore brands at an affordable price, as well as store-exclusive brands like Kristen Ess and Sonia Kashuk. They also recently released their “Clean Beauty” section which is a great place to find affordable yet sustainable beauty.


  1. Nordstrom

For those interested in luxury beauty brands, Nordstrom is your best option. They carry a huge selection of high-end makeup and skincare brands such as MAC, Laura Mercier, Essie, Estée Lauder, Lancôme, Dior, and more. They also offer free shipping with no minimum, so you don’t have to worry about spending a certain amount to save on shipping. Additionally, Nordstrom’s return policy makes it easy to try new products without regret. If you want luxury products but at a more affordable price, Nordstrom is famous for their Anniversary Sale where you can find products on sale for up to 50% off.


  1. Bluemercury

Bluemercury is another treasure for luxury beauty fanatics, where you can find well-known beauty staples as well as smaller emerging brands. Its products are carefully curated by beauty and skincare experts to ensure that no matter what you shop for, you can feel confident in your purchase. If you prefer clean skincare, browse their “Conscious seal of approval products” for vegan and cruelty-free options.


  1. Amazon

Amazon is a one-stop-shop for all your shopping needs, including beauty. Their selection of beauty items ranges from high-end to drugstore and small indie brands. You can find virtually any product you may be interested in, and often times for some kind of discount. Plus, if you’re a Prime member, you can take advantage of free next-day shipping on most orders. Amazon is best for those who know exactly what they’re looking for, since the huge selection of beauty items could leave someone feeling a little lost. Since there are no in-store locations, you don’t have the option of returning things in-store, but shopping on Amazon is worth it for the price, convenience, and wide variety of products offered.


  1. Urban Outfitters

This shop isn’t just for $50 band tees anymore; they’ve really stepped up their beauty game recently. With big name brands such as Benefit, Mario Badescu, Kosas, Stila, and Anastasia Beverly Hills, this site is worth looking at for your next beauty purchase. Urban Outfitters carries more unique products as brands too, such as Trixie Cosmetics and Lime Crime, for anyone looking for something different.


  1. Dermstore

If you’re looking to take your skincare routine to the next level, Dermstore has you covered. It’s the best online destination to find any brand or item that dermatologists and skincare experts love, like iS Clinical, Skinceuticals, and Elta MD. The site itself was founded by a board-certified dermatologist, so you can be confident that you’re getting the best skincare products available on the market. As they have expanded into makeup, haircare, and bath and body products, you can also buy all your favourites to collect reward points.


  1. Anthropologie

Much like Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie isn’t what comes to mind when you think about shopping for skincare and beauty products. However, they also have an extensive beauty and wellness section that shouldn’t be overlooked. From big names like Supergoop and Sigma to smaller indie brands and eco-friendly lines, Anthropologie is the perfect place to discover new brands and products you may have otherwise missed.


  1. Peach and Lilly

Asian skincare is some of the best in the world, and this site offers some of the most popular brands and products on the market. Korean and Japanese skincare has become increasingly more popular over the past few years, but it can be hard for these brands to gain popularity in the US. The selection may be smaller than other Asian beauty sites out there, but Peach and Lilly take a lot of guesswork out of the process. Many of the beauty lines sold at Peach and Lilly are highly-rated and personally recommended by its knowledgeable co-founders, Alicia Yoon and Cindy Kim.


  1. Ipsy/Birchbox

Ipsy and Birchbox are two separate companies that offer subscription boxes for beauty lovers. These boxes are a great way for customers to explore emerging brands and new products, all which are specially curated based on the profile you will out when signing up for the service. For less than $20 a month, you’ll receive deluxe samples of makeup, skincare, haircare, and nail products.

While these subscription boxes don’t allow you to pick and choose your exact product and aren’t the same as shopping for your favourites, they’re a great option for anyone looking to discover new products. They make great gifts, too!


The Pros and Cons of Buying Cosmetics Online

The pros and cons of making online purchases for skincare and makeup are numerous, though with a bit of planning, many people can benefit from making these purchases online. The primary advantage to buying online is the ability to shop and compare many different products at the same time. Other advantages of shopping online include being able to apply discounts, not having to interact with sales people, and participating in various reward benefit programs.

The main disadvantage is that customers aren’t able to try on or inspect the products in-person before making a purchase. Disadvantages include waiting for delivery, receiving a damaged product, or getting a product that doesn’t work for you for any reason.

For some people, buying makeup and skincare online is a risky task. However, with the advancements made during the pandemic, most of the concerns around buying products online are reduced if not eliminated completely. Shops have better-than-ever matching technology to ensure a perfect match, and offer seamless return policies for any damaged or incorrect products.

Whether or not you’re comfortable purchasing items online, know that it’s almost never final. Most places are willing to take a return, make an exchange, or offer other services to make sure you leave satisfied. While there are cons to shopping online, most of those concerns are a thing of the past; shopping online is the future of beauty shopping.


Make Your Purchase

Whether you’re looking for high-end or affordable products, clean skincare, or beauty subscription boxes, online shopping for beauty items has never been easier. Each brand mentioned above is highly reputable and known for their excellent customer service and reviews.

If you’re looking to try a new product, or just looking to stock up on your favourites, try shopping around online before you visit your nearest drug or beauty store. You never know if you’ll find a deal, a new brand, or a better product with the variety there is online nowadays.

So go ahead; grab your credit card and get shopping!

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