If your obsession with all things beauty is growing bigger than the daily jaunt around your local chemist, you've probably thought about indulging in some online beauty action.
Shopping online can be such fun -- no annoying sales people trying to push things on you, no bumping into people in the cramped aisles.
Your only real worry is overdoing it on the spending front.
But how do you know which sites to trust, which sell genuine products and which will cripple your finances with ridiculous delivery charges?
Here are a few of my favourite sites to browse and buy from, and a few words of warning before you whip out your credit card.
www.cultbeauty.co.uk Founded by “beauty junkies with a thirst for transparency”, their mission is to demystify the beauty world. Because they don’t have advertisements from beauty brands anywhere on the site, that’s definitely the sense you get. While they’re super-easy to buy from and have a way for customers to review products, they can be a bit pricey and charge for delivery. Hassle-free and great products, but be willing to pay for it. Ying Yu Facial Roller, £28
www.feelunique.co.uk Amazing choice of brands, plus it’s more than just a beauty site. They have a huge selection of make-up, but also stock bits and pieces such as aromatherapy and relaxation products and some really nice healthy living brands such as Burt’s Bees and Crabtree & Evelyn. Their prices are reasonable, and there are bargains to be found. They offer free delivery too. L'Occitane Milk Concentrate, €44, and Almond Oil, €38
www.beautyemporium.ie If you’re a beauty obsessive looking to support an Irish site, Beauty Emporium is new on the scene but already stocks some great brands such as MAC, Smashbox and Urban Decay. You can make up a wishlist, and their weekly special prices are great for saving a few euro. Delivery in Ireland is €2.
www.beaut.ie By far Ireland’s most comprehensive beauty site, beaut.ie has everything a make-up-mad gal could want. It doesn’t sell beauty products but has a forum where people can swap unwanted, unused or minimally tested products. You swap like for like (no Penneys slap for Dior, obviously!), and the whole thing is done in message board style. Click on ‘Beauty Swap Siopa’ for more info.
www.lovelula.com This is a haven for organic beauty freaks. If you love nothing more than paraben-free, natural products, LoveLula is for you. It stocks organic brands such as Nude, A’kin, and Kimberly Sayer and has lots of information on buying organically. It’s great for discovering new brands too. They charge a delivery fee to Ireland. Nude Cleasing Oil, €27.18
ONLINE BUYER BEWARE!
Always read the delivery and price information carefully.
Check return policies before you buy — each site differs.
A lot of beauty products cannot be returned for full price once opened.
Always check currency conversions — you might have to pay more than you think.
Beware of tax or customs duties on deliveries from other countries — ask if you are not sure.