Top 10 Online Beauty Destinations
This post comes with a huge health warning. Aisling is hands down the number one enabler on the internet. I have never seen a makeup collection to rival hers. This girl has serious taste when it comes to makeup . I mean just look at her Mac lipstick collection. The girl owns 50 of them!!! Yes 50. You can be guaranteed that at least 80% of my makeup purchases are as a result of Aisling’s recommendations. She is lethal. You need to check out her blog Total Makeup addict here, follow her Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. I swear to you, this girl is seriously on top of all the latest makeup releases that will leave you drooling.
First up a huge congrats to Sinead and Dave on their nuptials and thanks to Sinead for inviting me to write on her blog whilst she’shoneymooning in Florida. I’m sure you’ve all been tuning into herSnapchat adventures – random Sephora mini-hauls and calls from a state penitentiary – I can’t speak for you guys but I know couldn’t be any more jealous!Onto the nitty gritty, and today I am talking to you about one of the things I love most in life- shopping for beauty products. As far as hobbies go, it’s probably one of my top 3 past times. Even if I have no intention of buying, I love going onto these websites and filling baskets with all the goodies and mentally wishlist all the pretties before inevitably forking out on the latest and greatest beauty innovation. I get loads of questions from readers, friends, even work colleagues- about where I buy makeup when I buy it online- so I thought it was timely that I set out my top 10 online beauty destinations not specific shops but general multi-brand offerings! I’m just going to set out what brands each of my favourites stock, highlight my own experiences with them and pass on any pearls of wisdom I’ve accumulated over the years in getting the best bang for your buck!
I’m starting off with an Irish retailer but I have visited the Dolledup.ie store on a few occasions over the last few months to stock up on my beloved CND Vinylux and other goodies. As far as I am aware, Dolledup.ie are the only online Irish retailer that sell CND Vinylux to the public. They also stock a huge range of Irish beauty brands- makeup, skincare, tanning, brushes, fragrances, etc. In my experience, they deliver within 2/3 days. If you’re looking for the best in Irish beauty, I would definitely say head over to this website as a priority. They offer free delivery with orders over €50. There is also an award winning blog built in to the website giving a more indepth look at many of the products on site and the newest feature of the site is the new “Gorgeous Guide” which is a listing of various beauty/hair/spa/stylist etc. in your locality.
Cloud 10 Beauty has been operating for the last few years and the range of brands that they stock has expanded. Brands that are not normally easy to pick up in Ireland- the Balm, Glamglow, Alpha H, First Aid Beauty, Nip and Fab, Sigma Beauty, etc.- are all readily available from Cloud 10 Beauty, and the Cloud 10 Beauty team are constantly adding new brands to their line up which excites me no-end. I’ve placed orders before at 2pm on a weekday and had the products delivered to me at 9am the next morning which, by anybody’s standards, is an amazing feat! Delivery is also free if you spend over €15 and Cloud 10 Beauty often run discount codes and special events so there are definitely bargains to be had! There is also a blog linked with the online store providing insights behind the brand, tutorials and inspiration posts.
FeelUnique is another of my favourite beauty haunts but a warning to the wise first- be aware that FeelUnique ship from Jersey and so the items are susceptible to Irish VAT charges on delivery. This is more of an administrative error than anything- to the best of my knowledge, FeelUnique pay VAT to UK so by virtue of the whole free movement of goods EU thing, you should not be charged VAT here also. If you order from FeelUnique and you are charged customs, you can contact FeelUnique and they will refund this charge- so you won’t be out of pocket, but it is an inconvenience. That aside- I love FeelUnique. They have a vast range of products, amazing deals all the time and their summer and winter sales are great, I’ve found many a treasure whilst browsing. They have a huge selection from drugstore to high end- possibly the most extensive range- and often have discount codes floating around also. Worldwide delivery is free if you spend more than £10 also which is neat (just be careful of that customs issue!) but can take 2-3 weeks in my experience.
As a long time lover of Kerastase hair products, HQHair has been on my radar for years, but in the last few years especially it seems to have had some sort of a rebirth and has upped its game. Again, what I love about this is the fact that there are a huge variety of brands- not just haircare as the name suggests- but cosmetics, skincare, fragrance etc. also. One little tip I have for earning a 20% discount code is to set up an online account, fill your basket, leave it for a few days and then they will email you telling you they miss you and send you a 20% discount code. When you buy as much beauty as I do, every sheckle spared counts! The same principle applies to sister website which is next on my list below, and both websites are run by the Hut Group and very similar- but the reason I have both of these on my list is because of the different free gifts with purchase that they offer- you know spend £30 or more and we’ll give you X, Y or Z. Typically, if I’m stocking up on shampoo or something, I have a routine. On Monday/Tuesday, I fill up my imaginary basket and quit before paying. I get an email on Friday telling me they missed me (seriously) and a 20% discount code. On Saturday morning at 9am I get the email saying X gift is free with purchase of Y amount for both websites, and whichever of the two has the best free gift gets my business. Sometimes it’s a skincare set, fake tan trial kit, makeup brushes, hair brushes, but they’ve also given out Diva curling wands and travel hair dryers in recent times. Bearing in mind that you are saving money on the shampoo anyway AND you’re getting a gift, what’s not to love! They also often have NARS discount codes so you can stock up on your favourite NARS bits and pieces too for less than what you would pay in Brown Thomas! Winning!
So I’ve pretty much already explained my trick to achieving the best bang for buck on the HQHair blurb above, but I’m deliberately separately including Look Fantastic as I use it as much as I use HQHair. If you use one, I really recommend you also keep an eye on the other. The prices for the most part are the same between the two but if you’re savvy and keep an eye on free gifts with purchase with both websites, you might be able to nab yourself the barg of the century. Look Fantastic often give away their beauty box as a free gift with purchase at the weekend and those boxes do be brimming with fab goodies so it’s a nice little bonus. It’s worth signing up to their newsletters to keep abreast of any deals going on- you’ll get one at 9am on the dot on a Saturday morning letting you know what treats await you over the weekend! As with HQ Hair, worldwide delivery is free and as these are shipped from the UK, there are no customs fees to contend with.
Cult Beauty has become a hot favourite of mine in recent years due to the range of brands – both makeup and skincare – that they are stocking- I’m talking Anastasia Beverly Hills, Sunday Riley, Oskia, Becca Cosmetics, Omorovicza, Stila, etc. What I really love about this website is that they offer a 3hr access window if you’ve put your name down on a waitlist for a new / hotly anticipated product which is a godsend (helped me muchly in acquiring my Anastasia Beverly Hills contouring palette) and they also run discount codes and promotions regularly (examples of which conveniently screenshotted above for your reference!) They deliver quickly- about 5 business days- and they include decent samples with their orders also. This website has become my skincare hotspot of choice after setting me off on my love affair with the Oskia Renaissance Cleansing Gel and I am getting perilously closer to actually purchasing the Sunday Riley Good Genes Treatment every time I visit the website.
Ah Sephora, my spiritual home. I could literally spend hours on the Sephora website, filling my imaginary cart, making a mental wishlist of what to pick up on my holidays, lamenting over all the loveliness that we cannot pick up at this side of the Atlantic. In recent years, the situation has improved somewhat and Sephora will deliver certain brands to the UK (and to Ireland via Parcel Motel) but the range of brands isn’t huge and shipping can be quite cumbersome! Brands that Sephora will not ship to Ireland include MakeUp ForEver, Urban Decay, Marc Jacobs, Bobbi Brown, Fresh, Formula X, Laura Mercier etc. You have to spend more than £75 to achieve the flat rate £10 shipping and customs and import fees will be calculated and paid so there will be no nasty little bills when you go to collect your parcel. Nothing quite comes close to the real deal US Sephora experience but it’s a step in the right direction!
Fragrance Direct is the place to go if you’re in the market for discounted Essie/OPI nail polishes and UK high street makeup- some discontinued brands and other brands that are still available in stores at discounted prices. Occasionally they have high end brands at slightly discounted prices also. There isn’t a consistent stock list so if you see a particular lipstick there one week, I wouldn’t count on it still being available the following week- but FD do restock regularly enough. Along with cosmetics and nail polishes, they also offer discounted fragrances, skincare, tanning products and haircare. The shipping cost to Ireland is reasonable and only takes a few days to arrive.
BeautyJoint is the place to go to pick up your US drugstore makeup. Whilst they don’t have ALL the brands, they have a lot of brands that we can’t get on this side of the Atlantic, including Milani, Jordana, LA Girls, LA Colors, e.l.f. Cosmetics, Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics, Kleancolor etc. Shipping is based on weight and is not prohibitively expensive and the pricing is quite reasonable also. They also have a lot of Wet n Wild products that are not otherwise available to us in Ireland which is very handy and they also have a huge selection of theBalm products and some BH Cosmetics products also.
BeautyBay is another good option for those brands that are a little harder to find elsewhere- from Eye of Horus, Cover FX, Laura Geller, Jane Iredale, Louise Young, Peter Thomas Roth etc. They are based in Manchester in the UK so you should not have to incur customs or import fees. I ordered from BeautyBay once before and I think it took a couple of weeks to arrive- prob the guts of 3 weeks- which was disappointing considering it was coming from the UK but still wouldn’t be enough to make me never shop with them again. Also, seeing as how they offer free delivery to Ireland if you spend more than €22, it may be cheaper to pick up some Zoeva from BeautyBay instead of the German Zoeva website as you will not incur the postage costs, even though the costs of the products on BeautyBay are marked up. It’s just worth bearing in mind. BeautyBay also run regular special offers, discount codes etc., so it might be worth signing up to their email list if there is something in particular that interests you.
So those are my top 10 online beauty destinations that I have bookmarked on my computer – tell me what online beauty hotspots do you like to hit up for your beauty haulin’ on the interwebs? Do you have any experience of the websites above that you would like to share?