Better way to buy beauty products online?
May 30, 2012 4:40 PM   Subscribe

How/Why to buy beauty products online?

isn't there a cosmetics review site where I can plug in my skin type and get some product recommendations and a lot of commentary about what's good and bad. kind of like tripadvisor for lipstick meets the darling child of pinterest.
posted by lapsang to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (11 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Sounds like you want
posted by instamatic at 4:41 PM on May 30, 2012 [3 favorites]

wow instamatic, that was pretty instantaneous. makeupalley looks slightly odd, even broken. will definitely check it out thanks.

any other sites come to mind?
posted by lapsang at 4:46 PM on May 30, 2012 You can subscribe to samples every month...a fun box to get and I've found some great finds!! Then you get discounts on the full size products...
posted by pearlybob at 4:47 PM on May 30, 2012 [2 favorites]

I also recommend MUA for reviews. The site IS slightly odd to use, but if you take some time getting used to it, I think it's a gold mine of honest reviews about what works, and for what skin/color, etc. You have to log in to see the reviews, by the way.

I tried Birchbox and the first box they sent me had nothing to do with my skin, coloring, age, or other preferences. And it was missing half its samples. After some research, I discovered that it's sort of an ongoing problem for them, being hit-or-miss. Take it with a grain of salt, I guess.

I haven't found exactly what you're looking for - closest is watching cosmetics review tumblrs that take questions. Lots of people ask for product recommendations that would work for me, too.
posted by asciident at 5:04 PM on May 30, 2012

Makeupalley is kind of Web 1.5 but it's the definitive site with the most and best information. Definitely a weird corner of the web where appearance has nothing to do with quality of content. Their forums are also extremely helpful (whenever I see an in-depth makeup or beauty question here on the green I cringe and wish they'd just post on MUA, to be honest).
posted by telegraph at 5:21 PM on May 30, 2012 [3 favorites]

I'm a fan of Beautypedia...(.com)

I've read Paula Begoun's books on cosmetics since the mid-90's; she's the mastermind behind the site. The science just makes since to me. I have the app on my phone. It's really quite insightful.
posted by Kronur at 5:33 PM on May 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

Yeah, MakeupAlley is the shit. I actually appreciate its non-gimmicky, text-based web design. My only minor quibble about the reviews is that they tend to skew slightly towards drugstore stuff, but the message boards more than make up for it.

I think the skincare board and the face of the day board, where people post pictures of themselves modeling different make-up looks, with a list of the products they used, are the best. You can find awesome recommendations for stuff like cleansers and sun protection on the skin care board, and the FOTD board has made me a lot more confident in just messing around with my make-up until I get something to look pretty.

If you're looking to buy, my only rule is to never pay retail. There are so many sites out there (instead of, say, Sephora) that run 20% off sales regularly that I make a game out of not paying full price.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 6:40 PM on May 30, 2012

If there's a product you become interested in via Makeupalley or another way, I recommend using google to search name of product reviews - it's likely that a lot of bloggers will have reviewed and swatched the product. It's more work than reading Makeupalley reviews, but you get better photos.
posted by insectosaurus at 6:45 PM on May 30, 2012

Temptalia swatches the *daylights* out of stuff, does reviews and has a good database of dupes - I can't find a dupe for Mac's discontinued The Perfect Cheek though (grumble).
posted by ersatzkat at 4:12 AM on May 31, 2012 [1 favorite]

I am in LOVE with

They have great brands, a terrific selection and amazing prices. This stuff is discontinued or may not be in the box you're familiar with, but it's all the real-deal.

I get a ton of Urban Decay through them, also Tarte and Dior and Clinque. They have everything including brands I've never heard of.

I always get exactly what I expect. Sometimes they even throw in a freebie.

If you're looking for elcheapo deals and not something specific, this is the place!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:26 AM on May 31, 2012 [1 favorite]

Places like Ulta and Sephora will take anything back within 60 days, so even if you're paying retail, sometimes it's worth it to have that return policy. (The comments/questions section at Sephora has always been pretty helpful.)
posted by getawaysticks at 6:36 AM on May 31, 2012

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