My Guide to Online Beauty Shopping


Over the years I feel like I've become a bit of a pro when it comes to online bargain-hunting. I like to take little steps that aren't too much extra effort and these days I'm far more comfortable with buying beauty products online in general. I was kindly gifted a voucher to spend on Octer, a new online shopping channel, to see how the site worked so I thought I'd share with you my tips and tricks for online beauty shopping then what I bought with the voucher.

Shop Around

My first tip is to shop around for the best deal on those products you always know you're going to repurchase. I often stock up on my everyday skincare products when online sites do offers like 1/3 off French Pharmacy Skincare because I know I will need a new one eventually, even if I'm not running out now. 

The Octer app and website are really handy for this because they bring together the online sites of the major department stores like Debenhams and John Lewis plus some of my favourite online-only sites like the various Hut Group incarnations. Think 'what Google shopping should be' - it's not just beauty but the panel of retailers means you get the rubbish filtered out (like the random eBay sellers and sketchy-looking sites...) and a much slicker experience overall. If I want to repurchase my Urban Decay concealer, for example, I can just do a search and it will bring up the cheapest option first out of the legitimate retailers I know and love then refers me to the site to place my order. 

I definitely think the days of loyalty to a particular store are long gone. I always try to resist the urge to just buy something there and then (unless it's a bit of a 'treat' purchase) and check online after I see something I like the look of to scout out who has the best deal. It also stops you impulse-buying!

Discount Codes, Mailing Lists, Apps & Loyalty Cards

This is an obvious one but I'd recommend signing up to loyalty schemes (as every single major retailer now let's you use them online). Also think outside the box; it's not just about the Boots Advantage Card these days as so many retailers you might not even expect to now operate them such as ASOS, KIKO and Escentual. The cards I get the most mileage out of are the Debenhams Beauty Club card because they really regularly do massive bonuses (their £10 of points for a £50 spend deal pretty much funded my entire MAC palette!) and Space NK because it's so easy to spend the £100 you need to in order to get a £5 NCentive and both allow part-payment by points. 

Definitely enquire about these schemes and check the website properly as they aren't always advertised (the same goes for student discounts): if you don't ask you don't get. Also ensure you are on the mailing list for your favourite sites as there's always a discount code on somewhere (and if there isn't one in my inbox, I always Google for one before I place an order). Some sites like Look Fantastic will even send you one if you have something in your basket you haven't checked out or haven't shopped with them for a few weeks. Apps are also great for exclusive discount codes and loyalty schemes - the Boots one is my favourite as they do new deals every week, even on everyday items you're buying anyway like deodorant.

Check it Out In-Store First

My #1 tip is that if you've spotted something you want online that might be cheaper to buy that way or is out of stock in-store is to swatch it/get a sample/whatever in person then order it online later. If you have a Selfridges near you and spot something you like but have a £5 reward on your Debenhams card and they're also doing 10% off then it makes no sense to buy it there and then (unless it's purely as a treat or you need it that day). Do your swatching and everything in Selfridges then do free next day delivery into store with Debenhams when you get home. Not all department stores have their full range in-store so it really is worth doing a free click and collect if you're going to save money over buying it in-store elsewhere.

Blogs & Swatches

You're probably aware of this given you're reading a blog! Sometimes it's just not possible to see something in person, depending on where you live or if it's an online-only product so check out loads of swatches and reviews online (I rarely find a product I'm after that hasn't been swatched on Temptalia!) I personally find that many online-only brands such as ColourPop and Makeup Geek also offer superior value for money, perhaps as they don't have as many overheads, and for me your Revlons and Rimmels don't really compare and they're at a similar price-point! So I personally think it's well worth going to that extra little bit of effort. If it's something like foundation then you can check out blogs where you know the blogger has a similar skin tone to you or wears the same shade in other brands to help you to make your decision.

My New Things

Onto the good stuff: the products I picked up in my little Octer haul. I ordered through Selfridges via their site and just did a free next day collection in-store.


As soon as these powders were launched, my jaw dropped! They are stunning even just in the pan and were definitely something I had to have on my face! I decided that of the two colours, Epic would be best-suited to my skin-tone. It has this stunning dewy metallic finish and the colour is this pearly golden-bronze. It isn't glittery in the slightest, it just gives the skin this stunning sheen. The formula is beautifully creamy and just blends out with zero effort. You get so much product for your money that I do really think this is worth splurging on!


My expectations for this lipstick were sky high as it was my first ever from Tom Ford! Even though I was kindly gifted a voucher, I still went for the more affordable mini Lips & Boys (I got the shade Cary). I don't even have to point it out but the packaging is stunning! It's just so premium and it's already killing me to ruin the 'TF' embossment on the bullet. Cary is a gorgeous deep rosy pink shade. The formula is creamy, pigmented and has a slight sheen. It's surprisingly long-lasting and even when it does begin to wear away, it fades down to a natural, non-streaky stain. Overall, yes it is very expensive for a lipstick and at the end of the day it is just a lipstick, however I do really love it. I'd recommend at least putting one of these on a birthday or Christmas list as there's something about getting an expensive product as a gift that makes it ok! The Lips & Boys are a great place to start if you've never tried Tom Ford before because it doesn't require quite such a huge spend.


What are your top tips for online beauty shopping?





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*DISCLOSURE - PRODUCTS MARKED WITH AN ASTERISK ARE PR SAMPLES/GIFTS. 
ALL OPINIONS ARE MY OWN. 
PLEASE VISIT MY DISCLOSURE PAGE FOR MORE INFORMATION.
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42 comments

  1. Thank you for all of these tips! They will come in handy the next time I see something I really want to order! I will definitely check out the Octer website! Lovely post!X

    Amyx Makeupwithmissa.blogspot.co.uk

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  2. I've never heard of Octer but I'm going to check it out now :) I love adding up all my Boots points and using them on a more luxury item because then I don't feel bad about buying it! I always stock up on Garnier's Micellar Water whenever I see it on offer somewhere, even if, like you said I don't need it now but I know I will need it! I find online it's easier to find bargains as I don't have to trawl the aisles, I can just do it in a few clicks haha!


    Emily // Beauty and Lifestyle Blog

    xx

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    1. I love that too haha - so much more satisfying than using your points on boring stuff! xx

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  3. L O V E the look of both of these products! You also shared great tips which were really worth reading - thanks for sharing :) xo

    Char | www.charslittleblog.blogspot.co.uk

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  4. Shopping around is key! Love the sound of this app, like comparethemarket.com for makeup! Xx

    ALittleKiran | Bloglovin

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  5. These are great tips! I sometimes find online swatches (especially the ones with and without flash) more accurate than the ones we do at the shops, where the lights aren't very helpful, which is why I will always be more likely to buy makeup online!

    http://fannyanddailybeauty.com

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  6. Love the Tom Ford lipsticK. Sophie X

    https://stylestarsandsparkle.blogspot.co.uk

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  7. Thanks so much for the tips. even I stock up on skincare items when I get a good bargain, since I know I will be needing them eventually. Great post :)

    Recently Posted: PAC Auto Lip Liner Ruby review

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    1. Definitely - it's so worth stocking up if you know you'll need it again! xx

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  8. I've never heard of this app but I'm always looking for ways to save online so i'll definitely check it out. I love using loyalty cards and always search online for promo codes before buying anything.

    Roxie | The Beautiful Bluebird

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  9. These are great tips. I try to compare as much as possible, but when I'm out shopping it's harder at the moment as I just don't have the energy to go to different shops & then back to the one with the best deal. I think Selfridges are missing a trick not having a rewards card. I won't buy anything from Selfridges if I can go & get it from Debenhams or Boots & get reward points too! So I tend to only buy brands like Illamasqua, CT or MAC ( because my Debenhams doesn't have a MAC counter & I've found the online range limited) from Selfridges. Xx

    Tania | When Tania Talks

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    1. I totally agree - Selfridges really should get one as it would make me shop with them over others as I'm exactly the same xx

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  10. Great tips, Jasmine! I tend to use vouchercodes.co.uk before committing to a purchase and I love it when stackable offers work - have nabbed some bargains in the past x

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  11. oh my goodness that Tom Ford lipstick is STUNNING!! I have told myself I will get one on my birthday! So that WILL be happening lol. Just need to wait until November now lol

    Erin || MakeErinOver

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  12. I've just downloaded the app, it sounds like it'd be really useful! I love that you said it's what Google Shopping SHOULD be, I completely agree!
    That Tom Ford lipstick is a gorgeous shade x

    Rhi | www.rinkydinkyrhi.com

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  13. I always find myself putting pans from MUG in my cart on beauty bay then googling a swatch for the colour, it's a life saver! I've collected quite a few loyalty cards and they make me save so much money on things!
    Charlotte // www.charlottespicks.com

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    1. I don't know what I'd do without online swatches for buying MUG eyeshadows! xx

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  14. Discount codes are amazing!! And its always good to check your sizes and stuff in store first!! <3 Lovely post!

    Amelia | http://amelia-g.blogspot.com.au/

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  15. Definitely my top tip is check out swatches. So many times i've ordered stuff in a rush and they've been a completely different shade to how it looked online. That highlighter looks so pretty - i must check it out xx

    LPage Beauty

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    1. Agreed! The only website I trust the swatches on is ColourPop's! xx

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  16. I don't know where I would be without swatches to help me choose shades when buying online! It always seems to work out much cheaper online too!

    Danielle's Beauty Blog

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  17. I really think I'm going to be spending a lot of time on Octer now... it's such an amazing idea! Also LOVE the Tom Ford lipstick! It's such a beautiful colour!

    Katya | The Beauty Harbour

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  18. Seriously helpful, thanks for sharing! I am in love with your blog also by the way! x

    adelelydia.blogspot.com

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  19. Never heard of this app but sounds good. I'm going to check that out. Both TF and Illamasqua goodies are pretty Jasmine.
    Ash | www.mstantrum.com

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  20. Both of the products you got are gorgeous! I actually order makeup from eBay a lot, depending on the product and the seller's reviews, and I haven't been disappointed yet! I definitely need to sign up for more mailing lists though x

    www.beautyfromkatie.blogspot.com

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    1. I do sometimes order drugstore products from eBay based on a bit of digging as you say, however I just don't trust it for high-end products! xx

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  21. Great tips! When I shop online I always get the wrong shade of everything haha but I will definitely try those advices.
    Both products you bought look really cool by the way!

    http://estefaniareviews.blogspot.mx

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  22. Gorgeous flatlay lovely and some great tips to match, I always check out swatches on blogs.
    Cary looks like such a good colour, quite similar to Lady Rose from RFA, I love those kinds of shades and can always count on you to provide some more options!

    www.Barely There Beauty.com | British Beauty & Lifestyle blog

    xx

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  23. Both the products you've swatched here look so gorgeous, I need them!

    Lauren Ashleigh xx

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  24. I love shopping online!
    These are great tips.
    Make-up, skincare, I've even started buying handbags (pre-loved and vintage) online.
    Must leave the house!!

    http://a-woman-of-a-certain-age.com/

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  25. the illamasqua highlighters look so beautiful! I always shop around online and pretty much stalk swatches for everything haha! great tips :)

    http://claresloves.blogspot.com/

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  26. I've never heard of Octer before but like the idea that it checks all sites for prices to save you the hassle! xx

    Beautylymin| Bobbi Brown Define & Glow Palette Gift Set Giveaway

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  27. Good tips. One more, join whatever club you can so you can get free stuff!

    Batty4Beauty.com

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  28. Thank you for your comments - hope you found this useful! xx

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  29. Great tips! I love #GIRLBOSS so much, I've read it twice!

    Janelle x
    http://www.roseryapparel.com/blog/

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  30. Have you read #Girlboss? Or is it just a cute prop? I would highly recommend reading it now, it's super informative and fun.

    http://thebookwormbeauty.com

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    1. I'm currently reading it. I wouldn't buy a book as a 'cute prop', it just happened to be on my bedside when I was taking some photos so I thought I'd throw it in...

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