makeup shopping online tips to save money

The last 12 months have been unprecedented in our modern times and have undoubtedly changed the way we behave, including our shopping habits. Makeup shopping during the pandemic has posed many challenges; if you are able to visit a department store or drug store, testers are right out of the question. Shops have been closed during lockdown, so we have had to figure out how to buy makeup virtually.

Unfortunately, cosmetics are not the type of products you can return once you’ve opened and tried them. Even though many of us are working from home and not venturing out of the house very much, we still love to put a bit of makeup on. I am giving you some invaluable advice on how to buy makeup online so that you can choose with confidence and not waste your time and money.

makeup brushes in a pink makeup bag lying on a laptop keyboard
photos courtesy of Lucy Hannah Branding Photography

Virtual Makeup Try-On

Using the magic of technologies, many cosmetic brands now have virtual try-on cameras on their websites so that you can “try” different looks or products. Pinterest also has a feature where you can try on makeup virtually. I have tried it, I don’t think the colours are accurate at all, but it is kinda fun!

My top tips for virtual makeup try-on:

  • Wear a light base of foundation and concealer (you don’t want to look jacked up with dark circles and eye makeup)
  • Use your phone or tablet, rather than your laptop
  • Stand facing a window, or in good lighting (I love my ring light for this)
  • Remove glasses and pin your hair back

Urban Decay has a great try-on camera to help you buy makeup virtually, have a play!

eye shadow palette and makeup brush on a white table
photos courtesy of Lucy Hannah Branding Photography

Sample Sizes

I’ve noticed that some brands are offering more travel size or sample size products, which is ideal for makeup shopping during the pandemic. This way you can try the products without making a full financial commitment. 

Illamasqua has packet samples of their foundations available for £1 each (plus postage) and lots of other minis available to try. 

Feelunique have an entire section of mini makeup and skincare products.

Cult Beauty always has great brands that you can’t find anywhere else.

Charlotte Tilbury has tiny travel treats that are still very luxe.

You can also find taster size luxury beauty at Selfridges.

Boots has a great selection of well known brands and more niche brands too, all travel size to try.

makeup artist applying makeup on herself on a laptop screen during an online makeup lesson
photos courtesy of Lucy Hannah Branding Photography

Online Makeup Consultation

Most of the big makeup brands now offer an online consultation service. You can speak with an advisor in a chat box, but also the likes of Charlotte Tilbury offer an appointment video consultation. These are great for having any of your questions answered or getting shade recommendations. Remember when doing your makeup shopping, these advisers are sales people and they are geared towards upselling you products, so don’t go too crazy!

Do you know about my Virtual Makeup Lessons? It is a one-to-one service I created just for you, to teach you my professional techniques, make product recommendations, and help you with makeup shopping during the pandemic. Click to find out more.

Do the Research

Before spending lots of money on makeup that may or may not work out for you, take the time to do the research. Reading product reviews and blogs are a good way to get an idea of the quality of a cosmetic, and whether it actually does what it claims to do. Look for reviews from verified purchases. Be wary of Amazon reviews as many of these are written by people who have been supplied with free product or other incentives. I like MakeupAlley to research brands and products. It is American-centric, but it has a good range of honest reviews.

I also have quite a few videos on IGTV now, where I am doing demos on Thursday evenings. I use lots of products and give my honest opinions. Be sure to check them out on Instagram!

three women trying makeup on in a shop
Let’s face is, using makeup testers like this was always kinda gross!

Makeup shopping during the pandemic looks different to what we have known before. We now have to adapt and learn how to buy makeup virtually, using technology that is available and consulting online like never before. I hope that my tips will help you make good choices! And if you have any questions get in touch on Instagram or comment below.

Lots of love and big smooshy hugs,

Vicky xxx

tips for makeup shopping during the pandemic