Read This Before You Buy Makeup Online...

Most makeup-obsessed people have love-hate relationships with online shopping. We revel in the luxury of ordering an eyeliner and a sandwich while watching Netflix in our sweats, and we're all for refilling our tried-and-true must-haves with just a couple clicks. But we know it's a risk to splurge on a new product that we can't actually see or touch in real life. We still do it, of course, but quite often what lands at our doorstep is not what we'd expected.

Since we'd never give up our couch-shopping habit, we're determined to crack this online beauty world. So we turned to a few of our most trusted makeup artist friends. With their expert insight, we've laid out a plan for making sure we're just as excited when we get our next delivery as we are every time we leave the makeup counter.
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Photographed by Tom Corbett.
Designed by Mallory Heyer.
The number of informative outlets our generation has access to these days is limitless, which is why you should always make it a priority to investigate a product before making an impulsive purchase. "If I don’t have the luxury of trying out eyeshadows and lipsticks in person, I like to see how the colors and shades look on skin in either videos or photos," says celebrity makeup artist Hinako.

Beyoncé's makeup artist Sir John agrees, adding that if you love a certain color or texture, simply google it. "You're gonna see girls wearing it, you're gonna see girls swatching it, and you're gonna see girls talking about it — click over to videos, and you're gonna see someone demoing it. There's so much information available that there's no way you can't get a quick, easy visual."
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Photographed By Lauren Perlstein.
Designed By Mallory Heyer.
Loyalty and/or rewards programs are surefire ways to save, earn points for store credit, and gain access to exclusive online deals. "Loyalty programs can be great for those who shop for their beauty products often or regularly, because it’s always nice to get bonuses for spending your money," says makeup artist Roxy. "I definitely think it’s worth it to sign up, as there are different perks with each program — some are point-based and offer [sample] products in exchange for your points, so you get to try new products practically for free," adds makeup artist Kristee Liu.
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Photographed By Jens Ingvarsson.
Designed By Mallory Heyer.
Whatever your shopping style, Hinako explains that it can prove super-beneficial to compare prices prior to heading to the checkout. "The very best way to make sure you get the best deal on products is to compare and research the same product from different online retailers," he suggests. "And with so much information at your fingertips, it’s a breeze." Plus, you never know what site could be having a special deal or sale that day.
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Photographed by Winnie Au.
Designed By Mallory Heyer.
Hinako says that if you're an obsessive makeup-buyer, the best thing to do is to obsess about what you already have. "Organize your collection and find what you’re missing, instead of buying the same thing over and over," he says. So next time you're about to purchase a new shadow, blush, whatever it is — be sure there's something that sets it apart from the rest of your makeup arsenal.
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Photographed By Lauren Perlstein.
Designed By Mallory Heyer.
Many companies include super-detailed product explanations, and every makeup artist we talked to agreed that they're incredibly helpful when buying online. So take advantage! "The online community and retailers now are so good at talking about the payoff, which is really important when it comes to lip color," Sir John says. "They’ll say it’s sheer-to-medium coverage, or it’s sheer with a nice gold pearl or luster, or it’s matte with a jojoba moisturizing content — so it takes a lot of the questions in your head away."
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Designed By Mallory Heyer.
The internet is essentially one massive tangled web of bloggers, vloggers, and "gurus" who divulge their opinions and show off their skillz on the reg. But Sir John says you should be wary of who you let educate you.

"If you look...at your Twitter and your Instagram feed, you'll see tons of tutorials of people who [do] contouring or baking, and it can look clown-like," he says. "That's when you say to yourself, 'Is this where I want to get my education from?' If not, close that door or channel and go to another that you trust...a makeup artist who's been in the business for a long time, or a celebrity who has a long-standing aesthetic that you appreciate and respect." Makeup artists such as Charlotte Tilbury, Lisa Eldridge, and Monika Blunder have never steered us wrong.
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Photographed By Erin Yamagata.
Designed By Mallory Heyer.
Don't get us wrong: We'll always have Sephora bookmarked. Hinako swears by indie and niche retailers like Reed Clarke and Ichibankao. "Reed Clarke has a unique selection of cool products that aren’t found in other stores," he says. As for Ichibankao: "It's an online store from Japan that has many high-quality and different products that can’t be found in the States." Don't be afraid to wander the web — you might be pleasantly surprised.
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Photographed By Ben Ritter.
Designed By Mallory Heyer.
Though this story is all about helping you become a better online shopper, there are still times (like when you're buying something on the splurgy side) when it's best to get your butt to the store. "I wouldn't buy pressed powder online," says Sir John. "It just looks like a flat disk — like looking at bare paint swatches at a counter at Home Depot. It's not indicative of what you're gonna get in the box." The same goes for certain eye products. "Eyeshadow is one of those things you wanna touch and feel," he says.
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Photographed By Jens Ingvarsson.
Designed By Mallory Heyer.
If you loathe getting color-matched at a beauty counter or simply prefer to take the reins, we suggest test-driving a personalized app. Makeup artist Vincent Oquendo recommends Jay Manuel Beauty App, which uses a patented color-matching technology to help you find what shades suit your skin best without hitting the store. It matches you with makeup based on what kind of look you want. "It helps demystify finding foundations, colors, and all of that — and if something new comes out, they'll let you know," he says. L'Oréal's Color Genius app is similar, but uses your outfit as a basis for suggesting makeup.
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Photographed By Erin Yamagata.
Designed By Mallory Heyer.
Homegirls, we know firsthand how insanely tempting it can be to get caught up in the hype of new products and looks. But when it comes to experimenting with seasonal beauty trends, Sir John advises not to do it online. "The trendy stuff has such an emotional allure, and such a connection to your personality and to how you feel," he says, that it should be an at-the-counter purchase. Plus, it's always fun to talk to a beauty associate about the seasonal aesthetic. "Go to a counter to understand the philosophy or the psychology; to find out why the trends are the trends for the season," Sir John says. Before you splurge on an of-the-moment item you saw on the runway, you should make sure it's something you actually want IRL.
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Photographed By Tom Corbett.
Designed By Mallory Heyer.
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