The beauty industry has evolved immensely over the last few years, and the online market is an element of this. There are still concerns when purchasing beauty products online, as there is little way to ‘try before you buy’. Many brands are responding to this with new services, but there are still key things to bear in mind before making an online purchase.


As the wide selection of beauty products increases, so does the confusion navigating around to find the right product for you. There is a plethora of online beauty magazines, blogs, apps, influencer pages and more that can provide advice on the latest products in the market. Many beauty brands now provide expert advice through dedicated sections on their own websites. Beauty and cosmetic brand Lush has a built-in live web chat expert who can recommend products based on skin concern and complexion information you provide.

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Testing and reviews

There may be apprehension to purchase a new product online without testing it first, so look for websites that offer online videos as an alternative to in-store demos. Some innovative brands are offering virtual application apps via mobile to help you decide. If you’re really keen to ‘try before you buy’ online, then subscription boxes such as Birchbox are a great way to test products before committing to a purchase. Some websites offer a free sample of a product with every purchase, allowing you to try a new product easily. Without the ability to physically test a product, be sure to read customer reviews and product ratings before committing to a purchase. Many beauty websites now include this information against every product listed online. If you don’t have much time, look for websites that include an overall product star rating (usually out of five) based on the average rating of previous customer reviews. If you want to research further afield, check out the constant flow of expert reviews from reputable lifestyle online magazines, beauty bloggers and makeup artist influencers that you trust.

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Style and inspiration

In the last decade beauty products have taken centre stage for style. With many high-fashion magazines detailing the latest catwalk beauty trends, fashion retailers releasing beauty ranges and the explosion of makeup artists and influencers online, it’s never been easier for everyone to become beauty experts. If you want the latest looks and innovative products, then head to those beauty websites that include lots of inspiration. MAC cosmetics features a range of make-up tutorial videos if you want to experiment with your look or be inspired to purchase a new product. Following influencers, celebrities and make-up artists on social media can be a great way to discover a beauty style and regime that suits you.

Ingredients - personal needs

Everyone has different skin types and need beauty products to compliment them. When browsing online, bear in mind not all products will react well to your skin, so read the ingredients list before making a purchase. For example if you have sensitive skin, try to look for products that are made from certified natural ingredients, fragrance-free or state that they are suitable for sensitive skin to minimise the chance of a bad reaction. Many beauty brands allow you to speak to a beauty expert through a live web chat function, meaning you can ask the relevant questions and be recommended a fitting product.

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Ingredients - ethical beauty

Ethical and sustainable ingredients are important factors for many people when making a purchase. The global rise of veganism has affected the beauty industry and the way many brands develop products. Be sure to purchase from brands that clearly state on their website that their products are vegan or cruelty-free if you are concerned about the welfare of animals. The beauty industry has also come under fire from many for its excessive plastic use. If you’re conscious of your plastic use, then purchase products from websites that are transparent about their packaging for example those that sell soaps or shampoo bars in paper wrapping instead of in a plastic bottle or those that use recyclable packaging. Many countries have banned the use of plastic microbeads in personal care products but be extra careful to read all the ingredients before purchasing as some items may still contain environmentally harmful elements.

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Digital platforms are redefining how beauty shoppers discover, evaluate and purchase cosmetic and personal care products. With the wide choice to choose from, make sure you consider the above to purchase the right product for you.

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