How To Avoid “Blind Buying” When Online Shopping

online shopping makeup

The hardest part of online shopping is risking your money on something you might not like. Follow these tips to try before you buy.

One potential drawback to online shopping for cosmetics is purchasing something without the ability to test it out first. If it is a new item that you have not used in the past, it can be a little risky picking something out based on pictures alone.

So what do you do when you’ve found a great deal online for a makeup or perfume you’ve been dying to try, but you’re not sure if it will work for you. You don’t want to risk wasting your money, so there are a couple of strategies I use to ensure I do not end up with a graveyard of unused beauty items underneath my bathroom sink.

Ask for samples

My first suggestion would be to do a little “test drive” of those cosmetics or perfumes you are curious about. All upscale department and cosmetics stores (think Macy’s, Ulta, or Sephora) have beauty departments with plenty of cosmetic and perfume samples available to try or spray. If the product you wanted to try isn’t out on the tester counter, simply let the salesperson know what you are looking to test. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for a little sample to bring home with you. Make sure that you walk outside and check the color with your tested product still on your face. Those beauty department lights can be deceiving—just like a dressing room skinny mirror!

I have found this sampling method especially helps when selecting the correct foundation shade. The salesperson can usually pinpoint my skin tone and match my foundation color much faster and more accurately than I could ever do myself with those odd, online foundation shade matchers.

Comparison shop online

Once you’ve got your list of must haves from your sampling spree, it’s time to go home and hop on the Internet to start hunting down the best deals for those same products, but with a much smaller price tag.

A definite must before purchasing any new beauty item, especially if you just aren’t comfortable with the “test drive” method, is to research the product by reading real customer reviews. On, you will find plenty of feedback on hundreds of health and beauty products that will really help impact your decision when making a cosmetic investment.

Another great source for information on makeup is YouTube. If there is a beauty product to be reviewed, you can pretty much bet on there being a video tutorial of that product by someone on YouTube. To ensure that you’re getting genuine feedback about the item, make sure you are watching real people review the products. Avoid videos sponsored or produced by the cosmetic companies. Also, try to find “live demonstration” videos of people actually applying the product.

Ask others

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Finally, (90/100) is an amazing website that is basically like a social network dedicated to all things health and beauty. You can read in-depth, candid reviews on every beauty product imaginable, from lip gloss to hair color, from thousands of different brands.

Once you join as a member (free, of course), you can set up a profile. You then have access to the boards where you may post questions for advice on different products, read hundreds of honest and thoughtful reviews, and even have the opportunity to swap and exchange beauty products with other members on the site. It also has a ton of great beauty ideas and skin secrets that you would never have thought of. I am always learning a new, sometimes crazy beauty tip on

Viewpoint viewers rely on for their makeup buying tips and advice as well;

“If you need to know if spending $30.00 on that ‘currently all-the-rage’ vibrating, lengthening, separating, volumizing mascara is going to be worth it, wait up and give this site a try, you’ll get oodles of suggestions for something that may be even better and save you a lot of dough in the process. A great way to learn all about a cosmetic item before you buy it.”ApriBambino, Reviewer since 2009

“This is a great site if you are looking for reviews on products from ordinary people like you. When considering on trying a new product or if I am looking for a new product I want to know how actual users think of the product not what marketing spin misters have to say.”imm476, Reviewer since 2007

“The best part of the site is the product review section where one can find reviews on everything beauty, from disposable razors to expensive night cream.  And these are honest reviews from consumers just like you and me.  With as much money as beauty costs these days, I will rarely try a new item without consulting the reviews on this site.”kaestu, Reviewer since 2007

“With so many products to choose from, unless you or someone you know has tried a product you have to believe the advertisement and hype, but with sites like Makeup Alley you can find out what users really think of the product….. Some of the “as seen on TV” brands are not available at the stores, so it is nice to have an unbiased forum to review before purchasing a product you are not sure about.  In this economy not many people are willing to throw their money around so much so having a site like this is beneficial.”tothemoon, Reviewer since 2009

Hopefully some of these tips will be helpful in saving you money on your beauty items and, in turn, make you a more confident and savvy internet shopper!

G.G. Saar G.G. Saar (12 Posts)

G.G. Saar is a professional belly dancer with experience in the modeling and entertainment industry. She has tried a wide range of beauty and makeup products and loves to share her experience with others.