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What to Look For When Shopping with Online Makeup Stores

Kaitlyn Short
Kaitlyn Short | Senior Editor

Our world is full of people looking for ways to contour, fill in, and outline. We all want to look our best for a date, special occasions, or the chance we run into an old fling. With so many different makeup brands, stores, and styles of makeup, it can be confusing. There are hundreds of makeup stores just within the United States. Here are a few things to look for when choosing an online makeup store:

Loyalty programs

One of the benefits of shopping for makeup online is loyalty or reward programs. Loyalty programs are a staple for almost all product-based stores. Depending on the makeup store, you will receive points each time you make a purchase. Once these points add up to a specific amount, customers can use them like cash toward future purchases. Note the fine print for each loyalty program. Some may require you to sign up for a credit card or simply ask you to subscribe to the company’s marketing email list.


Depending on the makeup store, free shipping may be available. For most companies, free shipping is offered if your order amount exceeds a certain dollar amount. For example, Thrive Causemetics offers free shipping within the United States if your purchase is more than $35. Sephora offers free 3-day shipping within the United States if your purchase is more than $50.

Easy navigation

Shopping online gives customers the comfort of shopping from anywhere. They can easily see available products on their phones, at home, work, or waiting to pick up their kids from school. Customers can also search for specific products or makeup brands. This makes it easy if you are in the market for makeup brushes, eye shadow palette, matte liquid lipstick, or a specific shade of foundation.

Customer reviews

Most stores now offer customer reviews with each product. If you are looking into a new brand or type of makeup product, this will help with your decision. Customers can see what others like or dislike about the item.

Special offers only online

Since online shopping is the trend of our time, companies are always offering discounts, promotions, and free items that are only available online. This is a huge perk for those who do most of their shopping online. Some brands will also offer discounts if you sign up for a monthly membership. These exclusive offers include free shipping, free merchandise, and discounted items.

Beauty tips or blogs

Within the makeup industry, styles are always changing and it can be hard to keep up with the latest makeup trends. Many makeup stores provide video tutorials and blog articles with tips and tricks on how to do your makeup. Whether it’s the smokey eye or contouring your cheekbones, these online stores offer expert advice in the beauty industry, usually from a professional makeup artist.

Waiting for the delivery

While shopping online makes it easy to order your products, it does mean that you will have to wait a few days to get it. For those needing a certain item in a rush, we recommend going into the store.

Matching skin tones and colors

If you have bought the same brand and shade multiple times, then ordering what you like isn’t a problem. However, if you want to try something different or your favorite product was discontinued and you are looking for something new, you need to be cautious. While new products are exciting, there is a risk involved of getting the wrong shade of color. Matching skin tone to your foundation sometimes feels like a shot in the dark. Many beauty stores will have samples for you to try in order to help you find the best match. Unfortunately, you can’t do that with an online store. Makeup companies may try to give advice in blog articles, but be sure to check the return process before buying something new.

Return policies

Returns can be easy and simple or a complete nightmare depending on the company and situation. Pay extra close attention to the company's return policy.

Things to look for in a return policy:

  • How many days after purchase can you return an item?
  • Does the product have to be unopened and in its original packaging?
  • Is there a restocking fee?
  • Will the company pay for the return shipping?
  • Can you return it to a local retail store?
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Makeup Stores Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best makeup store?

Thrive Causemetics has earned the top spot through a mix of highly rated best selling products, low shipping fees, and an environmentally conscious mission.

View other top makeup stores.

What is the return policy?

Every company or brand will have their own return policy. Some offer free returns while others may charge a restocking fee. You can usually find a link to its return policy at the bottom of the home page. If it is unclear or you have additional questions be sure to reach out to the customer service team.

How do I know which store to buy from?

Here at Best Company, we personally review each website listed above. Scores are given to each company through verified user reviews. Each profile has a breakdown of the good and the bad about the company. Consider a few of our top ranking makeup stores first to see if one of them will fit your needs.

How long will it take to get my order?

The length of time it takes for an order to be delivered depends on a few different things. First, the length depends on where the makeup store warehouse is located. If it is on the other side of the country expect several days to a week for delivery. Second, shipping time may vary depending on the size and weight of the product. Third, it will also depend on the shipping method a customer chose during the checkout process. Some companies offer 2-day shipping for an extra fee but more often than not, standard shipping rates apply with the order arriving within 3–5 business days.

Does the company ship internationally?

Each company will have its own international shipping policy. Most makeup stores only ship within the U.S. If the company does offer international shipping check the website for international shipping rates.

Are the products cruelty-free and vegan?

A popular question within the beauty industry is whether or not the makeup products are tested on animals and/or if the product ingredients are vegan. With this request becoming a trend a lot of makeup companies are changing to a cruelty-free and vegan process for its products. For complete peace of mind please refer to each companies website to ensure that it is a cruelty-free and vegan company.

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