In the November issue of ShopSmart, the editors checked out more than two dozen beauty sites to find the best ones, screening out sites with bad Better Business Bureau records, no contact information, poor return policies or high shipping fees and ones where items were bundled (Amazon’s best cosmetic deals were in multipacks). We’ve narrowed the list even further to include only our favorites, and we couldn’t agree more with the results:
Best Overall Selection: Beauty.com
Shipping: Free if you spend $49 or more.
Return policy: 30 days on unopened products or, for certain items, if you don’t like the color. Returns cost $4.99 unless a product is damaged or incorrect or the color is wrong.
Great for Hard-to-Find Products: Beautyhabit.com
Shipping: Free on orders of $100 or more; otherwise $5.95.
Return policy: 14 days on most items. No returns on opened or used products.
Great for Trendy Brands: Beautyofasite.com
Shipping: Free on orders over $75; otherwise $5.95 to $8.95.
Return policy: 30 days. You pay for return shipping unless the product was damaged. All returns are for exchange or store credit only. There are no refunds or returns on color cosmetics.
Best Prices: Buymebeauty.com
Shipping: Free on orders of $35 or more; $4.95 on orders of less than $35.
Return policy: 30 days. Products must be unused and unopened, unless they are defective. You have to call or e-mail before returning products; you will also have to pay the costs of return shipping.
Great Return Policy: Cosmeticmall.com
Shipping: $5.95 plus 93 cents per pound.
Return policy: 30 days. You can return most products for any reason, even after they’re opened.
Great Drugstore Makeup Section: Drugstore.com
Shipping: Free on your first nonprescription order of $25 or more; free on orders of $49 or more after that.
Return policy: 30 days. Returns are free if a product is damaged, defective, or incorrect. Returns are free on certain products if you don’t like the color. Otherwise, products must be unopened and unused.
Great for Freebies: Sephora.com
Shipping: Free on orders over $50; otherwise $5.95.
Return policy: 60 days. Free return shipping. Store credit after 60 days.
Great for Organic Products: Skinbotanica.com
Shipping: Free on orders over $49; otherwise $5.95.
Return policy: 60 days.
P.S. ShopSmart is a fabulous magazine from the publisher of Consumer Reports. If you’re not reading it, you really should be! There ae no ads, only the best reviews for products you want. They break down what is worth your money and what to leave on the shelf.