For shopping, video tutorials and live chats, these are the sites you want to have on your favourites list.

Online health and beauty sites are a win-win situation when it comes to value for money, wide product ranges and speedy delivery. Compared to traditional bricks and mortar department store beauty halls, online make-up and skincare sites can hold larger inventories, giving you a better chance of grabbing a ‘must-have’ item before it sells out. They’re also great destinations for beauty junkies looking for a bargain on a big brand name, or to discover new independent brands who are often trialled online before hitting stores.

Most online beauty retailers will incentivise customers with free samples at checkout, loyalty schemes and generous gifting bundles – another tick in the ‘pro’ column for buying your beauty online.

A drawback however comes to the sensory aspect of skincare and make-up purchasing. Not an issue if you are simply looking to re-purchase a well-loved favourite at a cheaper price, but if you are searching for a new shade, or the texture of a product is important – it can be frustrating. That said, colour technology has come a long way in the last few years and beauty brands have had to up their game to offer reassurance to shoppers – offering more realistic swatching on a range of skin tone and video content to give customers a more realistic view of how make-up looks in real-life.

Beauty websites are a font of knowledge too if you are a little lost and need some guidance - often offering great tutorials and ‘how-to’ guides from skincare routines to hair styling tips – many have live chat facilities so you can quiz an expert, much like you would traditionally, on counter.

Here are some favourite online beauty destinations, plus our favourite buys this summer:

Cult Beauty


www.cultbeauty.co.uk



The name says it all – its *the* destination for stand-out beauty brands. If you’re a beauty newbie and want the latest expert guidance and knowledge, head here. Co-founder Alexia Inge wanted to create a shoppable ‘hall of fame’ of the very best ‘treasure trove of beauty products’ from cult, niche and on-trend brands. You’ll find absolute beauty legends stocked alongside new and emerging global brands. We love the ‘Top 10’ edit for a quick round-up of the ‘best in class’ – from retinols to hair masks to help you cut through the overwhelming range of products on offer. The blog is an encyclopedia of tips and beauty news too.

Shopping list: Drunk Elephant Vitamin C Day Serum to bring skin out of hibernation and add a shot of brightness.

Beauty Bay


www.beautybay.com



If make-up is your thing – Beauty Bag will certainly deliver. With 7000 products on their site and new launches landing weekly, it’s a great destination site for discovering new make-up trends and brands. We love the wide range of price points (great for make-up mad teens or students on a budget) and how each product comes with application tips to help you get the most out of your buy.
Shopping list: Isle of Paradise tanning drops - these fool-proof self-tanning drops can be added to your normal moisturiser to give a hint of colour to winter skin.

Liberty


www.libertylondon.com



Liberty offers one of the most generous loyalty schemes for beauty customers and one of the most coveted beauty halls around. Offering the crème de la crème of international brands – from Le Labo to Kiehls, Aesop, Chantecaille, Dr Sebagh and Byredo. The list is endless. Each product comes with an insider’s ‘editor’s note’ recommendation – making the flawless edit of products feel like a personal tip from a knowledgeable friend. There’s a fantastic men’s section and vegan beauty edit, too.

Shopping List: Rodin Olio Lusso Face Oil Stick – perfect for travelling, this cult NY beauty brand have distilled their best-selling facial oil into a handy stick for a no-spill, twist-up version. Perfect for delivering their incredible blend of eleven essential oils in one mess-free formula.

Feel Unique


www.feelunique.com



The clean, easy-to-navigate Feel Unique website is stocked with 500+ brands you’ll know and love, plus a few independent ones hand-picked by the team. We love their beauty box edits that not only bring you the ‘best of the best’, but huge savings too. The Clean Beauty Box full of natural, ethical skincare and beauty treats is £39, yet the content have a value of £104. Discounts continue across the range of haircare, skincare and beauty.

Shopping List: Kerastase Blond Absolu is a summer hair must-have for blondes – natural or enhanced – it tones down brassiness, protecting from sun and chlorine and restoring straw-like hair to soft, healthy locks.

Escentual


www.escentual.com



Escentual have been purveyors of luxury beauty online since 2000. They are the official stockists for many luxe brands, including a great range of French Pharmaceutical brands. The site offers a much wider collection than is usually stocked in bricks and mortar stores, and boasts healthy discounts off the RRP, too.

Shopping List: Vichy Mineral 89 Serum - this moisture-rich formula is the perfect summer serum, strengthening the skin’s natural barrier with a natural source of hyaluronic acid and protecting from pollution.

Look Fantastic


www.lookfantastic.com



Stocking 22,000 product lines – Look Fantastic is the online beauty juggernaut. You’d be hard-pressed not to find your beauty fix here, but rather than being overwhelmed, the clear navigation guides you, department by department to the best brands, trends and discounts. Check out the Korean Beauty section, broken down into step-by-step product suggestions for the renowned 7-step regime.

Shopping List: Chantecaille Just Skin Tinted Moisturiser - perfect for summer. Allowing natural skin to shine through it hydrates, with an antioxidant formula and SPF 15 to make skin look like yours, but better.

LoveLula


www.lovelula.com



If green beauty is your bag, head to LoveLula. This is the online store for natural, organic brands such as Dr. Hauschka, Trilogy, Green People and Jason. If you’re looking to detox your bathroom cabinet, this would be a great site to start making swaps – there are great edits for teens and mamas-to-be, too.

Shopping list: Nailberry’s jewel-like nail polishes - free from chemicals and vegan, too. Perfect for summer toes.

Space NK


www.spacenk.com



One of the most well-known, and respected, beauty halls online – Space NK is a mecca for luxury beauty junkies. Flick through ‘Inside Space’, the shoppable in-house digital magazine that gives you access to expert advice and the direct link to shop their recommendations. Whether you’re looking for cutting edge science from international dermatologist brands, such as Dr. Sebagh or some indulgent smellies from the likes of Diptyque and Aromatherapy Associates, you’re sure to find it here.

Shopping List: The original and award-winning cleansing balm from Eve Lom paved the way for all future imitations. Cleansing effectively without stripping the skin, sometimes the originals really are the best.

All Beauty


www.allbeauty.com



Crowned No. 1 Online Shop by Which? In 2017, and 150,000 glowing customer reviews later, you are safe in the knowledge that All Beauty knows how to deliver, online. Not only is their customer service top-notch, their discounts are pretty generous too, with up to 50% off luxe brands including Elemis, Acqua di Parma, By Terry and Crème de la Mer.

Shopping List: Elemis Frangipani Monoi Oil - immediately transports you to tropical climes with its exotic coconut and frangipani fragrance. Great for rehydrating parched skin, it can be used as a deep hair treatment, too.

Beauty Base


www.beautybase.com



If you’re looking for fragrance offers, skip duty-free and head to Beauty Base, with discounts on all the main line designer and celebrity fragrances. Each order receives a free sample too, so you may just discover your new favourite scent while you shop. It’s not all about fragrance, there is a full range of haircare, skincare and make-up too.

Shopping list: Tom Ford’s Orchid Soleil - the scent of summer skin, with spicy top notes of pink pepper and bitter orange, drying down to a warm base of vanilla, patchouli and orchid.

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June 2019

By Lydia Mansi