Even though some areas across the country are opening up retail, the process of buying makeup has dramatically changed for the foreseeable future. Makeup stores have implemented services like curbside pickup, reduced or eliminated access to testers, as well as offering digital consultations to help you find the products that are right for you.
If you’re a beauty junkie, some of these changes can be daunting. Keep reading for tips for buying makeup in lockdown so you can get your hands on your holy grails and continue to discover new products.
Curbside Pickup at Ulta Beauty
If you need something right away that you can’t find at Target or the drugstore, Ulta Beauty is offering same-day curbside pickup at many locations (check your local options here). I’ve recently done this and it’s incredibly convenient. I submitted my order in the morning, and got a text as soon as my store opened that it was ready. I drove up, gave them my name and ID, and my haul was delivered straight to my window. Obviously this is subject to the store’s current stock, but with shipping delays happening nationwide, it’s a great option to have even if you have to drive to the next closest location.
Online Shade Finders
Even with some makeup stores open, most testers have been taken off shelves to help reduce the spread of germs. For products like eyeshadow or lipstick, you can always search google for swatches to get a feel for how they’ll look. Foundation and concealer is a whole different story, though, and hard to gauge by just looking at a photo. Luckily, there are tools to help you find your perfect match. The Ulta Beauty Shade Finder offers a quick quiz to match you to hundreds of foundations they offer across drugstore and prestige brands. Have a mirror handy, as you’ll have to self-asses your undertone— but don’t worry, they have example pictures for you to reference and compare. I’ve tried this tool for three different foundations I currently used, and the tool matched me to my preferred shade each time! If they don’t have one exact match, it will at least narrow down your options to 3-4 that would work for you.
The Ulta Beauty mobile app also has a feature called GLAMlab, which uses your smartphone camera to match you to a foundation/concealer shade, as well as lets you virtually try on other products like lipstick, eyeshadow, and blush. I found the foundation matcher on this to be a little faulty as it really depends on your lighting, but still helpful to see a preview of how products would look on your face!
Sephora also offers a Foundation Shade Finder, which allows you to input your current brand and shade of foundation, and it will show you matches in other foundations based on the closest similar shade.
Subscribe & Save on Amazon
Amazon now offers an extensive range of beauty products from drugstore brands to luxury finds. What’s great about shopping Amazon for products you repurchase a lot, such as a favorite beauty item, is that they offer “Subscribe & Save” discounts. Not only will this prompt an automatic shipment at the interval of your choice so you never run out without a backup, but you can also save up to 15% when signing up for a subscription! There are no extra fees and you can cancel or skip shipments at any time. This is perfect for those products you always keep in your collection and you don’t see yourself straying away from anytime soon.
Read & Search Reviews
Without being able to test products yourself, reviews are more valuable than ever. But instead of just reading the first few reviews on the page, utilize the search feature to find reviews that are actually relevant to how a product would work for you, specifically. Searching reviews of a foundation, and you want to know how it will work for your combination skin? Search “combination” to pull up reviews that mention the term specifically. If the review section doesn’t have a search function, try using your browser’s Search (usually control+F or command+F) to find a term written out anywhere on the page— just make sure the reviews are loaded before you do this! Ulta now has an Ask A Question feature on some products where you can input a question and have it answered by other customers who have tried the product.
Start Buying Value Sets
If you’re looking to venture away from your go-tos and try something new, purchasing value sets can save money and help you discover what actually works. Usually full of mini to half-size versions of several products, you can test out a bunch of new items at once without breaking the bank. If something doesn’t work out for you, there’s less product to finish up and typically less money spent! You can typically find value sets in the “gifts” tab on beauty websites. Click here for gift sets at Ulta Beauty. Click here for gift sets at Sephora.
How are you currently buying makeup during lockdown?
I’m definitely going to have to look into this because not having testers is hard for me. Also I love value sets and really miss the Sephora Play box because I learned about so many great brands that way and now I’m stuck looking for another mini box like that. (I know there are several but I’m still testing the waters.) Thank you for all the great tips!
I didn’t know Ulta had a feature like that! How neat!
I buy online even before lockdown, easier to me and more convenient. But businesses here have reopened now so we will see if I can drop by ULTA or Sephora soon.
I bought one foundation online since this started and even though it’s the brand’s lightest shade it’s too dark for me. I’ve never used the tool at Ulta but it looks like a great way to buy lipstick and foundation.
Kristi V BeginNails
Honestly, I have bought zero make up during the last few months (aside from nail polish). I was wearing make up the first month or so, but lately I’ve been enjoying the natural look. 🙂 I do most of my make up shopping online though anyways, so this is normal for me. The only thing I struggle with is skin care on line.