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The best online beauty stores for beauty products

5 of the Best *Ever* Online Beauty Stores

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While I don’t generally buy that many new products, as someone who both loves beauty and writes about it for a living I inevitably do end up spending quite a lot of time snuffling out the new and innovative from across the world.

And until pretty recently it could be quite hard to get my hands on some of the smaller or newer international brands, particularly in the natural beauty niche.

Luckily, though, that’s starting to change and in the last couple of years, I’ve been able to get products from most brands I love from across the world without shipping delays or customs fees.

And once I’ve found a shop that offers reasonable prices and easy shipping I’m a pretty loyal customer. So I thought I’d share five of my favourite places for online beauty shopping.

Cult Beauty

My favourite for brand selection

Founded by beauty addicts Jessica DeLuca and Alexia Inge, Cult Beauty brings over 200 of the best beauty brands from around the world into one site, while its international shipping to over 70 countries gives access to brands that don’t normally post to some countries.

Often the first place in the UK to stock international brands like Drunk Elephant or Fresh Beauty, for someone who tries out products for a living their brand selection is impressive.

With an emphasis on newer brands which are often cruelty-free or have a focus on natural ingredients, Cult Beauty is basically the place to go to find anything you’ve seen on Instagram. While the level of detail that goes into their product descriptions and full lists of ingredients make this a site for those who are serious about their skincare and beauty too.

In the last year particularly, I’ve noticed a big increase in the number of brands Cult Beauty stocks, making it so much easier to access US or Australian brands.

I also like their low shipping costs, with free UK postage over £25 and international shipping from £4.95 or free when you spend over £40. They also offer eco-delivery within the UK, taking 2-3 days for £3.95.

On the (very) rare occasion I’ve had an issue with my order their customer service teams have also been really quick and helpful. And alongside their great brand range and easy shipping I also really like the frequent discounts (justifying my skincare buying just a little).

For those ultra conscious of the ethics of their products, Cult Beauty has also recently added its ‘Cult Conscious Proof Points‘; a category system to quickly show shoppers a brand’s values.

Categories include products that are:

  • Clinically tested
  • Coral reef safe
  • Cruelty-fee
  • Charitable donations
  • Family-owned businesses
  • Female-owned businesses
  • Forest Stewardship Council approval
  • Organic
  • Contain organic ingredients
  • Have a percentage of recyclable packaging
  • Have a percentage of packaging made from recycled materials
  • Supportive of local communities
  • Vegan
  • Vegetarian

I personally love this system – which makes finding a product or brand that gels with your own ethics hassle-free.

To learn more about a particular product just hit the ‘Cult Conscious’ tab below its price any categories that apply will display here.

If a Proof Point has a green tick and ‘verified’ label next to it, this means the brand’s claims have been independently verified. If not, it means no independent evidence has been supplied but the company has still provided substantiating evidence.



My favourite for natural beauty

Home of the ethical brand, Naturisimo makes a point of curating products only from beauty, clothing, and style brands which are cruelty-free, vegan or sustainable (and sometimes all three).

Created in 2008 and with a strict criteria list for the brands it sells (taking into account their ingredients, sustainability or charitable work) this is where I go to discover new ethical or natural brands.

Their brand range isn’t huge but I do know that what I’m getting will be high quality, and they’re one of the only places I can buy brands like US-based Olio E Osso and dewy, multi-purpose Tinted Balm.

Their sustainable ethos also extends to their postage, using recyclable or biodegradable packaging and combining shipments to reduce carbon emissions if you place several orders within a couple of days (which I have definitely done).

While they offer frequent 10 or 15 per cent discounts too, they also offer national shipping for free when you spend over £30.



My favourite for affordable beauty

While there are so many great US brands they’re often quite difficult to get your hands on.  And two of the companies I really enjoy – Colourpop and Fourth Ray Beauty – are particular favourites both for being cruelty-free and affordable.

Luckily, the two are actually sister companies (along with a third, Sol Beauty) and they ship domestically for $5.99 when you spend under $30, and orders over $30 get free shipping (within the contiguous United States.)

They also ship internationally for $9.99 on orders under $60, and orders over $60 get free shipping, making access to affordable (and really lovely) skincare and makeup much easier.


Niche Beauty

My favourite for global brands

Between the websites above I can generally find most brands I love, but if not there’s a hidden gem I love in the form of Niche Beauty; sort of Germany’s answer to Cult Beauty.

Stocking over 250 brands and offering international shipping from €5.95 (as well as an English language website), Niche Beauty is heavy on cruelty-free brands with a natural or ethical stance and is a great place for discovering new finds from around the world.


Look Fantastic

My favourite for bargains

Who doesn’t love a bargain (seriously, who?), and international company Look Fantastic definitely specialises in them.  Offering great discounts of up to around 20 per cent on some of the most popular beauty brands, this is where I go when I need to restock old favourites.

They don’t have the biggest selection of natural brands, but there’s still pretty much something for everyone, with free UK shipping over £25. I also really like their promotions like beauty kits or their beauty Easter eggs and advent calendars.

The takeaway

While I do generally limit buying a lot of new products, if I’m researching something – or when I do need to restock – the sites above are pretty much the places I turn for ease of shipping, product selection and good customer service.

I hope you enjoy them too!



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Sally Underwood is a journalist, *serious* beauty fan, and Editor-in-Chief of Live That Glow. Formerly Editorial Director of one of Europe's largest newspaper groups, Sally has been a beauty obsessive since her teen years spent dragging her long-suffering (but immaculately-groomed) friends around every beauty counter in London. She now leads Live That Glow's editorial operations.

Expertise: Skincare, Body care
Education: University College London

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