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The Secret To Shopping For International Make-Up In India

Every year, there are a series of beauty trends that hit fashion week runways and it means getting tempted by a new drawer full of products for beauty fanatics like me. This Spring-Summer, we saw a few new ways to bake, several new shades to put on our lids, and some revolutionary new lip textures. Many products that can deliver these trends really well, like the new Laura Mercier highlighter palette or the Anastasia Beverly Hills eyeliner, don’t release in India. So, of course, the best way to get them is shopping online on international sites. And, I’m quite kicked to share that after some years of research and vetting, I’ve found effective and trustworthy ways to bring these luxury products to your doorstep without breaking a sweat.

Image Credits: Unsplash
Image Credits: Unsplash

Trusted Sources

The best way to identify cult products from the fads is research. Hardcore beauty buffs like me behave very much like men do when it comes to buying a TV or a car. I check out reviews on YouTube and stalk the net for swatches, read blogs, watch videos of bloggers using, and reviewing, the product before I invest in it. And if you’re still a bit uncertain, a website called Temptalia houses thousands of swatches, reviews, and a community to connect with like-minded people. There are also a few trusted bloggers like Tati and Wayne Goss who’ve been around for years and give you their unbiased, unsponsored opinion.

Image Credits: Unsplash
Image Credits: Unsplash

The Goop On Duties And Shipping

When it comes to overhead costs like shipping, customs, and bank charges, lots of websites do offer free shipping (on orders over a certain amount), however, customs duties are unpredictable. It’s a well-kept secret that customs are not always levied on all orders, in most cases, it’s a bit of a hit-or-miss situation. If you’re fortunate, your haul will be delivered to your doorstep at no extra cost.

Many websites offer an option called ‘prepaid duty’ at checkout. If you’re like me who just wants the item, and doesn’t want to be bothered by duties and paperwork on landing, just select the ‘Prepaid Duty’ option. You pay the retailer a ‘guaranteed’ amount for any charges applicable on your order. This is hassle-free.

But if you love saving a little here and there (there’s a part of our mothers inside all of us), play on luck—you can check out without paying duties and wait for your shipment to arrive. You usually get a call or an email from the carrier with the number of duties and taxes (if any) payable.  

Bank charges on international transactions vary from bank to bank. Typically, your bank would levy two to three per cent of your order as bank charges for an international transaction. Although, I must say, I rarely pay attention to this on the statement, but for some it may matter.

Image Credits: Unsplash
Image Credits: Unsplash

Favourite Stores

We’re all always a little concerned about authenticity of products when we are shopping from E-commerce sites overseas, but I’ve found that when it comes to luxury makeup, websites that focus only on beauty and skincare are a good place to start. When buying international brands, such as Charlotte Tilbury, Anastasia Beverly Hills, Hourglass, Sunday Riley, Drunk Elephant, Farsali, BeautyBlender, Kevyn Aucoin, The Ordinary, and Vintner's Daughter, these are the retailers you can trust:

BeautyBay

This website started out as a fragrance retailer before catapulting into a full-fledged paradise for makeup and skincare junkies. They even have their own range of glorious eyeshadow palettes and makeup brushes that are not so exorbitantly priced—perfect for someone who is just starting to put together a collection of individual brushes.

Top Brands To Shop For: Beauty Blender of course! I still can’t believe it’s not available in India officially. BH Cosmetics, their gorgeous eyeshadow palettes can definitely give Huda a run for her money! Morphe and Anatasia Beverly Hills are other brands that are on every makeup lover’s radar that you can shop for here. Embryolisse, Mario Badescu, and Youth Lab are can’t-miss skincare brands that we’re so glad are available on BeautyBay.

Soft Glam Eyeshadow Palette
Soft Glam Eyeshadow Palette
INR 2,934 at Beauty Bay
BUY NOW

CultBeauty

This UK-based website is a favourite amongst beauty aficionados and for good reason. Just like the name suggests, you can find all those cult products you keep hearing and reading about here. The best part? They provide free shipping to India on all orders over 40 pounds (approx INR 3,647). Aside from skin, hair, and makeup, you can also shop for health supplements by top brands like Goop, The Beauty Chef, Moon Juice and more. Who said you have to wait till your next holiday to shop for these things?!

Top Brands To Shop For: You’ll spot some iconic brands here like Charlotte Tilbury. Lime Crime is available here too, you have to try their lipsticks if you haven’t already. Too Faced, Hourglass, Pixi, Sunday Riley, and The Ordinary are some other fantabulous brands you can finally get your hands on at Cult Beauty.

Magic Foundation
Magic Foundation
INR 2,922 at Cult Beauty
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Beautylish

If you’re looking for a beauty website to spoil you silly, not only with the best-in-line makeup and skincare but also with their service, bookmark Beautylish right away. Don’t be surprised if you receive your package with a little handwritten note or a complimentary sample. Their quality packaging has earned many a raging review in the recent past. This U.S.A.-based e-commerce offering includes well-known premium brands such as Charlotte Tilbury and Wayne Goss but they also stock lesser-known products that are worth the try, such as Good Molecules and It Cosmetics. P.S. You won’t need to pay shipping costs for orders above 100 USD (approx. INR 7,100).

Top Brands To Shop For: I’m a big fan of Charlotte Tilbury’s makeup and skincare collection—every makeup artist can vouch for her incredibly pretty lipstick shades and effective mascaras. Another exclusive Beautylish partner is Natasha Denona, known for their stunning and super-pigmented eyeshadow palettes. And while we’re at it, you don’t want to miss out on Jeffree Star’s beauty line either.

Lila Palette
Lila Palette
INR 9,133 at Beautylish
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Nordstrom

The online presence of the iconic luxury department stores in the U.S., Nordstrom’s e-store is one of the most reliable options when shopping for international beauty brands. The diverse beauty and skincare range that the website carries could surprise you—all the popular makeup brands and products you’ve heard of, you will find them at Nordstrom.

Top Brands To Shop For: I don’t know about you but once my favourite beauty influencers OK a brand or product, I’m all in. So, lucky for me, Nordstrom carries best selling brands world-over, such as Dior, Giorgio Armani, Hourglass, and one of my absolute favourites, Laura Mercier.

Translucent Loose Setting Powder
Translucent Loose Setting Powder
INR 2,967 at Nordstrom
BUY NOW

More Shopping Secrets

Chances are that almost every new product or brand in the market will retail on the websites mentioned above. But if you’ve got your heart set on something that hasn’t reached there yet or will take more time to deliver than you thought, there are two more ways to shop for luxury makeup in India.

Shipping Companies

If the product you’re looking for doesn’t retail on any of these websites, you can order it directly from the brand. In the United States, shipping companies like Ship Out Of USA give you the option of buying products from any retailer. You can sign up on the shipping company for a ‘virtual postal address’ and the company receives, collates, weighs, and delivers the order to your doorstep in India. This usually involves a nominal shipping fee, and any customs charges if levied that would need to be borne by you.

Instagram Resellers

Lesser known to the outside world, there are a handful of Instagram pages that sell, authentic international makeup. Some of these have their own websites while others take customized orders. Simply put, these are the people that go through the hassle of buying products from outside the country, having them shipped to India, and paying customs and any other charges due. Shopping for products on these sites and pages does cost more (since you’re paying for their service), but it involves zero effort on your part as a consumer. A simple transfer to their local bank account concludes the transaction. If you’re unsure of their authenticity, ask for a bill of purchase to legitimise the transaction. Resellers we’ve tried: International Makeup, Royalicious, and Beauty Horizon.

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