07 March 2010

Sometimes it's Too Good to be True

Since cosmetics rarely go on sale, I find that many people love it when they can find a deal on them. Cosmetics can be purchased at a discount at certain department stores during "friends and family" sales or warehouse sales held by the brands. Older products, often limited edition/seasonal products can be found at authorized outlets at your local outlet mall. L'oreal brands are sold at "designer fragrance & co" stores while Estee Lauder brands are sold at "cosmetic company outlet." The names of these stores sound shady, but they are the official outlets for the brands! I enjoy going to these outlets when I am in the area myself and have found very good deals there before. For example, I have purchased Shu Uemura eyeshadows for $5 (retail $18).

Nowadays, there are also many websites that sell older makeup stock at a significant discount. An online "cosmetic company outlet" so to speak. Among the most popular ones are: beautycrunch.com and beautyticket.com.

I am a big fan of Stila cosmetics and beautycrunch is authorized to sell Stila's older seasonal makeup lines. The prices are very cheap, especially when compared to the retail prices. In fact, since so many limited edition items made it onto beautycrunch, I am hesitant to purchase Stila limited items at regular price!

I have ordered from beautycrunch a few times, and I've never really had problems with my orders... my items arrived in a timely manner and well packed. I have never received rancid items either. Beautycrunch also stocks items from TooFaced, Pop Beauty and others.

Since I have had such good luck with beautycrunch, I was eager to order from beautyticket. Beautyticket also runs codes sometimes, so you can save an additional 10-20% off the already low prices! Beautyticket stocks many brands, from YSL, Molton Brown, Sue Devitt and more! For my first order, I ordered a blue liquid YSL eyeliner, a copper liquid YSL eyeliner, Bumble&Bumble deep hair conditioner, Molton Brown "eye rescue serum," and a Molton Brown body lotion. The prices were all excellent and I was very excited for my order to come.

Beautyticket shipped out of Los Angeles, CA and used priority mail, so I got the items very quickly. The items were well packed and they used cute pink paper strips too. As for the products themselves.... what I got was mixed. I'll explain.

My blue eyeliner was in new and unused perfect condition, but the bronze one was not. The bronze one had clearly been used (there was liner all caked around the plastic stopper... and the formula was thickened on the wand... this only happens on opened and used liquid liners). I had founds a Barneys New York sticker that was half peeled off on the box of my bronze liner. I can only surmise that beautyticket acquires some of its merchandise from old department store stock. This is probably fine 95% of the time. Sometimes the stores just order too much, or the limited colors just don't sell out. But the problem is... what if these items come from department store returns? If these items are not checked by the stores, there is the possibility of receiving used items like I did.

The Molton Brown lotion, while new, was a bit rancid. I have not tried the hair conditioner yet.. but maybe I should? The eye serum was ok, but probably due to the age of the item.... the bottle was not as full as it should have been. Overall, for the prices, I guess it is ok. Buying older stock can be risky (i.e. rancid items).

However, when I emailed beautyticket about the used liner, they were willing to refund me as long as I returned the item. I thought that was pretty good customer service. They also sent me a prepaid label to return the item via USPS. However, since I live in California, they should have also refunded the sales tax I paid on the liner. I think if I emailed them about it, they probably would have. But at this point, I didn't care that much about the $1.60 I paid in tax since I got most of my money back already. However, when issuing the refund, I believe that beautyticket should be more careful and look into the order to see which customers have paid the sales tax. However in their defense, only California residents pay sales tax and we are probably only a small percentage of overall customers.

So in the end... I have to say that sometimes things are just too good to be true, especially when buying online. Purchase older stock items at your own risk. The discounts are heavy and attractive.... so the best thing is to know what you are buying. Find out what collections those color items were from so you know how old these items are. If you don't know, try looking up reviews for the product at MakeupAlley. For items that weren't limited, try the products when you receive them. That way if they are rancid/old/used you can get a refund.

:) Hope that helps someone who is considering using these types of websites. My experience has not deterred me from purchasing from them in the future. However, I think for beautyticket, I will only buy items that show their usage clearly (e.g. lipstick, eyeshadow, etc).

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