Would you buy a new skin care item online?

O Hui Skin Care

I consider myself pretty adventurous when it comes to trying out new skin care products. Not that I’ll try every single product in the market, but rather, I’ve no qualms about getting a totally new skin care product online even if I’ve not seen it on the shelves.  However, a few retailers, including Eric of Bud Cosmetics and Joey of Kanga Organics, mentioned to me that they sometimes find it difficult to get customers to shop online because of the lack of the “touch and feel” factor.  Which is kind of surprising to me considering the growth in online purchases.

Growth in online shopping for cosmetics and beauty items
In fact, according to a report about Online Shopping In Asia/Pacific commissioned by Mastercards in 3Q 2008, cosmetics and personal care items including beauty products were featured within the top 10 spots when it comes to products and services frequently shopped online (chart 5) as well as products that increase impulsive spending in Asia Pacific online shoppers (chart 20).  But yes, we can’t tell from the stats if the cosmetics were makeup items or skin care products.  And even under skin care, it’s not possible to gain insights if they were brand new purchases.

Search for reviews on blogs and forums before making a purchase
Actually, I prefer to shop online these days because I find some of the sales assistants in the shops too pushy and irritating. Another good thing about shopping online is the savings gained.   So personally, I’ve gone shopping for brand new skin care products online without even requesting for samples.  A favorite is sunscreens since I can’t find a good selection of naturally formulated ones here.   I’ve also purchased anti-aging products online without first checking them out at the stores.   In these situations, I typically know what I’m looking for and start to embark on searches online.  I read the descriptions in detail and I’ll also search for reviews on blogs or forums.  One popular destination is of course makeupalley.com since you can get tonnes of reviews from independent users.

Would you?
Well, correct me if I am wrong but I suspect that most ladies would purchase brand new makeup items more than brand new skin care products online.  So my questions today are:  What brand new cosmetics or personal beauty product would you buy online?  And would you buy a totally new skin care product online?


  1. stella says:

    unless i’ve tested the item in a B&M store or have used an item before, i would not buy any beauty items online because i’m fussy about texture – i want to be sure my skin feels ok with the item first. i do buy a lot of toiletries and skincare online, but not without first trying them on

  2. Evah says:

    I usually buy new makeup and skin care items in the store, but I do buy new stuff online. I live in the US and there are some asian brands that are not available here. So I am pretty adventurous with certain items such as eyeshadow palettes, toners, eyeliner, and whitening serums. But I always always buy foundation at a store (I have such a hard time matching my skin tone). Same goes with moisturizers because I want to feel the texture. I do look up reviews too, whether or not I am buying something online.

  3. pf1123 says:

    I hardly buy skin care online. Thats because most of my skin care are salon stuff which I got from my beauty salon. There are very few sellers selling the brand that I use. And I don’t see any reviews on the sellers. So, I’m not comfortable buying from them.

    After my recent trip to HK, I realised that the Sasa there sells counter brand skin care at a much much cheaper rate than even going online.

    For example, my recent purchase of Caudalie foaming cleanser is only HK$129 at a deep disc. It is US$26 online, before shipping charges.

    I think I would get stuff from the cheapest reliable source I can see at that point in time. No matter if its online or off.

  4. pf1123 says:

    Oh, but makeup wise, I’m happily buying on ebay even though I have never seen or touched it. I rely on the swatches and photos I see online. ?

  5. rinaz says:

    I think for me, I would hesitate in buying skin care online because like what you pointed out, you cant smell it or touch it and there is no guarantee on to how it will affect the skin.

    Moreover, if it is from overseas, sometimes the cost of shipping could even be more expensive than the item itself!

    But if I am interested in purchasing, I would do a fair bit of research and review online from genuine users.

    So far I’ve purchased several cosmetic items online. Some are duds but most of them have been pretty good for me ?

  6. ParisB says:

    I usually balk at buying new skincare products online unless I’ve tested it instore. What concerns me is the shipping of the product to me here in the tropics – letting it sit in the sun while in transit might damage the product.

  7. eliza says:

    yes i would if i could get reviews on the product =]

  8. BT says:

    I hardly purchase beauty stuff online, I love to see, to test, to smell the product before purchase. Another issue is high duty and tax here, since I travel periodically, I rather purchase at the destination wherever the price is much cheaper. So, I’d normally do some ‘homework’ online before making purchase.

  9. Blovet Beauty says:

    i am like the rest I guess.. can’t buy a brand new skincare line online unless everyone has raved about it! yup, I’m boring like that but it’s best not to take risk with skincare?

  10. sesame says:

    That’s understandable as the texture is important. Sometimes it’s hard to rely on description or even reviews. I bought a sunscreen that turned out too creamy for example even though I thought it’ll be lotion like.

  11. sesame says:

    Ah…I agree with you that foundation is tricky. I’ve tried buying mineral makeup and it’s always a stroke of luck if I can get it right. It’s not easy relying on the swatches too.

  12. sesame says:

    I haven’t tried buying from Sasa online but it definitely makes sense to purchase from the store if it’s cheaper. But so strange that their stuff are more expensive online.

  13. sesame says:

    Yeah, I noticed many ladies are adventurous with makeup and these days, a lot of the bloggers provide very clear pictures of the swatches too.

  14. sesame says:

    You’re right about the shipping…sometimes that’s the killer. But otherwise, on a positive note, it’s a good deterrent as we can curb our spending. ?

  15. sesame says:

    Yes, this was what one of the retailers mentioned to me and why he would not supply online. I guess I’m taking a risk especially with natural products…butI think of it as nothing ventured, nothing gained. ?

  16. sesame says:

    Reviews are important. I’m thankful that makeupalley is a good source for such independent reviews. However, I’ve purchased products first hand just based on gut feel too…though not too many times.

  17. sesame says:

    It definitely make sense for you to purchase at the destination since you travel. It also provides instant gratification. ?

  18. sesame says:

    It’s not boring…it’s personal preference and you’re right about being careful especially since you have sensitive skin. Sometimes being adventurous is not a good thing for our skin. ?

  19. Jyoan says:

    I don’t mind buying online as long as I am convinced. If I see enough good reviews about a certain product, I will import it from Australia, or Taiwan, US, etc. Not a problem. =)

  20. pf1123 says:

    Oh the US$ I quoted is from Sephora in the US. Not Sasa. But I realised that Sasa Online sells very limited stuff. Even when they state that certain things are out of stock, its usually in stock in their B&M shops.

    Besides there’s Bonjour (another beauty shop like Sasa in HK). I got the Lancome eye makeup remover duo pack for HK$275 whereas it is selling for HK$440 at the HK Airport duty free shops!

    Anyways, I think its really fun to go to a Sasa shop to hunt for stuff. ?

    Surfing online for stuff is another thrill. A different one.

  21. raelynn says:

    i hardly buy anything online.. buying everyday minerals was a really big leap of faith, then came buying stuff from yoursessentially (thanks to recommendations from you =) ). but beyond that, like buying clothes (my goodness, especially clothes. i only buy them when i get to try them, otherwise how would i know whether it suits or not) and most other skincare, i’m still apprehensive about buying online.

  22. jay says:

    I always buy skincare online. I live in the middle of nowhere so I have to. However, I read every single review I can find! I just purchased PCA Pigment Bar and Smoothing Toner on ebay :).

  23. sesame says:

    Hey, you’re pretty adventurous!

  24. sesame says:

    Oh okay, I was mistaken. ? I used to like Sasa but since going into natural and organic, I hardly venture into the stores that much now.

    Btw, a different question but which brand of Evening Primrose Oil supplement do you use?

  25. sesame says:

    I’m like you – less adventurous when it comes to clothes. I do buy if I think the cut would fit but not so much. But surprisingly, clothes and accessories feature above cosmetics. Even in sprees, I see a lot more on that category.

    Btw, not sure if you know but YE is closing down and having a sale. Time to stock up if you haven’t.

  26. sesame says:

    It’s good to research prior to buying to ensure we get our money’s worth. However, I’ve never bought from ebay before.

  27. pf1123 says:

    I use Brand’s brand. The Brands essense of chicken one. hahaha…that one contain the Borage oil which is said to help fight acne problem as well.

    However, it gets a bit expensive to keep up the 2,000mg I require to help me with acne and fight PMS. Its a small bottle and not as cheap as usual EPO. Anyway, my PMS problem is not really terrible. I can tolerate it even without PMS. So, I mix with the Guardian housebrand of EPO subsequently. Like 1,000mg of normal EPO and about 3 Brand’s EPO which gives less than 1,000mg of EPO I think…due to the other stuff eg. brands essence of chicken and Borage Oil in it.

    Now, I’m no longer relying on the EPO. I break out slightly (3 to 4 small dots) during my last travel, when I don’t use my usual skincare and cleanse properly. But a gentle gel exfoliator, Nexcare acne patch, blemish gel and my skin’s ok. ?

    Now, I’m more careful with observing my skin condition. I’m trying a new hydrating serum. Hope that I hydrate my oily combo skin well enough and not so much oil will be generated to cause acne.

    I also got the Diorsnow UV shield SPF50PA+++ for HK$280. I hope that it doesn’t leave an oily sheen on my face, so that I can go out with it instead of having to put minimally a loose powder. First day I tried. Kept my face non oily all the way till 8pm at night! Hope it goes well. ?

  28. raelynn says:

    yeap.. i got the mailer too… was so sad T.T stocked up what i can too.

  29. sesame says:

    The reason I asked you about the brand is because a reader, Zhen Ling, mentioned that it is important. She suggested Kordel’s and I went to get one since there is a 20% discount. Hope it’ll work for me as I rather not have to rely on milk so much.

    You know it’s funny Nexcare doesn’t work for me. After I read your comments and some reviews from other beauty bloggers, I went to get it. I tried it at least 6 – 7 times and nothing happens. At most the patch turns a little white and that was all. I think my skin is strange.

    Ah I wrote something about DiorSnow Sublissime UV Ultimate Whitening UV Base SPF50 PA+++ and it seems good. Maybe it’s quite similar to what you’re using. Good that it’s working for you.

  30. sesame says:

    Yeah…a pity. I had a number of readers asking for alternatives and I just suggested whoopeekiddies although I prefer YE. Looks like I’ve got to rely more on sprees from Garden of Wisdom now.

  31. pf1123 says:

    I’m not sure about the brand. My auntie used to work in Guardian and the Fashion industry. She says that actually, most companies just use a generic supplier and then re-package their supplements to individual company. Same as fashion industry. I’m not sure how extensive such practice is. So, I begin not to care so much about branding.

    Oh, for nexcare right, actually you got to squeeze the pimple. I squeezed with a tissue, clean up as much as possible, then paste the acne patch over night. If its big and I feel that there’s more stuff to come out, I’ll paste another patch over subsequent night. Until its gonna go totally flat after all the pus comes out. After that I will apply generously blemish gel over the skin for it to heal.

    Mine is not the UV base. Mine is the Diorsnow Protection UV Eclaircissante White Reveal UV Shield. Not sure if there’s any difference. The active ingredient is Zinc Oxide 19% and Octinoxate 7.5%.

  32. Kaye says:

    Oh I’m not sure about buying new and untested skin care products. I’m a little scared to purchase without trying first ? With bb creams, what I did was I purchased mini tubes online, so i get to try everything without having to buy full tubes ?

  33. pf1123 says:

    Hmmmm….I’m thinking, probably its easier to buy organic/natural skincare online then in the shops. Because probably people just want to make sure there’s no parabens, SLS and any unwanted ingredients. And the products are certified organic, etc. The ingredients take on very high priority in decision to purchase. And there is less product to choose from.

    However, for people who are less concerned about the products being organic/natural, there are a whole big bunch to choose from. The ingredient is only influential to decision making to purchase to a certain extend. The feel of the product might take on a higher priority.

  34. sesame says:

    I have no idea about supplements at all. Some items, I go for recommendations and some, I go for the price. The Kordel’s one is supposedly pure so maybe it might make a difference cos the last one I tried isn’t 100% pure. Also, more confident since it’s made in Canada. Let’s see…

    Maybe that’s the trick on Nexcare. The last time I used it, the pimple was also very “ripe” and after taping on, the tape looked whiter and then the pimple sort of flattened. But I was expecting more stuff to be out cos I saw a pic by another blogger – lots of pus! Yeek…

    The Diorsnow one you use sounds like the one I wrote about. The ingredients are the same in terms of sun protection…but good you like it. I think Diorsnow has got good products.

  35. sesame says:

    Yes, good idea to try sample sizes first so that money won’t be wasted. ?

  36. sesame says:

    Hmm…not too sure. But you could be right cos the options are more limited so we’re more keen to get even if we have not tried. I guess it also depends on skin type. If one has sensitive skin, the person is probably more careful.

  37. pf1123 says:

    Just try the EPO for a while. I read somewhere that it will start working on the 2nd month or so. So, don’t give up too quicky! If that brand works, then continue! Nowadays, I kinda wanna stick with stuff that works too. Low tolerant on pain and no patience to wait for a product to work!

    Yup, the trick to nexcare acne patch is that there must be a break in the skin. Just don’t make it too big a break. ?

    It originates from the hospital product that 3M made. The original patches are bigger to help patients absorb the pus in their wounds and promote faster healing. Who knows, the nurses are cutting the big patches up into smaller ones and sticking them to their faces to suck up acne.

    Its quite disgusting. But its better to see the pus on the patch than knowing that the pus is under my skin. ?

    The wonderful about the patch is that for those not so ripe ones, the pus would still be sucked out even if its not “ripe” enough to be squeezed. It just means that the acne is deeper in the skin and hasn’t really all surfaced. Just break the skin a tiny little bit and slap a patch over it. It might be all sucked out before it even “ripens”. The scarring is minimised to the tiny break you made on the skin. Mine healed pretty well until they are soon non existent in a matter of days.

    Oh…it won’t work on acne without a “head”/pus. Nothing for it to suck up.

    Although the Diorsnow UV shield kept my face non oily, however, I think it made my skin is kinda dry as well. I have a tiny red bump tonite. Should be nothing…but I exfoliate gently and slap on some blemish gel. Hopefully its gone tomorrow and no bumps thereafter!!

  38. Miss Vinny says:

    Hmm, I rarely buy cosmetics and skincare products online ‘cos they tend to not work so well on my skin and often, the reviews don’t tell me anything of importance. For example: factors like different country = different climate, different types of skin(dry/oily or even ethnicity) and so on… impact the effectiveness.

    Plus, you’ve got the “freshness” of the products to worry about: exposing products to heat and storing them in “contaminated” areas could really degrade the quality and lifespan. And then, there’re the online shops like StrawberryNet where the products are sometimes spoilt or expired. The best is to buy it online directly from the source company but they might not ship to certain countries or the shipping could be quite outrageous if they tend to pack tiny items into a really large carton.

  39. Miss Vinny says:

    Errr… slight correction: “‘cos they tend to not work so well on my skin” should be “‘cos they tend to not work on my skin as advertised”.

  40. sesame says:

    I think I’m quite a dud with the Nexcare. I thought it’ll work just sticking it on the acne spot. ? No wonder it seem to work better the last round cos there was a tiny break.

    For the EPO, I’ll heed your advice and give it two months. I’m a bit more hopeful that this will work better for me compared to the last one I was given by my MIL.

  41. sesame says:

    Yes, you’re right in many of the respect. There’s always a risk involved and it really depends on a person’s preference/threshold. Actually the shipping is a big consideration – not just the cost but also the freshness of the product which you’ve mentioned.

  42. pf1123 says:

    Oh yeah…hehe…another tip abt the acne patch is that, it must be slapped on dry skin. No toner, no moisturiser or blemish gel on it. So, after cleansing, just wipe dry. Then paste the patch before carrying on with your routine. If otherwise, the patch can’t stick properly.

    Hope this and the EPO works for you!!

  43. sesame says:

    Hey, thanks for the tip! I did read this but I think I missed out about breaking the pimple. I tried it on a small one emerging on my brows last night and it worked better. No pus but the pimple has flattened and the tape sucked out some white stuff (no pus though).

    Can’t believe how much of a dud I’ve been…just taping it and hoping it’ll do the magic. Haha…

  44. Miss Vinny says:

    Yeah, I’d hate to splurge and get an item all ruined!

    Btw, I tried the Skin Blossom Cleansing milk and moisturiser for my face(oily and sensitive skin towards strong ingredients). The milk cleanses very well but the moisturiser tends to cause my face to over-produce oil. I wonder how much of the moisturiser I should apply and if it’s okay to apply to my T-zone. Btw, neither products caused my skin to react, in terms of sensitivity.

  45. sesame says:

    Yes, it’s possible to apply the moisturizer on certain areas only. Sometimes for pple with combination skin, they may even need two types of moisturizer.

  46. Miss Vinny says:

    Right, I might try applying only to selected parts then. Thanks! ? 2 types, huh?

  47. Debs says:

    Some online stores offer testers or a 30 day money back guarantee. I like to get natural skin care products online as find it easier and have more options.

  48. sesame says:

    Ah…30 days money back guarantee is a good deal. We don’t get this here though. We tend to get a lot of stuff from online stores overseas so returning can be a hassle.

  49. MK says:

    Hi, there:
    I came across your website, love your writing and enjoy your blog. My family own and operate a cosmetic website that specifically sells high end Asian Skin Care brands, includes O HUI. I’d love to know how to work with you! I can provide you with some samples, so you can try and write a review so your reader can know more about the products and come to our website to shop. Please send an email to me and let me know if you are interested!!

  50. sesame says:

    I saw your email. ? I will reply you later, within these two days.

  51. Siew Ying says:

    I tend to buy more of skincare items online cos of the price factor and availability. I’ve been using UNT from Taiwan for a year plus now and it’s working fine for me. My skin doesn’t take well to oils and UNT offers reasonably priced water-based serums that I can use comfortably. There’s quite limited choices to what I can buy locally at the same price points. As for makeup items, I do buy from local online shops occasionally, usually from cheap brands like E.L.F. I am not fussy about makeup brands, save for some items which are really exceptional, so I buy my makeup at drugstores most of the time. I like buying most things online, including clothes, bags, skincare, makeup and shoes, though I try not to buy overseas if I can. Too much of a hassle and less reliable. I end up shopping pretty much at the same places, as I don’t change my tastes often.

  52. Micheal Dietz says:

    Such a nice kind of beauty products for women and recently I am thinking to buy some for my wife from here thanks for giving me the best idea.

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