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How To Shop For Makeup Online Like A Pro: The Beginner's Guide To Building Your Collection

How To Shop For Makeup Online Like A Pro: The Beginner's Guide To Building Your Collection


Discover online makeup shopping for beginners: identify skin type, build a kit, compare costs, and find deals with our guide.-----


Buying makeup online for the first time can seem like a daunting task. The massive selection of products and brands available can overwhelm those new to cosmetics shopping. According to a Mintel Report, 7 in 10 women feel overwhelmed by the number of beauty products on the market. However, with the right strategy and research, beginners can successfully navigate online makeup shopping and build their own collection. This guide will walk you through how to determine your needs, find quality affordable products, and leverage online shopping tools - so you can master makeup e-commerce.

Determine Your Skin Type and Undertones

The first step in strategic makeup shopping as a beginner is figuring out your unique skin type and undertones. This will ensure you buy products that actually work with your skin, rather than against it.

When determining your skin type, you'll want to assess whether you have normal, dry, oily, or combination skin. Look out for common traits like flakiness, shine, tightness, hydration, and pore size. You can also take an online quiz to help identify your skin type based on your tendencies and concerns.

It's also important to figure out if you have warm, cool, or neutral undertones. Check the color of your veins - are they green or blue? Do silver or gold jewelry look better on you? Your undertone will impact which makeup shades will look natural. You can also use an online tool to help determine your undertone.

Taking the time to understand your skin type and undertones will make shopping for makeup so much easier. You'll be able to immediately narrow down your options to products that actually suit your skin.

Create a Starter Makeup Kit

As a makeup beginner, you should start by researching the basic products you'll need in your makeup routine. Having the essentials on hand will make it easier to practice and perfect your skills without feeling overwhelmed by too many options. Your starter kit should include basics like foundation, concealer, mascara, blush, and lip color.

When researching your starter products, look for affordable, beginner-friendly options that are easy to apply. Stick to versatile neutral shades at first while you determine what colors complement your complexion and style. Focus on finding just one or two options for each of the core products. For example, choose one liquid foundation and one tube of drugstore mascara to start. You can build on your starter kit later as you refine your preferences.

Making a checklist of the basic makeup you need can help streamline the selection process. Seek out makeup guides and recommendation lists to help compile your starter kit. Always pay attention to reviews from real customers with feedback on how the products actually look and wear. With some savvy research, you'll curate an affordable starter makeup kit with all the essentials.

Compare Prices Across Retailers

One of the best things about shopping for makeup online is the ability to easily compare prices across different retailers. When looking for a specific product, be sure to check the prices at major department stores like Sephora and Ulta, as well as beauty specialty stores like Ulta Beauty. Don't forget to check the brand's own website too - sometimes they offer discounts or free shipping that you won't find elsewhere.

Of course, you'll want to browse selections on Amazon, Dio Kollections, Jumia as well. Amazon sells makeup directly and also hosts smaller beauty brands, so you can often find good deals there. Be sure to pay attention to any available coupons or promo codes on all sites - those can sometimes make an already marked-down product an absolute steal!

Make use of price tracking tools and apps to be notified of sales and see price history on items you have your eye on. And don't forget to search for any codes or coupons before finalizing your order - a little digging can save you big!

Read Reviews Carefully

One of the most important steps when buying makeup online is to read through customer reviews carefully. According to a Statista survey, over 60% of beauty shoppers always read reviews before purchasing products online. Pay close attention to the skin type, undertones, and complexion of reviewers. If multiple reviewers with your skin type complain about issues like oxidation, poor wear time, or wrong undertones, those are red flags. Look for reviews with swatches on similar skin tones and detailed feedback on how the product performed throughout the day. Video reviews can also give you a better sense of true color and texture. Take negative reviews seriously, but understand that no product will be universally loved. Focus on the common complaints that are deal breakers for your needs.

Use Buying Tools

One of the best parts about shopping for makeup online is getting to take advantage of handy buying tools. Two essential ones for beginners are virtual makeup try-on and free samples.

With virtual try-on, you can see what products might look like on your face without having to go to a store. Brands like Sephora, Ulta, and ModiFace allow you to virtually "try on" thousands of makeup products using your phone camera and AI technology. This can help you get color matches for foundation, see lipstick shades, and more. It makes choosing the right makeup shades much easier!

Many online stores also offer free samples so you can test out products before purchasing the full size. This is great for finding your perfect foundation or testing shades. Look for free sample offers when checking out retailer websites and sign up for loyalty programs that provide free samples as perks. Getting free samples helps you avoid buying full-size products that end up not working for your skin.


Start Small and Build Your Collection

When you're just starting out with makeup, it's easy to get overwhelmed and buy more products than you can realistically use. However, most makeup beginners only need a small collection of versatile basics to create a variety of looks. According to a survey by Poshly and Stowaway Cosmetics, the average woman owns about 40 makeup products. But as a beginner, you likely only need around 5-10 products to start building your skills. 

Focus on purchasing foundation, concealer, mascara, blush, eyeshadow, lipstick and eyeliner to begin with. Having just one or two of each allows you to practice application techniques and determine what textures and formulas you prefer before expanding your collection.

It's tempting to buy a huge makeup kit or haul when starting out, but until you learn what products work for you, it's better to start small. Add new items slowly over time as you use up and master your starter products. This prevents waste and helps you build a collection tailored to your needs.

Shop Seasonal Sales


Shopping for makeup during seasonal sales is a great way for beginners to get deals on the makeup products they need. Many major beauty retailers like Sephora and Ulta run regular sales events that can help you save big on the essentials.

Some of the best sales for makeup happen during the spring and fall. For example, Sephora's VIB Sale occurs twice a year - once in April and again in November. This sale offers 15-20% off your entire purchase for Beauty Insider members. Ulta also hosts their famous 21 Days of Beauty sale in March and September with different markdowns each day.

Beyond those major events, it helps to pay attention to each brand's sales calendar. Drugstore brands like L'Oreal and Maybelline often run promotions on mascara or lip products. Higher end brands like Urban Decay or Benefit will sometimes have 25-30% sales on certain items. SignUp for email newsletters so you never miss a deal.

When shopping for sales as a beginner, make a list of the basic products you want to try first, like foundation, concealer, bronzer etc. Then you can stock up on those essentials for less during promotional periods. This will allow you to build your makeup collection affordably.

Learn Application Techniques

Makeup application techniques can seem intimidating at first. However, with the power of online tutorials, you can easily watch and learn techniques that work for your face and eye shape. According to this YouTube playlist, some of the most helpful beginner makeup tutorials teach techniques like:

  • Applying foundation seamlessly

  • Blending eye makeup properly

  • Creating flattering lip shapes

  • Using color correction and concealer

YouTube is full of step-by-step makeup guides that demonstrate each technique. Take advantage of the unlimited free tutorials. Watch them carefully and pick out tips that seem to fit your face and desired look. The key is to start simple and practice, practice, practice! With consistent practice, you'll master basic techniques in no time according to this detailed makeup tutorial playlist.


Shopping for makeup online as a beginner can feel daunting, but it doesn't have to be with the right strategy. By taking the time to figure out your skin type and undertones, creating a starter kit, comparing prices, reading reviews carefully, and using handy buying tools, you can successfully build your makeup collection. Remember to start small, learn application techniques, and take advantage of seasonal sales. The online beauty world has so much to offer - approach it step-by-step and you'll gain confidence while also scoring great deals. With patience and savvy shopping skills, you'll be a makeup pro in no time