Since I’m based in East Africa, it’s very easy to go crazy when the opportunity comes to shop online. A depressingly low supply of quality skin care will do that to a savvy beauty. Couple that with the rise of great Ugandan online shopping services, beauty lists by bloggers I admire and new trends and product releases and one could easily go overboard.
In the past, I hopped from one product to another (and had the beauty junkyard to prove it), desperately searching for high quality effective skincare. Thankfully, with some guidance, organization and self-control, I’ve learned how to shop for skin care responsibly. Behind every skin care purchase is research, discussion, organization, planning, and deliberate decision making. It’s the only way I can be comfortable making a beauty purchase!
Here is my latest personal approach to online beauty shopping.
Before making any purchase, I look at a spreadsheet which tracks my beauty routine. This was a genius tip I picked from Cat of Snow White and The Asian Pear. This spreadsheet is everything. It provides perspective on how much skin care I can realistically use at a time.
After looking at the spreadsheet, I analyse the skin care routine and determine whether it’s in line with my skin care goals. I think it’s important to write down your skin care goals at least every year. What do you want out of your skin care. Is it to heal acne? Brighten and even the complexion? Moisturize and hydrate? Age well?
With a clear beauty goal, you can find out what effective ingredients and therefore products deal with the targeted skin concern. For example, my goal this year is brightening. This means my beauty closet needs to have well formulated products with ingredients that even and protect the skin like niacinamide, vitamin C, arbutin, licorice extract, AHAs and sun protection.
After finding out which products contain these ingredients, it’s time to look for product reviews on sites like Makeupalley and Reddit. I also check the ingredient lists of suggested products for potential irritation on CosDNA.
When I have a list of potential products, I start hunting for the stores that stock them and their delivery policies. When a store does not deliver to Kampala, I turn to online shopping services like Intraline Online and MyUS and ask for a quote. The process takes minutes. I want to know exactly how much it would cost to get the product from the store to my bathroom. This means the price should include shipping, taxes and delivery.
Armed with the quote, I can now determine which product gives the best value for money. I calculate this using a simple formula:
Value of Product = Total Cost Of Item (incl shipping, taxes and delivery) / Quantity
For example, you want to buy a gentle cleanser and you have your eye on two.
By the time the first one gets from the store to your bathroom, it costs UGX 100,000. The product is 355ml which makes the value:
VoP = 100,000/355 which is UGX 281.7 per ml
By the time the second one gets from the store to your bathroom, it also costs UGX 100,000. However, the product is 177ml. The value will be:
VoP= 100,000/177 which is UGX 565 per ml
The difference is clear. The savvy choice would be the first since it offers the best value for money. (P.S. I picked this comparison formula up from the Beauty Brains)
Now, it’s time to dip into the “belle fund” and make a purchase. Every month, I put away some money for self care. The belle fund is meant to cater for any beauty and wellness. Since I can’t spend it willy nilly, the previous step is vital to save my hard earned coins.
And that’s it! Now all that needs to be done is patiently wait about 20 days (ETA determined by service provider) to receive the skin care goodies in Kampala! Have you shopped for beauty products online before? What are your favorite retailers? Let me know in the comments.