International Shopping: Dos and Don'ts

Friday, March 17, 2017

India is an untapped demographic for most international beauty brands. Slowly but swiftly, many major beauty houses are understanding the importance of the large, sizeable beauty-loving community in India that could potentially generate additional millions of dollars in revenue. If you are a makeup enthusiast and love shopping from international websites, read through these important pointers.

1. Payment
  • 80% of international websites accept Indian credit cards, a handful accepts debit cards, and few allow Paypal. 
  • Don't be fooled by the accepted exchange rate. If the day's exchange rate is 68 (INR-$), some banks may charge as high as 70 (INR-$). Always check your bank's transaction rate before shopping.
  • Opt for Paypal if available as a payment option. There is a considerate difference in the exchange rates as compared to the banks. Also, they provide buyer protection and you can raise a dispute in case you haven't received your products or received damaged products.

2. Shipping
  • Most international websites use USPS (US) or Royal Mail (UK) for delivery. Read the transit time carefully, it will be mostly under the FAQ page of the website. 
  • USPS usually takes an average of 20 days to deliver your package. 
  • USPS hands over the package to Indian Postal office for delivery and service here in India, so have your local mail man's phone number handy.
  • In case you haven't received your package within the stipulated time, contact the customer service immediately. Also, get in touch with the Nodal Postal office in your city. Most international baggage sorting facility will be in the Nodal office.
  • As far as FedEx, DHL, and other private carriers are concerned, you have nothing to worry about except customs. They will contact you throughout the import process and you most certainly can track your package. 
  • Be prepared with your KYC (Know your Customer) customs clearance documents (mostly 2 ID proofs, and address proofs) if you are a first-time international shopper.

3. Customs
  • Customs duty on cosmetics is almost 37% (cosmetics is classified under unassisted baggage). If you are charged customs then you will have to pay additional cash which in turn can make your international shopping experience a big bust. 
  • Keep your order below $50 to avoid unnecessary Customs duty. 
  • Priority packages go through customs checking more than USPS.
  • Some companies devalue the goods or mark items as 'Gift' to escape customs duty. Though not a fool proof method, if caught you will have to shell out double the duty.
  • Customs randomly selects the package to inspect if the items are shipped via USPS. All items shipped through FedEx and DHL mandatorily goes through customs clearance. So basically, customs duty depends on your luck.
  • Contact your Customs office through their social media handle. Cochin Customs is quite active on Facebook and are quick to reply to any queries.
  • If you are unhappy with the service provided by Customs or have any items missing, send an email to the Commissioner of Customs (Google the email details for your area). Though there is no guarantee for a prompt reply, you can expect some reply.

4. Transit Time
  • Waiting for your package is the most excruciating process of the whole shopping experience. Transit times can vary from a week (USPS: Makeupgeek) to 20 days (BeautyBay) to 1 month (BeautyJoint). 
  • If you haven't received your items within the stipulated time, it's time to contact Customer Service.

5. Return/Refund Policy
  • Read the Return/Refund policy carefully. Some companies will happily offer refund or free replacements for missing packages, some are little hard to crack through. BeautyBay/BH Cosmetics offers replacement on missing packages.
  • Be persistent, and push for refunds. Don't give up if you haven't received a reply to your email to Customer Service. 
  • If you have used Paypal for payment, raise a dispute.
  • Contact the companies via their social media handles, Instagram, Twitter etc. Most are quick to respond through social media.
If you guys have some shopping tricks and tips, share down in the comments section.

Indie Brands You Need To Check Out

Friday, March 3, 2017


The dad of all indie brands. Colourpop is owned by Seed beauty, which apparently, is the same company that owns Kylie Cosmetics. They have been breaking the internet over the last 3 years with different Beauty Influencer collaborations and frequent releases. They are most famous for their cream eyeshadows and liquid lipsticks. Recently, they launched pressed eyeshadows and at $5, the brand is going to pose tough competition to MUG.

USP: Affordable, wide color selection, on-trend products, and unique formula
Ships to India

Juvia's Place

This is a BOB, that has exploded the Insta scenes in 2016. Till now, they have released 4 palettes, namely,  The Nubian Palette (Green), Nubian 2 (Yellow), Masquerade (Pink) and the latest, The Saharan palette (Coral). Inspired by the color, heritage, and vibrancy of Africa, each of the palettes offers a unique take on the African culture. They even sell single eyeshadows and brushes.

USP: Affordable (Search for coupon codes), crazy pigmented, bold colors
Currently, they do not ship to India. Check out Insta sellers like BeautyBuy India.

Coloured Raine

Another black-owned company, that is pretty popular in the Insta world. They are more famous for their not for the weak hearted-liquid lipsticks, but have been scoring some brownie points for their Queen of Hearts palette (limited edition), which is what glitter dreams are made of. They even sell single pan eyeshadows if you would like a taste of this company.

USP: Good quality products
Ships to India or you can buy from Beauty Bay.

Jeffree Star Cosmetics

The brand owner (Jeffree Star) is associated with all that drama, let's focus on the brand shall we? They are most famous for their Velour liquid lipsticks and highlighters. This brand is not the one to shy away from bold colors. They recently launched the Androgyny palette which has some cool earthy shades.

USP: Brand name, good customer service
Ships to India or you can buy from Beauty Bay.

Some other Indie Brands kicking up some major makeup storm:

  • Beauty Bakerie: Read Suchi's blog for review.
  • Cryptic Cosmetics
  • Sugarpill
  • Dose of Colours

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