Online Shopping Smarts

I never realised how much I internet shop until the past few weeks. Every few days the porter would say, ‘I have a parcel for you!’. I began to feel embarrassed and wonder what the he must think about my shopping habits and that I must love shopping. The truth, I love shopping! It’s modern day hunting and gathering. In the last few years I’ve switched from the high street to online due to location and money. Skin care products, cosmetics, trainers, protein powder are cheaper online even with shipping, online from the UK or USA as opposed from Spain or France, if I can find the item. And who does’t enjoy opening a parcel, even if you know what’s in it!


If you’re like me, you take care what you put in your body, eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, follow a vegan/plant based diet, drink plenty of water and exercise it makes sense, or there comes a point, you care about what goes on your body. Our skin is our biggest organ. If you’re eating and working out for a healthy body then skin’s on that list too. Anything we put on it, our body absorbs. In Europe, I shop online as there’s a great range of natural and organic skincare and cosmetic products than on the high street.

I’ve always gone for products not tested on animals. I don’t like that something or someone suffered for my enjoyment. That’s just how I am. Over the years, I’ve gravitated towards more natural ingredients as to meet the required natural or organic standard, they cannot be tested on animals or contain any animal products (and the products pack a powerful punch of anti oxidants helping fight those wrinkles fine lines). In 2013 the EU banned all animal testing on cosmetics. Outside of Europe, however these companies are free to test. Currently, only Norway, Israel and India have also banned cosmetic animal testing. The USA, Australia and New Zealand may follow. China is lifting it’s ban on select items. Many of these companies under the cosmetic ban also make household cleaning products which are tested. Leaping Bunny explains more.

Latest buys to try, Everyday Coconut.IMG_0491

I’d love to be able to smell, touch and try out new products before I buy them online. Sometimes I can and it’s a case of looking for the product cheaper and a lot of googling. A favourite mascara of mine is €4 cheaper online than in Sephora, I pay no shipping costs, and normally I have 10-20% off my total order so it can be €8-10 cheaper. I recycle the boxes and ride a bicycle which helps offset the environmental shipping costs (in my mind).

The first question I ask when selecting a product is, is it tested on animals, then I look at the ingredients. Lotions containing petroleum liquid are out. Cars run on that. Do I really want that on my skin? Products with sodium laureth/lauryl sulfate that make shampoos and shower gel foamy are out. That stuff can mess with the kidneys, central nervous and respiratory system. I look for products without parabens, mineral oils and phthalates. All of these are know to cause skin problems from allergies to cancer. No thank you! If you can’t pronounce it, don’t buy it! The Honest Life by Jessica Alba is a great starting place on ingredients to avoid and why. (And you get to peek inside her house). The two websites I use to check product and ingredient toxicity or product effectiveness are Skindeep and paulschoice. The only drawback, is that they’re aimed at the America market. Up and coming British natural products I rely on the next step, product reviews.

As I can’t try out samples or the product, I rely on others to give the low down. It takes time, but it’s worth it. Those reviewers know their stuff! The times I go against what they say, the product has been a disappointment. My feet are then treated to expensive ‘foot lotion’ or shampoo becomes shower gel (much of the ingredients are the same for both). My go to sites are: makeup alley, ulta and If the product isn’t listed, then it’s reviews from websites that sell it.

The final step, the shopping basket! I’d love to wander through their warehouses, my kind of chocolate factory! Look out for shipping costs (Some so called free shipping outside the UK is a con, as when selecting destination, the products mysterious increase in price), some it’s free, others go by weight which can affect the total price. If shopping from the USA, be aware of import tax and customs. Currently orders under €22/$34 (check conversion and own countries regulations) are exempt from import taxes or duties, though it does depend on which shipper they use if you pay any. Sometimes even with duties, it’s cheaper than it’s European seller or product equivalent. A few of my favourite international online natural skincare or cosmetic retailers, which have a good selection of promotions and discounts are: lookfantastic, biggreensmile, i-herbbathandunwind, boots.

Just like high street shopping, you get to know your go to favourite shops, shopping becomes easier and when you find a new place to shop or a new product to try, excited! It just takes a little more patience.

Happy shopping!

Are you a high street shopper or online shopper? I’d prefer the high street and sometimes daydream about CVS, Ulta and Ricky’s NYC. Boots doesn’t even compare! What’s your view on cosmetic animal testing? 



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