When it comes to buying beauty products, I've always been a very tactile kind of shopper. From the age of 5, I've had a thing for sparkling, lacquer-finished stores like Sephora and MAC Cosmetics. They were my favorite pit stops to make at the mall, and as I grew older, sleuthing for new beauty products at other retailers like department stores, Ulta, and even the drugstore became a kind of tranquility-inducing therapy for me. (Unfortunately, my wallet got the short end of the stick with that one!)
Not only did I simply enjoy strolling through the aisles filled with tempting vials, jars, and bottles, but I also loved swatching and testing my forearm away to see how shades would (or wouldn't) flatter my skin tone or how the consistency of a serum or oil would lie with my skin. Hygienic? No. Fun? Very much! That said, now that IRL beauty sampling is not what it used to be, we're turning to online beauty buying more than ever before. You might already feel well-versed in shopping for beauty picks via the World Wide Web, but for people who aren't used to the process or prefer to shop in a brick-and-mortar store like I do, it can feel like a daunting and overwhelming process. There's a greater risk of not liking a product, and it's disappointing to have to repack and ship back a formula you had high hopes for.
So I thought I'd do some Nancy Drew–caliber detective work to significantly slim your chances of returning said purchases. I reached out to my dear friends at Dermstore—one of my all-time favorite online beauty retailers—to see which products it carries have had the fewest returns. (Kind of brilliant, right?) And lucky for us, it happens to be Dermstore's must-anticipated Anniversary Sale event, so several of the brands are temporarily on sale. Below, I'm listing the top seven buys Dermstore shoppers have rarely sent back, plus more best-selling formulas from each of the popular brands. Keep scrolling for seven holy-grail beauty products with a near-perfect no-return rate.
Nearly $100 is a lot of money to fork over for an eye cream, but the masses have spoken, and this special formula is not only a top seller at Dermstore, but it's also one of the least frequently returned. A little goes a long way, which makes the price tag an easier pill to swallow, and it also tackles a handful of different under-eye woes. Bye, fine lines, wrinkles, and shadows!
My WWW beauty editor PIC Courtney Higgs and I might be biased, but over and over again we deem this cult-loved cleanser as the absolute best face wash on Earth. Didn't think something as basic as a cleanser could be skin-transformingly magical? Think again. Dermstore shoppers agree and hang on tight to this epic mixture of exfoliating white willow bark and skin-healing antioxidants like chamomile and Centella Asiatica.
I don't know of a fellow beauty editor in this industry who doesn't sing this popular product's praises up and down. It's Sunday Riley's reigning best-selling product, and not surprisingly, it historically leaves buyers gleeful and highly satisfied. It's filled with potent skin-improving ingredients like lactic acid, licorice, and lemongrass, and it can be used as a daily serum or as a mask for a heavier-duty treatment.
It's pretty hard to create a perfect sunscreen formula, but EltaMD's iconic formula comes pretty damn close. It's the top choice among celebrities, facialists, and dermatologists; doesn't leave an unflattering cast; and won't clog your pores. As someone who's insanely breakout-prone and picky about SPF, I'm not surprised this highly rated pick is rarely sent back!
As far as hyaluronic acid serums are concerned, I dare you to find a cleaner or dreamier option than this fast-selling dropper from Éminence Organic Skin Care. Lush strawberry serves as the hero ingredient here. It surreptitiously works as a cleansing agent and astringent and even contains salicylic acid to aid in exfoliation and pore shrinkage. Then, rhubarb swoops in to pinch-hit as a good source of ascorbic acid and vitamins for lifting and tightening perks.
So, Hailey Bieber loves and swears by this brand, and it's one of the top formulas of Dermstore's least-returned list. It is definitely an investment, but a little goes a long way, and it also targets a litany of skin concerns. Here's the scoop: It contains two different active formulas that partner up to iron out wrinkles and regenerate skin cells. The brand's signature TNS complex is a protein- and amino acid–rich serum designed to diminish inflammation and other telltale signs of aging, and the APS corrective complex boasts anti-aging ingredients, peptides, and antioxidants to increase the strength and resiliency of aging skin. This serum is as close to youth in a bottle as you can get.
SkinCeuticals' C E Ferulic serum just might be THE most famous skincare item in the world. It's not only a top-selling formula from the brand itself, but it also sits at the top of the list for most larger beauty retailers. But as proven by our data from Dermstore, beauty lovers aren't just buying it; they're keeping it. The magic lies in the brand's strategic antioxidant mix of ferulic acid and pure vitamin C and E. The result? Protection against environmental damage, minimized signs of aging, and lots and lots of brightness.