When it comes to shopping, I've always preferred hunting for my latest product fix IRL versus online. From the age of 5, I've had a thing for sparkling, lacquer-finished stores like Nordstrom and MAC. They were my favorite pit stops to make at the mall, and as I grew older, sleuthing for new and exciting beauty concoctions at other retailers like Sephora, Ulta, and even the drugstore became a kind of tranquility-inducing therapy for me. (Unfortunately, my credit card got the short end of the stick with that one—R.I.P.)
Not only did I simply enjoy strolling through the aisles filled with tempting vials, jars, and bottles, but I also loved swatching and testing 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, even though things have opened up since the pandemic, and I can definitely go back to my former brick-and-mortar shopping M.O., I've still been doing most of my investing online. Which, while convenient, can also be a bit tricky. 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.
I don't know about you, but it's pretty much my prerogative to avoid online returns at all costs, so I did some Nancy Drew–caliber detective work to significantly slim your chances of returning said purchases. To help streamline your shopping process and to help ensure satisfaction almost guaranteed, I reached out to six popular beauty retailers—Violet Grey, Net-a-Porter, Thirteen Lune, Revolve, Dermstore, and Credo, to see which beauty products get returned the least. Kind of brilliant, right? Keep scrolling for 60 holy-grail beauty products with a near-perfect no-return rate.
If you think body wash is just body wash, you definitely need this vitamin-rich elixir in your shower, stat. Choose the scent (fragrance-free, bergamot, eucalyptus, or sandalwood) based on the type of at-home spa experience you're looking to channel.
What can't this innovative mask do? Just one application smooths, corrects, tightens, firms, lifts, and purges the skin of toxins. The results are temporary yet absolutely perfect before a night out or big event.
You'd think finding a lip balm that did what it's supposed to (and then some!) would be easy, but it's actually pretty hard. This one from Dr. Barbara Sturm is a splurge, but so long-lasting and satisfying that it redeems itself.
Augustinus Bader might be famous for its holy-grail face creams, but this toner-essence hybrid doesn't get enough credit. And yes, it features the same youth-activating TFC8 complex that the rest of the brand's lineup contains. Soft, supple, hydrated skin is just ahead.
So many sheet masks on the market are just meh—you apply them with high hopes and are only minorly thrilled at the end results. This one, however, will truly transform the look of your skin in one go. Newly reformulated, it's a targeted repair-focused bio-cellulose mask that utilizes key technology from wound-healing medicine.
This might be one of the most jaw-droppingly expensive hyaluronic acid formulas, but according to customers' rave reviews, the high-quality formulas is well worth the plunge if your budget has the bandwidth.
Shopping for fragrances online can be tricky, but if I felt safe recommending one and only one to the masses, it would be this MVP from Le Labo. Think notes from cardamom, sandalwood, leather, iris, and violet. It's intoxicating.
Not only is this one of the most popular (and least returned) beauty items in Net-a-Porter's collection, it also happens to be one of Supergoop!'s all-time best sellers as well. If you're in the market for a new sunscreen, this one won't fail you. (Psst! It also works as a fab, makeup-gripping face primer!)
This is one of my favorite beauty products o all time. I apply it every day and am not afraid to say I'm addicted. Oh, and you probably already know this because I find a way to wax poetic about it in almost every single story I write for WWW. You need this!
I know LED masks like this popular one from Dr. Dennis Gross can seem gimmicky and ungodly expensive, but perhaps my personal testimony (and the fact that using the blue setting cleared my acne in a couple of days) will convince you otherwise.
It's hard to pinpoint what we love about this decadent oil, but its versatility is a top contender. Pour some in your bath, slather it onto dry, split ends… The sky is really the limit, which makes the splurge all the more worth it.
This is such a brilliant treamtnet. Use it before you condition your hair to seal in extra nutrients, malnourished strands will lap up with glee. Oh, and it will also help rebalance the natural pH of your hair which translates to more shine and moisture. Wins all around.
If you think all hair oils are the same, think again. This one from Gisou is enriched with the highest quality honey from founder, Negin Mirsalehi's family bee garden. The elixir brims with hair-healing minerals, amino, acids, and antioxidants. One dose will satisfy whatever it is that your hair has been craving recently.
LightStim's FDA-approved LED light therapy device emits UV-free light rays that stimulate your skin cells and the body's natural regeneration protocol. The blue light eradicates acne-causing bacteria while the red increases healthy blood circulation.
Essentially, this travel-friendly, palm-sized device (think a far chicer version of a Mac mouse) delivers the same benefits of an in-office electrical nano current facial from the comfort of your home. Celebrities like Jennifer Aniston swear by these kinds of facials for their taught and glowy skin, by the way.
Using nano currents (think teeny electrical currents that sync to your body's own frequency) the device actually communicates with your skin cells to generate more collagen elastin (plumpness!), decrease the onset of breakouts, boost circulation, accelerate wound healing, and heal and repair compromised skin tissue.
You'll love this serum if you're looking for instant gratification when it comes to smooth, ultra-glowing skin. Remember what your skin looked and felt like five, 10, or even 15 years ago? Think of Good Genes as a time capsule back to that.
Beauty editors, celebrities, and skin experts alike salivate over this practically perfect cleanser from IS Clinical. All of a sudden, washing your face yields the same type of retexturizing results as a fancy in-office facial.
Consider this handy-dandy tool from NuFace a gateway to tauter, line-free skin. This particular model is especially great for targeting smaller areas like the eyes, mouth, forehead, and nasolabial folds.
This beloved sunscreen goes above and beyond, so it's no wonder that it's one of Dermstore's greatest hits in the no-return arena. Not only does it provide an invisible shield from damaging UVA and UVB rays, but it's also fortified with lactic acid to unclog pores and sodium hyaluronate to keep your skin balanced and moisturized.
I used to think forking over $60 for a lip balm was ludicrous. (Hey, just being honest!) And then, I tried this lip balm. All of sudden, makeup artists' and celebrities' rave reviews made perfect sense.
This two-in-one scalp exfoliator and shampoo is enriched with sea salt to blast away residue and buildup while sweet almond oil and limnanthes seed oil feed essential hydration and nourishment back into your strands and scalp.
People go absolutely bonkers for this cell-sloughing toner from Paula's Choice. Salicylic acid goes to work by triggering cell regeneration to minimize the appearance of blemishes, redness, large pores, even fine lines and wrinkles. Meanwhile, green tea calms inflammation and protects your skin against environmental damage.
Indie Lee's radiance-enhancing cleanser is practically legendary within the beauty industry. It's great for all skin types and leaves your complexion dewy and topped-up with moisture never stripped and dry.