Feature: BeautyTicket.com!

Although they carry brand-name products at steep discounts, BeautyTicket.com is NOT just another online cosmetics boutique. First and foremost, what immediately sets them apart is the inventory: they carry amazing high-end brands like YSL, Urban Decay, Too Faced and Smashbox at prices that are 50% or more off of retail (the site claims that the discounts can go up to 85% off). In my extensive online beauty shopping experience I've found that many e-commerce cosmetics sites carry only lower-end products or provide such a limited selection that you can never find a color that suits your skin tone. While BeautyTicket's variety still isn't as vast as if you were to visit ULTA or Sephora, the selection does provide options for light and dark skin tones, as well as neutral and/or colorful tastes.

In addition to their everday inventory, BeautyTicket also holds 3-day Private Sales each Wednesday-Friday featuring a new brand (or two!) every week (in June, they featured NARS, Josie Maran, Twilight, DuWop, Hourglass and next week it's one of my favorites: Urban Decay). Just in case the name seems confusing, Private Sales are actually free to view and open to anyone, as long as you register with the site! Once you're a BeautyTicket.com "Member", you'll receive an e-mail when the sale begins, and from there it's first-come, first-serve until the merchandise is gone (and I've noticed that the most sought after items go really fast, so it's smart to be near a computer when the sale begins!). Although I haven't done an item-by-item comparison, the discounts seems to be just as good on flash sale items as they are on regular inventory.

Of course, any reasonable consumer will start to wonder: "What's the catch? High-end, new cosmetics for 85% off retail?" and thankfully, BeautyTicket.com seems to make this fairly transparent through their F.A.Q, About Me, and Checkout pages. First and foremost, the site warns you that products may come without the original outer packaging (like the box around a tube of lipstick), or the packaging might be slightly dented, scratched or marked. Secondly, the products may be packaged differently from how they are currently sold in retail stores, or they may "appear" to be colors from last season's collection (they caveat this by noting that sometimes manufacturers sell a collection at a different time overseas -- they guarantee that products are new, unopened and not expired). What this basically breaks down to is that BeautyTicket.com purchases surpluses from manufacturers when they are changing packaging or have just produced too much of a particular item. They also purchase items that, while 100% fully functional, somehow ended up with damaged packaging in the manufacturing process, and therefore can no longer feasibly be sold to distributors for full price. Since the site is able to purchase these products at such low prices (when there are major surpluses, manufacturers will do almost anything to make money off of a product since they already spent the money to produce it, even if that means selling at or below cost), they are passing the savings onto you.

Now, after lingering for about a week, I decided to test out the company's ordering and shipping processes, and I wanted to see if the products I received were of high quality. So I placed an order for a Rusk "Being Smooth" Hair Smoothing Creme for $7.99 (retail price: $25) and an MD Skincare Antioxidant Firming Face Serum for $39.99 (retail price: $80). Shipping is a flat rate of $6.95 to the US (no size or weight limits). I did find a coupon code online for 10% off my purchase, so my total with shipping came to just $50. I placed my order on a Wednesday and by Saturday (today!) I had my package in hand. Keep in mind that I ordered a package from ULTA.com not minutes after I placed my BeautyTicket.com order, and I have still not received that one!

When I opened the box, I saw that my items were well packaged and were cushioned with pretty pink shredded paper. Furthermore, the company took the care to place my hair product into a sealed plastic ziploc bag in case it spilled (a special touch that I loved!). Once I took everything out of the box, I started examining, and right away noticed that the packaging is, indeed, not perfect. My hair creme tube is a bit marked up -- it looks like light black scuff marks on the side -- and the MD Skincare serum box is a bit dented on the side and has marks/scratches on the front. Other than that, my items seem to be in PERFECT condition -- the serum is still sealed and the hair creme nozzle was clean and unopened. I have not yet actually tried the products out, but I have no doubt that they are of brand new, high quality (and I will actually do a review on each of them once I've had time to try them out).

Want to know the one thing that I don't like about BeautyTicket.com? They don't accept returns (although they do ask for you to contact them if you are dissatisfied with a product, which perhaps indicates that they might offer a site credit or attempt some other form of compensation to resolve the problem). Now, I totally understand why they CAN'T accept returns -- a normal retailer like ULTA would "damage out" a product and send it back to the manufacturer, but because BeautyTicket.com is buying surplus inventory, they have no recourse to get their money back if you return a product. Despite this, the policy does inhibit impulse/experimental purchases to a degree, because I'm less keen to try a new shade or product if I know I can go to ULTA, buy something similar and bring it back for a full refund if it doesn't suit me.

For me, the no returns issue is especially problematic with their "Mystery Bags," which I'd honestly love to try! For $15-$20, you can get a "lot" of products (usually 4-6 items) that BeautyTicket.com chooses for you. Sometimes the brand name of the products is listed (i.e. they had Stila mystery bags recently) and sometimes it's just listed as being appropriate for a certain skin tone or complexion. Despite the super cheap price, I'd be wary to spend my money on something like this without knowing if I was receiving five high-quality items that I could put to use (i.e. colors that would look good on me). If returns were allowed, or if at the very least there were reviews of these mystery bags on the site, I'd be more apt to give it a try.

All in all, I'm really a big fan of BeautyTicket.com and had a good first experience ordering products from the site. I encourage you all to check it out (http://www.beautyticket.com/) and hopefully find some steals and deals that work for you!!

FTC Disclaimer: BeautyTicket.com is in no way affiliated with, or sponsoring, this post. I paid for these items on my own and these are my true and honest opinions about the experience! In general, any time a post is sponsored, or a product is complimentary, on the Beauty Babble site, it will be clearly indicated!


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