Disclaimer: To our men readers, you may want to take a backseat on this one. Unless, you’re into skincare and beauty items too. Haha!
You know what’s one frustrating thing in Riyadh for a shopaholic and makeup junkie like me? Cosmetics are so friggin’ expensive and overpriced! It’s so sad to watch my favorite beauty youtubers and vloggers (hello Kathleen Lights and Tati) talk about drugstore brands like Maybelline, Bourjois, Rimmel, Revlon, etc. and describe them as cheap and affordable. That’s because they live in the United States and drugstore brands are abundant in that place and super inexpensive especially when sales are ongoing. I, on the other hand, live in Saudi Arabia where Maybelline foundation go for SR 54 a pop and a Benefit Mini Pore-fessional Primer is SR 60 each. In comparison, Maybelline foundation is just USD 8 (SR 30) and the Benefit mini primer is just $12 (SR45) in Ulta in the US. Such is the harsh truth. Haha! Why am I even affected in the first place?
It’s crazy how ladies are so obsessed with makeup. I’m not really that obsessed with it but compared to my friends, I’m probably the one who like buying makeup the most. I’m the makeup junkie and I confess right now. Thankfully, my husband gets it the same way I get his DOTA and tv series addiction. Haha! So what does a girl who’s currently obsessed with foundation to do? Buy online, of course! But where? The answer ladies is drugstore.com.
Kathleen Lights, a popular makeup Youtuber, mentioned that she ordered some of her stuff at drugstore.com so I decided to check it out. Lo and behold, most of the stuff that I’ve been lemming were available there at a fraction of the price. And Maybelline, Milani, and Wet & Wild even have promos! Most of the items I wanted to buy are not easily available here in Riyadh so it’s a win-win situation. There’s just one or two items that I threw in the mix that are available in the pharmacies here but they’re still more affordable in the website by a mile. The only problem that I have is they don’t ship directly to Saudi Arabia.
However, to address this problem, Drugstore.com has partnered up with a third party courier to deliver international orders but I am already signed up with one: Shop and Ship by Aramex and so far, it hasn’t failed me so I decided to go with SnS. I encountered another problem when I was about to pay for my purchase though. They don’t accept Paypal that are registered in other countries apart from the USA. My account, of course, is registered in Saudi Arabia. No can do. I was a bit insistent to use my credit card and so I emailed their customer support and asked if there’s any way I can make my Paypal work. Their email support suggested I use my credit card instead of going through Paypal. I was a bit hesitant to do that because paying through Paypal is more secure especially in this day of hackers you know? The only advantage that directly using my credit card will give me is the exchange rate is lower than Paypal so I get to save a few riyals.
I threw caution to the wind, carted my orders and paid for it by my credit card. The transaction pushed through. The box weighed 2.15 lbs. and I paid SAR 108 for shipping. I ordered April 18, 2016 (yes, this entry is a late post). Drugstore.com shipped my package on April 19. Shop and Ship New York received it on April 20. They dispatched it to Saudi Arabia on April 22. They delivered it to me personally on April 24. It just took six days for the entire thing to get to me. 6 DAYS! Awesomeballs!
With the shipping fee, you’ll think I paid for so much more but let me tell you why I’m going for this website than ordering this stuff from local resellers in Riyadh or buying them in department stores and pharmacies here. Here’s a breakdown of my purchase:
I ordered 17 products in total. (Please don’t judge; I got carried away! Haha!) To get the total price of each product, I’m dividing the tax and the shipping fee into 17 products. The tax is USD 8.17 (SR 30.63) divided by 17 is SR 1.80. The shipping fee is SR 108 divided by 17 is SR 6.35. Adding those two, we get SR 8.15 which we’ll be adding to each product to come up with the total price I paid for each.
For example, Maybelline Fit Me! Matte + Poreless Foundation costs USD 6.79 in drugstore.com, equivalent to SR 25.46 when converted to Saudi riyals (USD 1 = SR 3.75). Let’s add the SR 8.15 for the shipping and tax: the item just costs me SR 33.61 in total. Do you know how much this item costs in one of the reseller websites in Riyadh? Effin’ SR 62!!! And it’s not even available immediately! You also have to wait for weeks. Sure you can grab the Fit Me! foundation (dewy version) in the pharmacies in the city and have it immediately but for almost double the price of SR 52? Ugh.
Let’s try another product shall we? I ordered four pieces of Wet N Wild Megalast Lipsticks. One of them was free because they’re having a promo of Buy 3 Get 1 Free. Each lipstick costs USD 1.95 (SR 7.31) plus shipping and tax of SR 8.17, it only costs SR 15.48 in total. I saw a Wet N Wild lipstick like this in one of the gift stores I visited last weekend and they’re selling it for SR 35. Ridiculous! I’d rather buy it in drugstore.com; they have more colors to choose from at a fraction of the price of local resellers. I also bought a L’oreal Infallible Mattifying Foundation in one of the stores at the basement of Kingdom Mall and I paid SR 100 for it. I got the demi-matte version at only SR 45.45!
I know that’s a lot of Math right there but my bottom line is, I got everything cheaper than buying them here in resellers and pharmacies in Riyadh.
So anyway, here are the pros and cons of ordering your stuff from drusgtore.com:
1. A wide variety of products. And I’m not just talking about makeup. They have vitamins, personal care products, etc.
2. Brands that are not available in Riyadh are available in drugstore.com. There are brands that are present in Riyadh too but not all of their products are available here. You will find them in drugstore.com. Example: Wet N Wild, Milani, Coty, etc.
3. Affordable prices. You can compare prices like what I did above. Include the shipping fees and taxes (in the US) and you still end up paying less.
4. Constant sales and promos. Their prices are already cheap but they still do BOGOs, Buy 1 and get the 2nd at half the price, freebies of you buy a certain number of products, etc.
5. Dependable customer service. They emailed their replies fast.
6. Ship fast. They said that their ground shipping will take 3-5 days or more but they took less days to deliver.
1. No instant gratification. It takes days before the products get to you.
2. Use of Paypal is restricted. If it’s registered outside the US, you cannot use it to pay.
3. You need a credit card to pay for your purchase (the debit card of Al-Rajhi named “Tasawaq” works too).
4. You need a US forwarding address (which you can sign up for easily). Try Shop and Ship or MyUS.
5. A wide variety of products that are on sale. You will buy MORE than you intend to buy. Haha!
The only thing better than ordering from drugstore.com is to go to the USA and get the stuff you need from there personally. You can visit Ulta, Sephora, CVS, etc. You can also probably ask friends and relatives visiting there to buy your stuff for you but apart from that being dyahe, it will also add up to their luggage weight. Nakakahiya naman. Haha! Will I order from drusgtore.com again? Yes but it will take me some time before I order from them again. Not because I don’t like it but because I ordered a ton of stuff that will last me 2-3 years. Or until they expire. Haha! Don’t judge me. I may seen to have gone overboard with my orders but remember that it’s my first and probably last (in a long time) to order so I just got everything that I ever wanted in the makeup category. The bonus part? I get to share with you folks my experience. Glad to be of help. Hahaha! #excusesofashopaholic
P.S. I’m reviewing most of the foundations I got in our Beauty Bets category. If you’re into that, then head on over to our Foundation Month series.