I had a few requests to do a post on shopping for overseas brands online, where to shop from and the details regarding customs etc. New brands keep arriving in South Africa (yay Urban Decay!), which is great, but there are still some brands which we are longing for and have to source overseas, like Hourglass, Tarte and NARS…to name but a few. So here is a roundup of some good places to shop online. I’ve updated this post to include a few South African online stores I love.
I’ve bought from LookFantastic before when I ordered my Naked 3 palette. They offer free worldwide shipping, but be aware that you will have to pay customs when you collect your parcel. My experience has been roughly 50% of the order value.
I’ve also bought from BeautyBay before, and they also offer free worldwide delivery. They stock the same brands as mentioned above, as well as a host of others – unfortunately not NARS – including Paul & Joe. The same customs will apply; factor in roughly 50% of the order value.
I haven’t shopped here before but know a few people who have. Feel Unique. Will you have to pay customs? Yes.
I have bought Real Techniques brushes from Amazon on two occasions as well as books and toys for Christmas. Now that we can get Real Techniques here it’s a bit null and void. Amazon is great in that they calculate your shipping and import duty when you check out, so you know what the total will be, you pay upfront, and they deliver by courier to your door. Sadly not everything on Amazon ships to South Africa, so you have to browse around.
I heard about this site from Luzanne of Pink Peonies and have subsequently ordered from them myself. They stock theBalm, so I ordered the Mary-Lou Manizer at the time. As we know we can get theBalm from Retailbox in SA now. There is a shipping cost of around $10 I think. Luzanne said she paid very low duties (R70 to R100 on a R600 order, for example) when ordering here. I received my highlighter within exactly two weeks and paid absolutely no customs. I’m not sure why, but customs is a weird, weird thing. But the service was really good and I also received samples and a 10% voucher off my next purchase.
I’ve been investigating and NARS seems to be the most difficult to get hold of. There must be plenty of places to buy it from, but I haven’t been able to find them at a glance. So I asked my friend Nicole from Princess Noo and she sent me a reliable seller on eBay called Bellaflora who sells NARS and some Tarte items. You can also buy Tarte on eBay from Feed The Pugs (love that name!).
I haven’t braved eBay myself, but I think you need to make sure to buy from reputable, recommended sellers and check their shipping costs. The one benefit is that if items are sent marked as a gift you can usually avoid customs. You’re only allowed a certain number of overseas gifts a year though, so be mindful of that. Gifts also need to be valued at R400 or less, otherwise you will need to produce an invoice.
Exciting news is that Tarte now ships to SA! This brand is the one I’ve longed for most and has been very difficult to get. You can order from their website. It’s free shipping for orders over R1990 – so unless you’re feeling spendy you will have to pay around R285 shipping with DHL which takes 1-14 days.
Kiss and Makeup NY
Another great suggestion from Luzanne is Kiss and Makeup NY which stocks NARS and Laura Mercier! They offer shipping for $10 (about R100) which is amazing for international. The customs duty can be as low as 20% (see Luzanne’s comment in the comment section) but I would still budget for 50% just to be safe, specially if you’ve got luck like mine.
This is my favourite SA store for hair products and they also stock Morgan Taylor nail polish, theBalm makeup as well as Stila and Billion Dollar Brows. They also stock Vita Liberata tanning products and Decleor skincare. They offer free collection from a Stylebar branch or shipping is around R75. They are super speedy with parcels often arriving the following day. You can shop online here.