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Ballin' On A Budget | Cult Beauty Haul + US Shipping Review

The other week I was innocently browsing Cult Beauty and ended up accidentally placing an order. How can someone accidentally online shop, you may ask. Well it's totally possible if someone is a bit of a dolt and overenthusiastically adds hypothetical shit to her cart and then clicks on over to Paypal to see what the total would be in USD. Nevertheless it happened, I'm rollin' with it and blaming it on kismet.

Since Cult Beauty is an UK retailer, I thought I would share my experience shopping there as an American customer. Overall I am happy with the experience and will order from them in the future!


Shipping Fee
Shipping is free worldwide on all orders over £50 and £4.95 on orders under £50 (for orders to the US). There's also a DHL priority option which comes with tracking info for £15. You can find all the shipping info for all the countries they deliver to here

With my free shipping I did not receive any tracking info.

Shipping Time
As I spent more than £50 I got free shipping. My package was sent via Royal Mail and then delivered to my house via USPS. Their estimated shipping time for standard delivery to the US was 5-10 business days. I placed my order on the 11th, it was shipped out on the 12th, and I received it on the 21st! So ultimately it took 6 business days to reach me after it was shipped (Monday was a holiday.)

Customs
I wasn't hit with any customs fees but then again, I've literally never had to pay customs on anything ever. I also feel like I've jinxed myself by typing out that sentence (we are living in the era of Trump, who knows what the fuck the future holds.)

There was a little customs label on the outside of my package that was mostly empty. The only part filled out was description which said "Beauty Product."


Payment Options & Exchange Fees
They accept all major credit cards as well as Paypal. Depending on your credit card, you may or may not have to pay exchange fees. Personally I paid through Paypal and had to pay a small exchange fee. On google the exchange rate on that day was 1 USD = .81 GBP and on paypal the exchange rate was 1 USD = .78 GBP. I'm too afraid to check what the exchange rate is for today on paypal because I don't want to accidentally place another order 😓.

Customer Service
After I accidentally placed my order, I immediately emailed the customer service team over at Cult Beauty. I didn't have high hopes on getting an immediate response and was resigned to the fact that I probably wouldn't be able to cancel my order. Nevertheless I emailed them in case. I got sent an automated message explaining that they had a high volume of emails and that it may take longer than usual to respond.

Ultimately I got a response to my email on the 17th, 6 days after my initial email. They were very cordial and helpful in their email and explained that if I refused delivery, the package would be shipped back for free. The actual email itself was helpful but I do wish the response time was a bit quicker. Then again, they did say they had an unexpectedly high volume. The conspiracy theorist in me kind of assumed that that's something they say all the time....

I've emailed customer support for tons of beauty retailers-- Sephora, Ulta, Dermstore, Lancome, Urban Outfitters, Bloomingdale's, and all of them get back to you within a day or two. Some of them even respond within an hour or two! Waiting a whole week was disappointing.

They do have an international phone number available but I wasn't sure if I would get hit with international roaming fees if I called.

Packaging
Considering the price and packaging (read: glass bottles) of the items offered by Cult Beauty, I was kind of shocked at how... blasé their packaging was. My items were wrapped in tissue paper plus a layer of thin bubble wrap and then packed into a malleable cardboard box. The box was then wrapped in plastic.

Initially I kind of expected it to be a more luxurious experience akin to ordering from Barneys or Space.NK, but at the end of the day I didn't care too much because everything came in tip-top condition.



Return Policy
Living in the US I can definitely admit that I am spoiled by the return policy. If a product doesn't work out I know that I can return it back to the store. I've only actually returned an used item once or twice within the past year but it gives me peace of mind to know that the option is out there.

Per EU law, all returns must be unopened with all packaging and hygiene seals intact. In addition, you must cover the shipping fees unless you're located in the UK.

So if you're in the US and are used to lax return policies, you're taking a bit of a chance by ordering from Cult Beauty. If you buy it and don't end up liking it, you're stuck with it.

Samples & Freebies
They give you an option of picking two foil samples on all orders over £50 and I'm happy to say that I actually received the ones I chose! In addition they also have tons of different free gifts with purchases. Most of them are brand restrictive (ie spend X amount on Y brand and receive Y brand gift for free) but occasionally they do have sitewide gift bags (ie spend X amount sitewide and receive this bag of freebies.) When I placed my order they were offering a free gift with purchase on Omorovicza orders which I'll share down below 😉

Haul Time
And of course the most important part of this post...the haul itself! I'm totally going to blame this haul on Shireen from Reflections of Sanity. She's been raving about the Omorovicza Thermal Cleansing Balm for some time now and every time she mentioned it, I wanted it a teeny bit more. I did buy the smallest size during the VIB sale but ended up returning it without opening it because the size to price ratio was too ridiculous for me to justify.

And while these are all luxury products and I still paid luxury prices on them, they're still helluva lot cheaper than what I would have paid for them had I bought them in the US (aka ballin' on a budget.) My total on this haul was still less than what I would have paid for only the Omorovicza cleansing balm had I bought it at Sephora (after tax.)

I listed 5 prices under each product. First is the price that the item retails for on the site. Next is the price with the EU tax removed-- if you don't live in the EU you don't have to pay for the EU tax. Then is the price I paid in GBP because I got an additional 15% off-- if you fill out your info on this page on their site, they'll give you a one time use 15% off code! The next number is the amount I paid in USD with Paypal's exchange rate and the last number is the price the item retails for in the US.


1.59 fl. oz/ 47 mL
£56 retail, £46.67 after tax, £39.67 after coupon, $50.85 after exchange rate. Retails for $77 at Nordstrom.

When I bought this it retailed for £56, but sometime within the last week the price has increased on their site and is now £74! At the current price it's cheaper to purchase it from Nordstrom where it retails for $77. Now I'm bummed that I didn't buy more Kypris products before the price hike 😔  I thought it was a bit odd that the prices were cheaper in the UK since they're an American made brand. But I guess they've changed that now.

1.7 fl. oz/ 50 mL
£48 retail, £40 after tax, £32 after coupon, $41.03 after exchange rate. Retails for $110 (when I first published this I mistakingly said it retailed for $119, $119 is around the price I would have paid after tax) at Sephora and Nordstrom.

1.7 fl. oz/ 50 mL
£25 retail, £20.83 after tax, £17.70 after coupon, $22.69 after exchange rate. Retailed for $50 at Sephora although this size was limited edition and sold out-- it is still available at Bergdorfs. The full sized 100 mL bottle retails for $90 at Sephora and Nordstrom.




Last but not least is the free gift I received with my Omorovicza items! The gift was meant for Omorovicza purchases of over £70 but I didn't meet that threshold after the tax was removed therefore I assume the £70 threshold is for the tax-included price.

The free gift included a pleather bag, two foil samples, three 5mL samples of their thermal cleansing balm, deep cleansing mask, and gold rescue cream as well as a 1 fl. oz sample of their gold shimmer oil.

Usually I don't care about the freebie bags that come with purchase but I was impressed by the quality of this one! It's a thick material in a luxurious color and even has a little tassel on the zipper.

I also picked up the Zelens intense defense antioxidant serum and Wei purifying mud mask for my free foil samples.


Like I said in the beginning of my post I've overall really happy with my experience (mostly cause I saved $$$) and would definitely recommend Cult Beauty to those outside the UK! Have you ever shopped from them before? What are your favorite products that they offer?



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I forgot to mention it in my last post but I'm holding an International giveaway over on my Instagram! It ends next week so be sure to enter soon :)

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