When it comes to
buying beauty products, I’ve always been a very tactile kind of shopper. 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 beauty products at other retailers like Sephora, Ulta, and even the drugstore became a kind of tranquility-inducing therapy for me. (Unfortunately, my wallet got the short end of the stick with that one!)
Not only did I simply enjoy strolling through the aisles filled with tempting
vials, jars, and bottles, but I also loved swatching and testing my forearm away 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, now that IRL beauty sampling is not what it used to be, we’re turning to online beauty buying more than ever before. You might already feel well versed in shopping for beauty picks via the World Wide Web, but for people who aren’t used to the process or who prefer to shop in a brick-and-mortar store as I do, it can feel like a daunting and overwhelming process. 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.
So we thought we’d do some Nancy Drew–caliber detective work to significantly slim your chances of returning said purchases. We reached out to our dear friends at Nordstrom—one of our all-time favorite online beauty retailers—to see which products have had the fewest returns recently (kind of brilliant, right?). Below, I’m listing the top 10 beauty buys Nordstrom shoppers have rarely sent back as well as beauty editor-approved favorites from each of the popular brands. Keep scrolling for 10 holy-grail beauty products with a near-perfect no-return rate.
To be honest, it’s extremely hard to go wrong in the land of MAC, so we’re totally not surprised this matte-finish powder foundation is a crowd-pleaser. Not only does it help curb midday greasiness (an especially handy perk if your skin runs oily!), but it also provides a satisfying amount of coverage that’s buildable yet not noticeably detectable to the naked eye.
Simply put, this is one of my favorite concealers of all time.
MAC’s lipsticks are a crowd-favorite—this set just so happens to come with a lip primer, and matching gloss.
Eye makeup remover is one of the most infuriatingly annoying beauty products to shop for. It should be easy to find a formula that erases stubborn shadow, mascara, or liner in a flash sans irritation, but apparently, it’s like trying to find a needle in a haystack. Well, consider yourself officially unburdened of the task. According to Nordstrom HQ, extremely rare is the return of this gentle oil-in-water formula from Lancôme.
An oil-free formula, 24-hour wear, SPF, buildable coverage… This is the foundation you’ve been searching for your entire life.
As we continue to wear masks, accentuating our eyes is a must; this Lancôme set is perfect for just that. As it has its Bi-Facil Double-Action Eye Makeup Remover, but the Définicils Defining & Lengthening Mascara and Cils Booster XL Vitamin-Infused Mascara Primer.
Gifting alert! Anyone can use this multipurpose hair and body wash, but the men we know, in particular, are especially fanatical for anything bearing the Jack Black label. (Plus, the rosemary and eucalyptus scent is superb—clean but still yummy.)
One of the low-key best lip balms ever. (Psst: The Mint flavor is like, wow.)
Your hair will thank you for using this shampoo.
We’re pretty devoted to Chanel’s collection of iconic fragrances. Technically, this Norstrom top seller is for men, but who says this blend of grapefruit, cedar, and sandalwood isn’t amazing for everyone?
If you love grapefruit but want something softer, this has a juicy whiff of the citrus fruit, but it balances quince, rose accord, and white musk. We’ve never met anyone who’s not a fan.
You also can’t go wrong with buying the travel-size version of the top-selling Chanel scent, Bleu de Chanel.
Technically, it’s the jumbo size of this ultra-moisturizing face lotion that’s earned its coveted low-return spot. However, it’s the formula (not the size) that keeps reeling in the high reviews.
If you’re wanting the same level of dramatic hydration but veer oily or acne prone, we recommend this featherlight moisturizer from the brand. It absorbs quickly, so all you’re left with is supreme moisture that has a matte, smooth-as-silk finish.
PSA: Nordstrom’s Anniversary Sale just so happens to include Clique’s best-selling Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion+ with a matching mini travel-size.
There are plenty of fancy serums that can’t live up to the hype they garner, but it’s safe to say this high-tech formula from Estée Lauder just might be one of the few exceptions. It has an amazingly high rating (despite its 10.4K reviews), and the hero Chronolux Power Signal Technology offers an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink offering of skin perks thanks to antioxidants aplenty and 72 hours of hydration.
What’s better than Estée Lauder’s best-selling Advanced Night Repair Serum? When you can get it on sale with the brand’s beloved Advanced Night Repair Eye Supercharged Complex Synchronized Recovery eye cream. Talk about a steal.
If you don’t want to sweat about (or through) your foundation and have high standards in terms of cake-free finish and high coverage, you need this top-rated foundation in your life.
We would have been surprised if this basic but very iconic body cream hadn’t made Nordstrom’s near-perfect no-return list. The strategic mix of beta-carotene (hello, suppleness-inducing antioxidants!) and other rich antidotes like cocoa butter and sesame-seed oil work magic on even the thirstiest of skin.
Pro tip: Pregame your body cream application with this milk and honey scrub. Your skin will feel like a newborn baby’s.
Hand cremes have become the unsung beauty product throughout the pandemic as we’re combating dry hands post washing—hence why Kiehl’s Hand Salve is so tightly rated. Trust us when we say, you don’t want to leave the house without it.
If you’ve been wanting to dip your toe into the La Mer pool but are unsure where to start, we highly suggest this best-selling, low-return eye concoction. It also happens to be a favorite among makeup artists (it’s so dreamy underneath makeup) and the celebrity set.
This nonsticky gloss immediately makes your lips look full and pillowy. It’s one of our all-time favorite La Mer products, and we love to layer it underneath and on top of our favorite lipsticks and stains for an extra hit of oomph.
Another great way to test-drive La Mer’s beloved products is with its Soft Cream Se that features its best-selling Moisturizing Soft Cream, Cleansing Foam, Treatment Lotion, and Renewal Oil. Act fast though, as this set is bound to sell out for Nordstrom’s Anniversary Sale.
Face creams can be so hit or miss, which is why we’re taking the fact that this Chanel number is rarely ever returned very much to heart. You can use it day or night, and it’s especially great for anyone looking for some extra anti-aging benefits such as enhanced tone, texture, contour, and lift.
All the makeup artists and fellow beauty editors I know swear by this glossy black mascara. It adds equal parts length, curl, and volume—the trifecta!
Editors alike swear by and consider Chanel to be one of the best lipstick brands out there—for good reason. Its formula is not only long-lasting, but with three hydrating waxes, you’ll never get that dried-out pout look.
FYI: The iconic face lotion for men is so popular that the regular version sans SPF is currently sold out at Nordstrom. We’re sure it will restock soon, but until then, grab the SPF version (which is linked) instead because yes, you should still be protecting your skin from harmful rays every day, even if summer is a thing of the past.
This shaving set from Kiehl’s just so happens to be another amazing gift idea. You’ll get the brand’s top-rated Facial Fuel Energizing Face Wash, Ultimate Brushless Shave Cream White Eagle, Ultimate Razor Burn & Bump Relief, and aforementioned fan-favorite Facial Fuel Energizing Moisture Treatment.
Up next, Nordstrom’s Beauty Discounts Are Next-Level—These Products Will Sell Out First.
This post was originally published at an earlier date and has since been updated.