Sephora Haul (and how I order from the US site…)

Ordering from Sephora has become a sort of hit-and-miss process, which can be extremely frustrating (especially when I’m approaching the end of my favourite foundation). I recently placed an order, and thought it would be a good time to update you all on how I order things from the US Sephora site using a parcel forwarding service. Because I tend to order 4-5 products at a time (depending on cost), I find in the long run it ends up being cheaper for me to get things sent here from the USA. It was even better when the Australian dollar was strong but what can you do?! I posted a how-to style post on Hop Shop Go a couple of years ago, but their site has changed a little bit since then. This is how I order now –

Step One – sign up with Hop Shop Go. Hop Shop Go is my favourite parcel forwarding service. I know Australia Post offer something similar, but I’ve heard enough nightmare stories from people of their parcels going missing and Australia Post not doing much to help them out that I’m happy sticking with what I know. When you sign up with Hop Shop Go you’re issued a postal address, and you’ll need this for later. Please note: to use Hop Shop Go you will also need a PayPal account.

Step Two – sign up as a Sephora member. Sephora have a great rewards system, and you can accrue points to exchange for sample sized products and additional benefits (if you get enough points under your belt).

Step Three – get shopping! Hop Shop Go will not ship aerosols or nail polishes. So no perfumes, sprays, or the Sephora for OPI range for us. I’ve also found I have a much greater success rate with orders that fall under US $100, so I always stick to that. If you’re unsure what to buy from Sephora, see here. Please note: if your order gets cancelled, Sephora will hold onto your money for a few days. So if you’ve been squirreling away your pennies for a little splurge on makeup, you may have to wait a few days longer if your initial order is cancelled.

Step Four – time to order! As you progress to the checkout you’ll be asked for an address – this is where the Hop Shop Go personalized address comes in handy. When placing the order, I always use a VISA. Again, I’ve had more of a success rate with this so it’s what I stick to now. You should get a confirmation email regarding receipt of your order, and then a second email when your order has shipped. These usually come within two or three days.

Step Five – forward that parcel! You’ll receive an email notification when your order arrives at the Hop Shop Go facility. At that point you can log onto the site, click on ‘Ship + Track’ and go from there. My orders usually arrive within a week and are delivered by DHL.

To give you an idea of what a typical order will cost, I’ve broken it down for you. As I mentioned earlier in the post, the Australian dollar is performing terribly at the moment. This plays a big part in whether orders from the US are worthwhile.

Total cost of products at Sephora: $87 USD ($117 AUD)
+ Shipping (this is calculated on the weight of your package): $23.13 USD ($31 AUD)
Total = roughly $148 AUD

Total cost of products in Australia (with no shipping cost): $140.51

One of the big benefits of ordering from Sephora is the range of products available. The fact that I can order the only foundation I use from the site, but cannot find it anywhere in Australia is a big selling point for me.

And now for what I ordered! The main reason for my order was to pick up another tub of the Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder, but I thought I’d pop another couple of staples into the cart to make shipping worthwhile. So I also grabbed another tube of my holy grail mascara – Lancome Hypnose, and my favourite go-to lip shade – the Fresh Sugar Tinted Lip Conditioner in Rose. I was also gifted three free samples but I only picked two, the First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream, and the NUDE Skincare Progenius Omega Treatment Rescue Oil. Using my Sephora reward points I also picked up a deluxe sample size of Dior’s ‘Diorshow’ Mascara, and Bobbi Brown’s Long Wear Cream Shadow Stick in Shadow. Now I just need to sit back and wait for them to arrive!

How To Achieve the ‘Playfully Wavy’ style from Watson X Watson

image credit: getty

Fashion week hair and makeup can often seem quite, well… unwearable. One of the more wearable hair style options I saw at Fashion Week 2015 was featured at Watson x Watson. This playfully wavy hair is easy to recreate, and Schwarzkopf’s National Technical Educator Grant Withnell is here to tell us how. Simply follow these steps:

1. Start with clean hair, shampoo and condition your hair and towel-dry. Apply a treatment or oil to help detangle and smooth the hair surface – go for one that will also help protect against heat damage.

2. If you have naturally wavy or curly hair, spritz with a sea salt spray or spray gel to help set your natural curls.

3. For straight or fine hair, comb a large dollop of volumising mousse through wet hair.

4. Remove any excess moisture with a blow dryer before you start the styling process. To get more volume, flip your head upside down and scrunch with your hands.

5. Once excess moisture is removed, use a small round brush, blow dry sections of hair and roll the brush away from your face. If your hair is long, first divide it into four sections from ear to ear and straight down the centre, securing each section with a clip. Then complete the blow dry one section at a time. Tip: start at the nape or underneath section of your hair and direct the nozzle of your hairdryer directly down the hair shaft so the air is blowing along the mesh of hair. This will make the cuticle layer sit flat and reduce fly-aways.

6. Now use a curling iron, the size of the curl/wave will depend on the width of the curling iron. Wrap 1-2 inch sections of hair from mid-shafts to ends only (leave the roots straight). Curl random sections of hair in different directions to create a more haphazard, rough texture.

7. Gently tousle your hair with your hands or a paddle brush to break up the curls.

8. Finally, finish with a spritz of lightweight hairspray all over your hair to hold it in place all day.

Not sure what to use to achieve this look? Grant recommends these six products from Schwarzkopf:

Be sure to let me know if you try out these steps to achieve the playfully wavy look. I’d love to know how it worked out for you! I might just have to try them out for a very special event I’m attending on Saturday night…

How To: Order Online Via Hop Shop Go

One of the questions I left out of my Q&A post was regarding how to order things via the parcel forwarding service Hop Shop Go. I know quite a few people are curious about this, so I thought it might be useful to put together a step-by-step guide for those of you who want to see how it’s done. I’ll try to point out as many things as I can in this post that I’ve learnt so far with the trial and error of ordering via this particular service. (note: please click on the thumbnail images to see the full screen version)

Step 1 – Sign Up or Log in to Hop Shop Go
If you don’t already have a Hop Shop Go account, you will need to create one in order to log in before shopping. You will also need a PayPal account, as that is where your payment will be taken from on completion of the order.

Step 2 – Select which site you want to ‘Hop’ To

To do this you simply type out the full web address of the online store you wish to shop at in the “Hop To” field on the main page, and click “Hop Now”.

Step 3 – Choose either ‘Buy For Me’ or ‘Ship For Me’

After clicking on “Hop Now” on the main page, a window will open giving you the option to either have Hop Shop Go buy for you, or ship to you. In most cases you will need to select ‘Buy For Me’ as most US based sites that do not ship internationally usually do not accept international credit cards. (note: I am yet to use the ‘Ship For Me’ option, so this how-to guide is purely for the ‘Buy For Me’ service.)

Step 4 – Start Shopping

This is how the screen will look while you are shopping. There is a side panel for you to enter the details of the products that you wish Hop Shop Go to buy for you, while the main site for the online store will appear on the larger part of the screen.

Step 5 – Select Your Items

Once you have decided on the item/s that you wish to purchase, you will need to fill out the side panel with product information so that Hop Shop Go will know exactly what to order for you. One thing that it might be important to remember – when you are ordering items that come under a special deal (eg: 3 for the price of 2) you will need to put an amount in the price field for every item. I’ve found that the easiest way to do this is to split the total amount between the items you’re ordering. So in this case, the special was 3 items for the price of 2, each item costing $7.50. I multiplied the $7.50 by 2 ($15) and split the full amount into 3 ($5). So in the side panel for each product I listed the price at $5.

Step 6 – Proceed To Checkout

Once you’ve finished filling out the side panel with the details of the different products you wish to order, you can proceed to checkout. This pop up will show after each item you order, so continue selecting ‘add another item’ until you’re finished. (note: If you decide that you wish to buy more things, you will have the option to go back and keep shopping even once you’ve clicked ahead to the checkout.)

Step 7 – Checkout

Once you click on ‘checkout’ this screen will open. You can review the items that you wish to purchase, and if you want to remove any of the items you’ve selected, just change the number in the box next to the item to 0. The page will refresh without that item listed and the total price amended. The bottom of the screen will display the order amount in USD, and also the service fee you will be charged. You have the option to select whether or not you want them to proceed with the rest of your order if a particular item is not available, and also which shipping option you would like. Once you’re happy with everything, click on ‘Checkout With PayPal’.

Step 8 – Proceed To PayPal

You will then be taken to this screen, which will then open up the PayPal login screen.

Log in and proceed with your order.

Step 9 – Make Your Payment

This is the generic PayPal payment screen where you can choose how you want to fund your payment (PayPal balance, savings account, credit card etc.). Once you’ve selected which option you would like to use, click on the make payment button at the bottom of the screen (not pictured).

You will then be taken to this processing screen – it is very important not to close this window as it will mess things up and stop your order from processing properly. Trust me, I know this from experience.

Step 10 – Payment Confirmation

Your order has now been processed, and this screen will show you your order reference number. Keep this for the future just in case you need to make any queries regarding your order. Once you’ve reached this screen your order should now show up as received under the ‘current orders’ heading of the My Account section:

Once Hop Shop Go places your order, it will show as ‘Order Placed’ on this page (similar to the Sephora order that is listed under the Bath & Body Works order we’ve just placed).

You will receive emailed updates on your order as it progresses and confirmation once your order has arrived at Hop Shop Go and is ready to be forwarded to you. You will not know the exact cost of shipping until the parcel arrives at the US address, and this is where things can get tricky and confusing. The final price of shipping is calculated on weight, and will include any shipping fees from the original store to Hop Shop Go. As a reference, the last thing I ordered via Hop Shop Go that I had shipped to me was from Bath + Body Works. It was four full sized hand soaps & two 14.5 oz candles (read: heavy order) and the total shipping fee was around $50 AUD. I have also ordered smaller (cosmetics only) packages from MAC in the past and the shipping was around $30 AUD. It is kind of an experimental process when it comes to shipping costs, which can be off putting for some people. But the service is relatively fast once the order arrives at Hop Shop Go, and I generally receive the parcel within 3-5 days of having it forwarded from the US. I have had issues with them in the past that have put me off purchasing slightly, but as long as you’re not purchasing too much at once (as in 5 different orders on the go at the one time) it’s easy enough to keep track of and to make sure no errors are occurring.

Final note: Those of you who were looking to buy perfume or nail polish via this service, think again… They can not be shipped to Australia via Hop Shop Go, as they are classified as dangerous items.

I hope this post was helpful to some of you, I’ve not tried any other parcel forwarding sites in the past, and probably won’t in the future, purely because I like the fact that Hop Shop Go is backed up by PayPal.